DIY: Making a Beach Tote Bag

Ever since I made one of these tote bags a couple weeks ago it’s been my favorite carry-all bag. I still used this tutorial as the basic process for making a lined bag but make several modifications I wanted to share to make it a tote.The dimensions are easy. Two 20” x 20” squares of one main fabric, and two more 20” x 20” squares for a second fabric to line the bag on the inside (no straps yet!). I would recommend using heavy weight fabric or even upholstery weight for more structure. You can see in the photo above that the two fabrics are not lined up. I like that look, but you could cut your fabric to make the stripes line up correctly if you wanted. Two more 20” x 5” strips for the handles. Practically everything is 20”. Easy to remember, right? Really you can make it whatever shape you want. Mine is kind of long. I wanted a big Mary Poppins bag I could pull a lamp out of, if needs be.
The pocket I made custom to fit my iphone on one side and my garage door opener on the other. You can make it whatever size you need. When making a pocket for a phone I’d recommend making it pretty snug.
Also, to make a large flat bottom I cut off far more than then tutorial suggested in squaring off the corners. I think I cut off about 3 1/2 inches. Just make sure you cut off the same amount on each side.

The rest of this post is a tutorial for the tote handles:
You want something fairly sturdy. I used a really heavy weight cotton. Start by making tubes out of each of the 20” by 5” strips. Fold them over and sew around three sides, leaving one side unfinished to turn inside out. After you turn them inside out stitch on the outside of the last side (don’t worry it will be covered by a cross stitch anyway on the bag).
You want the handles to fold over on top to make it comfortable to hold. I stuck pins a couple inches in from the ends and then folded over and sewed the strip together inbetween those pins.

I then measured and pined them in place on the inside of the bag. Make sure both handles are the same height so it will be comfortable to hold.
Sew them on, crossing through the middle. Then call in your husband/friend/pet fish to join you in admiring your finished beach tote.


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