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Reversible Beach Bag Project

Easy summer beach bag to sew

This project is part of the Sew So Simple series of projects for beginners written Helen Rhiannon from All Sewn Up Wales sponsored by Art Gallery Fabrics.

This summer why not make yourself a new bag to take to the beach?  This project is so simple and relatively quick to do. Plus the fact it’s reversible means you can change the colour to suit your outfit.  I have made a few already so I am spoilt for choice when heading to the beautiful Gower beaches here in Wales!

Reversible bags to sew

What you need

I used three different fabrics for the Beach Bag but you will need more than fat quarters for this project with the size of the bag.  I would recommend ½ a metre of each fabric and then use the rest for a matching mini make up bag project, that’s what I did. 

Sewing supplies in the UK

Fabric –  1 and a half metres of fabric if you use 3 different fabrics or 1 metre will be plenty if using 1-2 fabrics.

I used Carnaby from Art Gallery Fabrics Kindly provided by Hantex.



Matching thread

Sewing Machine – Straight stitch length 2.5

Bag templates– Print A4

Sewing a beach holdall

Cutting out and Sewing


Stage 1 – Cutting out your Beach Bag.

Lay fabric out with any patterns facing up.  Lay your pattern pieces onto the fabric as instructed and place the edge of the pattern on the fold of the fabric where necessary.  Keep the ‘grainline’ in line with the natural straight edge of the fabric.

Make sure to use the tip of your scissors to cut a 3mm slit into the fabric where the notches are marked.  These are used to match your patterns up when pinning and
preparing the pleats.

Stage 2 –  Preparing the pleats in the centre of the main bag panel.

You will have 5 notches marked on the centre of the pattern.  Make sure you have used the tip of your scissors to mark them on the fabric. 

Create a small fold where the OUTSIDE NOTCH is and then fold the OUTSIDE NOTCH into the centre so that the fold sits exactly on the CENTRE NOTCH. Pin in place and do exactly the same for the other side to create your pleats. 

Repeat for each panel outside and for the lining.

Stitch over the pleats to keep in place and remove the pins.


Sew So Easy beginners sewing

Stage 3 – Pinning and sewing the side and bottom panel to the
main panels.

Make sure the NOTCHES have been marked on all of the pieces.

Place the right side of the side/bottom panel face down on the right side of the main panel.

Match the top of the side/bottom panel first to the top of the bag and pin in place.  Next, match the centre notches (bottom of bag) and pin in place. Next, match the notches in between (curved edge) and pin in place.  The rest of the sections can now be pinned and eased into place. 

Repeat for each side but remember to leave a gap of about 4 inches in the lining to turn your bag through when finished!

When you have finished sewing each piece, clip into the seam allowance around all of the curved sections.  Cut right up to within 2-3mm of the stitching.

This will allow your bag to sit better when turned through.  Trust me!


Make tie handles for a bag

Stage 4  –  Making the straps

You will have four pieces of fabric for the outside of the straps and four for the lining.  Place the main fabric right side up on the table and then place the right side of the linings face down onto them. 

Pin around the whole strap but not the straight end as you’ll be turning them inside out.  Sew the whole way around with a 1cm seam allowance.

Cut the excess fabric from the tip of the straps to allow a clean flat finish when turned through.  See photo.

Turn through and press well.


Stage 5 – Preparing the bag to sew the outside to the lining.

Turn your main section inside out so your raw seams are facing you on the outside of the bag.  Put the lining inside your main bag so the right sides are together. The raw seams should be visible looking inside the bag.

Pin around the top of your bag at the side seams and the pleated sections to hold in place.

Sew in a reversible bag lining

Stage 6 – Pinning your straps in place.

Place the unfinished end of your straps, with the right sides together, on the centre of each of the main bag strap sections.

Pin in place.

Then pin the lining on top, sandwiching the straps in place.

Easy sewing projects

Stage 7 – Sewing the whole bag together.

Sew the whole way around with a 1cm seam allowance, making sure to pivot at the corners. 

Also make sure you leave a gap in the lining to be able to turn it through.

TIP – Make sure to pivot exactly where the straps sit before sewing across the top of the strap and then pivot again at the other side.  This will make more sense once you have sewn it once!  The finish will be better if you are really accurate.

Holiday sewing projects

Stage 8 – Finishing your bag.

Before turning the bag the right way around, clip into the curved seams again to allow a clean finish.

Next step is to handsew the gap or use the machine if you prefer to.


Clip bag curves

Next, tie your straps together.  Make sure you tie the two straps on the same side of the bag together, not opposites.

Tie handles on a bag

And you are finished so get down to the beach!!

Please let me know how you get on making your own and if you have any questions, then please just get in touch!

Do share pictures on my facebook fanpage as I love to see what everyone makes.

Thanks! Helen @AllSewnUp