Guest Blogger: Love Elaine | Beach Tote Tutorial

GeoCentric is landing tomorrow and we should see it out of the warehouse within 2 weeks. So, in celebration of its release, we’ll be posting some projects here this week!

So nice for me to hand the reins to someone else – even nicer that they are in the capable and talented hands of Christen Barber of Love Elaine, who has sewn for us in the past. She had a yen to work with GeoCentric and is kind enough to share this great tutorial with our fans.

G   I   V   E   A   W  A  Y

And as an added bonus, she’s giving away the Circles | Metal bag on her blog, so hop on over and visit her for a chance to win this great tote.


Love Elaine / Cloud9 Beach Tote Tutorial

Growing up a Jersey Girl only 20 minutes from the beach, I remember the days of throwing a towel, a book and a thermos of kool aid in my beach bag and jumping in the car with friends and spending our summer days at the beach. When I first saw the canvas fabrics back in April when I visited the Cloud 9 offices, I instantly thought they would make the perfect fabrics for a sophisticated, nautical inspired beach tote, complete with rope handles. The inside has a pocket for your phone and wallet, along with a key leash to ensure your keys don’t fall to the bottom of the bag.

½ yd canvas fabric for outer bag
¾ yd quilting weight fabric for lining
¾ yd fusible fleece interfacing (used Pellon 987F)
6 ft of ½” thick nylon rope (found at local hardware store)
1 pkg of 8 Dritz Curtain No Tools Required Grommets
1 lobster claw for key leash (optional)

Cutting Instructions

From outer fabric:
– Cut 2 pieces 17”wide x 21” long

From lining fabric:
– Cut 2 pieces 17” wide x 21” long (lining)
– Cut 2 pieces 7” wide x 8” long (lining pocket)
– Cut 1 piece 2” wide x 12” long (key leash – optional)

From fusible interfacing:
– Cut 2 pieces 17” wide x 21” long
– Cut 1 piece 7” wide x 8” long

Fusing The Fabric

Once all of your pieces are cut, fuse the two large pieces of fusible fleece (17 x 21) to your two lining pieces and to one of your pocket pieces.

Making the Lining

To make the pocket, put right sides together with your pocket pieces (one is backed with fusible fleece) leaving a 4” opening at the bottom. Once sewn, clip your corners, flip inside out and press. Top stitch across the top of the pocket.

Place your pocket in the center of one lining piece 4” down from the top of the bag. Pin in place and stitch around 3 sides, ensuring to close the opening along the bottom of the pocket.

To make the key leash, place your 2” x 12” piece of fabric face down on your ironing board. Fold each long end towards the center and press (your piece is now 1” wide). Then, fold the top edge down and press (your piece is now ½” wide). Sew a straight stitch down the center. Attach the lobster clasp by folding the fabric over ½” and then over 1” with the lobster clasp in a loop. Sew across to secure.

Place the key leash 3” down from one side of your lining piece with the pocket and pin in place. Next, place the second lining piece on top right sides together, pin in place. Sew around all three sides leaving the top open, as well as an 8” opening along the bottom. Once sewn set aside.

Making the Outer Bag 

Place the outer bag pieces right sides together and pin in place. Sew around all three sides, leaving the top open.

Sewing the Gussets

On the bottom corners of your outer bag, using a ruler and pen, mark a 3” square on both sides.

View of marked OUTER fabric
Once marked, push the side seam to the bottom seam of the bag on the inside and pin in place on the inside of the line, creating a triangle at the corner. 
View of folded INNER/INTERFACING fabric. Red dashed line shows where to sew. 
When finished, trim the corner of the “triangle” 1/2″ from seam.
Sew along the line on both sides. Cut off the extra to a ½” seam allowance. Repeat for the lining of the bag.

Sewing the Bag Together

Turn your outer bag right side out. Place the outer bag inside of the lining, matching the side seams together and pinning around the top. Sew around the top of the bag all the way around.

Finishing the Bag

Turn the bag inside out through the opening at the bottom of the lining and push the lining into the bag, ensuring all corners are pushed out. Iron around the top of the bag to ensure the seam at the top is even. Top stitch around the top of the bag. Then, sew the opening in the lining closed (I use my machine, but feel free to slip stitch).

Attaching the Grommets 

For this bag, I used the no tools required Dritz drapery grommets. They are plastic and snap together so easily! I first tried the metal grommets, and no matter how hard I hammered, they just didn’t work. These were so much easier and I think the finish is perfect for a beach or pool tote.

To place your grommets, place the approximately 1” grommet between 6” and 7” inches over and between 1” and 2” inches down from the top. From there, follow the directions on the grommet package – they literally snap together!

Making and Attaching the Handles

Cut your 6 ft. length of rope in half, as you’ll need 3 ft. of rope for each handle. Be sure to use masking tape on the ends of the rope to cut to prevent fraying. Place a knot in one end of the rope and slip the other end through the grommet from the lining side towards the front of the bag and back through the second grommet, knot this end to secure in place. Use a lighter to burn the edges of the rope and remove the masking tape. Repeat on the other side.

Your bag is now finished!

9 thoughts on “Guest Blogger: Love Elaine | Beach Tote Tutorial

  1. Pingback: Beach Tote Tutorial – Bags and Purses Sewing Patterns

  2. Wow! What a great looking bag. The instructions make it sound so simple to make. Why do bags cost so much to buy? Definitely going to try this one, mainly because of the rope handles.
    Does the lining have to be made from quilting weight fabric? Won’t any fabric do?
    Can’t wait to try this, and now I know how to do gussets.

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