The Wattle & Slate Beach Bag Tutorial.

Hi Guys – Welcome to our first blog post tutorial… I am a huge pattern rebel and  I almost always go completely off-piste when following a pattern. That’s why I have loved making this bag so much, anything goes. The bag is adaptable to any size of fabric you have or want. It can have so many variations, from rope straps to upcycled chain-straps, multi-pockets, and multiple fabrics. There really is no limit, just use your imagination. Jem x
Ta-da!!! Here is my beach bag…or just a useful tote bag!
When I first saw the Wattle & Slate ‘She Sells’ canvas the first thing I was inspired to make was a beach bag… I had a vision of walking down a Caribbean beach with it draped casually but oh so fashionably over my shoulder…My dreams were halted by Corona, oh and the fact I have three children and I live in the UK!
However, we have managed two trips to the beach post-lockdown, so all is not lost and it is a fact; no matter how hard we try to have less stuff, it does not work at all.  Towels, sunscreens – one for the body, another for the face, sunglasses, water, hand sanitizer, maybe something to eat,  a book, a crossword, beach toys, and if you have children or dogs – a lot more stuff..
You need a bag, and it has to be big!
So after encouragement from the Wattle and Slate VIP group, I am sharing the pattern and sewing process with you. This bag can easily be adapted to any size of fabric, you can even match fabric pieces to have a different fabric bottom, jazzy inside, coordinating pocket, there really is no limit. (I love the rope handles!)

MATERIAL for one bag:

0.65 m fabric for exterior (most Wattle & Slate Fabric has a width of 150 cm, but the width of 120 cm is sufficient)
0.65m fabric for the lining
Scrap fabric or interfacing for stabilisation.
Pocket fabric
1.50-2 m twisted cotton rope
4 eyelets/grommets with washers (14-20 mm diameter)
Thread in a matching colour

The finished size will be 45 x 35 cm with the bottom of 10 cm. Handles are 30 cm.
It is best to choose the appropriate fabric for the bags, and my recommendation would be canvasa waterproof PUL or denim. I used Wattle & Slate’s 'She Sells' for a beach bag and 'Midnight Prowl' for a day time tote.
For the lining, I used the matching canvas for the 'She Sells' bag (I bought 1m) and for 'Midnight Prowl' I used a matching interior but a velvet pocket.
Eyelets with washers are from The Trimming Shop on Ebay 20mm in diameter, in Rose-Gold, but can be found in other variants so you match it to your fabric. 
The rope was purchased from Look-ebikes on ebay. I ordered 2m of the 20mm size.
You will also need: Sewing machine, pins, needles, scissors, tailor’s chalk (pen) and a hammer.


Exterior – 2 pieces 57cm wide x 47 cm high(or can be left as one piece which will measure approx 112cm wide x47cm high)
Stabiliser- 2 pieces 57 x 8 cm(for the upper edge of the inside, from shell (I used some scrap woven fabric)
Interior – 2 pieces 57cm (w) x 40cm (h) from lining fabric
Pockets – from the rest of the lining, in the range 35 x 25 cm(including seam allowances) so you can decide which size you want. I was guided by the size, more accurately the height, of my mobile phone; so it’s a pocket in this case 28 x 21 cm. I’ve only made one pocket on one side of the interior, but you can decide how many pockets you want to sew and where. I also added a loop on the 'She Sells' bag so I can clip my car keys.
The seam allowances are 1 cm and included in previously given measurements.
First of all, cut out pattern pieces according to the measurements. Right sides together, sew down the side of the interior and exterior pieces and along their bottoms, so you end up with two rectangles. I have used a straight stitch W:5 L:3
Press the seam open with your iron.
Next we do the bottom corners of each bag. To get a nice sharp corner we measure a triangle exactly down the bottom seam starting from the corner. 5cm down should measure exactly 10cm across. I like to mark this with a chalk or pen and clip.
These can then be sewn across and trimmed. Repeat for the other ‘bag’. The side seam would be positioned exactly at the bottom seam, resulting in a perfect matched corner.
If you want an internal pocket, you need to sew it on now. Attach the pocket on the interior bag with the pins or light hand stitch to get the positioning right. Then sew it as close as possible to the edge of the pocket piece.
There are several ways to finish corners on the top edge, you can choose the one you like most.
I have adjusted the size of the pocket to my mobile phone, I have marked line 10 cm from one side of the pocket edge and straight stitched upwards.
So now I have from one pocket, two pockets 10 and 21 cm width formed.

Now we can assemble the bag.

Keep the interior section right side out and the exterior section inside out and pop the interior inside the exterior, so that right side of the exterior is on the right side of the lining. On top of this place your extra ‘scrap’ piece of fabric (or use fusible interfacing) to stabilise the top edge. We are now going to sew all three pieces together leaving a 8cm gap for turning the bag inside out. Pull the bag through the hole you have left un-sewn and press the top edge.
Stitch one seam 0.5 cm from the top edge and another optional one 0.8cm from the top edge. If you wish you can do a further row of stitches 5.5 cm also from the top edge.
The sewing is finished, let’s complete with the eyelets and the rope handles.
First, mark the positions where the eyelets should be placed, so that you measure from the side seam 18 cm towards the middle and on that place, find the middle of two seams that you made in the top. Both measurements are marked and the point in the crossing two markings is the centre of the eyelet.
Draw a circle using the eyelet as a template and cut it out of all three layers.
Repeat all that four times and place eyelets with washers. I used the 20mm grommet tool with a vice to press the grommet on, but you can also use a hammer or buy the tool press from The Trimmings Shop if you are planning to make many.
The length of the rope for each handle should be 75-100 cm. You can secure the rope ends with masking tape before cutting and for threading.
Take the rope through the holes and tie the knots at the ends.
Sewing this beach bag is easy. The pattern pieces are simple to cut and sew, and it only requires an hour or so, depending on how handy you are with a pair of scissors and a sewing machine. And at the end, you have a practical beach bag. But as mentioned you can do several variations. I have also made a smaller bag with wadding and neat edges for my camera; for this one I made small matching handles out of the material but you could also use pre-woven canvas straps up-cycled from a bag for life or available here at Little T’s Haberdashery. 
This model can be used not only for the beach but as an everyday shopper.
It is up to you to personalise it, to choose the Wattle and Slate fabric you love, to add pockets as you wish and at the end, to have a showstopping, unique bag.
We would love you to share your bags with us, Tag us on Insta @wattleandslate or hashtag #wattleandslatemakes or post in our VIP Group
Edit: Update to add.. I have since tried the bag with a few different sizes of rope:
20mm, 16mm, and 12mm rope, all work with the 20mm grommets, the 20mm is still my favourite though 💛💛
She Sells 20mm 🐚
Midnight Prowl 16mm
Terracotta Moon 12mm 🌙

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