The Summer Bag - with tutorial |Keeping it Real

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Summer Bag - with tutorial

If you haven't figured it out yet, I LOVE SUMMER!

One of the things I love most about this season is that you get to spend a lot of time outside. Which means you need a Summer Bag.

Last week I found an old piece of canvas in a chest at my grandparents house. I'm betting it's at least 50 years old and shouted SUMMER! at me the first time my eyes landed on it.

It reminds me of those old beach chairs (and probably belonged to one). Anyway, I brought it home with me and decided to make a bag out of it. I took some pictures of the process (not many, and not very good quality either, sorry about that) and decided to create a small tutorial in case anyone wants to make one too.

The original fabric was 68 cm wide by 128 cm long. This size is enough for a small bag (small meaning it can carry a wallet, sunglasses, keys, sunscreen, phone, Ipad, camera, and a book to read. It may even carry a small beach towel, I haven't tried, but it is not exactly a beach bag, especially if you have kids). 

Anyway, I cut a 42 x 92 cm piece for the bag and a 42 x 76 cm piece of lining (simple white fabric I had in my stash). In addition to this, you will also a piece of elastic (I didn't measure it but if you scroll down there is a picture of the elastic I used and it will give you an idea of size).

First things first: add pockets. I keep losing stuff inside my bags, so pockets are a must to keep minimal organization. I wanted a large one on one side and two smaller ones on the other (and I guarantee they are evenly placed, even if the picture seems to show otherwise)

Sew the lining right sides together (just the sides, not the top) and then sew a triangle at the bottom, on each side (this will make a "straight" bottom and create more space inside the bag). Cut excess fabric.

summer bag tutorial

Do the same with the exterior fabric: sew sides (right sides together) and then triangles at the bottom. Turn everything inside out, press and then tuck lining inside the exterior fabric, wrong sides together. Fold exterior fabric inside (this is why the lining piece is smaller) and pin.

summer bag tutorial

Now you will be sewing two parallel lines around the top of the bag, to create the elastic casing (which means that you can sew the top one all around but you need to leave an opening in the bottom one to thread the elastic through). In the end, you should have something like this:

summer bag tutoral

Now get your elastic, insert it in the casing and close the opening.

Use the rest of your fabric to make a strap. I sewed it right sides together then turned it inside out. This is the part of bag-making I hate the most, so feel free to use whichever method suits you better. I also used the metal pieces (see below) to get a removable strap (sewing small fabric loops on either side for them to attach). I'm not sure why I need a summer bag with a removable strap, but I'll think of something. Anyway, you can sew the strap directly onto the bag and save yourself the trouble (and probably a broken sewing machine needle).

And it's done. You now have a summer bag.

 Load it with all you need...

...and enjoy your summer!


See you around,

keeping it real, craft blog


  1. Super cute bag! Perfect for summer! Thanks for sharing tutorial!
    Hope you have a wonderful week!
    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft

  2. Quick and easy just like I like it! I am into totes at the moment too! follow you from Whoop Whoop Friday!

  3. Perfect fabric for a summer bag! Enjoy!

    1. Thank you Kathy, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Tucking the lining under the hem is a neat way to finish the top of the bag, Teresa. And that fabric is perfect for a Summer bag.

  5. Bonne idée! Tres joli... ☆

  6. I like the added elastic and removable straps. I have pinned this to my Pinterest board with all bags that can be used for grocery bags.

  7. Hi
    What a great use for this fabulous old canvas fabric. Love it!
    Michelle :o)

  8. I like your blog, search a amazing Bed Sheets, You definitely inspired me.

  9. I love this bag! It’s perfect for the beach or pool. Love the colors you chose. Super cute!!