These stylish totes are ideal to take to the beach or to the shops, and with any leftover fabric you can trim a beach towel, too!

Denim bag ideas

This stylish denim bag duo are ideal to take to the beach or to the shops, and with any leftover fabric you can trim a beach towel, too!

You will need

For the striped bag

✤ 0.5m striped ticking, denim or cotton (we used Robert Kaufman Railroad striped denim, 144cm wide, from eclecticmaker.co.uk)
✤ 1.5m of 25mm-wide bias binding in navy
✤ 3m of 38mm-wide cotton webbing in navy

For the denim bag

✤ 0.5m indigo denim (we used Robert Kaufman 8oz Indigo washed denim, 142cm wide, from eclecticmaker.co.uk)
✤ 1.5m of 25mm-wide bias binding in navy
✤ 3m of 38mm-wide cotton webbing in natural
✤ Matching thread
✤ Fabric marker pen

Cutting out

For the bag: Cut two 48 x 43cm pieces of fabric

For the pocket: Cut a 38 x 19cm piece of fabric

From webbing: Cut two 134cm-long pieces.

From bias binding: Cut two 42cm lengths, two 14cm lengths and one 36cm length

Note

For the striped bag: The stripes should be vertical for the bag pieces and horizontal for the pocket piece.

For the two-tone denim bag: Use the wrong side of the fabric for the lighter colour and the right side for the darker pocket.

Towel with denim trim

To make the bag

1. Turn the top edge of the bag pieces 1cm to the wrong side followed by 3cm. Pin and machine stitch. Turn the top edge of the pocket piece 1cm to the wrong side followed by 2cm. Pin and machine stitch.

2. Place the pocket on to the centre lower edge of the front bag piece, pin and machine stitch around the three raw edges using a 1cm seam allowance.

3. With the right side of the front bag piece facing up, align one end of the webbing with the bottom edge of the bag piece.

4. Pin the webbing all the way up the bag, hiding the pocket seam in the process. When you get to the top, measure 50cm of webbing for the handle and then reverse direction and pin the webbing down the right hand side in the same way. Take care not to twist the handle.

5. Edge stitch the webbing in place by sewing up one side, across the webbing at the top, down the other side and across the bottom edge. Repeat with the other end of the webbing.

6. Pin and sew the second length of the webbing to the right side of the back bag piece in the same way.

7. With right sides facing, pin the bag pieces together, making sure the webbing meets up at the lower edge. Machine stitch the two sides and the lower edge, using a 1cm seam allowance.

8. Take one of the 42cm lengths of bias binding and turn in the top end 1cm on to the wrong side. Fold the length of bias binding around the raw edges of one of the bag’s long sides and pin in place. There is no need to turn in the lower edge of the bias binding. Repeat on the other side of the bag.

9. Centre the 36cm length of bias binding over the bottom raw edges of the bag. Fold the bias binding around the raw edges and pin in place. Do not turn in the raw edges of the tape.

10. Edge stitch all three bias tapes in place, making sure you catch both sides of the tape.

To box the corners

11. Pull the two bag pieces away from each other at one of the bottom corners of the bag, until the bottom seam and the side seam are lying directly over each other. Flatten the bias-taped seams so they are lying in different directions.

12. Measure 5cm along the centre seam from the corner and mark with a marker pen. Place a ruler across at this point, measure 10cm from one side to the other and draw a line. Pin and machine stitch along your drawn line.

13. Cut off the corner 1cm from the sewn line. Encase the edges with a 14cm length of bias binding, turning in the two raw edges, pin and edge stitch in place. Repeat for the opposite corner of the bag. Turn the bag right side out and press.

To trim a towel

You will need:

✤ One pale blue towel
✤ Denim Fabric (for the amount you need, see below)
✤ Cotton ribbon (we used 16mm-wide East of India ribbon in cream with triple
blue stripes)
✤ Matching thread

Cutting out

Cut a 5cm-wide strip of denim that is the width of the towel plus 4cm.

Cut two lengths of ribbon each measuring the width of the towel plus 4cm.

1. Press 2cm to the wrong side at each of the short ends of the denim piece and the ribbon lengths.

2. Place and pin the denim strip across the towel, with the short ends turned under and covering the woven panel on your towel – approximately 8cm from the short edge of your towel.

3. Place and pin the ribbon lengths along each side of the denim so that the centre of the ribbon is directly over the raw edges. Then tuck the ends of the ribbon under the denim piece at each end.

4. Machine topstitch close to the edges of each side of the two ribbon trims and across the trim and denim at each end of the towel.

Woman’s Weekly craft and home editor Esme’s tip

If the strip of denim for trimming the towel is new, wash it first to remove excess dye otherwise it might bleed into the towel.