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Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

It didn’t take me long to come up with a tote and mat pattern that would be perfect to take along to the beach or pool.  Both are made using beautiful Timeless Treasures Batiks from the Tonga Sugar collection.

The Tote and Mat are both made using a wonderful product called Soft & Stable by Annie’s. It’s a thin foam that provides form and shape to your project.  Fabric and Soft and Stable can be thick for some machines.  Loosening your sewing machine foot tension and using a 90/14 needle will help with the thick layers.

Both the Tote and Mat are washable: Wash both Tote and Mat on gentle cycle then place in dryer on low heat, press wrinkles with hot iron (no need to remove Soft and Stable from inside of mat).

The first step is to cut out all bag pieces listed below.  All bag pieces will then be backed with the Shape-Flex interfacing (see photo).  You actually will not cut the interfacing into pieces before applying.  Lay interfacing ‘glue’ side up on ironing board and lay bag pieces close together on top of interfacing.  In each corner of the fabric pieces ‘tack’ fabric to interfacing by applying iron for a few seconds.  Continue with this process until all pieces are tacked to the interfacing.  Using scissors or rotary cutter, cut pieces apart.  Now you will iron on the backside of all the fabric pieces so you will actually be ironing onto the interfacing.  Iron all pieces so that interfacing is thoroughly attached.  I promise this method is quicker and you will have much less waste.  Smaller pieces of interfacing can be used by overlapping ¼” on the backside of your fabric pieces.

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

Fabric Requirements and Supplies for Bag & Mat set:

Outside of Tote/Body of Mat: 5 yards of fabric – Tonga-B1474 Dream
Inside of Tote and Outside Pockets: 2 yards of fabric – Tonga-B1466 Apricot
Straps on Tote/Ties on Mat: ¾ yards of fabric – Tonga-B6910 Kiss
5 yards of Shape-Flex Interfacing
2 yards of Soft and Stable Foam by Annie’s
3 Buttons for Tote
½ yard of ¼” elastic
Needle and Heavy Thread for sewing buttons on

Outside of Tote:

(2) 15” x 20” front and back – Tonga-B1474 Dream
(2) 9” x 15” sides – Tonga-B1474 Dream
(1) 9” x 20” bottom – Tonga-B1474 Dream

Two Outside Side Pockets:

(2) 7” x 9” – Tonga-B1474 Dream
(2) 8” x 9” from contrasting fabric – Tonga-B1466 Apricot

Inside of Tote:

(2) 14” x 20” front and back – Tonga-B1466 Apricot
(2) 9” x 14” sides – Tonga-B1466 Apricot
(1) 9” x 20” bottom – Tonga-B1466 Apricot
(2) 7” x 12” inside pocket – Tonga-B1474 Dream


(2) 5” x width of fabric (42”) – Tonga-B6910 Kiss

Soft and Stable:

Note: When cutting these pieces make sure you leave enough to cut piece for mat as well.

(2) 15” x 20”
(2) 9” x 15”
(1) 9” x 20”

All seams ½” unless otherwise noted.

RST = Right Sides of Fabric Together

RSO = Right Sides of Fabric Out

Prepare straps for Tote:

Take each strap and fold each long edge in until they meet in the center, press with iron, then fold in half, press again, and pin along open edge.

Topstitch close to both long edges of straps, about 1/8” from edges.

Prepare outside pockets:

Take one 8” x 9” contrasting pocket piece and with RST lay one 7” x 9” pocket piece on top

Match top edge and sew a ¼” seam allowance along top edge.

Turn each pocket right side out matching bottom raw edges.  Iron fold at top of pocket to make it nice and crisp.  Topstitch along fold and again near seam.  Repeat with other pocket pieces to make 2, set aside.

Prepare Outside of Tote:

Each of the outside tote pieces will be paired with a piece of Soft and Stable.  Take each outer ‘side’ pieces and place the matching Soft and Stable piece underneath, then place a pocket piece on top matching raw edges at bottom.  Measure down 3” from the top of each side piece and place a 4” piece of elastic looped on the outside edges as shown in photo.  Stitch around all edges with a ¼” seam allowance.  This will hold the Soft and Stable together with the fabric pieces to make it easier to sew the tote together.

Layer on table one 15” x 20” piece of Soft and Stable, and on top of that place a 15” x 20” main tote piece and pin outside raw edges.  Place one strap on main bag piece by measuring in 6” from both side edges.  Pin strap in place.  Stitch around all edges of main tote piece using a ¼” seam allowance.  Then stitch strap to tote by stitching close to each edge of strap.  Stop stitching 2 ½” from top edge of tote, stitch across strap and stitch down other side.

If desired, stitch an X 2 ½” down from the top edge of the tote to reinforce the strap.  Repeat process to sew other strap to other main tote piece and don’t forget to layer with Soft and Stable too.

At the center top of one of the main tote panels, place a 4” piece of elastic looped, stitch in place (sorry, no photo).  Place sides of tote RST on each side of a main tote piece.

Pin in place and stitch down both sides.  Stop stitching ½” from the bottom and be sure to backstitch when starting and stopping to secure seam.

After sides are sewn on, open sides and sew other main tote piece to one of the sides where arrow is pointing.  (See, I finally got smart and figured out to use an arrow in the photos so you could see better what I’m trying to show you).

Now match up other side and main tote piece, and sew.  Continue to use a ½” seam allowance and be sure to stop ½” from bottom.

Match up the outside bottom piece with the Soft and Stable piece and stitch all edges using a ¼” seam allowance.  Then take bottom piece and with RST place inside at the bottom of tote along long side.  Pin in place and stitch ½” seam.  Start stitching ½” in from edge and stop stitching ½” from end.  Jump across to other long side and stitch in the same manner.

Turn tote so one of the opened ends face you.

Pin tote bottom and side together, and stitch.  Remember to start and stop ½” from edges at beginning and end.

Before turning tote RSO, clip corners to reduce bulk, but do not clip into seam.

Turn tote RSO.

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

Prepare Lining of Tote:

Place inside pocket pieces RST, pin, and stitch ¼” around all edges, leaving a 5” opening at the bottom for turning.  Clip corners and turn RSO.

Topstitch at top of pocket 1/8” from seam.  Place pocket, centered on one main lining piece, 3” down from the top edge.  Stitch down sides and bottom, and if desired stitch down middle of pocket to form two pockets or just make a little tack stitch at the top of the pocket to keep pocket from flopping open.

In the very same manner as the outside of the tote you will construct the lining.  Sew sides on.

Then sew other main panel piece on.

Sew in bottom, BUT leave a 6” opening in one of the long sides of the bottom to allow for turning the tote later.

Place the outside of the tote down inside the lining with RST.  Pin around top edge.

Then sew around top edge, using a ½” seam.

Turn tote RSO through opening at bottom of lining.

Smooth top seam of tote and make sure there is no fabric left in the seam.  Pin and topstitch ¼” from top edge.

Using needle and heavy thread, sew a button to each side of tote, opposite the elastic, approximately 2 ½” down from top edge.  Also sew a button on to the front of tote on the opposite side of the elastic.  Stitch opening closed in lining by hand or machine.

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial


Cut (2) 32” x 72” pieces from mat fabric – B1474 Dream
Cut (3) 1 ¾” x width of fabric (42”) for ties – B6910 Kiss
Cut (1) 31” x 70” piece of Soft and Stable

On each of the mat pieces, hem one of the short ends.  Turn edge over ½” to the wrong side of the fabric, press, and fold over ½” again.

Stitch close to fold to make a finished hem.

In the very same manner as making the straps for the tote, make three ties for your mat.  Fold long edges in to the center, press, then fold in half lengthwise.  Stitch close to both long edges about 1/8” from edge.  Cut each tie in half to form (6) 20” ties.  On hemmed edge of each mat piece, find the center and pin a tie at center.  Then find the center on each side of the middle tie and place ties in those spots as well.  Stitch across the top of the tie attaching the tie to the mat edge.

Flip tie up and stitch across tie again to hide raw edge.

Repeat so that you have ties on both main mat pieces (3 on each side).  Place mat pieces RST (with all ties at one end), pin, and stitch down sides and bottom leaving end with the ties unsewn.  Lay mat out on floor or table and place Soft and Stable on top of mat.  It’s possible at this point you will have to trim the foam just a smidge to make it fit inside the stitch line.

Starting at the end away from the ties, roll mat towards open end.

Turn mat through open end.

Lay flat and smooth edges so that edges aren’t curled.  Tie the ties together and knot the raw ends.  If desired, cut ties shorter.

Enjoy your new tote and mat!

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial

Beach Tote Bag and Mat DIY Tutorial


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