Simplicity at the Beach - Beach Bag
Project by Mary-Ellen
Fabric: At the Beach - Simplicity Vintage
When it comes to sewing, my focus is usually on dressmaking – it is very seldom that I choose smaller, accessory style projects. However, when I received a sample of the latest Simplicity x Craft Cotton Co summer collection, I could not resist sewing up a beach bag (which I have been using for all kinds of days out, not just beach days). One reason for this is that I knew I would get much more use than a garment would – summer days out always require carrying additional sundry items: sunscreen, the latest read, snacks (especially dog treats!) and – in the recent heatwave we have been having – as many bottles of water I can pack!
I decided to sew up the Sun Tote bag pattern by Chalk and Notch which, incidentally, arrived in my inbox around the same time the fabric arrived. I’m a huge fan of Chalk and Notch dressmaking patterns so I knew the pattern would be an enjoyable sew; the only thing I wasn’t sure about was the fact that the pattern is for an unlined bag; but the heatwave convinced me to give it a go as it was too uncomfortable for long sewing projects.
What I love most about the bag is the finishing techniques – the pattern uses felled seams (which I have loved ever since I started making men’s shirts for my other half – it’s a common technique in shirt making) and French seams. Even though the bag is well finished by using these techniques – no need for overlocking – it is still a simple and fast sew. I always appreciate a project when the insides look as meticulous as the outside.
The pattern itself comes in three sizes, each with its own interior and exterior patch pocket pattern pieces, which are topstitched and edge-stitched so well reinforced.
It has two strap lengths that can be doubled up – I’ve used both for the versatility for when it’s easier to carry either in hand or on the shoulder.
The small size is perfect as a project bag – I intend one to keep my knitting project in for when I am on the go. It is also a good size to make little individual bags for children. The medium size – which is what I opted to sew up – is the perfect size for everyday use. It would also work as a shopper bag (imagine all the fabric you could pack in there). The large size is the perfect size to hold everything for a family day out at the beach.
The finished measurements can be seen in the chart below:
The Sun Tote is designed for medium weight woven fabric, so craft cotton works well; I love the finished use of this bag with the directional print of fabric. Of course, being unlined, the bag would be more structured if you used something like a denim or canvas, but I preferred the idea of using craft cotton as it also makes it easier to fold and carry the bag as a shopper.