Yes, the stores are already filled with back-to-school supplies, but I refuse to let go of summer. There are plenty of days left for fun in the sun! If you agree, our super cute Mesh Beach Bags are perfect for all the warm weather adventures yet to come. The mesh body lets sand and dirt sift out while at the same time allowing air to flow in and help dry out suits and towels. We used Dritz® Iron-on Letters to personalize our bags. Professional Dritz® hardware adds the functionality with an interior snapped pocket and detachable cross body strap.
If you’re happy and you know it, show it! Vibrant fabric accents look great against the bright color of the mesh and the gleaming nickel hardware. You might just outshine the sunshine!
With an adjustable strap, you can choose to wear the bag cross body or shorten all the way and simply sling it over one shoulder. The strap can even be removed completely if you’d like a grab-and-go sack or want to roll up the bag for travel or storage.
An interior pocket hangs free from the top accent band and features a snap flap so you can secure smaller, loose items. We provide both a free pattern as well as all the step-by-step instructions to create this unique pocket style.
Set-in side panels give the bag its dimension. They’re sewn seam-out with the seam allowances covered by the bright bias binding. This leaves the inside of the bag completely smooth without any of the scratchy edges that can sometimes be a problem when working with mesh.
We used a name, a monogram, and a descriptive word to decorate our three bag samples. The block letters in a classic flocked black stand out wonderfully against the colorful accent bands. Dritz® Iron-on Letters are easy to use and each sheet has multiples of the most common letters so it's easy to spell out your favorite option.
Our thanks to Dritz® for providing all the great hardware and iron-on lettering for this project! When you’re looking for products to keep your sewing easier and more creative, Dritz® is a name you can always trust. Plus, don’t forget our S4H #1 recommendation for project success: use the right products and tools for the job. When you use products and tools that have been designed for a specific purpose, the installation is easier and the result is superior.
Fill up the bag with everything you need for a day of summer fun. The top can be left open or be tied closed. The top ties are nice and long so you can adjust them to best fit what you need to carry.
This bag style would also be a good choice for trips to the weekend farmer’s market. The breathable mesh keeps produce cool and the interior snap pocket can hold your cash and keys. Adjust the strap with the slider to distribute the weight as you fill up with the day’s goodies.
This bag is machine washable; we recommend detaching the strap and running it on a gentle cycle in cold water. Throwing in a towel with the bag and strap will help soften the sound of the hardware. Hang to air dry and lightly press the cotton elements if need be. Remember, don’t use a hot iron on the mesh fabric.
We offer links below to find the elements we used for our samples, but of course, you can find Dritz® notions and hardware at fine in-store and online retailers everywhere.
Our bag finishes at approximately 11” wide with exterior bound seams x 13½” high. The cross body strap is fully adjustable as well as detachable.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
Ingredients shown are for ONE bag.
- TWO Dritz® Triangle Rings in nickel (one package)
- ONE Dritz® Slide Adjuster in nickel (one package)
- ONE Dritz® Mini Anorak Snap plus tools (we recommend a full package with snaps and tools – these handy snaps are great for all sorts of projects)
- ONE package of Dritz® 1” Iron-on Letters; we used 1” Soft Flock Letters in Black
- TWO Dritz® ⅞” Swivel Hooks in nickel (two packages)
- 1⅝ yards of 1¼” Dritz Cotton Belting; we used natural
NOTE: Yes, we realize the belting is slightly wider than the swivel hooks and slider. For this project we wanted an extra snug fit through the hardware. The sides of the belting will fold in ever so slightly, but the softness of the cotton allows that to happen naturally and for the belting to still slide through for adjusting without a problem.
- 1 yard of 44"+ wide quilting weight cotton; we used fabric cuts from the Tabby Road collection by Tula Pink for FreeSpirit Fabrics: (Pink Bag) Eek in Strawberry Fields, (Green Bag) Cat Eyes in Strawberry Cooler, (Blue Bag) Lucy in Clear Skies
NOTE: This yardage amount allows you to fussy cut on either the horizontal or the vertical and to cut the strips for the side binding fully on the bias.
- ONE package or ½ yard of 54” wide lightweight mesh fabric; we found a handy mesh 18” x 54” pre-cut from ByAnnie, which comes in a variety of cool colors – we used (Pink Bag) Lipstick, (Green Bag) Apple Green, (Blue Bag) Turquoise
- ¼ yard or scrap of 45”+ mid-weight interfacing; we used Pellon Décor Bond
- All-purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Pressing cloth; for working with the lettering and the mesh
- Fray Check seam sealant; optional for belting ends and tie ends
- Straight pins
- Sharpie® pen or similar to mark the mesh fabric
- Download and print the Mesh Bag Patterns: There are TWO Patterns (side panel and pocket) and ONE Positioning Guide, which have been bundled into ONE PDF file to make the download easier.
IMPORTANT: Each pattern download consists of FOUR 8½" x 11" sheets. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the sheets to confirm your printout it to scale.
- Cut out all the patterns along the solid line.
NOTE: For the pocket, you will cut the main fabric using the solid line and the interfacing using the dotted seam allowance line. You can cut the fabric first using the full pattern, then trim the pattern to cut the interfacing. Of, if you want to keep your patterns intact, print TWO, cutting one along the solid line and one along the dotted line.
- Using the arrows printed on the pattern pieces, assemble the THREE pieces that make up the Positioning Guide, the TWO pieces that make up the Side Panel Pattern, and the TWO pieces that make up the Pocket Pattern. Butt together the pieces, do not overlap, and tape to create each full template/pattern.
- From the accent fabric (Tula Pink in our sample), cut the following:
NOTE: The width and height will depend on your motif. Fussy cut your fabric to best display horizontally or vertically within each piece. If your motif is random, cut to make the most efficient use of your fabric.
TWO 3½” x 29” strips for the upper band
TWO 2” x 12” strips for the ties
TWO 2” x 27” strips for the strap
TWO 2” x 27 strips on the bias
TWO 2” x 3” strips for the loops
Using the assembled pocket pattern, cut TWO; we folded our fabric and fussy cut both panels at once.
- From the mesh fabric, cut the following:
ONE 12” x 26” rectangle
Using the assembled side panel pattern, cut TWO
- From the interfacing, cut the following:
ONE 2½” x 28” rectangle
From the assembled pocket pattern, but cutting along seam line, cut ONE
- Cut the webbing into ONE 55” length.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
Create the main mesh bag
- Using a Sharpie® or similar (we found it easiest to see and mark the open weave of the mesh with the permanent marker - it will be covered with the binding), mark the center of the bottom curve of each side panel.
- Fold the main mesh panel in half so it is now 12” high x 13” wide. At each outer edge of the bottom horizontal fold, mark this center point with the Sharpie®.
- Align the bottom curve of the side panel with the bottom fold, aligning the two center marks. You are placing the two pieces wrong sides together, however, the mesh fabric doesn’t really have a right and wrong side.
- You are setting a side panel into each side, a bit like a set-in sleeve. The raw edges of the two pieces should be flush and you’ll wrap the outer panel around the bottom curve of the side panel, easing as needed as you pin.
- Your seams will be facing out, which means the inside of the bag will be smooth.
- Using a ⅜” seam allowance, stitch each side panel in place.
- Find the two 2” x 27” bias strips.
- Fold each strip in half (1” x 27”), wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease.
- Open wrong side up so the crease line in visible. Fold in one side so the raw edge meets at the center crease line. Fold in the opposite side so the raw edge is slightly away from the crease. Press both sides well.
- Re-fold along the original crease line, concealing the raw edges. The folded edges should be slightly off set. Press well.
- Slip a binding strip over the seam allowance of each side panel. The raw edges of the seam allowance should sit right up against the center crease line of the binding. The slightly wider side goes towards the side panel, the narrower side towards the main panel. Start at the top edge with the binding flush, wrapping down and around, pinning as you go.
- When you get to the opposite top edge there will be some excess. Trim this away so the binding is flush with the mesh.
- Edgestitch the binding in place all around. Stitch with the narrower side facing up to better insure you are catching both the front and the back of the binding in this one seam.
Create and position the hanging pocket
- Find the two pocket panels and the one pocket interfacing panel.
- Center the interfacing on the wrong side of one fabric panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Put the fused panel right sides together with the plain panel. The raw edges of the two pieces should be flush all around. Pin in place, leaving a 3” opening along one side for turning.
- Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the opening left for turning.
- Clip the corners and the curves and press open the seam allowance. You want a nice smooth curve to the flap so be generous with the clipping around the curve, just be careful to never clip through the seam.
- Turn right side out through the opening. Using a long, blunt tool, such as a chopstick, knitting needle or point turner, gently push out each corner so it is nice and sharp, and smooth out the curve of the flap. Then, press flat, pressing in the raw edges at the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Using the original trimmed pocket pattern as a guide, mark the position of the flap snap, and mark the upper and lower fold lines.
- Fold up the pocket along the upper and lower fold lines to check the position of everything. You can slightly adjust the position of the folds if need be. There should be approximately 1¼” from the pocket top (when folded into position) and the upper flap fold. In the photo below, you can see how we carefully fussy cut to position a cute little mouse from the motif in the center of our pocket flap.
- With everything confirmed, unfold the pocket panel and use the Dritz® Mini Anorak piercing tool to punch a hole at the marked position for the flap snap — the top half of the snap.
- Place the Dritz® Mini Anorak snap cap in the hole. Remove the piercing tool. There are four accessories that seat into the cups of the plastic setting tool: two are for the cap and two are for the stud. Make sure you have the correct accessories for the cap in place.
- Flip over to place the back of the snap
- Close the Snap Tool to secure the cap top to the cap bottom through the fabric.
- With the flap snap in place, re-fold the pocket along the original fold lines. Our pattern does also include a marking point for the stud half of the snap, but we recommend folding and marking for the very best result as the fabric used and your exact folding can cause slight positioning differences. With your position confirmed and marked, repeat the cutting and pressing steps to attach the bottom snap stud in position. Remember to change out the cups to the correct accessories for the stud half of the snap.
NOTE: If you are brand new to working with Dritz® Mini Anorak Snaps, the package itself has good directions. And, you can also check out our Credit Card Key Ring project that also uses them and has additional photos you may find helpful.
- Move the flap out of the way and edgestitch along both sides of the pocket from bottom to top. If possible, use a lock stitch at the beginning and end of your seam for the cleanest finish. If your machine does not have this feature, leave the thread tails long and knot to secure.
- Snap the pocket closed. Find the center along the top of the closed pocket. Mark this point with a pin.
- Find the main mesh bag. Measure to find the exact center along the top raw edge of the back panel. Again using a Sharpie® or similar, mark this center point.
- Align the center point of the pocket with the center point of the back panel, placing the pocket inside the back, and, of course, with the flap facing the inside of the bag so it is accessible.
- The top folded edge of the pocket should be flush with the top raw mesh edge of the back panel. Pin in place.
- Set aside the main bag.
Make the ties and loops
- Find the two 2” x 12” tie strips and the two 2” x 3” loop strips.
- Fold each 12” strip in half (1” x 12”), wrong sides together, and press to set a center crease.
- Open wrong side up so the crease line is visible. Fold in each side so the raw edges meet at the center crease line. Press both sides well.
- Re-fold along the original crease line, concealing the raw edges, so the folded edges are flush. Press well.
- Edgestitch along the folded edges.
- Tie one end of each tie into a simple knot. You can add a drop of Dritz® Fray Check to the raw ends prior to knotting.
- Fold each loop strip in half (2” x 1½”), right sides together. Pin in place.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch each short seam.
- Press open the seam allowance and turn each loop right side out through the open ends. Roll the seam to the center back and press the loops flat.
- Set aside the ties and loops.
Create the upper accent band with the lettering
- Find one of the 3½” x 29” strips and the 2½” x 28” interfacing panel. Center the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric panel so there is ½” of fabric showing beyond the interfacing on all sides. Following manufacturer’s instructions, fuse in place.
- Flip over the accent band so it is right side up and flat on your work surface. If you’re working with a directional motif as we were, make sure it is correctly positioned.
- Find the exact center point of the band measuring side to side. Place a pin at this point. Lay the edge of a see-through ruler 1¼” up from the bottom raw edge of the accent band. This will mark the bottom of your letters. You can use the ruler to draw in a guide line with a fabric pen or pencil, but we simply used the ruler itself as our guide. The slight thickness of the ruler was a good base for the thicker flocked Dritz® letters.
- Pick out your Dritz® Iron-on letters and trim them from the sheet, cutting as close as possible to each letter. Lettering looks best when it is closer together. As you can see in our photos above, we used a name, a descriptive word, and a monogram. They all turned out well. Using the center pin point as your guide, center your lettering to either side. Again, keep the letters close together.
- Once you have your positioning confirmed, flip over the letters so they are adhesive side down. Adjust as needed to maintain your original centering.
- Using a pressing cloth, adhere the letters.
- Gently peel away the backing from each letter.
- Peel away slowly and carefully…
- … to reveal the complete word.
- With the word in place, fold the panel in half, right sides together, aligning the 3½” raw ends. Pin in place.
- Stitch together, using a ½” seam allowance to create a loop. Press open the seam allowance.
- Flatten the loop to find the center front and mark this point with a pin; it should be directly opposite the center back seam.
Attach the accent band and facing
- Find the mesh bag, which should have the hanging pocket pinned in place.
- Slip the accent loop over the top of the mesh bag. The loop and the mesh are right sides together. The BOTTOM raw edge of the accent band should be aligned with the top raw edge of the mesh, which means your word will be upside down. Pin in place all around.
- Remember, the band and mesh are right sides together. The pocket is not between the layers; it is still facing the inside of the bag.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around the top through all the layers.
- Press the accent band up into position away from the mesh – so your Dritz® Iron-on Lettering is now right side up. The seam allowance should also be pressed up towards the accent band.
NOTE: Don’t use a hot iron on the mesh as it can distort with the heat. Keep the iron away from the mesh and only on the cotton or use a pressing cloth. It's also best to cover the flocked letters with a pressing cloth.
- Find the Positioning Guide. It can be used flat or taped into a matching loop. Using the handy back seam, center front, and side panel markings, center the Guide against the top raw edge of the accent band. Mark for the two ties – one front and one back.
- Find and pin the raw end of each tie in place.
- Mark for each of the loops.
- Slip a loop through each of the Dritz® Triangle Rings, pulling it through so the raw edges are flush and the center back seam of the loop is hidden .
- Pin each loop in place.
- Machine baste the ties and the loops in place along the upper raw edge.
- Find the remaining 3½” x 29” strip (the one without interfacing). Sew the ends together with a ½” seam allowance to create a matching facing loop for the accent band.
- Press open the seam allowance, then press up the bottom edge of the panel ½” all around.
- Slip the facing over the top raw edge of the accent band, aligning the top raw edge of the facing with the top raw edge of the accent band. Match up the back seams and the front center points. Pin in place all around.
- Using a ½” seam allowance, stitch all around. Make sure your ties and loops are hanging straight down and flat – out of the way of the seam.
- Press the seam allowance open and flat.
- Then fold the facing down into position inside the bag. This means the seam you just sewed is now running along the very top of the bag – along the top of the accent band. Press the facing into place. Again, remember to keep the hot iron away from the mesh or to use a pressing cloth.
- The bottom folded edge of the facing should cover the lower seam allowance. Adjust the fold of the facing as needed so the bottom of the facing and the bottom of the accent band are flush front to back. You can see through the mesh so it’s important the two layers are even.
- Slightly lengthen the stitch Edgestitch all around the top of the accent band.
- Then edgestitch all around the bottom of the accent band.
Create the adjustable cross body strap
- Find the 55” length of Dritz® Cotton Belting, the two 2” x 28” strips of accent fabric, the two Dritz® Swivel Hooks, and the 1” Dritz® Slide Adjuster.
- Re-set the stitch length to normal. Stitch together the two 28” strips end to end to create one 55” length.
- Fold back each side ½” and fold back each end ¼” so all sides are finished. Press well.
- Center the accent fabric right side up along the length of the belting and pin in place.
- Re-thread with thread to best match the fabric in the top and to best match the webbing in the bobbin. Slightly lengthen the stitch. Edgestitch along each long side.
- Loop one end of the webbing through the center bar of the Slide Adjuster. Pull it through approximately 1”.
- Stitch in place to secure, running across and back several times for a nice, tight seam.
- Feed the free end of the webbing through one of the Dritz® Swivel Hooks.
- Then bring the free end back through the Slide Adjuster, going up and over the stitched-down end. This creates your adjusting loop.
- Finally, slip the free end through the remaining Swivel Hook, pulling the end through about 1". Edgestitch in place. Before stitching, do one more quick check to make sure there are no twists in your strap. Edgestitch in place.
NOTE: If you are brand new to making an adjustable strap, you can also check out our Weekender Duffle project which features a detachable adjustable strap and has additional photos you may find helpful.
- We added a line of Dritz® Fray Check seam sealant along each cut edge of the belting for an extra smooth finish.
We received compensation from Dritz® for this project, and some of the materials featured here or used in this project were provided free of charge by Dritz®. All opinions are our own.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild