Oilcloth Pool Tote with Mesh Pockets

on July 3 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 14 Comments

Erin from Sewbon.com created this practical and pretty Pool Tote which features oilcloth and handy mesh pockets. The cross-body design makes it easy to carry your things from the car to the beach or pool. You can also make this tote with different fabrics if you wish. Let us know in the comments if you make the tote for your summer adventures. We want to see it!

Be sure to visit Sewbon.com to learn more about Erin and her beautiful sewing (we especially love all of the clothing she sews!). Here’s a link to her intro too. Erin’s Sewbon.com blog is fairly new and we can’t wait to watch what she does next!


My husband and I love swimming laps in the hot summer months at the outdoor pool nearby and this pool bag is big enough to carry all our stuff with room to spare!


My favorite feature of this tote is the mesh pockets. I can put all our soaked stuff in the mesh pockets so they can drip dry without having to worry about our stuff inside the bag getting wet.


I’ve also found that this tote makes an excellent partner for fabric shopping. It holds a TON of fabric! (Much to my husband’s horror!)

Working with oilcloth can be a bit tricky, but here’s a post with great oilcloth tips from the archives of Sew Mama Sew. In addition to putting washi tape on the bottom of my presser foot to keep it from sticking, I also used binder clips to hold my oilcloth fabric together instead of pins.


  • 1 yard Oilcloth
  • 1/2 yard Utility Mesh
  • 1/8 yard Accent Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Coordinating Thread
  • Binder Clips
  • Sewing Essentials

Seam allowance is ¼ inch and is included in all measurements

Step One: Cut
Cut out oilcloth, utility mesh, accent fabric, and elastic to the sizes below. To make a smaller bag, adjust the measurements accordingly.


Step Two: Assemble Mesh Pockets
Fold over edges of the accent fabric in ¼ inch and press.

Fold accent fabric in half and press.


Pin accent fabric to the top of a mesh panel. Top stitch close to the mesh panel as possible as there will need to be enough room in the casing for the elastic.


Insert elastic through casing. Stitch at the ends to secure elastic and repeat for second mesh pocket.


Step Three: Attach Mesh Pocket to Front/Back Panel
Align and binder-clip a mesh pocket to the front panel, aligning at edges. Extra mesh fabric should be pulled towards the middle to keep it from getting caught in the seam.


Baste stitch the mesh pocket to the front panel and repeat for back panel.

Optional: Stitch from the bottom of a panel to just above the mesh to turn one large pocket into two pockets. I did this on one side and left the other side with one large pocket.

Step Four: Assemble Front, Back + Side Panels
Align and binder-clip the side panels to your front panel, right sides together.


Stitch the side panels to the front panel.

Attach and binder-clip the back panel to the side panels, right sides together.

Stitch the back panel to the side panels.

Step Five: Attach Bottom Panel
Align and binder-clip the bottom panel to the front panel, right sides together. Stitch.

Move in a clockwise motion, aligning and binder-clipping the bottom panel sides to the side panels and back panel until bottom panel is securely attached.

Turn bag right side out.


Step Six: Assemble Straps
Fold the edges of the strap in. Fold strap in half and binder-clip.

Top stitch close to the edge on both sides, then repeat for second strap.


Step Seven: Attach Straps
Fold over top edge of bag ¼ inch and baste stitch.


Measure 3 inches from each edge and binder-clip straps, making sure the strap is not twisted.


Baste stitch straps.

Fold over top edge of bag ½ inch and top stitch.


Sew a box to secure straps. Repeat for second strap.


Now you’ve got a great bag to take to the pool or beach (or to the fabric store!).


Thank you so much to my sister Laura of Laura Murray Photography for taking these shots of my pool tote in action!


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14 Responses to Oilcloth Pool Tote with Mesh Pockets

  1. Barb says:

    Do you line the bag?? I have oilcloth and would like to sew a bag out of it but I’m not sure if the inside is suppose to be lined like other bags.


  2. Karin says:

    love, love love!! let the sun shine on this beautiful beach bag. will share this on my blog. There are German beaches too =)))

    sunny greets

    Karin from peppithecat

  3. Monica says:

    Love oil cloth. Great idea!!

    • Thanks! Oilcloth is so much fun! I love that it doesn’t fray and that I can just wipe up any spills or messes from it!

  4. Maria G. says:

    It’s very tricky for those who are not really into sewing like me. But I really love the idea of a homemade tote bag. It’s very creative. I love how you can decide what cloth, what colors etc. you want. However, the sewing; I’ll leave that to my sister who loves sewing more.

    • Picking out the fabrics is so much fun! I’ve gotten pretty bad though – whenever I see a fun fabric at the store, I’ll buy a few yards, even if I don’t have a project for it just yet! My fabric hoarding tendencies are getting slightly out of control! ha! 🙂

  5. Louise says:

    Great tote! Thank you for sharing the tutorial. It is certainly on my list of summer yhings I need to do. Thanks again!

  6. It is completely awesome Erin and you look fabulous, as usual!!! I made a tote out of a hand towel once, but I like the oilcloth idea tons more even, because you could wipe it clean! 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Thanks for the kind words, Vanessa! 🙂

  7. Jaime says:

    I don’t know a lot about Oilcloth (other than what I found on Google) but how do you think one of these would hold up out of laminated cotton? I have 2 yards of a Tula Pink print I’m dying to make something out of! Do you think it would need something added for stability??

    • Erin says:

      I think that laminated cotton would work great! You are right though, it will be more floppy since oilcloth is a bit stiffer. The laminated cotton bag probably won’t hold it’s shape as well when it’s sitting on the ground, but I don’t think that would be a big deal. I would probably lessen the measurements for the side panels and width of the bottom since it won’t hold it’s shape too much. Or, you could eliminate the side panels and bottom panel and sew a gusset instead! Can’t wait to see what you make with the Tula Pink print! 🙂

  8. Niki says:

    BRILLIANT! I have made oilcloth beach bags. I have made mesh beach bags. Why have I never thought to combine the two?? Love it!

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