Meriel from create3.5 loves to sew clothes, and she also throws a bunch of quilting and hand embroidery in the mix. She shares her latest on Instagram and Facebook and now here, with her tutorial for a woven rag beach bag. Meriel shows you an interesting technique with the fabric, and it’s easy too!
Hi! I’m Meriel from create3.5, and I’m so excited to be sharing how to make a super-simple woven rag beach bag! It’s fast, it’s unique and it’ll fit everything you’ll need for a day out at the beach or pool.
I started with one yard each of Michael Miller’s Fractured Waves in Lagoon from the Into The Deep collection and Elizabeth’s Studio Under the Sea Sea Glass in Multi, as well as two yards of Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton in Lime.
I cut the Fractured Waves, Sea Glass and one yard of the lime Kona into 1.5″ strips, the full width of the fabric. The other yard of the lime Kona I set aside for the lining of the bag. Then I grabbed some clear tape and taped the ends of the strips to my cutting table, lining them up in a pattern I liked. (It was pretty simple to figure out with only three fabrics!)
The weaving part brought me back a bit to elementary school… I remember doing the exact same process with paper, and I used the same technique on a mini quilt a few years ago. It’s so easy (a little time consuming, but mindless) and the end result is always stunning; you’ll get a brand new textile! I advise you to start your weaving with the fabrics wrong side up. This makes it easier to apply interfacing, which I find keeps everything together during sewing. Also, if you’re going to wash this bag a lot (beach-goers rather than pool, for instance) I suggest light stitching over your weaving to help keep the strips in place so you’re not rearranging them every time!
Once I had my strips woven into roughly a one yard square, I trimmed up the ends to start with straight, even sides, and cut my pieces for my bag! The large sides (cut two) are 18″ x 18″, the bottom (cut one) is 18″ x 6″, and for the short sides I cut two pieces about 3.5″ x 18″ and put them together. Then I repeated those pieces with the yard of Kona I had left over.
You’ll have a pile of strips left after your square yard is put together! I used six strips (two of each fabric) to weave two braids for bag handles, making sure to keep them as straight as possible to show the prints.
The sewing was simple. Holding one outer layer and one lining piece together, I sewed the narrow sides WRONG sides together first, to create the raggy seam down the middle. Then I sewed those sides to the bottom piece, creating one long strip. Again, all sewing is done wrong sides together. This gives you that seam on the outside to clip and fray for a rag style look, while keeping your lining nice and smooth! These last photos were taken after washing; my strips needed some rearranging but I love the effect of the raw edges and frayed seams! It reminds me of the beach, waves and seaweed.
Once I had the sides and bottom together, I sewed on the front and back (the large square pieces). The corners take a little maneuvering, but once the seams are clipped and frayed you can’t tell– one more reason to love the rag bag style! I used some off-brand craft clips to hold everything together while I sewed. Then I stitched around the top to hold the weaving in place and give myself an allowance to clip and fray, and sewed the straps to the outside of the bag, using an x-box stitch for strength.
If you want to, you could also use your left over strips to weave pieces to use for pockets and attach those wherever you like– inside, outside, all over! (You might need another half yard of lining fabric if you choose to do this.) The end result? A large, floppy, easy bag to sling over your shoulder, toting all your towels, flip flops and sunglasses for a relaxing day out!