Mesh Beach Toy Bag Tutorial

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Mesh beach toy bag sitting on the beach with children playing in backgroundI love the beach! We try to make it out to the coast at few times each year. The kids are content to sit around digging holes for the entire day while the hubs and I relax and read books. I could spend hours just watching the waves crash against the beach.

What I don’t love is the sand. We try to clean everything off as much as we can but I swear we still bring home half the beach each time we go. That’s why I made this mesh bag for our beach toys. Toys go in, sand falls right out!

Mesh beach toy bag sitting on beach with kids digging in background

Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • 3/4 yard nylon mesh – it has nice large holes big enough for sand to escape through but still keeps the toys inside.
  • 2/3 yard indoor/outdoor fabric – I liked this because it’s made to deal with sun and water. Generally just rinsing it will keep it clean enough, but if it gets any dirty spots it should wipe right off with a mild soapy solution.
  • All-purpose thread
  • Walking foot (if you don’t have one, you can use your all-purpose foot – it just doesn’t work as well)

Cutting the pieces

From the mesh, cut one rectangle 17” x 39” (for the main body) and two rectangles 5” x 18” (for the sides). It doesn’t really matter which direction you cut as long as the long sides are cut in the same direction. (All the pieces in the picture below are laid out in the direction they were cut from the fabric.)

From the outdoor fabric, cut one rectangle 7” x 44” (for the bag top), two 4” x 42” (for the handles), and two 1” x 42” (for the side accent). Since my material was striped I made sure to cut it in a way that showed off the pattern best. Pay attention to your pattern and cut in the direction that will showcase it the best. (My yardage was figured as if you cut parallel to the raw edge. If you cut parallel to the selvage you’ll need to adjust your yardage.)

Measurements and visual of cut out fabric pieces

Sewing the mesh

Take one of the side pieces and the main body piece. Pin the long sides together, starting from the top edge. I found pinning the mesh so that the holes matched up worked really well.

Pinned mesh

Sew using a ½” seam allowance starting from the top all the way down the length of the shorter piece. Stop about ½” away from the edge of the side piece.

Mesh sewn 1/2 inch away from edge

Fold up the main body and pin it along the other long edge of the same side piece. Pin and sew the same way.

Now you should be left with a hole along the bottom. Find the center of both edges then pin them together.

Bottom pieces pinned to show center

Evenly distribute the fabric along the seam, pin, and sew.

Bottom of the mesh side, pinned

One side done! Repeat with the other side. When you’re all done sewing up the sides, all the seams should be facing out. Trim these seams down to ¼”.

Adding the side accent

You’ll be encasing the raw edge inside the side accent. Pin the right side of the fabric to the exposed seam along the outside edge of the bag. It will run through your machine better if you sew with the mesh facing up. Sew over the previous stitch (which should be about ¼”).

Fabric accent pinned to outside of the mesh bag

Fold the accent piece so that the raw edges touch.

Folding over the sewn accent seam

Matching up raw edges of the accent fabric

Fold over again so that the folded edges match up and pin.

Accent fabric fully folded over the seam

Take your time to pin this carefully! The end look makes the time so worth it.

At the time I bought this fabric I was actually pretty bummed that the coolest thing they had was stripes. I thought it was fairly lame. I wanted something cute like fish, or octopi! But I have to admit, stripes made it so easy to make sure everything was straight – I just had to make sure the stripes matched up!

Sew close to the edge of the fabric. Trim off the extra fabric. Repeat with the other side.

Sewing close to the edge of the accent fabric

Sewing the handles

Start by folding the handle piece in half lengthwise and finger press. (This particular fabric can’t be ironed.)

Finger pressing the handle fabric in half

Unfold, then fold one raw edge toward the center crease.

Handle fabric with center crease

Folding the handle fabric so that one raw edge meets the center fold

Fold down the other edge so the raw edges meet in the center.

Folding the two raw edges of the handle fabric to meet in the center

Fold the piece in half so that the raw edges are inside and the folded edges are on top of each other. Pin.

The handle fabric folded over again so the folded edges meet

Sew along the edge approximately  ⅛”. Repeat on the other side. You can leave it like that or you can add a second decorative stich ⅛” away from the first.

Decorative double stitching on the handle

Attaching the top and handles

Pin the right side of the top fabric to the outside of the mesh bag. Start the seam in the center of one of the wider sides. Fold the side accents towards the small sides as you pin. There will be extra fabric – leave a couple inches of overhang on each side.

Pinning the top fabric to the mesh bag

Sew a ½” allowance most of the way around the bag, leaving a couple inch gap.

Gap left on the top fabric

Lay the bag flat. Find where the fabric meets and finger press.

Top fabric folded so that the edges meet

Pin together along the folds.

Top fabric pinned together where the folds are

Sew where you pinned (making sure you don’t accidentally catch the mesh) and trim off the excess fabric, leaving about ½”.

Top fabric sewn and trimmed

Pin and sew the gap you left.

Top fabric gap pinned

Find the center on one of the long sides and measure 4” on each side of the center. Pin one handle halfway up with the outside edges at the 4” marks.

Ruler showing the placement of the handle

Make sure the straps aren’t twisted. They should look like this:

How the handle should lay so it doesn't twist

Pin the second handle on the other side.

This next part is pretty similar to the way we attached the side accent. Fold over about ½” of the raw edge and match it up to the edge of the sewn seam (making sure the raw edge is hidden inside). Pin and sew close to the edge.

Top fabric folded and pinned to the mesh bag

Fold the handles up and pin straight. Sew ⅛” all along the top edge and over the handles. Add another line of stitching ⅛” away from the first.

Handled folded up and sewn

And there you go! Now you have an awesome looking bag that lets sand fall out and gives great ventilation to help dry out wet stuff. Go enjoy the beach!

Kid walking on the beach with mesh toy bag over his shoulder

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