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Seashell Collecting Bag Tutorial

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Boy collecting seashells with mesh bag

My oldest is kind of obsessed with collecting treasures from the beach. It’s a little bit of a battle because he wants to keep everything he finds. This mesh seashell collecting bag is great because it limits the amount of stuff he can collect in one go. Bag’s full? Better decide which ones to keep and which to get rid of! Plus being made of mesh means air flows freely, keeping his collection of seashells and rocks from getting stinky.

I had a bunch of fabric left over from our beach toy bag so I was able to make each of the boys their own matching bag! This way they aren’t fighting over who gets to carry the bag!


  • 1/4 yard nylon mesh – the large holes allow air in and sand out
  • 1/3 yard indoor/outdoor fabric – I liked this because it’s made to deal with the outdoors. 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 you’ll need one piece 7” x 15”. From the fabric cut one piece 5” x 14” for the top and one 4” x 42” (or whatever length you want for your child + 4”) for the handle.

Visual measurements of the cut fabric

Sewing the mesh

Fold the mesh piece in half and pin along the sides. I found pinning the mesh so that the holes matched up worked really well.

Mesh holes lined up and pinned

Sew using a ½” seam allowance on both sides. Trim down to about ¼”.

Raw mesh seam

Flip the bag inside out and sew ½” again. The first seam will now be folded inside this seam so no raw edges are out.

Mesh seam encased in second seam

Flip the bag again so that it’s now right side out with the seam on the inside.

Attaching the top

Starting in the center of one of the sides, pin the right side of the top fabric to the outside of the mesh bag. There will be extra fabric – leave some overhang on each side.

Top fabric pinned to mesh bag

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

Gap between stitching start and finish

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

Two ends of fabric folded where they meet

Pin together along the folds.

Fabric pinned along the folds

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

Seam sewn and trimmed

Pin and sew the gap you left.

Pins in the gap of stitching

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 all the way around.

Top fabric folded over and pinned

Sew about ⅛” from the upper edge. You can leave it with a single stitch or add a second decorative stitch another ⅛” away from the first.

Decorative stitching on the top of the bag

Making and attaching the strap

Fold over the short end ½”, pin, and sew.

Raw edge of fabric folded over and sewn

Fold in half lengthwise and finger press.

Fabric folded lengthwise and finger pressed

Unfold, then fold one edge toward the center crease.

Folding the bottom of the fabric up towards the center crease

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

Raw edges of fabric meeting in the middle

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

Fabric folded again so that the folded edges meet up

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 strap

Center the strap over one of the side seams and line up the strap edge with the bottom edge of the fabric and pin. Sew a box with an X to attach. Repeat on the other side making sure the strap doesn’t twist.

Strap attached to the bag by stitching an X

Now you can beach comb to your heart’s content!

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