During trips to the beach, we love to collect seashells. What I don’t always love is finding something to carry them in or lugging a heavy bucket as we walk. A collecting bag with a mesh bottom to contain our beach treasures seemed like the perfect solution!
I grabbed a remnant of mesh fabric I had in my stash and an old pair of my son’s outgrown swim trunks. I should have tossed those long ago, but they had the cutest pattern … Anyhow, for once I’m glad I saved something like this because the fabric was perfect in style and design for this bag. So, grab an old pair of kids’ size trunks (or find a pair at a thrift store) and make your own seashell bag.
- Old kids’ size swim trunks
- Mesh fabric remnant
- Coordinating thread
- 1/2″ twill tape ribbon – 36″ long (for kids’ bag)
- Quilter’s square
- Fabric marker and/or pencil
- Parachute buckle
- Bias tape (optional)
- Sewing machine
Step 1 Align your quilter’s square to the bottom edge of the leg opening. Draw a line 4″ above and cut.
Step 2 Using your quilter’s square again, align to the side seam. Make a new cut line parallel to this seam on the opposite side of the patterned fabric. Basically, we’re removing the angled inner seam of the trunks to create a new, straight edge here. Cut the fabric so you have a single, rectangular piece.
Pin the two short ends on the new “inner seam” and sew together using a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Step 3 Cut a rectangular piece from the mesh fabric. It should be equivalent to the width of the patterned fabric piece in the short direction and 10″ in the long direction. You can adjust this 2nd measurement to create a deeper bag if you would like. My finished bag is approximately 7-1/2″ square.
Step 4 Fold the mesh fabric piece in half so the two short ends align. Sew both sides using a zig zag stitch* on your sewing machine. Turn right side out.
*Optional, you can use bias tape here instead if preferred. If so, the bias tape will be on the “right” side so you do not need to turn the fabric after sewing.
Step 5 With your patterned fabric still inside out, use your quilter’s square to mark a line 3/8″ from the finished edge.
Slide the mesh fabric bag up the patterned piece so the cut end aligns with the line drawn on the swim trunk fabric. Pin in place. Note: I made an error when photographing – the mesh fabric bag should be right side out here because you will flip it “down” toward the finished edge later.
Step 6 Sew mesh fabric to swim trunks following existing stitches on swim trunks. This gives a more ‘seamless’ appearance in the end.
Step 7 Use the quilter’s square to mark a line 1/2″ from the unfinished end of the swim trunk fabric.
Fold the edge in to the line (wrong sides of fabric together) and sew to create a finished edge at the bag opening.
Step 8 Turn the bag right side out. Sew a second seam where the mesh & patterned fabrics connect approximately 1/4″ from the bottom edge. Your bag should look like this:
Step 9 Cut a 4″ long piece from the twill tape ribbon. Thread this piece through the stationary end of the parachute buckle. Pin the loose ends to one side of the bag just inside the opening along the seam. Sew into place.
Fold over and sew down one end of the remaining section of twill tape to finish. Thread the tape through the adjustable end of the parachute buckle. Pin and sew the unfinished end to the side seam opposite of the stationary end.
Step 10 The final step! Cut a 3″ strip of velcro. Measure and mark a line approximately 1/2″ from the finished edge of the bag (and centered from left to right) on the wrong side of the fabric. Pin one section of velcro and sew into place. Repeat with the attaching piece on the opposite side of the bag.
Turn right side out again and you’re ready for a day on the beach. Don’t forget to bag a tiny bit of sand to take home though so you can create a memories jar and showcase a few favorite small shells.