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Upcycled Denim Beach Bag

After seeing the price tag on a gorgeous designer beach bag, I decided to make my own, plus add a few improvements. While this did take a bit of trial and error, the end result was well worth it.

Materials Needed for the upcycled denim beach bag:

  • Old pair of Jeans

  • Beach Towel

  • Plastic tote bag(s)

The original bag that inspired me was terrycloth and denim, and the design I had in mind was to cut up a pair of old jeans and use the back pockets on each side of the bag, and use a beach towel for the front, back and bottom. Keep in mind that I'm self-taught when it comes to sewing. I've never used a pattern and I kind of plan as I go, so feel free to share ways to do this easier!

an old pair of jean laid on top of a beach towel

One thing missing from the inspiration bag was that it was not waterproof. My plan was to purchase a clear plastic tote bag and simply sew the cut towel and denim pieces to the outside of the bag, however I couldn't find one large enough for what I wanted. My workaround for this was to purchase this 2-pack of totes I found on Amazon and make them into one.

a 2-pack of clear tote bags for purchase on Amazon

I wanted it to be one large compartment to have room for beach towels, etc., so I cut off the handles from both bags and then cut off one side of each bag. I then sewed the two open sides together, slightly overlapping to create a strong seam.

a woman cutting the sides off of two clear plastic tote bags

Once sewed together, the lining was complete and I was ready to add the outside pieces of the bag.

two clear plastic tote bags that have been sewn together to make one large bag

I cut the towel to the size of the front, back and bottom as one continuous piece.

a beach towel being cut to the appropriate size for sewing onto a bag

Next, I sewed the towel onto the outside of the bag. I left two sections on each side that I did not sew together, so I could insert the handles in those spots - stay tuned for the handles later on. I sprayed some basting adhesive in between the towel and the plastic liner to help hold it in place along with pins.

a beach towel being sewn to the outside of a clear plastic tote bag

When the towel was secured to the front, back and bottom of the bag, I moved onto the sides. This is where it starts looking good! I cut the back pockets off of an old pair of my husband's jeans (bigger jeans = bigger pockets for more storage).

a pair of jeans being cut around the back pockets

Once I had the correct size to match the sides of the bag, I sewed one back pocket to each side.

a beach towel and jean pockets sewn around a clear plastic tote bag

With the leftover pieces of towel, I took two long strips and sewed them into what would become the shoulder straps.

two strips of beach towel being sewn to make handles for a beach bag

As I said earlier, I left two sections on each side in between the liner and outside for the handles. I inserted them on each side, then sewed together.

handles made from a beach towel being sewn onto a beach bag

The more pockets the better as far as I'm concerned, so I took the front of the leftover cut up jeans and sewed them on the insides of the front and back of the bag.

the inside of a beach bag with a pocket made from an old pair of jeans

I love this bag so much! It's waterproof and has two exterior pockets, two interior pockets and room for everything!

a beach bag made from clear plastic totes, a beach towel and old jeans holding a towel, sunscreen and sunglasses

a beach bag made from old jeans and a beach towel

a beach bag made from old jeans and a towel

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