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Purses, Bags & Totes

Project provided courtesy of:
The Cutting Edge  ©

Beach Bag

Off to the beach, dance class, or a sleepover at a friend’s – this roomy tote can fill the bill. The unique flat casing makes serging this tote fast and easy to complete for the beginner serger sewer. Complete with cord lock drawstring and roomy front pockets, this bag will stash your child’s gear in style!


  • Fabric – 1 yard light- to mid-weight woven cotton
  • Notions – 1 1/2 yards cord for drawstring
  • 1 cord lock
  • 1 sheet plastic canvas (for tote bottom)
  • Decorative thread – 1 cone woolly nylon
  • Standard serger thread – 2 matching cones
  • Miscellaneous – seam sealant; marking pen.

Serger Setup

Set serger for rolled hem, satin-stitch length, with woolly nylon n the upper looper and standard serger thread in the needle and lower looper.


Cut from fabric two 22" x 24" rectangles, one 22: x 12" rectangle, one 2" x 20" strip, and two 2" x 9" strips (Fig. 9-8).

Roll-hem upper edge of tote front, backs, and pocket (Fig.9-9).

Baste pocket onto tote front, matching lower edge. Stitch through center of pocket, forming two smaller pockets (Fig. 9-10).

Roll-hem around all edges of the three casing strips. Apply seam sealant to corners; let dry, then trim (Fig. 9-11).

Press casing strips in half lengthwise, wrong sides together. Place long strip on upper edge of tote back wrong side. Center strip along top edge. Place the two shorter casing strips on the upper edge of tote front wrong side, using Figure 9-12 as a guide. The finished edges of the casing pieces should overlap the top edge _". Topstitch casing pieces in place close to rolled edge of bag. Backstitch to secure ends.

Place bag front and back, right sides together, matching upper edges. Serge bottom and side seams. Use seam sealant on corners; let dry, then trim (Fig. 9-13).

To make a flat-bottomed tote, box corners by stitching across point at bottom corner. Center seam; then measure 4" from end of corner. Mark this point with marking pen or pencil. Stitch across "triangle" at this point, taking care to keep seam centered (Fig. 9-14).

Chain off approximately 1 yard of tail chain to use as ties on inside of tote. Cut chain in half; apply seam sealant on ends and let dry. Place each tie at bottom of tote, 4" from each end. Topstitch through center of tie, stitching through tie and bottom seam. Place plastic canvas in tote bottom, trimming to fit. Thread chain ties through holes in canvas and tie to keep plastic canvas from shifting.

Thread cord through casings, starting at center front. Slide on cord lock through both cord ends, then knot ends.

By Cindy Cummins

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