Picnic bag tutorial

This month’s #TheEverydaySpruce theme is ‘getting ready for summer’. I have decided to make the perfect summer picnic or beach bag using a couple of my favourite fabrics. The bag is large enough to fit all of the summer essentials and has handy outside pockets on both sides for sun lotion, sunglasses, a bottle of water and everything you will need for a lovely day out.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

I made two of these bags, one to keep and one for a magazine. For my bag I used these great fabrics from M is for Make – I used Firefly Whisper for the lining and Half Round Kokka pattern for the pockets (I think they’ve sold out of that one at the moment).

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

What have you been doing to get ready for summer? If you’d like some ideas search for the #TheEverydaySpruce hashtag and pop over to Heather’s blog and Sarah-Lou’s blog for more inspiration.

Katy x

P.S. If you would like to make the bag here is my tutorial…

You will need:

Two pieces of heavyweight canvas or calico for the main bag measuring 50 x 75 cm – I bought mine from Home Crafts

Two pieces of heavyweight canvas or calico for the straps measuring 10 x 140 cm

Two pieces of lightweight cotton for the lining measuring 50 x 75 cm

Twelve trapezium shaped pocket pieces the top edge measuring 22cm, the bottom edge measuring 18 cm and height should be 26cm.

Medium weight iron-on interfacing for six of the pocket pieces.

Pencil, ruler, tape measure, fabric scissors, pins, matching or contrasting thread for top-stitching.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Step by step:

Making the lining

Step 1 – Pin the two pieces of lining right sides together. Stitch the two sides and bottom edge, leaving a 20cm gap in the centre of the bottom edge.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Step 2 – Make boxed corners. Measure 7cm from the corner seam (don’t measure from the edge of the fabric) in both directions.

Step 3 -Pull out the sides of the bucket and line the marks up. Draw a line across the corner

Step 4 – Sew along the line (I do a double row of stitching to strengthen).

Step 5 – Cut off corner and repeat on the other side of the lining. Press seams out. Set the lining aside until the end.

Making and attaching the pockets

Step 6 – Add interfacing to the six front pocket pieces (follow the manufacturer’s instructions).

Step 7 – Sew the pocket fronts to their backs by placing them right sides together, pin and then stitch all the way round, leaving a 10cm gap on one side.

Step 8 – Turn the pockets right sides out, press and make sure to press the raw edges of the gap into the pocket. These will be sewn up when you stitch the pockets to the bag.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Step 9 – Draw a horizontal line across the bottom of the main piece, 12cm from the bottom edge. Draw a vertical line 10cm from the left side and another vertical line 10cm from the right side of the bag. Your pockets must be placed within these lines. Mark out where each pocket should go so that they are evenly space across the bag. Mark out two vertical parallel lines for each pocket so that when you stitch them on to the bag the pockets will gain volume.

Step 10 – Pin the pockets into place following the guidelines you have drawn.

Step 11 – Top stitch the pockets into place.

Step 12 – Fold the handles in half lengthways and pin together. Stitch across the top of one end and done the length of the handle. Turn in inside out (pushing it out over a broom handle is the easiest way of doing this, which is why you need to stitch up one end). Cut the stitched end off and press so that the seam runs up the centre of the handle.

Step 13 – Pin the handle into place. The raw ends of the handles should meet the raw edge of the main piece and run up between the pockets.

Step 14 – Stitch the handles into place either using a matching or contrasting thread. Only sew 4cm above the level of the pockets.

Step 15 – Stitch a square to strengthen the handles.

Repeat steps 9-14 on the other main piece.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Making the outer bag

Step 16 – Pin the two main pieces, which now have pockets and handles attached, together, right sides facing. Stitch the two sides and bottom edge, leaving the top open. Repeat steps 2-5 to make boxed corners on the bag. However, do not leave a 20cm gap in the bottom edge.

Picnic bag tutorial | Apartment Apothecary

Attaching the lining

Step 17 – Place the bag, right sides facing out into the lining, which should be inside out. Match up the corners and the seams and pin the top edges (the raw edges) together all the way round.

Step 18 – Stitch the top edges together all the way round.

Step 19 – Pull the bag out of the lining through the 20cm gap. Stitch the 20cm gap closed.

Step 20 – Press the top edge and then turn over a 1.5cm hem inside the bag. Press this hem and then stitch it with either matching or contrasting thread.

Final shot 2



  1. 24th July 2015 / 3:14 pm

    Love this so much – I really want to make one, but I’m so totally useless when it comes to sewing. It’s my nemesis! Thanks for taking part in the everyday spruce x

    • Katy
      27th July 2015 / 9:31 am

      This is just sewing straight lines – you can’t go wrong (even if I did a few times ;)) xx

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