Summer is coming and this simple drawstring tote is great for trips to the beach or swimming pool, sleepover parties, and just about any place you need to carry supplies and/or a change of clothing.

Summer Bag

4-thread Overlock Stitch

This fully lined bag has a finished size of 18” x 18” but is easy to resize to fit your needs. Just adjust the size of the outer fabric and the lining fabric rectangles to make it larger or smaller. I stitched this completely on the serger (except for one little step), so it is really quick to make. Of course, it can be sewn on a sewing machine as well. My serger is a BERNINA L860, and I set it for a 4-thread overlock stitch, which is the most secure construction serger stitch.

4 thread screen


  • Outer fabric: 19” x 36” – Quilting cotton – I used a large-scale print from the Benartex collection, Begins With Mum. The lining is a coordinating fabric from the same collection.
  • Lining fabric: 19” x 36” – Quilting cotton
  • Casing fabric: two strips, 2 1/2” x 18” each
  • Drawstring : two pieces of ¼” cable cord, 60” each
  •  Sewing Clips
  • Bodkin or Safety Pin
  • Seam Sealant such as Fray Check

Suumer Bag Supplies


  1. Fold each end ½” to the wrong side and press. Stitch (with the sewing machine) along about 1/4″ from the folded edge. I did not do this step, but I would encourage you to secure the folded end. When I came to the last step of threading the cords through the casings, it was a real challenges to maneuver the cord past the loose edge of the folded end. The photo below shows where you will sew the folded end before going to Step 2.
  2. Fold the casing strip in half lengthwise and press.
  3. Center one folded casing along each 19” edge of the outer fabric and clip or pin it in place. There should be about 1” of the fabric extending beyond the folded ends of the casings. The raw edges of the casings should align with the raw edge of the outer fabric.
  4. Place the lining fabric face down on the outer fabric, aligning the raw edges, using sewing clips to hold the casing in place. Serge each casing edge, stitching the casing in place.
  5. Repeat with the second casing on the opposite edge of the fabrics.

stitched casing

Bag Construction

  1. Turn the bag right sides out and fold it in half across the width.
  2. On each side, serge from the fold (the bottom of the bag) to the upper edge of the bag, letting the knife trim the raw edges about ¼”. There should be about 1”  between the two casing openings.
  3. Place a drop of seam sealant at the beginning and end of each seam. Once the sealant is dry, snip the excess thread. casing gap


  1. Using a bodkin or safety pin, thread one piece of the cable cord through one casing, then continue threading the same cord though the second casing.
  2. Tie the two ends of the cord together. Repeat with the second cord, running it the opposite way.  Pull the cords simultaneously to close the bag.

feature imageAs always, Happy Stitching 1000x300 W



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