Poolside Tote by Noodlehead

poolside tote

Some of you might be thinking, “A pool/beach bag now, that’s silly, summer is practically over”. Well, not here in Charleston. In my opinion, it will still be too hot to go to the beach here until at least October. We prefer going once all the tourists are gone and we’re not sitting there drenched in sweat!

poolside tote 3

I’ve been eyeing the poolside tote pattern (or more like beach tote for me, since I’m not much of a pool person) on the Indie Sew webesite forever, but I just couldn’t imagine taking my pretty, newly sewn bag to the beach, setting it down in the wet sand, and putting wet/sandy towels in it. Then one day during my summer break, I found myself playing around on Etsy (more like a daily habit) and I came across a shop called Oilcloth Addict. I suddenly found myself ordering a bunch of different oilcloth and this book to help me get started. Since I had never sewn with oilcloth before, I found this book very helpful. I also made my mom the apron and market tote from the book for her birthday. She loved them!

poolside tote 4

I did make a few changes to the construction of the bag to adjust for sewing with oilcloth. I did not interface anything, since the oilcloth I chose for the lining was very stiff. I also decided to buy straps instead of making my own. I decided to sew the bag up in a similar fashion as the construction of the market tote I made for my mom from the book. This worked out great, until the very end. For the market tote, you simply turn the shell and the lining top edges a 1/2 inch towards the wrong side and stitch them together as one. Well, this would have worked for my poolside tote, except for that curve in the middle of the front and back. It’s just not possible to neatly turn that curve in and stitch it together. I really thought my bag was a complete loss at this point and I sat on the floor staring at it for a very long time trying to figure out how I could make it work. I finally decided to try and seam rip open a huge chunk out of the bottom of the lining, stitch the shell and lining right sides together around the top, and then pull the shell out through the lining. Well, this worked, but not without a lot of sweat and sore hands. The only reason I was able to pull the shell out through the stiff lining was because the oilcloth I used for the shell was much more thin and flexible. If I would have used the same oilcloth for my shell that I used for the lining, there would have been no way it would have worked. Whew! It was tough!


I also added pockets to the inside of my bag to hold my sunscreen, water bottle, etc. To do this, I just used the shell/lining pattern piece, shortened them, and basted them together before sewing the side seams. The pockets are lined and finished with oilcloth trim. You can see where I conducted my surgery at the bottom of the bag. It actually doesn’t look too terribly bad, but who is really going to see the bottom of my bag anyways?


I totally forgot to add my key clip until the bag was completely finished. I really really really wanted the clip, because I could never find my keys in my old beach bag, so I stitched it down hiding my stitches in my topstitching.

poolside tote 2

I really love my new beach bag! While I’ve yet to officially use it at the beach, I can tell you it also makes the perfect park/picnic bag. I packed it up with my picnic blanket, computer, water bottle, a snack, and Piper’s water bowl to write this post at the park (thankful for my parks free wifi). I love that I don’t have to worry about the ground being dirty or a drink spilling in it. It’s also the perfect size to fit everything I need in it!

I was offered a pattern of my choosing from Indie Sew as part of the Indie Sew Blogger Team. All thoughts and opinions are of course my own!



  1. A lovely, cheerful print. Never seen with oilcloth either, presumably you need a really strong needle to puncture it? Very jealous of you getting days at the beach in October, sounds so nice 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s