embroidered beach tote
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Beach Tote Pattern with Machine Embroidery

Beach Tote Pattern – Reimagined from the Aurora Bag

finished beach tote pattern

A beach tote doesn’t have to be fussy or complicated. But it does need to be roomy and easy to wear. The Aurora pattern, designed by Sallie Tomato in partnership with Sulky for our 2021 New Year’s Eve Sew-Along event, is a large bag that has strap options and a zipper closure, with plenty of space on the front for added embellishments. So it lends itself well to a beach tote “remix.” We’ll start with this pattern but change up a few things and add a beach-themed embroidery design. Then, we’ll have the perfect beach tote to bring to the boardwalk, the open-air market or the sandy shores.

sew-along Aurora front



First, place a rectangle of Sulky Stiffy Stabilizer on a flat work surface. Then, center one fleece rectangle over the stabilizer. Place one main fabric rectangle right side up over the fleece with all edges and corners aligned with the fleece.

Mark the desired embroidery center cross marks onto the main fabric right side using a removable fabric marker.

Then, hoop the “sandwich,” aligning the cross marks with the inner hoop ring notches. It’s much easier to hoop the layers if you have a magnetic hoop. If you don’t, use hoop clips or embroider the fabric with only the stabilizer and plan to baste the fleece to the embroidered fabric, per the pattern instructions, before construction.

hooped fabric for embroidery on beach tote

Load the chosen design into the machine. The featured Hello Summer Beach design fits a 9×10 (or larger) hoop and measures 8.66″ W x 7.39″ H. If you only have smaller hoops, the design files also come with a 4×4 and 5×7 size. 

Next, embroider the design, clipping jump threads with each thread change.

clipping jump threads during embroidery stitchout

When the embroidery is complete, remove the hoop from the machine. Then, remove the fabric from the hoop. If needed, press gently beyond the embroidery to remove any wrinkles.

finished embroidery on thte


The featured Aurora bag pattern has an interior pocket. If desired, stitch three lines of stitching across the pocket length to provide more slots for beach items. Measure the items you’ll tote most frequently, like sunscreen spray, keys and sunglasses, and then adjust the pocket and/or pocket slots to fit those items.

Forgo the faux leather fabric for the tote base and use recycled denim fabric instead for a more casual, summery vibe. Denim is such an appropriate fabric for summery projects. Plus, it’s durable and strong. The leg area of an older pair of jeans likely provides enough width for this pattern piece. Just make sure you don’t include holes, rips, tears or a super worn area of the jeans when cutting this piece. This way, the tote will last longer.

If desired, omit the adjustable shoulder strap, webbing and hardware. If you go this route, the handles will be the only way you can wear the tote. But you may prefer the simpler look. Conversely, omit the handles and only stitch the adjustable shoulder strap. Or add both strap options for the ultimate in versatility.

strap options for beach tote

Consider using laminated cotton for the lining fabric, making the tote easy to clean. Wayward sunscreen bottles, snacks and sand may cause damage to the beach tote interior, so this fabric swap is a great alternative.

Be sure to grab the Aurora bag pattern by registering for our 2021 New Year’s Eve Sew-Along! You’ll get the pattern and Sewist Embroidery Patch design collection FREE with registration, plus step-by-step on-demand video guidance for constructing the tote, too. The is just one adaptation of the pattern, so don’t be afraid to put your spin on it and create a fun beach tote for your summer adventures.

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I am the Director of Content for Sulky of America. The former Editor in Chief of Sew News and Creative Machine Embroidery magazines, I hosted Sew it All TV on PBS for nine seasons. I've appeared on It's Sew Easy on PBS, DIY Network's Uncommon Threads, Hallmark's Marie Osmond Show, MacPhee Workshop and more! Come sew with me!


  • Yvonne Bluthardt

    Hi, I just purchased 2 Dime Monster Hoops from Sulky and wondering what preset hoop selection I should select on my Viking Epic machine to use them? I bought the 200×200 size and 200×360 sizes and am concerned that I can’t use them and will have to return them. Please help because I see Ellen using them on her Epic machine on episodes of Sew What Live so there must be a way. Thanks!

  • ellenkmarch

    Hi Yvonne,
    Do you not have a preset hoop selection for those hoop sizes? I have a Designer Epic 2 – which make/model of Epic do you have? The hoops will communicate with your machine the same way your standard hoops do, once they are clicked into place. So if you select a hoop size that isn’t the size of the magnetic hoop, the machine will tell you it’s the wrong size. What have you tried so far?

  • Yvonne

    Thanks Ellen. I wasn’t sure if my Epic 1 would accept the Dine hoops by just selecting for instance the 200 x 200 preset in the machine. So which size of the Dine hoop do you use most often? Thanks!