It's been a long time since I really focused a lot of attention on sewing. But, after coming across some old Halloween costumes I had made years ago, I was feeling a bit of confidence. So I decided to tackle an idea I had for a beach bag using the new Salt Air fabric.
First I'll tell you what I did and then I'll tell you what I would do differently. If you are brave, you can make one of these yourself! Please keep in mind, I am crazy and just make it up as I go. Here's the honest truth of what I did. I'm sure that those of you who really know what you're doing will get a kick out of my "techniques."
Here's what I used:
Body of bag: 36" x 17" rectangle
Top border: 36" x 3" rectangle
Backing: 36" x 19.5" rectangle
Pockets: (2) 40" x 5" rectangles
Base: (2) 12" circle
Batting: 36" x 19.5" rectangle and 12" circle
Binding: Approximately 36" of bias tape
Here's how I cut my pockets. I overhung the edges of the strip by 1/4" for seam allowance. Then I folded the strips onto themselves until they were about 5" wide. Then I found a spool of ribbon that was a good size. I often use plates, tin lids, etc.
Trace the edge onto the fabric and then use really sharp scissors to cut through all the layers.
After everything is cut, sew the border strip to the body of the bag. If you are using a fabric that is directional, make sure it is going the right way! The first time I sewed mine, all the star fish were upside down.
Second, lay out the backing, then batting, then body. Pin together. Quilt as desired. I used a walking foot and stitched along the stripe edges.
Then you will need to sew your scalloped strips across the top with the right sides together. After this is sewn, you will want to trim and notch the curves to make them lay right.
Turn this right side out and press.
Next you will have to pin this to the body of the bag. I did this by pinning both ends, then the center and just kept going until it was spaced as even as humanly possible without having professional pattern markings.
Then I sewed from the bottom raw edge, up to the peak of each wave.
After that was done, I pinned each pocket along the raw edge in the center, with approximately equal amounts of extra fabric on either side of the center. I took the extra fabric and made a little pleat on each side of the stitching I had just sewn.
I basted this in place.
After that, you can sew the body of the bag into a cylindar by bringing the short ends together with the right sides facing. I zig-zagged over the raw edges to finish them off. Normally I would use my serger, but it wasn't threaded at the moment!
The trickiest part is putting in the bottom. Layer the base fabric, batting, fabric and pin together. Now pin this into the body of the bag so the raw edges will be on the outside of the bag after it's sewn in place. Baste it all together.
I made my bias tape out of the same fabric I used for the body of the bag. Bind the raw edges with the bias tape. I did this by stitching the tape onto one side, opening it up so that the raw edge of the bag and the raw edge of the tape were even. Then I pulled the tape around to the other side and hand stitching it in place leaving this edge folded so that the raw edge was on the inside. (I hope that makes sense!)
To finish off the bag, I just rolled a narrow hem on the top edge and stitched in place.
For the grommets, I went to the hardware store and bought a heavy duty grommet setter. I have found that the ones at the fabric store do not work for me. Follow the directions on the setter you use. Then just thread your rope through the grommets.
That's what I did, but if I were to make one with my new experience in mind, here's what I would do the second time around.
1. Make the bag an inch or two shorter. My bag was too long. I had planned to bind the top edge, but to make the dimensions better, I took a hem to shorten it up a bit.
2. Make the pockets 2 inches taller and add a couple inches in length to make them pouf out a bit more.
3. When placing the grommets, consider that you want an even number to make threading the cord work best. I wasn't thinking and just placed them evenly apart. I will be adding additional grommets in between each of the ones I placed to make the bag cinch in a more attractive way.
That's what sewing with me is like. If you are up for the challenge, enjoy. If you aren't.... I totally understand!