Wednesday, June 6, 2012

TUTORIAL: Beach Backpack / Drawstring Tote

TUTORIAL: The Beach Backpack

Now that Summertime is here, do you find yourself wishing you had a new beach bag? Between swimming lessons, pool parties and a beach trip coming up, I knew that I had to make a "wet bag" for the kids' swimsuits. I had not heard of a wet bag until I saw a mom putting her kids' wet swimsuits into a special waterproof bag. GENIUS, I thought! And clearly, I am the slow one because these have been around. I ran to the fabric store and bought some laminated cotton fabric by Michael Miller. I purchased mine at Crafty Shack of Louisiana fabric shop (CLICK HERE).  Looking at it, it just screams BOY, so I knew I had to make it for my son, since he's been begging me to make something for him.

Once I figured out what I wanted to make I started thinking about a design. I looked around and saw a few zippered wetbags, strapped wet bags and drawstring totes, but the designer mind of mine had to think of something I hadn't seen. My son has been enjoying carrying around a backpack to and from summer camp and I wanted it to be simple enough for him to open and close, but more exciting than just a bag. So I came up with The Beach Backpack  - a drawstring wetbag!

Tips: Sewing with laminated cotton was a little tricky, but don't let that stop you.

1. Place painter's tape on the bottom of your presser foot to help it guide across the fabric since it tends to be "sticky".
2. You can also put sewing machine oil on the bottom of your presser foot, then wipe it off the fabric after sewing.
3. Use a LONG stitch length. Mine was a 4.0 in length.
4. Practice on a scrap first.

Wet Bag Tutorial: The Beach Backpack (with a drawstring)

1. Gather Materials:

half yard laminated cotton fabric
straight edge, scissors, sewing machine, thread, pins
2 (20 inch) straps
45 inches grosgrain ribbon (or cording if you prefer)
strip of painters tape *OR* sewing machine oil

2. Cut out a piece of fabric 18 inches long x 18 inches wide
3. Fold down a 1 inch hem and pin on both pieces.  (This will be the TOP of the bag.)

4. Apply painter's tape on the bottom of your presser foot. (Or oil the presser foot with sewing machine oil.)

5. Using a long stitch length (mine was set at 4.0) sew along your pinned edges using a 1 inch seam allowance. Remove pins as you sew. You may have to "pull" the fabric gently as you sew.

6. Place each strap 2 inches below the top edge and 6 inches in from the left and right sides. Pin each strap at the top and bottom.
 7. Sew on your straps. I sewed a rectange to stabilize it. You could also sew an X that touches all corners of the rectangles more more reinforcement. Use a thread that matches your strap. I used white to show you.
**Make sure you use coordinating thread. I'm just doing this as an example.

9. Place both pieces of fabric right sides together and pin. Make sure your straps are sandwiched between the layers and not pinned along the bottom edge of the bag.

10. Starting at the bottom of your 1 inch hem sew your bag on along both sides and across the bottom. Leave the top, hemmed edge open. Do not sew your one inch hem that you previously folded, since that is going to be your drawstring casing. (In the picture I am pointing to another sewn line, which I then do as I say, not as I am doing. Hahah!!) :) Sorry for the confusion!

*Do you see the pen marks on my cutting board? My little girl likes to draw on it when I'm not looking! :)

11. Turn your backpack inside out.

 12. Insert a safety pin onto the end of your ribbon or drawstring cording. Insert it through the top casing on the front of the bag that you left open until it comes out the other end. Then insert it into the other casing on the back side of the bag until it comes out the other end. **You are making a loop of your ribbon.

13. Tie the end in a knot.

14. Bunch it up and fill it with things for the beach, the pool, swimming lessons or just to have plain old fun!
I hope you enjoy this!
Happy Summer and Happy Sewing!

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