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Monday, August 30, 2010

Canvas Beach Bag


I don't know about you guys, but the end of summer is a little nostalgic for me.  It is nice to be able to turn off the ac, open the windows, and enjoy some cooler fresh air, but the fact that fall is around the corner means that snow is not too far away.  That makes me want to barf.  So in order to soak up the last few rays of sunshine by the pool, here is an easy little tutorial for you.

I had looked all over for a great beach bag, but never found one that was big enough.  Now that I have a baby, I have twice the amount of stuff to schlep to the pool, so this bag is extra big.  I can fit 3 towels, tons of sunscreen, and plenty of snacks and toys in it.

Lets get started.  You will need:

  •  3/4 yard of canvas.  I used this great canvas stripped fabric from Ikea.  At $7.99 a yard, its quite the steal for a beach bag.
  • 60" of thick rope or cord for the handles.  I got mine from Joanns.  You can also just use some of your left over fabric.

There are 5 main pieces you need to create the bag. 
A and B - The front and back of the bag.  These pieces measure 21" x 17 1/2"
C and D - These are the side pieces of the bag.  They measure 7" x 17 1/2"
E - This is the bottom piece of the bag.  It measures 7" x 21"

You also need a square piece of fabric for the outside pocket.  My square measured 10" x 10 1/2"

Step 1: Prep your pocket by folding each side under 1/2" and iron flat.

Step 2:  Fold the bottom corners of your pocket under slightly, and then refold the corners, to give your pocket a little character.

Step 3 - Stitch along the top of the pocket, stopping 1/4" away from the sides (back-stitch to secure)

Step 4:  Place the pocket in the middle of your front piece for the bag (piece A).  I positioned my pocket about 3/4 of the way down the fabric (about 5 1/2" down).  Stitch along the sides and the bottom 1/4" from the end.  Make sure you leave the top of the pocket open (this is the side you just stitched along the seam).

Step 5 - Fold the top of A, B, C, and D down 1/2", and then down another 1" and press.
*Note: The top side for A and B it is one of the sides that measures 21" and the top side for C and D measures 7".

Step 6 -  Now you are going to attach the sides of A, B, C, and D together with 1/2 " seam.  This will create the bag, with no bottom attached yet. 

Sew the right side of A to the left side of C. 
Then the right side of C to the left side of B. 
Then the right side of B to the left side of D. 
And then the right side of D to the left side of A. 

Remember to sew with right sides together.   It may sound complicated, but it will make sense once you do it.  Then you can surge or zigzag stitch the ends of the seams together to keep them from fraying.

Step 7 - Fold along each of the 4 sides of your bag, and press, to create your rectangle.

Step 8 - Pin your bottom piece (piece E) along the sides of the bottom of the bag.  Pin them with right sides together, and the wrong sides facing you.

Step 9 - Stitch a 1/2" hem along the sides of the bottom piece, then surge or zigzag stitch the edges.  Go slowly when you are sewing the corners, it can be a little tricky to make sure you are sewing all of the fabric, so you don't leave any holes in the corners.

Step 10 - Flip your bag right-side out and press the corners to make nice 90 degree angles. 

Step 11 - Now, cut 2 30" strips of your strap material.  I wanted the handles on my bag to be longer so I could hang it on my stroller, but feel free to make yours the length you want them to be.  

Step 12 - Pin the straps onto the bag, and sew all around the top hem of the bag.  When you come to the strap, do a front and back-stitch along the top and bottom of the strap, and make an X in the middle to secure it.

Step 13- Hand stitch on your button to the front of the pocket.  I opted not to sew a button hole, just so the pocket would be easier access,  but feel free to add one if you would like!

Step 14- Load that puppy up and hit the pool!  


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Posies

While I was in Camarillo, I stopped in one of my favorite little boutiques, Posies.  Their displays are always so yummy...










Check them out if you are ever in the area.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Project Pinwheel

I have 200 followers.  

are. you. kidding me.

Never in a million years did I think that many people were even remotely interested in my tutorials.  I am still kind of in shock.  A big thank you to all you followers out there, you have totally made my day! 

I am also in shock of all the shout-outs that I got on my pinwheel skirt.  I'd like to give a HUGE thanks to the blogs that have featured, or linked to this tutorial.  Some of which include:


(there might be more, sorry if I missed you!)

So this got me thinking..... I would LOVE to see your go at the pinwheel skirt!  Many of you have mentioned that you are planning on making it (which makes me blush), and I would love to see how it turns out. 

Introducing- PROJECT PINWHEEL

If you are interested, give this skirt a whirl and send me over a picture!  I would love to feature all of your pinwheel skirts in a post.  Since this skirt is a little tricky and might take some time, I'll give you guys 1 MONTH to make it and send me a pic.  I'll plan on doing the post on September 24th.

Please don't hesitate to shoot me over an email with any questions or problems you run into while making it.  And feel free to add your personal touches to make it your own.  

Grab my "Project Pinwheel" button on the right if you would like and add it to your blog!  The more the merrier.

Good luck!  I can't wait to see what your skirts! 

Email all pictures to: ContactElleApparel@gmail.com



Monday, August 23, 2010

Fabric District.....part deux

While I was in California, my sister-in-law and I ventured back down to the LA Fabric District.  I'm going to be totally honest and tell you that this is probably going to be a mandatory trip I will make each time we take a trip home.


I decided to take Dana's advice and stop by the FIDM scholarship store first.


They had cheap clothes, but a lot of it is hit and miss.  Don't go in there expecting to find great clothes, go with the frame of mind that you can get clothes to re purpose.  They do have a wall in the back with lots of great knit fabric and lace embellishments that are totally inexpensive.  

We left around 8:30 am so that we could get there early.  The FIDM store opens at 9, and the district opens at 10, so it makes sense to hit the FIDM store first thing.

This time around, I parked in a lot right off of Maple Ave, just a block away from Michael Levine.  It was only $4 for the whole day.  Parking meters scare me, so this was perfect.  (actually, driving in downtown LA scares me, so I'm so glad my SIL offered to drive!)  I knew I wanted to go to ML last, so we walked up Maple Ave and worked our way down so that we would end up at ML and right by our car at the end of the day.

I found a place with fantastic elastic

lace galore


A store that just sold buttons and a few other notions.  I got a dozen buttons for $3.




It was nice to hit up all smaller street stores first, so we could compare prices when we got to Michael Levine.  I found a store that sold elastic for much cheaper than ML, so I went there for my elastic instead.


Don't forget to head directly across the street from Michael Levine.  Go in the building and take the scary elevator up to the 2nd floor.

This will get you to the spot where you can buy all sorts of fabric for $2 a yard!


And now for my findings....


I got the fabric for my Anthrocopy shower curtain, minky (for $6 a yard), tons of some fabulous gray linen, and striped jersey prints.  What a successful trip.

p.s. word to the wise- have a navigation system with you!  It will save you from a great big headache trying to maneuver around downtown LA.  We had one and it was a lifesaver.
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