sewing

Quilted Camera Bag (that’s actually a diaper bag!)

A couple months ago, I shared this Quilted Camera Bag (affiliate link) that I posted over at Melly Sews as part of the Blank Slate Sewing Team. My mom-purse was starting to fall apart, and I needed a new diaper bag. Then I realized that if I left out the camera padding, this pattern would be perfect!

Quilted Camera Bag that's actually a diaper bagI can’t even tell you how much I love this pattern. Well, maybe I can… it’s amazing. In the few months I’ve been using it, I’ve gotten more compliments on it than anything I’ve ever made.

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In true Melissa form, the pattern is incredibly well done. The instructions are very clear. The pattern is a bit complicated (it’s rated intermediate to advanced, and I’d say that’s accurate), but if you’re a fairly experienced or even adventurous seamstress, I think you could tackle it. Just give yourself a lot of time, as there are a lot of pieces and steps. I also recommend using these Wonder Clips (affiliate link) to keep the many layers in place.

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The finishes on the bag are incredibly professional. Melissa guides you through everything, so even if you haven’t made bag this complicated before (which I haven’t!) you shouldn’t have a problem.

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The pattern comes with two zipper pockets – one larger outside and one smaller inside. I ended up putting both of them inside the bag, because I decided I’d use it much more that way.

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The strap in the pattern is designed to be adjustable, but I prefer them to be a fixed length, so I took about eight inches off and left off the slider.

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The length is absolutely perfect – it hits me at the right spot, and I can still wear it across my body (great for those times when you need to hold three hands at a time across a busy street).

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The pattern includes padding to surround your camera pieces and laptop, so if you’d like to use this pattern as a diaper bag or purse, just skip those steps (including all the velcro). The bag is nice and roomy, so there’s plenty of room for diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, or whatever else you might need.

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The front pockets are perfect for my sunglasses and my phone wallet. Though if I had to re-do it, I’d use magnetic snaps for these pockets as well, just so I can access the pockets faster while wrangling the kids.

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I used one of my decorative stitches for the first time to quilt the top flap, and I LOVE how it turned out. It adds a super fun detail to the bag!

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The lining fabric is Cotton + Steel (which I adore) and the outer fabric is a fabulous table cloth that I found on clearance at Target that ended up not fitting our table.

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I’m so happy with my bag. And the bright fabric added some sunshine to our gloomy winter days and feels so springy now that warm weather has arrived!

DIY Diaper Bag

You can find the Quilted Camera Bag HERE in the Blank Slates Pattern shop.

Make your own diaper bag

DIY Reversible Mouse Pad: a tutorial

I love when I can take a little bit of fabric, a short amount of time, and come up with something that can brighten up a space. When I got sick of looking at my plain, black mouse pad, I decided to sew up a new one that would bring a little color and fun to my desk. It only takes a small amount of fabric, so its a perfect scrap buster project – great for those scraps that you’re hoarding and you can’t get rid of… you know what I’m talking about. Plus, this is a great beginner’s project to try!

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Supplies:

  • Two pieces of non-stretchy cotton fabric – size can vary, mine were approximately 8.5in x 10.5in.
  • Slightly smaller piece of fusible fleece (such as Pellon TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus – affiliate link)
  • sewing machine, thread, etc.
  • scissors
  • iron

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1. Cut your two cotton fabrics to your desired size. I cut mine to be approximately 8.5in by 10.5in. Round the corners.

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2. Cut two fusible fleece pieces at least 1/2in. smaller than the cotton fabrics. Iron one piece of the fusible fleece to the wrong side of each fabric piece (be sure to check the instructions that come with your fusible fleece).

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3. Pin the two fabric/fleece pieces together, with the right sides together.

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4. Sew the pieces together, using a 1/2in. seam allowance. You want to sew around the fleece, so it’s not caught in your seam allowance. Leave an opening of about 2 inches as shown above.

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5. Clip the fabric around all the corner curves, as shown above. This will help your corners not to be bulky.

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6. Turn the fabrics right side out, using that small opening. Press the seams with your iron.

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When you are pressing your seams, make sure that the fabric around the opening is pressed under.

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7. Topstitch around the entire mouse pad.

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That’s all there is to it! In a short amount of time, you can brighten up your desk. No more boring mouse pad! And now you have yet another excuse to keep all those pretty fabric scraps. As if you needed another excuse. ;)

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And you can flip it over when your mood changes and you’re looking for something new. This would make a great gift for anyone who works at a computer – dads, husbands, teachers, or a blogging bud!

DIY Reversible Mouse Pad 2Happy sewing, friends!

 

FREE Yoga Pants Pattern!

Today I’m over at Melly Sews sharing my Zinnia Jacket as part of the Riley Blake Knit Love blog tour. I’m super excited to take part in the tour on Melissa’s behalf and have the chance to play with some super yummy Riley Blake knits. You can read all about the Zinnia Jacket over on Melissa’s blog, and if you keep reading, you can make your own yoga pants by grabbing your FREE pattern!

FREE Women's Yoga Pants Pattern from If Only They Would Nap

When I decided to make the Zinnia Jacket, I quickly realized it would be a perfect pair with yoga pants. And obviously exercise is so much easier with a cute outfit. The Riley Blake knits are fantastic for this!

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You want to have a solid knit with 40-50% stretch and a good recovery. You can sew this with a serger or with a regular sewing machine, using a zig-zag stitch.

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These pants have an oh so ridiculously comfy fold over yoga waistband and are super quick to sew together. Yoga pants aren’t just for yoga, you know… have you ever slept in yoga pants? SO comfortable! I love that the waistband also gives you a chance to play with accent fabrics, like these fabulous triangles. DSC_4677

Knits are my jam. If you don’t sew with knits often, don’t be scared!! Just give them a try. If I can put my booty on the internet, you can try sewing knits. ;)

You can download your FREE PATTERN here in size medium.
Finished length: 40in. from bottom of waistband to finished hem

After you print and tape your pattern together, cut your fabric out. If the size medium doesn’t fit you, you can use these same instructions to put together your own self-drafted pattern. Just copy a pair of pants you already own and you’ll know they fit you. Just remember to add in some seam allowance.

1. Lay your front and back leg pieces right sides together. Zig-zag or serge along the inseam and the outside of the leg. Repeat with the second leg.

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2. Put the two legs together and line up the crotch seams, right sides together – make sure that the front and back line up. You can easily do this by putting one leg inside the other, right sides together. Sew the two pieces together.DSC_4855

3. Cut two rectangles for the waistband 10.75in (length) by 16.75in (width) – make sure the stretch goes along the width. Sew the short ends together, right sides together.DSC_4858

4. Fold the waistband over.DSC_4859

5. Slide the waistband over the pants and pin together. Sew with a serger or zig-zag stitch.DSC_4863

6. Hem with a one inch hem (or more/less according to your desired length). You can do this with a coverstitch (affiliate link), a double needle, or a stretch stitch.

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Then go for a run! Or cozy up with a good book… I won’t judge. Either way, feel good about your new pants!

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Download your FREE yoga pants pattern here

Happy sewing, friends!

Hack a Full Zip Pattern into a Half Zip

Today I have an easy tutorial for hacking a full zip sweatshirt pattern into a half zip. I used the Zippy Jacket (affiliate link) from Blank Slate Patterns, as this post was originally posted for the Blank Slate Sewing Team, but you can do this to any zip-up pattern.

Hack a full zip pattern into a half zip

I originally had no plans to modify this pattern, but I really wanted to use a red zipper. I counted four 7inch red zippers non-separating zippers in my stash (why??) but nothing long enough to make the jacket. But perfect for a half zip!

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I made the size 7/8 for my tall seven year old. The fit is just perfect, and he says it’s really comfortable. It must be, because he wears it all the time.

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The pockets are my favorite feature of this pattern. You don’t find a lot of sweatshirts with these rounded pockets, and they give you a great chance to give a little peek of an accent fabric.

If you too have a stash of way-too-short zippers (or a little one who does better with a pullover), turning the Zippy Jacket into a half zip is really easy.

1. Instead of cutting two separate pieces for the front, cut one on the fold.

DSC_07502. After sewing your pockets, begin your zipper install. Draw a line from the neckline about five inches. (You may have to adjust the length if you are making a very small size – this one was size 7/8)

DSC_07783. Cut down your five inch line. Fuse a small square of interfacing to the back, allowing your interfacing to go over your cut. Then make a slit thorough your interfacing, like in the above photo.

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4. Fold the front piece in half, right sides together. Sew a basting stitch from the neckline down to the bottom of your cut. Lay it right side down and press your seam open.

DSC_00315. Lay your zipper down on the seam. You want the bottom metal part of your zipper to be just below the end of your seam. Your zipper will be sticking out over the neckline, and that’s good. You can tape or pin your zipper in place. I like to put a couple of pieces of scotch tape on the back and then pin a couple times on the front.

DSC_07966. Turn the front piece over and stitch around the zipper with your zipper foot. Make sure you leave about an inch at the top (as you can see in the photo) to attach the collar. Then use your seam ripper to open up your basting stitch and remove the stitches.

*Truth be told, I like to remove my basting stitch first, before I stitch around the zipper. I like when the zipper is a little bit more exposed, when I’m using a colored zipper like I did here. If you do that, just make sure you pin around your zipper to keep it securely in place. So my picture above shows more zipper than yours would if you did yours the way I originally described. But I’m a sewing rebel like that..

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Then, complete the rest of the pattern according to the instructions, except for the waistband. Attach the waistband as you did the sleeve cuffs (I did not alter the waistband’s size), since there is no longer a zipper going to the bottom.DSC_0860

This is really a must-have pattern! I may or may not have have squealed with joy and sent pictures to a sewing friend after I finished it.

DSC_0922The main portion of the jacket was upcycled from an XXL sweatshirt I picked up at a thrift store. With the zipper and pockets in the front, I used the original front of the sweatshirt and made it into the back. We gotta show our Wisconsin pride!

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I’ve already dreamed up three other Zippy Jackets (affiliate link). Good thing I have three other boys who also enjoy a good mama made garment!

Happy sewing, friends!

Reversible Mouse Pad for Craftaholics Anonymous

Today I’m over at Craftaholics Anonymous with my first post as part of the 2015 Creative Team! Head on over for an easy tutorial to make your own reversible mouse pad!

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Happy sewing!

 

DIY: Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag for baby

In late September, my family decided we were going to take a camping trip. The weather forecast was predicting amazing fall weather – in the 70s – but being that we live in Wisconsin, it was still going to fall into the 50s at night. Since we were tent camping, I started thinking about how to keep the kids warm at night. This was pretty easy for the big kids – fleece jammies and sleeping bags, maybe an extra layer underneath. But the baby? That wasn’t going to work. He doesn’t use a blanket in his bed, and the sleep sack he had been using (affiliate link – seriously my favorite not handmade sleep sack ever) was definitely not warm enough. Then I remembered this blanket that we had that would be perfect to turn into a wearable sleeping bag!

Turn a blanket into a wearable sleeping bag

The blanket I used is not super fluffy. It has a layer of batting inside, so it’s warm, but doesn’t have a lot of fluff or feathers or anything that would make it too difficult to sew.

DSC_0341I also made it reversible, because I like options. ;)

It’s really simple to make your own – all you need is:

  • a blanket (fabric/batting that you quilt yourself)
  • thread/sewing machine/etc.
  • double fold bias tape
  • KAM snaps (affiliate link)

DSC_05321. Trace and cut out the shape of your sleep sack. I used the bodice piece of the Kudzu Coveralls to start, since the back straps are longer than the front ones. I traced a sleep sack I had on hand to get the approximate shape. I added a little width and length, since I want it to last all winter. If you don’t have a sleep sack on hand, use a pair of pajamas to help you determine the length. You will want the back straps to be slightly longer than the front.

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2. Place the two pieces wrong sides together – or whichever fabric you’d like to be on the inside should be facing each other. Sew the two pieces together, starting at one armpit to the other. You can do this with a serger, zig-zag stitch or even a straight stitch, as these seams will be hidden.

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3. Now take your bias tape and pin it over the seam you just sewed. Open the bias tape and pin one side along the first fold line. Sew along that fold line.

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4. Now fold the bias tape over to the other side. Pin and sew it down. The top of your bias tape (at the armpit) will be hidden, so don’t worry about finishing it.

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5. Repeat step three along the armhole and the neckline – open the bias tape, pin, and sew down along the first fold line.

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6. I used the edge of the blanket for the top of the straps. If you didn’t, you will also need to enclose that in bias tape. Fold the end of the bias tape under.

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7. Fold over the bias tape edge over to enclose the seam (making sure the end of the bias tape is tucked under), pin, and sew it down. Remember to do this for both the armhole and the neckline.

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8. Add snaps to both sides of the straps. I added two sets of snaps on the back strap, so that if he grows I can adjust to a longer length.

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Now your baby will be warm and cozy all through the winter!

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This wearable sleeping bag worked perfectly for camping, and now that the weather has turned cold, we’re using it at home too. I don’t have to worry about having blankets in the crib, and I know that he’s super toasty warm.

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And we can flip it over when we feel the need to change it up.

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And flip it back again. Because that’s how we roll.

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Happy (warm!) sewing, friends!

Why I’m not waiting for perfect anymore

Life is too short to wear clothes I don't like

I find myself buying fewer and fewer pieces of clothing for myself, because I look at them and think “surely I can just make this for myself instead!” But the thing is, I’ve been saying that for a long time. And I keep holding back, waiting…

To find the perfect pattern.

To be done breastfeeding.

To not be pregnant.

To finally lose the baby weight.

To find the perfect fabric… And then never cutting into it, because there’s no pattern good enough for this amazing fabric.

To have perfected all my sewing skills (ha!)

The past few days, I’ve been taping patterns and choosing fabric for dresses and shirts that I’ve been wanting to sew for awhile. But I keep getting hung up on my fabric choices, hesitating to cut into fabrics that I love, because what if I suddenly lose ten pounds and it doesn’t fit anymore (that’s a lovely dream, isn’t it?) Or what if I decide I don’t like it, and then I’ve used this expensive or hard to find fabric on something I’m never going to wear?

There will always be excuses to keep me from sewing for myself. But really, now is the perfect time. Because there is no perfect time. If I keep waiting for the stars to align and for life’s circumstances to be exactly what I hope they will be, I’m never going to do it. Today I’ve decided that I’m not going to hold out for perfect. I’m going to embrace the imperfections of my life and my circumstances. I’m not going to save my favorite fabrics for someday. I’m going to sew for myself, even if I haven’t met my “ideal weight.” I’m going to sew garments that aren’t perfect, but that I feel good about wearing, because they were made by me. And I’m going to make mistakes and I’m going to “waste fabric” as I try new things.

Because life is too short to wear clothes that I don’t like and to spend my days waiting around for someday. If (when?) I lose that baby weight, I may have to make myself some new clothes.. but then I get to make myself new clothes. And they’ll probably be better, because with each garment I sew, my skills improve and I learn how to fit my body. And goodness, there will always be pretty fabric. I do love buying new fabrics.. :)

So over the next few months, you’ll be seeing more sewing for me. And if you don’t, you have permission to yell at me. Well, gently remind me of this post anyway.

Will you join me?

Happy sewing, friends!

Striped Neptune Tee

If you’ve been around here for awhile, you know my love of all things Pattern Anthology. Four of my favorite designers put out a collection of patterns together for a limited time discount, then the patterns go to their individual shops at regular retail price. Every single time a new Pattern Anthology collection comes out, I’m so impressed. There’s usually some squealing involved. (You can see a few of the things I’ve sewn from previous collections here) The ladies have just come out with another fabulous women’s collection, 8 Days a Week, and I sewed up the Neptune Tee.

Neptune Tee

I sewed the simple version, but the pattern comes with these amazing triangle cutouts.

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A T-shirt and jeans is pretty much my mom uniform, and I love the fit of this tee. I brought mine in around the hips a little bit, but made no other alterations and it fits perfectly.

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The pattern comes together super quickly – a naptime sew (yay!) So basically it’s quicker to make myself a new shirt than to wash one that’s dirty. Hmmm….

DSC_0102I especially like the armbands. … and this fabulous GLITTER striped fabric that I’ve been hoarding (from either JoAnn’s or Hancock Fabrics a couple years ago) Since my life is all superheroes and Thomas trains, a boy mama needs a little glitter fabric in her life, am I right?

DSC_0027While you’re looking at this gorgeous tee, you can also notice that I have to remove my stove knobs … life with a toddler, my friends.

DSC_0054I was given the Neptune Tee pattern in exchange for testing, but I always stand by my reviews – and I super love this shirt. You can get yours along with the rest of the 8 Days a Week collection until October 6th, or from See Kate Sew after that date.

Happy sewing, friends!

Kudzu Coveralls Dress

Last weekend, I went to my cousin’s baby shower and she’s having a GIRL! Since my world is all boy sewing, I was a little giddy with excitement at the idea of sewing a dress – the Kudzu Coveralls Dress from Sew Like My Mom!

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Disclosure: this post contains some affiliate links. If you purchase something after clicking these links, I receive a small percentage at no additional cost to you. Thanks for supporting this site!

I picked up this butterfly corduroy at JoAnn’s in the remnant section awhile back. Since I don’t have a big need for girly fabrics, I like to scour the remnants and find smaller pieces that hide out in my stash for just these situations.

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The sweet little gathers in corduroy! Is there anything cuter?

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I lined the bodice with a vintage floral and used Kam Snaps. Just like the overalls, the dress version of the Kudzu is super easy to follow and comes together so quickly. And the itty bitty dress that comes out is freaking adorable.

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I also made a little headband, using some fold over elastic and this super easy flower tutorial.

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I can’t wait to see this little cousin wearing this sweet little dress! (wait, if she’s my cousin’s daughter, what does that make her to me… once removed? second cousin? I truly have no idea..)

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This, my friends, is more pink than my sewing machine usually sees.

Happy sewing!

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote + the most stylish baby wipes I’ve ever seen

When you head to the beach (okay, when you head anywhere) with kids, you end up bringing a lot of stuff for all the inevitable messes and disasters. Diapers, wipes, sunscreen, snacks, extra clothes, sunglasses, water bottles, towels, toys… basically everything you own. I knew I wanted to make an extra large beach tote for these occasions – one that you can stuff to the brim with all the necessities – and bonus points if the necessities look super cute, like these ridiculously stylish baby wipes from Huggies. Because just like I can’t pass up fabulous fabric, I love when the things I have to carry with me look adorable.

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Huggies. I received compensation for this post and these products. All opinions are my own.

DIY Extra Large Beach Tote

Making a tote bag is super easy – it’s similar to my simple tote bag tutorial, but I’ve added a lining and an extra long strap. And pockets. But you can make this in any size, for whatever toting needs you have… farmer’s market, weekend trips, anything!

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I have yet to meet a mama of little ones who doesn’t use baby wipes on a daily basis. I take these everywhere – I even find myself using them when I don’t have my kids with me. But the regular crinkly plastic that wipes come in is not my fave. So when I first picked up this new Clutch ‘n Clean from Huggies, I was super impressed with the durable non-crinkly material. Hello, who hasn’t cringed as they’ve pulled out the noisy wipes in church?? It’s reusable, so you can leave the not-so-stylish containers under your changing table and refill this one when it’s empty.

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There are several designs to choose from, and I actually stood in the aisle for a full five minutes trying to decide which one was cuter. But in the end, I’m always drawn to the stripes! I also really love that the colors are bright, so I can easily spot them in my bag for those wiping emergencies. We have a lot of them, friends. And then when you need to run to the restroom, they have a super convenient strap, so you don’t have to bring your entire tote with you.

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Now grab some sturdy fabric from your stash so you can make an extra large beach tote too. :)

Bag dimensions

1. Cut your outer and lining fabrics (two of each). My approximate dimensions are in the photo above. You can make it any size you want, really, just be sure to make the lining an eensy bit smaller than your outer fabric. I suggest using a more durable fabric.

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2. Cut out your straps – again, the length is up to you. I made mine extra long to accommodate my tall husband, in case he needs to carry the bag also. Cut a strip of fabric that is double the width you want. (Mine was about 70in. long and 6in. wide, before it was folded.) Then sew the long end, with the right sides together. Then turn it right side out, press, and pin it to the outer fabric as seen in the picture above. Repeat for the second strap and second outer fabric piece. (you can see detailed pictures on how to make a strap in this tutorial)

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3. Stitch down the sides of the straps (you are only sewing through one layer of outer fabric at this point). Stop sewing about an inch from the top. Repeat for the second strap.

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4. Pin the two outer layers together – right sides together. Sew all around the three edges (not the side where the straps stick out).

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5. If you want to make pockets, now is the time to do it. Whatever size you want your pockets to be, cut your fabric twice the size of the pocket. Then fold it in half (right sides together), and stitch around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn the pocket right side out.

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6. Turn the pocket right side out, press (folding under the little section that you didn’t sew), and stitch down the three sides onto the right side of the lining fabric. Repeat this for any more pockets you want.

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7. If you want to divide a pocket into two, simply stitch down the center, making sure to back stitch at the top and the bottom.

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8. Now place your lining pieces together and stitch the three sides, just as you did with the outer fabric.

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9. Press down the top of both the outer fabric and the lining. You can finish the edges with either a serger or pinking shears (I would actually recommend doing this earlier, but if you do it now, make sure not to cut through your straps!)

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10. Pin the lining inside the outer fabric and topstitch along the top. You want to stitch over the straps, otherwise you’ll have a gap between your straps and your outer fabric.

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Now pack your bags and head to the beach!

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I love having everything I need all in one spot.

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The one thing I can never have enough of is tote bags. Okay, and fabric…

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You can find Huggies Natural Care® Wipes in stylish packaging in grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide.