Today’s project is for sisters young and old. Be forewarned, this is so easy you might just be overwhelmed with a desire to make dozens of these and get lost in terry cloth and beach towels.
The Beach Blanket Bingo Towel
This project was inspired by my baby sister and her love/hate relationship with…..a beach towel. You see my sister and me too for that matter, LOVE to lounge by the pool or the ocean whenever possible. It is one of the few ways to stay cool here in Alabama.
But what always happens? You get to the pool, scope out the perfect chair, lay your towel on it and less than 10 seconds later it is blowing away, falling off the back or simply wadded up into a terry cloth ball in the seat of the lounge chair.
You have all seen the solution. These towels with the flap/pocket on the back that range on the World Wide Web from $20-70 dollars. Sorry my friends but I refuse to spend that much money on something that literally cost pennies to make. So make one I did….with pockets. So take that Land’s End.
This project is so simple and fast it took me all of 20 minutes and less than $5. That’s right…..5 BUCKS. I waited until my local fabric store had the terry cloth on sale and all you need is ½ yard for a regular size beach towel.
So here goes.
First lay out your non-pocketed beach towel and measure its width. Then decided how deep you want you pocket to be. Most of the ones I found online were between 10” and 20” so I chose the happy medium of 15”. So for me my new pocket was 30×16, because I added the extra inch to turn the bottom hem up.
First turn the bottom edge to up ½” and then over again ½”. You can use a serger here for a rolled hem, or just turn it over once. I chose to do the double fold to add some weight to the bottom edge so as not to “snag” it on the back of any chair that might have sharp corners or rough edges. Hew the bottom edge for a nice finished look.
Then it is as simple as putting right sides together and sewing along the side, across the top and down the other side. Obviously you wont sew the bottom because that is what becomes your pocket. Clip the corners and turn it out and there you have a pocket back beach towel.
But why stop there? You will likely have enough terry cloth left to make a side pocket to hold sunscreen, phones…whatever. Here is how I did mine. I literally took the leftover terry cloth, cut one about 1” shorter than the other and did the same hem technique on the shorter piece only this time it was the top side. I then placed right sides together and sewed up the 2 sides. Now I am left with one huge pocket. I then got some things I usually have with me by the pool, sunscreen (a must people, every time you go in the sun. Skin cancer is no joke) my cell phone and a bottled water. I laid them on the new pocket and roughly drew some lines to create 3 smaller pockets. Sew a straight stitch along these lines and viola, you have a 3 opening side pocket for your towel. Now all you need to is sew it, right sides together to the towel and presto…a neat place to keep your most used pool items. (Be sure to sew the pocket onto the towel so the openings are facing up, don’t laugh I might have learned this one the hard way)
Now you can be the envy of the pool and know that you paid less than the price of your fancy umbrella drink for it. I hope my sister enjoys her new towel….if she ever gets it….I might keep it for myself. But hey these are so easy to make everyone in the family can have one. Come back tomorrow when we take a step away from the sewing machine to look at some sister photo inspirations and delve into my Pinterest obsession. (It is really bad folks, hours have been lost to that evil genius of a website). Hope you enjoyed this super fast and easy summer tutorial. Happy Sewing and see you tomorrow.
Sorry for the lack of pictures of the finished towel. My camera has gone a bit nuts and needs to be looked at…hopefully it is just overworked and needs a nap. Also I found then using a “stronger” needle on this project works better….meaning I used a 90/14 sharp instead of my usual 75/11 ballpoint. All those layers of terry cloth need a more substantial needle to get through them.
As promised this week I am going to be doing a series of posts called Sewing for Sisters. Ok well they aren’t all going to be sewing related but most are. This is to celebrate the beauty that is sisterhood. I myself have a younger sister and our second daughter is due to arrive any day now. So I thought what better way to honor the unique relationship of sisters than to devote a week to our partners in crime. Here is the first installment of the series. I hope you enjoy it and check back tomorrow for another fun project.
Sweet Sister Totes
As you know I live in the hot hot South. We Southerners have some customs and traditions that are unique to us when it comes to new baby arrivals. We hang decorated wreaths on hospital doors to announce the arrival, height, weight, sex and often name of the new babies. We put large ribbons on our mailboxes when we get home to let our neighbors know our new bundle of joy has arrived. And when it comes to siblings we make a BIG TO-DO over bringing home a new baby. Moms and Dads often arrange for siblings to “give” each other gifts to celebrate the occasion.
So in honor of my little one, due to arrive literally any minute now, (sooner rather than later I hope, it’s blazin’ hot) I decided my girls would give each other new custom tote bags full of little treasures. They can use these for years to come at the library, park, museum, going to Grandmother’s house…..anywhere and they will always know this is the first thing they gave each other as new sisters.
So without further rambling here is how to make these Sweet Sister Totes for you own little clan.
So I had like 3 yards of this soft linen in my fabric stash for who knows what reason. (OK I admit I hoard fabric, don’t judge). The Elder A loves the color red so that was an easy choice for the lining of her tote and I let her decide that A² would like to have green for hers.
I made these in 2 different sizes, one slightly larger than the other. The totes are fully lined with boxed corners, piped trim and cute appliquéd fronts. So let’s get started.
First I cut the 4 pieces for each tote, 2 outer and 2 lining, making 8 total since I was making 2.
The Elder A’s was 16×14 and A² was 14×12. This includes seam allowance (1/2″) on all 4 sides, don’t forget that part.
I also cut handles from the lining fabric. The Elder A’s was 20” and A² was 18”. Cut 2 of each of those.
If you are doing an appliqué now is the time. Take one of you outer pieces and place the design in the center before beginning any construction. (No I do not have some awesome machine that let’s me know A² will have brown hair and blue eyes….just a Mother’s gut feeling)
Now take the 2 outer pieces, right sides together and sew along the sides and bottom, NOT across the top. Do the same thing with the lining pieces BUT leave a 2” opening at the bottom of the lining so you can turn the bag later.
Now for my bags I added a 3” trim piece that I piped to the front pieces BEFORE I sewed them together in the above step, but that is totally optional. This is how they looked.
Now to box the corners. If you Google boxed corner tote, or any variation there of, you could spend days sifting through the how-to sites and videos. This is basically how I did it and they turned out really nice. All you do it line up the side seams with the bottom seam, at the corner making a triangle. Then it is up to you how “deep” you want the box corner to be. I personally used 1 ½” but you could use more or less. Using you ruler measure down from the top point of the triangle and draw a straight line across, creating the bottom edge of the triangle and then sew a straight stitch across that line. Cut off the excess, aka the triangle itself, and there you have it…a beautiful boxed corner.
Do this on both the outer and lining pieces 2 corners. Double check that you are measuring the same distance on all 4 corners. Once that is finished it is time to assemble the bag.
Turn the lining right side out and slide in down into the bag that is wrong side out, placing right sides together. Stitch all around the top edge and then carefully pull the outer bag through the hole you left in the bottom of the lining. Sew up the lining hole and then push the lining back down into the bag. There you have the base for you tote.
Now on to the straps.
These can be done with ribbon, rope, twill tape…whatever. I chose to use the lining fabric and make my own. The 2 pieces are 3” wide and can be any given length long. To sew the straps is a lot like making bias tape, another subject you could spend days on Google reading about. Take each strap piece and turn the short ends, to the wrong side ¼” and press well. Beware of burning your fingers. Then take the strap pieces and fold in half length wise, WRONG sides together and press well. You should get a long skinny tube that looks like this. Now topstitch all the way around, all 4 sides for both straps.
Now to attach the straps to the bag I measure over 2” from the side seams and placed my straps there. Sew one end down and then measure from the other side and sew the other end down. Be carefully not to twist the straps. Repeat for the back and you are DONE!!
Look how cute and special these are. I can’t wait for The Elder A to give her baby sister this special gift and be surprised when baby sister gives her bag back to her full of her favorite things.
I cannot take credit for the appliqué design. I bought these from Becca at Planet Appliqué. She is utterly fabulous and has hundreds of adorable designs and runs GREAT monthly specials. Sometimes the designs are as cheap as 99¢ each. Go check out her site.
Tomorrow on Sewing for Sisters I will be doing a super quick and easy project to tame those crazy beach towels from falling off the back of lounge chairs. Stay tuned this week because on Friday I have a very special guest planned who knows more about sister than anyone I know. You won’t want to miss her guest post. Happy Sewing. See ya tomorrow.
I hope everyone enjoyed the visit from Amy at Nap Time Crafters. Isn’t she just amazing?!?! Go give her some bloggy hugs for sharing a playdate with us.
So today’s show is brought to you by Rapidly Growing Children Miracle Growth Tonic.
Do your little ones ever have a shirt that is just a bit too short, mainly because they grow over night by like 3 inches and even though it fit YESTERDAY somehow, today….not so much? Well mine does all the time it seems and since I am not a fan of the Dora shirt too short look I figured out a super simple, fun way to lengthen an otherwise perfectly good shirt.
So this one is sooooo sooooo sooooo easy and a great ribbon stash buster.
Take the too short shirt and decide how much longer it needs to be. For me it was only a couple inches so I settled on adding a total of about 3 inches in case The Elder A decided to do more of that overnight growing thing.
Mysteriously outgrown shirt
Next pick your color scheme with 3-4 different types/colors of ribbon. It helps if they are all the same width but they don’t have to be. Measure across the bottom of the shirt, to determine how many ribbon across you will need front and back and then, based on the number and width of your ribbons cut them to the desired extra length you are adding (plus seam allowance).
Decided color scheme
So mine look like this, pile of ribbon, all cut 5 inches long. I cut some extra just in case and plus there was just a bit left on each roll anyway. Fold them all in half and since we all know ribbon likes to fray you will need to seal the ends off somehow. I used my serger and just kept feeding them in a long line until I had them all sewn up. If you don’t have a serger just use a wide zig-zap stitch over the tops. You can also use something like Fray-Check but I personally am not a big fan of that stuff, it never fails to leave an oily stain on something.
Pile of ribbon
Cut 5 inches long
Serging the tops.
Pretty little ribbons all in a row
Ok so now just pin the ribbon to the wrong/underside of your shirt and sew them on. I used the stitch line that was already on the shirt to “hide” the new seam where I was attaching the ribbons. The trick is to only do a few at a time, lining them up side by side carefully. If you try to do the whole shirt all at once you will likely be off because the ribbons will shift and move on you as you sew the others on.
Pinned and ready to sew
Hiding the new seam line
See…I warned you about the shifting
Go all the way around and…..
Finished!! I have no idea why she is holding her shoulders like that. She said she was posing….who knows
That’s it!!! Done! See told ya easy as pie. (beware random rambling….)BTW where did that come from? Have you ever made a pie, from scratch? It is not in fact easy. (rambling ended)
I also added a tiny color coordinating ribbon at the top, just for fun. You could do a ribbon bow or an appliqué or nothing at all.
This top will also fulfill any garment twirling requirements your daughter might have on her clothing at the moment. Oh that’s just mine…huh well lucky you then.
So there you go, a quick easy fix to the weed like growth spurts our kids go through.
I hope you all are having a great summer, we are sweltering here in Alabama but what else is new? Oh wait I know!!! Get excited because next week I am going to do a new series, Sewing for Sisters. This is going to be in honor of my new little girl dropping in to the world at any moment. I am going to have an awesome guest post from a woman who knows a thing or 2 about raising sisters. Wanta guess who she is? Stay tuned more to come in a few days. Happy Sewing
- Lightweight cotton: I used 1/3″ yard for an 18 mos size
- Scrap of contrast fabric
- 1/4″ elastic
- Double sided fusible interfacing
2. With right sides together sew 1″ in along the bottom edge starting on the left.
3. With right sides together sew up you side seams
4. Fold the bottom edge of your sleeve over twice to form a casing. Stitch most of the way around- thread your elastic through and then sew up the gap you left. Make sure the sleeves aren’t too snug- babies and toddlers have bigger arms than you’d think:)
5. With right sides together sew your sleeves into the shirt. Make sure you line your seams.
6. Fold the top edge of your shirt and sleeves over twice and stitch to form a casing- leave a small gap. Thread your elastic through and tighten the elastic enough to form a neckline. Secure the elastic and stitch your gap shut.
7. Hem the bottom of the shirt. I used my double needle, which gave me a really clean professional look.
8. I just discovered how to use my cricut on fabric!! Couldn’t be more thrilled:) Take your double sided interfacing and fuse to the WRONG side of your fabric. Smooth onto your cricut mat with the fabric facing down. Mine cut out perfectly using 2 for speed (low), 4 for pressure (high) and 5 for the blade depth. I know the silhouette sells special interfacing to use with their machine, but you might just try your run of the mill wonder under first.
9. Peel of the backing and iron your applique to the shirt. I had my anchor over on the side and part of it wraps arounds to the back. Use a zig zag stitch to go all the way around the applique and keep it secure.
So I love, love, love Jessica over at Me Sew Crazy. She is just adorable and makes the most fabulous collections for her little girls each season…and at this point doing it all while PREGGERS!! (oh to have that kind of time management skills)
She is currently doing her Pattern Remix series where she encourages us fellow sewtastics (you like that I just made that word up) to take another look at a favorite pattern and mix it up a little. I have been known to remake an old something into a new something “better” so I took her challenge to heart and decided to do some selfish sewing and remake a pattern from another one of my bloggy goddess, Mad Mim. Mim has this amazing pattern for her Turn About the Room dress that I have wanted to do. But one look in my closet will tell you, I need another dress about as much as I need another doughnut…..ooooohh doughnuts. (focus Donya) So what’s an 8 month preggers to do? Whack off the length, get rid of the sleeves and call it D.O.N.E
I had this really fun print but it would have been a bit “much” to do the entire top in so I decided to add a bit of solid white to give the eye a place to rest…a place other than on my ginormous belly. So I took Mim’s awesome pattern and made the bodice solid white, the neck drape in the print and the tunic skirt in the print. Oh and because it is ALREADY 92° in Alabama(it’s early May people, this is not fun) I decided to make the top sleeveless. I used my FABULOUS Mother’s Day present to do a cover stitch around the arm holes and a rolled hem along the bottom.
I think it turned out really cute and it is wonderfully comfy. I am actually planning to take this in my hospital bag to wear home after A² is born…that is if it isn’t dirty because I wear it ALL the time.
Thanks Jessica for inspiring me to shake it up a little and thanks to Mad Mim for putting these awesome patterns out there for all us Mommies-to-be.
Ok, so have you ever been all psyched to go someplace, like thinking about it for weeks, all planned out what to wear down to the shoes and then…….you live in Alabama and it storms like when Noah built the ark the day before and the temp drops 20° and it is now going to be down right windy/cold on the big day and that outfit that makes you feel super pretty and oh so fashionable will now make you look like you don’t have a brain in your head because you don’t pay attention to the weather as you freeze from the lack of arm/leg coverage and on top of all this you are 7 months preggers and feel like a whale? Really….just me….odd. Anyway this was my dilemma on Friday night leading into Saturday. Nice way to start the weekend huh?!
So as I sat watching the storms roll in on Friday all I could think of is “Great now what am I going to wear tomorrow?” As you know from reading my earlier post I am a HUGE nay, COLOSSAL fan of Alabama Football and this Saturday was the spring football scrimmage game. Trust me people it is an event not to be missed and I had looked forward to it for weeks.
So come Saturday morning the weather was sooooo not cooperative and the cute little non-maternity big giant whale looking dress was not going to work at all. So what is a resourceful Mommy with a serger, an old t-shirt and some red knit to do….make a new dress!!! Woot Woot!!
So here it is the Make Mommy Happy 30 Minute Dress. I knew it had to be super simple because I literally had only an hour to whip something up, so I looked in my closet to see what I could cut into and in true Tim Gunn fashion “Make it work”.
I found this old, stretched out tee I had from my first pregnancy, note the 2007 at the bottom, so we know we won’t be wearing that again. It was ¾ sleeves so that would help with the coldness issue and was white which is one of Bama’s colors. Bonus this is a maternity shirt so it would accommodate the uhhh “girls”.
So I put it on and roughly marked where to cut it off, right below the bust line. So then I took my rotary cutter to it and BAM, I had the top half of a soon-to-be maxi dress.
This next part was the tricky part. I had a big cut of red knit, Bama’s other team color, so I knew I had enough to fit the bump but had never done a maternity anything before. I don’t like the look of most maternity dresses because they all seem to have WAY too much fabric in the front panel for me. My baby belly isn’t that big yet so I don’t need a tent of a dress. Plus I kinda like it to “fit’ and show off the pregger bump.
I knew I wanted it long, to again combat the cold, so I measured down from the edge of the cut t-shirt to ankle length (for me it was 40”), taking into account for seam allowance (ended up being ½”) and cut the fabric to that length.
Then came the fitting the bump part. I knew the easiest/quickest way would be to cut it on the fold rather than sewing 2 panels together. Being short on time I literally held the cut fabric around me, again taking into account for the seam, and pinned it down a couple of inches. I then slid it off and measured what I had pinned. For me it ended up at 41” and with the ½” seam I cut it to 41 ½”.
ran waddled to my trusty serger and got to work. I sewed up the skirt first. Simple enough, one seam up the side and it was done.
Then I took the cut off shirt and matched a side seam to the new skirt seam I had just made. The fates must have been smiling on me because the shirt and skirt ended up lining up perfectly, no gathering needed. (I told you the shirt was kind of stretched out). If I were to do this over, which I am totally going to, I would put some gathers in the front to add a bit of fun detail and again show off the bump, but this was about time and ease.
So once I had the shirt pinned to the new skirt, right sides together I went back to the serger and sewed it up into a full dress. As for the bottom hem I left it raw. That is the awesome thing about knit, you never have to finish a hem if you don’t want to.
That was it!! I was done. To dress it up a bit I put on a belt that went with another dress and voilà a new maxi dress in 30 minutes (and a darn cute one if I do say so myself). When I make this again I will likely do a “waistband” (how funny to think of having a waist this preggers) that ties around back.
It isn’t perfect and the seam joining the skirt to top got a little puckered as I wore it but under the belt no one could see. I actually got a couple of compliments on it and it made me feel cute and super proud of myself and at 7 months pregnant that is worth its weight in gold!
So if you have 30 minutes and some fabric to spare give it a whirl. What do you have to lose, an old t-shirt and an episode of Mickey Mouse Club House? Happy crafting and thanks for reading.
On a side note, I was truly inspired to make this dress by Mim over at MadMim. She has a whole series of Sewing for a Belly. I will so be making the Airport Maxi dress very soon. Thanks for the inspiration!!
Here are some linky parties I am showing this dress off in this week. Thanks for the parties ladies.
Welcome. If you have found this you have stumbled upon my newest creative endeavor…a crafty, sewing, photo, foodie blog. Honestly this blog will be 80% sewing and haphazardly percentages of all the rest but it will be fun no matter what. Here’s a bit about your humble host. Do come back soon, and bring people with you….I just love company.
Name: Momma, Mommie, Mom but to anyone over 3 feet tall I am called Donya
Current occupation: Stay at home Mom to the aforementioned short people and when they sleep I am a blogger, seamstress, small business owner, secret superhero, trying to put to good use all those degrees I spent so many hours and so much of my parents money earning.
How I become so crafty: Well from a young age I had this power over people to get them to…..oh wait you mean ARTSY crafty…oh well that all began when our 1st born came along 3 years ago. I was running us into debt buying all these wonderfully adorable clothes she wore for all of 10 minutes and these great little knick knacks to put around the house and her room when one day I figured, “Hey I can make this kind of stuff”. So I learned how and now I do. (BTW, the other kind of crafty can’t be taught, it’s a born with ya kind of thing)
Where do I find the time for this stuff: 2AM is a favorite hour of mine. No seriously, I do lots of things while The Elder A, that’s my first born’s secret bloggy nickname, naps or is in pre-school or on weekends when she and Daddy are having Daddy/Daughter days. I use any spare moment I have to look for new patterns, new recipes, new anything. You can cram alot of stuff into 24 hours if you don’t sleep….really you can.
Why the blog is called keeps me in stitches: That’s easy, because my life keeps me in stitches. My daughter is a comedic genius, my husband can be very witty when he wants to be and the dog….well you know canines. The fact is if you had told me in my Junior year at The University of Alabama, ROLL TIDE, that this would be my life someday, I would have laughed…hard…in your face. I never wanted marriage, kids, dogs, none of this. I was moving far away from the South and the white picket fences it came with, but as we all know Fate is a tricky trickster. I met this boy, future witty husband, who made me suddenly want all the things I never thought I did, picket fence and all. So the fact that this is my life, and that I love it more than I ever knew I could want or love anything is well… comical. “This is not the plan I had for my life, that’s how I know it is exactly where I am supposed to be”. -me
What else do I love besides right brain craftiness: I love, with an unnatural love, The University of Alabama Crimson Tide Football. I love lots of sports but this one CONSUMES my life from August to December. I also love shoes…oh how I love shoes. I have tiny little child feet, even at the age of almost 30, so when I find cute shoes that fit I buy one in every color. Books and music are really important to me too. I really enjoy reading, when I can and we always have music pumping in our house so if you have suggestions for books or tunes pass them on.
Do I really talk this much in real life: Yes, yes I do.
So tell me what you want to see/know/learn/discuss. I have lots of ideas for posts but would love to hear from you guys and gals about what is on your mind. So bring on the comments and suggestions. Thanks for visiting.
That’s all for now. Peace out and see ya soon.