My new beach tote

beach tote made from curtain samples

It was really one of those impulse buys. I was at the fabric shop buying I-can’t-remember-what (maybe the bits for my overnight bag? I am drawing a total blank on what it was, to be honest!), and in my usual perusal of the remnant bin, I spied a roll of blue and green fabrics that appealed to me in their semi-ombré way – an old curtain sample book. For $2, I figured it could be useful for something, someday, and chucked it in with the rest of my whatever. It came home and languished in the stash drawer, waiting for a project to claim it.

Fast forward to January this year, and we were off to the coast camping for a few nights. Beautiful sunny hot days, perfect for hanging out at the beach, and so off we we trundle, and load ourselves up with small people, including baby on hip, a beach unbrella, a green Coles bag (the reusable ones that I always buy and then forget to take back grocery shopping with me so they get co-opted into other haulage duties) with the beach toys, another with half the beach towels, the rest of the beach towels under an arm, shoes that were kicked off at the top of the dunes and three bigger children excitedly bouncing along at our side. Disorganised mayhem was putting it mildly. So we came home and the old brain started whirring. What if I used that curtain sample roll to make a beach bag? It’s tough fabric, I could make the bag nice and roomy to fit everything in, add a chunky rope handle and it would be perfect.

I quickly separated the pieces, squared them up, and then after playing with a few layouts, split them in half to create two ombre-style rows in each colour. Once happy with the layout, I joined the pieces into rows, pressed (which didn’t really do much!) and topstitched each seam to help it lay nice and flat. I also topstitched the seam joinind the two rows together.

beach tote opposite sides

It was a pretty basic pattern I made up for this bag – straight sides with a triangle sticking out the bottom to create the narrow triangle that go up the side. I then used the same measurements (sans triangles) to create the lining from some cute cotton I had in my stash, and one lonely little square of curtain fabric left over to create a fold-over pocket for stashing wallet and keys in (which, it turns out, is a too wide for it’s depth, and gapes, but that will be easily fixed with a magntic closure – on my list to do before next beach trip.

beach tote interior

The main bag came together quite quickly, before I hit a snag. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find 3/4″ white cotton rope? I could find 1/2″ quite easily, but it didn’t have quite the chunk factor I was looking for. In the end, a random google search turned up a horse lead rope (I shared this in February’s In The Mailbox post, and I’m pretty sure it will go down as the winner for “Obscure Crafting Supplies” for 2014). It was reasonably priced for the length, and I briefly contemplated heading to the local saddlery to buy one, but the thought of having to explain what exactly I was after and why, and in the process, looking somewhat unhinged put me off that idea and I found it easy to convince myself the $12 postage was worth not having to deal with that. And I am thrilled with the results, it was just what I had in mind (though possibly I could pull the length up a little bit? I’m still uncertain on that point). The bag itself is perfect for what I had in mind. It is large enough to hold beach towels for the six of us, and also fits the green bag of beach toys – leaving hands free for crowd control. It’s also nice and soft and floppy, meaning it folds nice and compactly for storing between trips.


beachbag-1320-007(yes, I’m wearing a long sleeve tee at the beach. This was around 9am and it was still quite fresh!)

I love being able to tick a completed project off the list! This one has been done for at least 6 weeks, but I’ve just been waiting for a trip to the beach to photograph it in it’s intended natural habitat.


This week is a flurry of craftiness and excitement. I have an upcycling project on the go in preparation for this Saturday’s post on And Sew We Craft. I’ll pulling out various projects ready to take away this weekend on a crafty trip with some very dear friends. I’m still plodding along with my OUAT sampler (which I really made some good progress on over the holidays – peek coming tomorrow!). And the nights are getting cooler making them perfect to pull out my long neglected ripple – I’m determined to get it done this year! School is back and we are finding our feet – hopefully we’ll be back in our normal rhythm next week and all these projects demanding attention might actually see the light of day!


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