I’m at the beach visiting a friend, so today we’re gettin beach-y wit it.

Oh yes, that just happened.

I wanted to share this cute and thrifty project I made a few weeks ago since it’s sum sum summertime almost everywhere now! To make this set, you’ll need:

  • 2 yards of fabric ($6 for mine)
  • coordinating thread ($2)
  • clothes line ($4)
  • masking or scotch tape (on hand)
  • one 4′ x 5′ drop cloth, washed and ironed ($6)
  • stuffing (on hand)
  • grommet tool and grommets ($10-$15, depending on size)

I used Hancock Fabric’s coupons for the fabric and the notion (grommet tool)…you can use both coupons in the same transaction!

I made a beachy tote with matching pillow and blanket all for under $25! Of course I didn’t take too many pictures during construction, so I whipped up this diagram to show you the pieces I used to make the tote.
Oh did you think school was out? Trust me, this is easier than it looks. I didn’t even use a ruler when I made mine. I swear! Here’s how to do it:

1. I cut out a rectangle that looked to be a good size for the bottom. Looking at it now, it was probably around 8.5″ x 19″ (including seam).

2. Then I used that rectangle to measure the side pieces.These are the entire bottom length (y) plus half of it’s width (x) on both sides. For you measuring types, that would have been 8.5 + 19=27.5.  I did this sweet fabric rotation maneuver, it was really impressive geometry at the time. Too bad I didn’t take a video. The gist of it was to lay the rectangle down horizontally on your fabric, then “pin” it at the bottom right corner with a finger and rotate the piece 90 degrees (until it’s vertical). Mark your new edge.

3. The height of the bag (z) is sort of a matter of taste and what looks good to you based on the bottom you cut. Once you decide, cut out your first side piece using your marked edge. Mine looks to be 18.5″ (including seam). Oh! Eureka! It is probably pleasing to the eye if the bag is as tall (z)  as it is long (y). Man that was completely accidental and I only realized it as I’m writing this and measuring my bag. That’s the power of the eyeball, folks!

4. Lay out your first side piece on the fabric and cut a duplicate.

5. Hem the top of your 2 sides.

6. With right sides together, pin one side to the bottom starting at the center point of the width of the bottom and ending on the opposite side (like a “u”- see below). You will have to work in the corners, but I didn’t find it too difficult. And, who cares anyway? It’s not like some fellow beach go-er is going to call you out on your seamstress skills. Sew one side, then pin and sew the other.

7. Sew your two sides together where they meet at the center of the bottom piece all the way up to your hem.

8. Tada! Just kidding, you need some handles. I wanted to do rope handles, which required a new tool (to me)- the grommet tool! If you have never used this thing, it is probably one of the most archaic things still on the market, but it will do the job as long as you have a hard surface to work on (think pavement or brick). You should be able to find one at any fabric store (Hancock, JoAnn’s, etc). Don’t forget to get grommets themselves (sometimes the tool will come with some, but just make sure you have 4). The directions in the package are pretty straightforward, so I’ll spare you those. But this would be the time I got out the ruler.

Image courtesy Stone Mountain Fabrics

9. Buy a length of clothes line (usually about 1/4″ thick cotton twine- it’s typically marked as clothes line) from the rope area at the hardware store. I found the $4 roll to be cheaper than buying by the yard at the fabric store. Plus, I wasn’t exactly sure how much I needed. How long you want your handles is up to you- I just cut up some rope, braided it, strung it through the grommets, then cut off the excess when I found the right “fit.” Knot the ends and tape each rope end (like a shoelace) to keep it from fraying. Don’t forget to make two!

And you’re done! Bonus points if you can find a plastic placemat or something to murder and use as a bottom on the inside of the bag.

I also made a coordinating pillow from leftover fabric. The blanket just a drop cloth  accented with strips of fabric around the edges…but you could do stripes, appliques, or even use fabric paint to decorate your blanket. If you want, you can grommet the 4 corners and bring some tent stakes to the beach with you. No more flyaway blanket!

I don’t live near the water, so let’s just pretend that my sandy colored rug is a beach, mmmm k?

Pardon my wrinkles, the blanket has been folded up in the bad for awhile.

I hope that was clear as mud for you! Let me know if you try it!

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