School’s out, it’s summer and before long you’ll be hearing “It’s HOT – can we go to the beach?” You can be cleverly so on top of it this year, because today we’re going to stitch up a couple of Quick Summer Carry-Alls. You can keep them packed and ready to head out the door as soon as you see the temperature climb to beach level!
Our first Quick Summer Carry-All is a great “hack” from the iCandy blog that starts with a discount store mesh laundry bag. It’s as clever as it is practical and takes just a bit of fabric and time. If you’re tired of searching for the sand toys before every beach trip, then figuring out how to get the wet, sandy treasures back home, this Sand Toys Bag will make your summer so blissful!
The trick here is the heavy-duty mesh laundry bag. It will allow the sand to shake out and stay on the beach and help those sandy toys dry much more quickly. Autie from iCandy chose a utility fabric commonly used for reusable grocery bags to create this cheery Summer Carry-All, but a cotton quilting fabric would work just fine, too. You’ll need just one yard, plus your usual sewing supplies and a matching thread.
Although, Autie serged her cut strips of fabric, a zigzag or turned edge could be substituted if you don’t have a serger handy. If you decide to do a turned edge, be sure to add enough to the width of the strips to accommodate the amount you’ll turn under. Plan a 1/2” extra on each edge so there will be enough to turn under a 1/4” twice.
This is a really nicely detailed and illustrated tutorial you can easily follow step by step. As always, read through it first, so you know where you’re going. Autie’s method for making quadruple strength straps for those heavy sand toys is easy and great. You’ll want to file it for future use – you may need a heavy-duty strap on another carry-all project like the Water Bottle Tote that’s next!
The bottom corners of the Sand Toys Bag are squared off to make a flatter bottom. The original mesh laundry bag didn’t need this sturdier bottom, but you’ll find it helpful for your Quick Summer Carry-All. Autie’s mother-in-law taught her to use the inside card from a bias tape package to mark the corner cutting lines instead of a ruler. Genius!! Be sure to file that for later reference, too. Click here for Autie’s tutorial.
A Water Bottle Tote is definitely an essential Quick Summer Carry-All for a day at the park or beach! The totes that Ellen designed for her Long Thread blog take little fabric, little time and are super fun to make. Using a different fabric for each tote will make it so simple to identify each person’s water bottle, too. Anything that cuts down on those inevitable summer squabbles is a very good thing, right?
The instructions are designed for a 12 – 18 oz water bottle. If you’re making a tote for a different size bottle, you’ll appreciate the resizing instructions provided by Ellen’s mathematically inclined hubby. Supplies are simple for the Water Bottle Tote: a wee bit of fabric, a short length of elastic to draw in the top and about a yard of cotton, poly or nylon webbing for the shoulder strap. If you can’t find what you need in webbing or just prefer to make your own, follow that great tutorial on making quadruple strength straps we found in the Sand Toys Bag instructions above. Click here for the Water Bottle tutorial!
Now, this is the part where you practice your response to all the oohs, aahs and compliments you’re going to get on your Quick Summer Carry-Alls. You know, something like “yes, I make everything we use, grow all our vegetables, bake my own bread, repair car engines and build furniture, too.” How does that sound? However it goes, I know you’ll enjoy these projects and the satisfaction that always comes from making your own!
About the Author
Annette Millard began sewing at the age of three, made her first dress at ten and is always happiest with needle, fabric and thread in her hands. Annette feels very privileged to have spent most of her work life in the sewing industry and loves teaching, making her own handmade wardrobe and writing about sewing. She spent over ten years as the newsletter and web site content writer for the Pacific Northwest's largest locally-owned family of fabric stores and is now thrilled to have the opportunity to share her passion for sewing with the Sewing Secrets community.