Hey guys! I’ve got a really fun and easy tutorial for you today to help make you summer adventures easier. If you’re here visiting from Nap Time Creations, then welcome! I hope you love it.
Does anyone else find themselves playing the part of sherpa when it’s time to hit the pool or beach? It seems even my big kids become completely incapable of carrying their own towel, goggles, pool toys, etc. and I’m walking around with my arms piled high with SHTUFF (and pool stuff x 7 kids = a big headache). So I dreamed up this bag that would hold all our pool necessities without any extra effort on my part! The best part is that it’s a backpack so that I can hold hands/babies while we walk down the street to our community pool.
Ready?? Let’s do it!
What you’ll need:
1 yard sturdy canvas-type fabric (any outdoor home decor fabric would work well, bonus if it’s water-resistant! I re-purposed a heavy duty curtain from Target)
Extra long zipper (mine was 65″ – you probably won’t find this at your local craft store; I bought mine at an upholstery shop where they sell them by the yard.)
Heavy duty coordinating fabric for pockets (optional: clear vinyl or other waterproof fabric to make one pocket a wet bag!)
2 yards 1″ elastic for towel loops
1 yard 1/4″ elastic for pockets
Twill webbing for straps (about 1.5 yards)
- First, I cut my fabric into 4 rectangles, each measuring 17″ x 21″ (2 pieces will be the outer portion of the bag and the other 2 will be the lining). Then I used a cup (or other circular object) to trace around the corners and round them off.
- Sew on your towel loops! Take one of your rounded rectangles and sew strips of elastic onto the right side (my strips were about 13″ long); I placed my strips of elastic in pairs, so that they’re running parallel to the long side of the fabric (see picture). Sew down both raw edges to form a loop (using a zig zag stitch to reinforce each edge well!) It’s totally up to you how many loops you sew and the spacing, but I ended up with 6 loops, to hold 3 towels, since our towels are pretty bulky. If needed, I could also stick just one towel in each loop so I could schlep twice as many!
- Next, you need to sew on your pockets. I cut my smaller pockets measuring 6″ x 7″ and my larger pockets were 13″ x 8″. Take two of the other rectangles of bag fabric, and begin by arranging your pockets as desired on the right side of the fabric. I chose to put the two small pockets on top of one side (for sunscreen and little toys) and the large elasticized pockets everywhere else.
- To sew on the small pockets, finish the raw edges (I used a serger but you can also just zigzag them), fold them under 1/4″ and topstitch along the top of your pocket. Then stitch the sides and bottom right to your bag lining (leaving the top open!).
- For the bigger pockets, finish your raw edges and press under the bottom and sides 1/4″. For the top of these pockets, you’ll press under 1/2″ and sew right along the raw edge, forming a casing. Thread your 1/4″ elastic through the casing and gather the fabric as much as you’d like, pulling the elastic taut. Stitch the elastic to the fabric on both open sides of the casing to keep it in place. Then topstitch the sides and bottom of your pockets to your lining just as with the smaller pockets. Don’t stretch your elastic to sew the sides…just let it pull the top of the pocket inwards so that the elastic will keep your stuff inside!
- Next, sew your straps to your last rectangle of fabric. I didn’t make mine adjustable since I’ll be the only one wearing it, but that’s an option as well! I simply topstitched one raw end of the straps to the edge of my fabric, right at the top (see picture) and then tried it on, measured where I wanted it to hit under my arms, trimmed the webbing and sewed the other ends to the sides of my fabric.
- Now, you’ll be sewing your lining to your bag exteriors. Match up one exterior piece (i.e. with the elastic loops) to one lining (i.e. with pockets), right sides together. Begin sewing together just a few inches from the center of the bottom short end, all the way around (one long side, the top short side and the other long side) to a few inches from the center on the other side of the bottom. Leave 5-6 inches open to turn. Repeat with other two fabric pieces. REMEMBER to make sure your pockets are facing UP!
- Turn both pieces of your bag right sides out and press the edges well. Fold under the raw edges of the part you left open, and stitch the two pieces of the bag together, along this opening (this will be the bottom of the bag that keeps the pieces connected, even when the zipper is unzipped.
- Finally, stitch your zipper to you bag but sewing one zipper tape to one side of the bag, beginning right where you sewed the two halves together. You’ll stitch the zipper tape to the bag ALL the way around, and then do the same with the other zipper tape and other side of the bag.
Thanks for reading! I hope this tutorial helps lighten your summer load!
Be sure to head over to the Nap Time Creations blog to see more posts in the Summer Fun Series!