So we are planning on heading on a family holiday to the South Pacific. 14 glorious nights cruising around 3 gorgeous countries – Fiji, Noumea and Vanuatu. Sun, sand and snorkeling. The only drawback is that, in the words of my youngest daughter, “I’d like the beach if it wasn’t for the sand and the waves.” Also, there is no wifi on Mystery Island, which is a problem if you are an fan-fiction addicted 14 year old who secretly dreams of being a superhero.
Now obviously I want my girls to enjoy our tropical holiday as much as the snorkeling aficionados in the family and since I have not yet been able to convince them that swimming with turtles and all manner of brightly coloured fish is the most amazing experience to have when on tiny islands in the South Pacific, I have come up with a crafty compromise. Well, the amazing Stella at The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse came up with the solution, I’ve just tweaked it to fit with my families love of fantasy and things that deviate from the traditional norm. (And also because I’m essentially a 7 year old in a grown ups body and I like to DO IT MYSELF! *stamps foot in a petulant and precocious manner*). The original post with tutorial can be found here.
Seeing Stella’s idea on Pinterest made me think about how I could make the girls’ island adventure relaxing and fun in their own way. We’ve planned horse riding in rainforests and abseiling down waterfalls to cater to their uniqueness, but I want them to enjoy their beach time as well, even though they don’t like to swim at the beach.
So with tutorial chosen, I was off to Spotlight and find some suitable material that wasn’t all ‘beachy’. I chose a cotton fabric with a Wonder Woman print for Miss Ash, one of the only DC characters allowed in our house without a heartfelt discussion on why Marvel is better than DC and serious debate over whether Batman is a Super Hero or not. (For the record, my vote is cast for Ninja with Gadgets in the Batman debate. He’s not a superhero.) And then off to the nearest department store for 2 bath sheets in matching colours, I went with a dark grey to satisfy the curled-up-in-her-room-not-being-social-and-reading-by-the-glow-of-the-tablet vibe she has going on at the moment.
I’d like to point out that this is an excellent craft to use up bits of left over fabric and upcycle old towels, but this time I’m trying to make a brand new gift for them rather than indulge my inner hippie.
So, with 2 beach sheets, some hobby fill, a metre of Wonder Woman fabric and matching thread in hand I was ready to begin the days crafty adventure.
The first step was to decide how big I wanted the pillow part of the bed to be, bearing in mind that the finished product will wrap around this, making the finished size of the bag slightly larger than the size of the pillow. Cut the first towel into 4 pieces as shown below. The large piece is for the pillow, I made mine the width of the towel x 33 cm, the two skinny pieces for the handles and once again they are the width of the towel x 15 cm and the last piece is left overs. Don’t throw it away though, I have a way to use it up at the end. I hate wasting crafty goodies. And tim tams. Never waste a tim tam.
Next I put the pillow part together by folding it in half, leaving about 5cm of the raw edge exposed (this is where the other towel will be attached to the pillow). I sewed the edges and open end together, leaving a gap along the raw edge to push the stuffing into. (Don’t worry about the exposed raw edge as it will be hidden by the other towel very shortly)
I sewed the gap closed and then pinned the second towel over the exposed raw edges to hide them and create the rest of the beach bed. To make sure it was strong and the stitching reinforced for lots of lazing, I sewed it in three separate places as I marked below. Sewing along the side of the pillow is was awkward, kind of like trying to drive a car with a Pillow Pet under each arm. My best advice is to take it slow, pull it through straight, use LOTS of pins and remember that the toweling is quite thick, you’ll want a sturdy needle on the machine unless you want to break a few.
I rolled up the beach bed and set it aside for the moment and got the Wonder Woman fabric out. I cut 2 strips that were 6.5 cm wide…rather I made two small cuts in the fabric 6.5 cm apart and ripped the fabric down to the end. This makes a much straighter line than I could ever cut freehand and is quick and oddly satisfying. But if you want to cut it like a grown up with scissors and the like, go right ahead. I folded in the edges of the strips 1cm and pressed them. If you want ties that aren’t as wide as mine, turn the edges in further or make your strips smaller. I wanted the strips wide enough that I would be able to reinforce the stitching as they will be holding the whole project shut while there is a fair amount of weight in the side pockets.
After pressing the turned over sides, fold the strips in half longways and press them again. Run a seam down the open side close to the edge.
Next it was time to put the pockets on the side. I cut (and by cut I mean ripped) a length of fabric that was 20 cm wide
…..and I’ll finish this in a moment