Personalised Swimming Bags - a tutorial

Last week I made these swimming bags for my 2 daughters - and here is the promised tutorial - how to make them !
I chose to add the mesh in the bottom to allow the wet swimming gear to dry a little - and avoid smells!  

Materials needed:
Waterproof fabric - I used Ripstop Nylon for one, and an old shower curtain for the other!
2 pieces for main bag 48 x 42cm (19 x 16.5")
1 piece for drawstring strap 90 x 10cm (35.5 x 4")

1piece different colour waterproof fabric for name, and fusible webbing: 
30 x 10cm (12 x 4")

Mesh Fabric netting for base of bag.
 (I used an old mesh laundry bag)
42 x 20cm (16.5 x 8") 
NB I forgot to include my drawstring strap piece of fabric in this photo!

First you need to cut the name letters out of the second coloured piece of waterproof fabric.
Now I would highly recommend using fusible webbing to attach these letters to the main bag. Iron one side of the webbing to the back of the fabric - then you can write the letters on the paper backing and cut them out.

I was lazy and just drew the letters direct onto the fabric, cut them out and pinned in place.

Unfortunately this means the letters slip around a lot when trying to stitch them into place!

If you use the fusible webbing - you peel off the paper backing and iron them onto the main bag using a damp cloth over the letters.  This holds them in place and makes it much easer to stitch around the edges in either a tight zig zag stitch or the applique setting on your machine!

Now you're ready to put your bag together!

Pin the long side of the mesh/net fabric to the front main bag base - right sides together and stitch:

Repeat this with the other long side of the mesh/net fabric and the other main part of the bag:

If you have an overlocker (serger), it's a good idea to finish off the seam edges to prevent fraying.  If you don't have an overlocker (serger) you can use a zig zag stitch and trim the raw edge outside that.

You should now have a large rectangle with the mesh part in the centre.
It is a good idea to finish all four edges of this rectangle to prevent fraying.  Again if you have an overlocker (serger) use this around all edges. Otherwise you could turn the edges under twice and stitch with a regular machine to hide the raw edges.

Now you need to form the casing at the top of the bag for the drawstring.
Fold down both top edges - wrong sides together about 5cm (2").Pin and stitch along the edges.

Now fold the rectangle in half - right sides together to form your bag (inside out) Pin down the sides.

When you stitch the sides of the bag together - only stitch up as far as the casing. At the top, run some stitches sideways too and backwards and forwards a few times for extra strength:

Turn your bag out.
Now it's time to make the drawstring strap.
Take your long strip of waterproof fabric.
Fold both long edges in towards the centre, then both sides in again to completely enclose the raw edges. Then stitch down the edges to hold in place.  At either short end, fold the end under too to hide that raw edge.

Now all that's left is to add the drawstring to the bag!
Use a large safety pin or a nappy pin to push the strap through your casing Then tie the ends together:

And there you have one personalised swimming bag:

All ready to fill up with swimming gear:

And take to the pool..

Then you'll have to make one for sisters, brothers..friends...

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial.  
There are many over 100 more on my tutorials page if you'd like to take a look!

Pyramid pouch in my creative space

Each year I try to hand make gifts for my daughters' friends.  Every year I choose something and everyone gets a variation on this.
With the girls back at school now, the parties are starting again, so I had to get thinking about what to make this year. Here's what I chose...

I've been wanting to make one of these pyramid pouches for a while - and followed the fabulous tutorial on 
Ricochet and Away. (thanks Rikka!)

I added to the pouch, one of the personalised keychain tags I've been making (tutorial here), and then I think we'll fill it with some sweeties or chocolates!

What do you think?  An ok gift for 7-10 year old girls?

Don't know yet what the boys will get...they're always trickier!!  Do you think boys would like these too - but in boy fabric of course!

What gifts to you hand make for kids?


Personalised Rag Tags from Jeans - a Tutorial

This year for school I bought my daughters stainless steel water bottles. They are great to use instead of the plastic ones and the girls love the shiny colours!
I needed to find a way to label them - and noticing a small hole in the lid I decided to make small key-chain tags for them - which can also be put on bags, keys, pencil cases, anything really!

I've been wanting to have a go at rag quilting for a while now - and I thought this technique would look good on the little tags!

They're really simple to make - here's how...

First gather your materials.
I used some old jeans, scraps of coloured fabric, fusible webbing and keychains.

Cut the fusible webbing into small rectangles and iron to the back of your coloured fabric. 

Cut rectangles of denim from the jeans for your tags. 2 rectangles for each tag.  For the loop to hold the keychain, cut the belt loops or the double side seams from the jeans.

To add the letters to your tags. Draw the letter backwards on the paper side of the fusible webbing. Cut the letter out, peel off the paper backing and place centrally on the front of your tag. Then cover with a damp cloth and iron to fix into place.

Then either use the applique setting on your machine, or a tight zigzag stitch to secure the letter in place.

Now for the keyring.  Take a piece of belt loop or side seam and loop through a keychain ring.  Fold in half, and place between the two rectangles of your tag at the top. Make sure the right sides of the fabric are facing outwards. Machine stitch around all 4 sides.

Run a few lines of extra stitching backwards and forwards over the loop holding the keyring in place - to secure a little stronger!

Now for the rag look for your tag.
Snip all around the edges of the outer seam of your tag.

Then fold, scrunch and rub the tag in your hands.
It's best to do this outside as a lot of fluff will fly off the tag!

To rag the tag even more, place the tag inside a pillowcase in your washing machine - and wash!

Once they're washed, take them out give them a good shake (and the pillowcase too which will be full of fluff!) and dry.

Then your tags are ready to attach to your keys, bags, bottles or whatever you choose!
They will continue to 'rag' more as they are used!

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

I hope you liked this tutorial. 
There are over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing ability on my tutorials page too - please do take a look!

21 days to form a habit

What I've learnt this week??? I've learnt that..

I've had enough!

I am and have always been quite a messy person, but finally I've reached a point that I just HAVE to do something about it.

Having a messy house sets a bad example for my girls, and it doesn't help them be able to keep their own things tidy - or make it easy for them to help me cook when the kitchen bench is a mess!  It affects everything I do - a messy house makes for a messy mind and a messy life!

So, I've decided to take action.

 I've said before I'm a big fan of Anthony Robbins - and I do agree with his sentiment that you can change your life in an instant just by changing your mindset.  I have tried changing my mindset with regard to tidying, but I think I need a little help.

SO - here's my plan!

It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit.
So yesterday I tidied all the problem areas in my house, and took before and after photos.
Here they are:

My kitchen bench...

My bedroom table...

Our side buffet...

Our TV Cabinet

Each day for the next 21 days on my facebook page I'm going to post photos of what these four surfaces look like in my house.
I don't want to be posting messy photos again - so the idea is to take boringly tidy photos each day!

Then by the end of 21 days - being tidy in my house will be a habit that I will continue to keep!  I'm going to try to get my girls to join me too - in keeping their bedroom tidy too!

What good habit would you like to form?
Would you like to join me in posting something every day for the next 21 days to try to form that habit?
If you want to give this a try - leave a comment here and I'll make a note to come and check out your progress each day for the next 21! Let's see if we can motivate and support each other to improve !

Just do it!


My creative space and another pencil case!

Earlier this week I made one of my daughters a new twin-zip pencil case.  Now since I have two daughters - I thought I'd better make a second case!

Purple was the chosen colour - so with a remnant of velvet left over from over 20 years ago when my mum made me a ball dress for University! and an old pair of cut off black jeans I got from the charity shop  from their 'free' section!!
I made this:

The denim helps the case hold its shape, and also will protect the velvet a little from leaking pens!!

After I took these first photos - I decided to add a little zip pull too:
Kids love little accessories -  I thought this one was quite cute!

To see the original case I made with the tutorial go here.