A few weeks ago I found an adorable tutorial on Thimble.com for this fantastic Pleated Beach Bag (first mentioned here). Although my sewing skills leave much to be desired (my experience is mostly made up of some high-school projects, pillow covers, and a shower curtain - pictures to come!) I decided to give it a try...
I am thrilled with the final product.
I wouldn't label this a beginner level project (the lining and assembly make it more intermediate) and I probably should have read the instructions completely before starting (instead of skimming quickly) but I was able to find my way through it and am really happy with the results. So happy in fact I think I will make another one - and soon!
It took about 5 hours from start to finish but I think I can cut this down the second time around. A good portion of this time was spent taping paper together to make the patterns because I didn't have anything big enough. I pondered altering the sizes for a few minutes. In the end, I decided to stick with the tutorial just as it is.
More time went to corrections - I messed up the measurements on one of the pattern pieces (I'm blaming it on my cold and not poor math skills) and had to fix it. Then I got tripped up on the assembly and had to pull out the seaming to re-do a step or two. I think most of these errors came down to my sewing experience and not the tutorial - but I did have trouble following along at the point where I put the liner and outside pieces together and added the strap.
I am really excited about the fabric that I used - I think that it looks great. I opted for the blue fabric on the bottom after considering how dirty the bag may get, although I really love the strap fabric and could have used it everywhere! I found the fabric pre-cut at Wal Mart* and the great pink polka dot lining is from Value Village (gotta love a bargain!).
*Unfortunately my local Wal Mart got rid of its fabric department and now only sells pre-cut fabric kits. I've found that the pricing is still affordable, the patterns and colours are fantastic, and for the most part the pieces are plenty big enough for a project like this (but probably won't cut it for upholstery projects...).
Now that I've completed the bag I think I will give it another try and maybe change the dimensions a bit. It's the perfect size for the beach (I could easily cram into it a swim suite, suntan lotion, book, towel, and a whole lot of beverages) and I've never been one to shy away from a huge purse, but I'd like to make a narrower style to use when running around town. Also, a (tiny bit) smaller bag may force me to carry less stuff around - a blessing for my back and shoulders as well as my ability to find anything.
I didn't make the zippered pouch included in the tutorial but I think I'll try that next time - I'll keep you posted on how well it goes. Although I had some stumbles along the way I'd rate this as an A...the finished project is great and I didn't throw anything in rage along the way (I may or may not have a bit of a temper).