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I’ve got back from a holiday which was my first overseas big adventure in many years – I had a great time.   Before I left home a few weeks ago, I thought I’d maximise my time between getting home from work and getting a lift from friends to the train station, where from I’d go up to the airport.  I dreamed something up in the morning before fully waking up and the last minute, adrenaline junkie in me, decided to do it.  It was fun, but not something I plan to make a habit of.

Inspired by the laundry bag from a few weeks ago, and remembering there are lots of poppers on a duvet cover, I made a mad dash bag.  My quickest sewing project ever.  But so quick, I didn’t take photos as I went along, only these ones you see below, taken before jumping in the car to the station.


Having made sure I had some ready made handles (pre cut fabric scraps from an old piece of clothing), I lay out the duvet cover flat on the floor and had a rough idea how large I’d like the beach-style bag to be.  I made sure the popper (snap) was in the middle and actually got a couple of extra poppers in at the edge of the sides of the bag.  With the opening of the duvet cover and poppers facing me, I cut out my bag shape – three cuts- down, across and back up again.  Then I raced to the sewing machine with matching magenta thread.  & Right sides together, sewed along the edges I’d cut – the start of the French seaming.  

Then I must have attached the straps whilst top stitching along the, you guessed it, top of the bag.  Then turned it inside out and whizzed another line of stitches in to complete the French seam.  At this point my friends had arrived (a few minutes early) to pick me up and I explained my crazy sewing.  Thankfully they were patient and forbearing and she is a sewer too & pressed the bag as I unplugged my machine and put my suitcase in their car.

In the car as we raced off, I realised I’d stitched a little too close to the edge when the bag was inside out, so some of the threads were showing.  I thought a few snips with some (not with me) scissors might help.  & Knew the ideal of having a lining and a pocket were not going to happen.  But I was pleased and impressed by a bag within thirty minutes.

I knew I’d be seeing another friend on my travels who may have a sewing machine so didn’t worry too much.  But before I got there, I was staying elsewhere in Chicago and had put the beach bag at the top of my hand luggage.  When the person I was staying with asked if there was anything I needed, just ask, I spotted this behind her:


A few minutes later, she’d showed me how to use her neat machine.  & After a stressful few days in the sun, I felt very content and overjoyed to be tidying up the stitches – I ended up running another line all the way through the inside out bit- I don’t know the technical terms.  Which sorted out the French seams.  & Elsewhere in Chicago, I’d pressed out the corners to make triangles so that the bag would have some depth & I sewed those in.

The only thing I realised I did do which was a bit stupid, was to have snipped the corners before turning out, back home.  & As I later did the extra depth work, it meant the inside corner wasn’t as neat as it could have been.  I’d taken a peek at a similar shaped bag in a whole foods store, and saw they left the triangle bits in the sewed bag, so did the same.  WFC toteI saw a couple of bags like this and the double handle option gives another idea for ‘next time’.

A few days later, I presented it to a friend in Minnesota and so far so good.  It is appreciated and being used.  Phew!  Now to get over some jet lag…