This post is sponsored by Oly*Fun, I have been provided with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support Handmade in the Heartland!
If you're like me going to the pool with kids kind of makes you feel like a pack mule. You need the towels, snacks, sunscreen, pool toys, goggles, life vests, swim diapers, regular diapers, wipes... you get my point. When I was introduced to oly*fun fabric my first thought was that it would make a perfect pool bag. Oly*fun is a new fabric developed by fairfield that is really similar to a lot of the fabric that your reusable grocery sacks are made out of, it has little circle indents, if you look closely you can see them. Its kind of an amazing material, it doesn't tear, its super lightweight, you can sew it, glue it, staple it, pin it or tie it.You can write on it, paint it, embellish it, stamp it or stencil it, you can scissor, rotary, or die cut it. You can use it as fabric or use it as paper and you can use it indoors and outdoors. The only thing it won’t do is fray, tear, or fade so don’t bother hemming it. I love the way my pool bag made with oly*fun turned out, and I mean how cute is that beach ball pocket?
I wanted to make a longer bag that was deep enough but not so deep that it seemed like a bottomless pit, you know those bags that seem to eat everything you put inside? am I right? The wide and shallow design actually really made everything super accessible and easy to see and fit everything we needed to take to the pool!
Oly*fun is water resistant which makes it really nice for a pool bag, and because it doesn't fray I could skip a lot of steps in sewing that I would normally have to do (like turn the handles inside out so there wouldn't be a fraying edge or serging edges on the inside).
To make the bag I laid out my fabric and decided how wide I wanted it to be. My base for the bag ended up being 36" by 30", depending on how you purchased the oly (it comes in a 3 yard pack that is only 20"wide or a bolt that is 60"wide) you might have to sew 2 pieces together to get the base of your bag.
I reinforced the top of the bag and the bottom of the bag by sewing a 3"x 36" piece to the right side of the top edge and then flipping it over so the top edge of the bag is a nice thick seam instead of a light raw edge. After flipping it over to the inside I topstitched 1/2" from the top and then at 2.5" from the top at the bottom of the reinforcement piece. For the base of the bag I cut a piece of oly*fun 36" by 8.5" and sewed it to the center of the bag on the inside side while it is still just a large piece of base fabric.
To make the handles I cut 4" strips and then folded them in half and topstitched them at 1/4" in from each side. I wish i had made the hands 1.5" wide instead of 2", they seem a little thick to me. To attach the handles I stitched them onto the bag starting atthe center of the bag (bottom) and then pinned them up to the top of the bag and then leaving about 20" open for the handle stitched it down 12" from the other handle at the top of the bag. Once the handles are sewn on I added an extra X stitch at the top of each handle for extra support.
To finally turn your bag into looking like an actual bag put the right sides together and sew up the side seams. After that take your hand and push the bottom corner on each side out so that you make a triangle with the bottom sewn point being the top of the triangle. Fold it down and draw a line across it (making the bottom of the triangle) at 4" up from the tip of the triangle, OR if you did reinforce the bottom you should just be able to sew across your reinforced fabric line.
Turn it right side out and your done unless you want to add an awesome beach ball pocket. :) For mine I cut out 2 identical circles, one for the base and one to draw on and use as a pattern. I sketched out the beach ball and then cut out each piece. Using the pieces as patterns cut out different colors for the beach ball sides. I just strait stitched these onto the first intact circle and then sewed that to the bag leaving about 1/3 of the ball open at the top. SO easy and so cute!
Oly*fun is so affordable! You can order a 3 yard pack for $2.99, the price makes it perfect for crafting projects and all the different capabilities of it make it especially fun to work with. Or if you are doing some major projects you can order a whole bolt! What will you make with oly*fun? I'd love to hear in the comments!