I don't know about you, but I don't want summer to end (if only we could have rain!). For us summer means campouts and hauling lots of gear. After four campouts where we juggled picnic blankets, beach totes, camp chairs, and more as we trekked back and forth from our tent to the water or to a shaded grassy area, I decided we needed a lightweight tote into which we could tuck our beach clothes that could be spread out for us to sit on it.
Cricut's August Design Space Star competition's August Challenge (Fashion or Gear) gave me the perfect excuse to stop putting off this project and just do it, especially when my team, Team 12, chose Endless Summer as our theme. Coconut trees immediately popped into my head and stayed there thanks to Gates' latest favorite book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (Chicka Chicka Book, A) (*affiliate link) .
Making Your Tote
This project is pretty easy, both in terms of the fabric collage you cut using the Cricut Explore and the construction of the tote itself. Because the picnic blanket is almost 8' by 5', you'll need a pretty sizeable area when you're working. I hadn't considered this and only had a 2'x3' space in which to work. I was able to complete the project in this space, but it required constantly double checking to ensure I wasn't accidentally sewing on multiple layers (which I did a couple of times) or catching the straps while attaching the D-rings (which I also did a few times).
For your collage, you'll need the following:
- Cricut Explore Electronic Cutting Machine with Cricut Design Space Free Online Software (*affiliate link)
- Cricut StandardGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat, 12 by 12, Set of 2 (*affiliate link) (One comes with your Cricut.)
- Cricut StrongGrip Adhesive Cutting Mat, 12 by 12-Inch (*affiliate link)
- Cricut Tools Craft Basic Set (*affiliate link)
- Endless Summer Setting Sun Behind Strand of Coconut Trees SVG File (available for $1)
- Thermoweb Heat'n Bond Medium Weight Iron-On Fusible Interfacing-White 20"X36" (*affiliate link)
- 12x6 piece of lightweight leather for the trunks of the coconut trees and the coconuts
- 12x12 piece of medium weight fabric for the setting sun
- 12x12 piece of light weight fabric for the leaves of the coconut trees (or alternately 2-12x6 pieces of light and dark colored light weight fabric for the leaves of the coconut trees)
For your tote, you'll need the following:
- Bernina-Bernette 65 Sewing Machine (*affiliate link) with heavy duty needle
- Bobbins, Babylock, Brother, Bernette, Viking (10pk) X52800150 (*affiliate link)
- Straight pins
- Measuring tape
- Seam ripper
- 3 packs Dritz(R) Metal Inch D Inch Rings 1 Inch 4/Pkg-Nickel (*affiliate link)
- 6 yards 1" webbing
- 2 yards 60" wide water repellant fabric
- 2 yards 60" wide water repellant fabric
- thread that matches your first fabric
- thread that matches your second fabric
- optional, thread that matches your webbing
- Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link)
- Prewash your fabrics and prepare any lightweight fabric, by applying Thermoweb Heat'n Bond Medium Weight Iron-On Fusible Interfacing-White 20"X36" (*affiliate link) as per manufacturer's instructions.
- Import Endless Summer Coconut Tree SVG file into Cricut Design Space.
- Prepare your design for cutting. Assign all coconut tree trunks and coconuts the same color so that they'll print on the leather. (You can choose to have your coconuts a different material; simply assign them a different color and have additional material ready.) Assign the coconut tree leaves the same color (different than the one you used for the coconut tree trunks and coconuts) so that they'll print on the 12x12, if you have two color leaves, assign half to each color. Assign the sun a different color. Preview your boards to ensure that the designs fit on your fabric; this is especially important if you're using scraps that don't completely fill the 12x12 space.
- Cut your material. Load your lightweight leather face down on the super adhesive mat. Select mirror image (fabric is not right side up). Select Custom dial, Leather Lightweight and modify settings so that it's the greatest pressure and cuts 5 times. Hit Go. Load your lightweight fabric for the coconut leaves face down on the regular adhesive mat (interfacing should be facing you or it will get stuck on the mat). Select mirror image (fabric is not right side up). Select Custom dial, Fabric, Polyester and modify settings so that it cuts 3 times. Hit Go. Load your lightweight fabric for the setting sun. Select Fabric dial. Hit Go. Close out of your cut. Reload your cut and advance until you're back on the setting sun mat. Flip your board when you load it. Hit Go. You now have all of the pieces of your collage cut.
- Thread your sewing machine with one thread matching your reversible fabric for the top stitch and the other thread that matches your reversible fabric on your bobbin for the bottom stitch.
- Sew a square of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) to the front of one of your setting sun pieces.
- Pin two setting suns right sides facing each other. Sew together. Notch the hem. Flip fabric inside out.
- Sew three sides of your reversible fabric together (right sides facing each other) beginning with one of the long edges. Flip fabric inside out.
- Pin your setting sun to the middle of the open edge of your blanket. Fold the raw edges of the blanket in and pin.
- Sew edge shut and continue edge stitch around the entire blanket. Optionally, stitch a parallel edge stitch around the entire blanket with your thread colors reversed (or simply flip your blanket and stitch again).
- Pin collage onto your blanket. Sew in place.
- Attach webbing to your blanket. Pin straps to blanket at 1/3 of the width from the left long edge and 1/3 of the width from the right long edge. Attach a single D-ring to top edge of each strap and sew securely in place with a straight stitch across the webbing quadruple stitched (forward stitch, reverse stitch, forward stitch, reverse stitch). Secure each strap by sewing 9 inches of the webbing to the blanket. Affix two D-rings at 9 inches and secure in place as you did the first D-ring at the top edge of the strap. Place remaining 6 D-rings on the back of the blanket so that the straps remain in place when styled as a tote, one at the bottom of the tote, one halfway up the back, and the other at the top edge of the blanket for each strap.
- Sew a square of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) about 7 and half inches down from the center of your blanket where your sun lies. Use the piece on the back of your sun as a guide.
- Sew strips of Velcro Brand Soft & Flexible Sew-On Tape 5/8"X30"-White (*affiliate link) to the both the left and right top edges of your blanket. This will keep the setting sun and coconut tree collage lying flat when your blanket is styled as a tote.
Converting Your Tote from Blanket to Tote
Because this tote converts from a tote to a picnic blanket, it's not designed to hold heavy items. The long straps give you the flexibility to style the tote as a bag for your yoga mat or a beach duffle, but don't give you support for heavy items, like a watermelon. This tote is designed to hold lightweight items such as towels, hand wipes, and sunscreen and to reduce the number of items parents are struggling with as they attempt to keep up with excited children. If you used longer straps and attached them directly your blanket, you could carry heavier items. (Lengthening the amount of webbing doesn't substantially increase the cost of the project as 6 yards cost just under a $2.00.)
Depending on how you close your tote, you either have a bag (steps shown above) sized for carrying your yoga mat, towel, and bottle of water or a beach tote (knot the two left corners together, then knot the two right corners together, make sure the knots are tight, fold the knots towards each other, and pull sunset sky fabric over the top to cover) sized for a couple of towels, swimsuits, hand wipes, sunscreen, hats, and a couple of snacks.
More Endless Summer Projects to Try with Your Cricut Explore
To really bring Endless Summer to wherever you are, no matter what the weather, you'll want to check out these projects from my Cricut Design Space Star Contest teammates, go Team 12!:
- Bev of Flamingo Toes has an Easy Lace Filigree Chain Necklace for your summer night out on the town
- Mari of Small for Big created these DIY Aluminum Geometric Necklaces
- Tami of Gifting Sweet designed DIY Dry Brushed Earrings
- Gretchen of Three Little Monkeys Studio made DIY Wood Veneer Earrings in the shape of surfboards!
- Brooke of Little Retreats: handcrafted with cool peeps in mind dreamt up DIY Temporary Beach Tattoos.
- Anneliese of Aesthetic Nest adds surfboards to her Summer Forever Tee Shirt
- Sara of Clever Pink Pirate takes us to the beach for volleyball with her DIY Upcycled T Shirt
- Kim of The Celebration Shoppe gets organized for the Fall with a DIY motivational clipboard and coffee mug
Credits: All layouts designed by and images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life.
DISCLOSURE: For my participation in Cricut's Design Space Star competition, Provo Craft gave me a Cricut Explore. This post contains affiliate links, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own all of the products included in the post. All opinions presented are my own.