Beach Cover Up- For Kids!

Oh, the cuteness!

A surfer friend of mine recently brought her 4 month old grandson to the beach for the first time. I’m positive he’s going to become a little grommet, making us all look bad in the lineup, but we’ll have fun watching him grow.I made my friend a terry beach towel post surf cover up with a hood, so I thought it would be cool to make one for her grandson. This one is super easy, and only requires a hand towel, a washcloth, and less than an hour to make on the sewing machine (a little more if you want a bit of detail, wink wink). It will be big on the 4 month old, of course, but should be usable for the little one by the time he gets to walking up until he’s through toddler stage.
First, I bought a new washcloth and hand towel from my local outlet. Linens are ALWAYS cheaper there, and they are of better quality than the big box stores. Of course, the best option is to reuse old towels you no longer use. Avoid buying terry cloth off the bolt from the fabric store unless you are making a large cover up, since terry is much more expensive that way.

I laid out the towel and used a washable marker to draw a centerline up the length of the towel until I hit another mark I made across the center of the towel. This will mark the front slit opening of the robe that I’m going to cut.

At the top of this line, in the center, I drew another line 4 inches long, 2 inches on each side of center, to make room for the neck.

Use a ruler or straightedge to mark, and sharp scissors or a rotary cutter to cut along these lines, making a bit of an oval when I get to the neck so I can sew a hood around the neck opening.

For the hood, I took the washcloth and cut the finished hem off that had the tag on it so I had one raw edge to sew onto the neck opening of the robe.

Next, I wanted to make a little elf-like hood, so I just eyeballed a little “swoop” on the opposite raw straight edge I had just cut, and cut it with my rotary cutter to get the cleanest cut.

I sewed up this swooped edge and finished it on my serger, but an overlock stitch on a sewing machine works just as well. A walking foot helps A LOT when working with terry cloth, trust me!
Turn the hood right side out and pin it to the neckline of the robe. I used quilting clips just because pins can get lost in Terry cloth, and I didn’t want to sew over pins and possibly damage my machine. You may have to “ease” the hood’s bottom around the neckline you made, but terry has a hint of stretch, so work with it until you can get a good fit. Leave a little bit of neckline of the robe exposed on each side of the front, since we are going to put binding down the front.

I used wide double fold bias tape (like you use for quilting or hems) in a nice dark blue to contrast the light blue. I applied the tape on each edge of the front of the robe to cover the edge. I do recommend overlocking or serging the raw edge before doing this step to avoid any future fraying. A good tutorial for applying bias tape is here.


Next, I pinned and sewed down each side on the outside of the robe on the right side, following the towel’s pre-finished edge closely, starting approximately four inches down from the fold (shoulder) to allow baby’s arms to pass through.

Now, I should have probably attached a belt BEFORE stitching up the sides, but no worries, the towel is short enough to slip over the free arm so I could make a squared tack point to station the belt in place on the back of the robe. The belt is simply a strip of fun cotton fabric about three inches wide, folded over right sides together, stitched with a 1/4″ or 5/8″ seam and turned inside out and pressed flat.

For another bit of fun detail, I added an appliqué from the same material on the left chest of the robe. To stabilize and keep the appliqué from moving around while you stitch it down, I highly recommend double sided iron-on adhesive.

Sorry for no pics with the kid modeling the towel- it’s a bit big yet, but maybe one day Auntie Crafty will get a mention when he’s on the WCT! Go Logan!!!
And here it is complete:

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Surf Car Organizer DIY

My Car Organizer

We’ve had an unusual little run of surf lately from the wacky El Nino pattern really starting to show up this winter. Of course, I was scrambling the other morning (with most of the county) to get my butt moving and into the water.
I managed to squeeze myself into my wetsuit, only to be flipping towels looking through the backseat for my key lock and my wax of all things. My leash was in the trunk, so I was running around my car like I was Benny Hill and it was time for a “sexy party”.
I’ve seen these car organizers for people with kids and for road trips, but never for surf crap accessories. I also wanted one that I could take out of the car easily for those times when I’m not surfing, and I wanted to have room for passengers, Here’s the one I made from a store bought shoe holder that holds wax, leashes, sunscreen, etc.:
….AND, I made THREE for $7.00 from 1 shoe organizer I bought from the local outlet store clearance rack. Bonus points if you can find one from your local Goodwill. Mega bonus points if there’s one in your closet not being used that you can use for this project.
Here’s the original:

Lucky to find this shoe organizer in nylon fabric with extra mesh pockets. It takes up the whole door!

Since it was such a long shoe organizer, I cut it into three sections, following the seam lines:

One section cut away

This particular shoe rack was made from rip stop nylon, so I could have just sealed the edges with a glue like stuff you can get at most craft stores called Fray Check, since nylon will fray out with use.
For this project, I decided to finish the edge by overlocking it on my sewing machine, then covering the edge with some bias tape I has lying around. I wasn’t particular about matching colors, so I used brown:

Personally, I buy bias tape from the clearance bin at my local sewing store in several colors. You can use it in a lot of projects.

Here’s what it looks like after binding the top edge:

Bias tape bound top edge of the organizer

Next, I needed some way to hang it in my car that would be easy to remove. For this, I decided to set grommets spaced a little wider apart than the posts on my front seat car headrest, then I strung thick round elastic rope through and knotted the ends to make a hanger.

Old bungee cord works great for this project!

Finished!


View from the backseat…

I can now get everything of the floor, out from under the towels in the back seat too. I can get to the hyped swell super fast, and wipeout all the sooner.

Ok, not me. But it feels that way in my mind…..

DIY Neoprene Sunscreen Stick Holder

Going through my stash of upcycle items, I still had a bit of 2 mm neoprene from a old pair of surf shorts that I had cut up for a past neoprene project. I only had a bit left, so I used the remnant to make a little holder for my sunscreen stick that I can attach to whatever I want when I head to the beach.

For this, I needed neoprene, some 4 lb test fishing line or strong thread, a medium weight needle, a split ring (like for a standard keychain), some scissors, and my sunscreen stick:
 

I made a pattern that is usable for a regular sunscreen face stick like you’d pick up at the drugstore. Mine is 3″ around and 3 3/4″ tall, so the pattern is based on those measurements. You can adjust the pattern as needed if yours is a bit different. The pattern is there to give you an idea of the cutout outline.
 

I cut out the pattern to show you how it works. The dotted lines are fold marks plus one line-up mark to show where the top and bottom will meet. You’ll be folding the top part over the split ring and straight stitch across, then fold the bottom up and whip stitch up the sides. Neoprene’s stretchy, and this is meant to be a snug fit, so this pattern is meant for use with this material only. You may need to make it wider if you’re using another material like cotton.

To make sure the pattern stays in place while I cut, I stapled it to the neoprene in a few spots. 
 

Next, I folded the top section over the split ring and just straight stitched by hand with the needle and fishing line along the section’s bottom:
 

I clipped off any extra line after knotting the ends, and flipped it over. I folded the bottom section up like the pictures above indicated, and just whip stitched up the sides. Try to make small stitches- taking shortcuts will guarantee a short life on your holder. You can add a carabiner or clip to it for convenience. As you can see, the snug fit keeps the sunscreen stick from falling out.

 

When I was done, it looked a lot a mace holder. Maybe that’s appropriate. The Sun can be pretty deadly.

If you scratch my back, I’ll…..punch you in the face.

To the casual observer, we don’t have distinct seasons here in Central Florida. But, being a surfer, I can always tell the when the leaves are turning by the murmurs of my fellow surfers:

“They’re already in a SPRING SUIT?”
“Aren’t you HOT in that vest?”
“Did you SEE that guy wearing a FULL SUIT? I wonder what his problem is…..”

The beauty of the season.

Well, with those utterances, I went to purchase a new fullsuit for the season coming up (fortunately, with discount in hand this time of year). And once again, something that bothered me in the past keeps raising its ugly head. This:

The Death Tab of Velcro

I hate the Death Tab of Velcro. Every time I go to put a suit on that has a back zipper (no, I will NEVER do the chest zip again) the hooked side of the Velcro tab gets lost down in the suit somewhere, ripping the inside to shreds, and making me fumble for five minutes trying to recover it. Then I get nice pilling inside the suit over the season that make me itch. Lovely:

Yuck. And this is just from try ons.

Ok, so I came up with a little hack to help avoid this problem that most suits seem to ignore.
A lot of suits have this grab tab at the neck:

I’m going to attach some loopy side Velcro (NOT the hooked side) to this tab, so I can fold it back onto itself while I put it on so it stays out of the way until I’m ready for it.
Here’s my supplies:

I’m using bright green 3/4″ Velcro so it will show up in the pics- you can use scrap Velcro, whatever. You’ll only need a piece of the LOOPY, SOFT side, not the scratchy hooked side. I also got good scissors, clear 4 LB test fishing line, and a heavy duty SHARP needle. You may want to also use a rubber jar opener to help pull the needle through, since you will be sewing through the tab and the piece of Velcro, which is a lot like sewing through leather, so the grip helps.
Cut a piece of the loopy side of the Velcro, no more than 1″- you don’t want the piece flapping around against your neck.

This is important- you will be sewing the piece to the flap with the loops facing OUTWARD, so the wrong side will be against the outside of the wetsuit tab. You will be whipstitching just one edge together. Make a good starting knot:

Do a tight whipstitch up the edge of the tab:

Finish with a strong knot and trim the ends.

Now, this piece can fold to the inside to act as a block, to prevent the hooked Velcro from snagging on the neoprene while you put it on each time:

Now, get out there and work it, bitches!

DIY Truck Tailgate Surfboard Pad from a Beach Chair

Some time ago, I found a discarded, broken beach chair sitting next to the trash on one of the beach crossovers. The chair was of no use anymore, but the seat material was still in decent shape. It’s made of a heavy duty nylon with a waterproof backing material. That material can be pricey to buy, but here’s some just being tossed out. So, I cut away the seat material (I did chuck the seat frame), and brought it back home to run it through the washer.
Here’s the seat laid out:

Beach chair seat material

I thought it would work great for a tailgate pad on my husband’s truck so I wouldn’t get wax all over the tailgate anymore. I looked at the Thule tailgate pad as an inspiration.
I was able to get a good sized rectangle out of the seat material, around 13″ by 22″:

Rectangle cut from the seat material

For the underside of the pad, I cut another rectangle of the same size out of nylon flag fabric, leftover from my car rack pad project from a couple of weeks ago:

I made sure to overlock the raw edges of the blue nylon flag fabric, so the edges wouldn’t fray.
Using 1″ nylon webbing, I cut a 3 yard strip in half to use as the straps to go under the tailgate. I burned the cut ends with a lighter (outside!) so the webbing wouldn’t fray out:

1″ wide nylon webbing
From each 1 1/2 yard piece, I cut a small 6″ length of webbing that I threaded through a parachute buckle and folded in half, then sewn onto the bottom of the seat material rectangle, 3 inches in from the edge, placed UPSIDE DOWN and facing inside (see first picture), since this entire piece will be sewn onto the flag fabric backing, and turned inside out. On the top side of the rectangle, I sewed the other two long pieces of webbing across from the buckle pieces (see second picture below).

To make strap to secure the tail to the pad and keep it from sliding back and forth on the tailgate, I used some leftover 1″ nylon webbing in purple (sorry, that’s the color I had!). I cut one piece about 15″ long and secured a buckle piece to that end, and the other I left about a yard long with no buckle. I stitched the ends centered on the rectangle, as far in from the edges as the black straps, and in the middle of the rectangle. I sewed a square with an X inside to make sure the end of each piece was secure- I did not sew the webbing all the way to the outside edges- I wanted the straps to be free to come up and around the tail of the surfboard.
I’m ready now to put the flag fabric backing onto the piece. I gathered all the straps and made sure they stayed in the center, away from the edges, placed the flag fabric piece on top, and sewed around THREE sides only:
 

Since I left the side open, I can now turn the piece right side out:



 
Using some mildew resistant polyester 1″ thick foam, I cut a rectangle a little smaller than the tailgate pad case and slid it inside the casing:

 
Once the foam batting was inside the casing, I folded the open edges in about 1/2 inch and stitched the rectangle closed:

I unbuckled the purple tail straps and ran three lines of stitching down the middle of the pad, going through all layers. This will keep the foam batting from moving around inside the casing.


Next, it was time to do a fit check with my fattest board, an SUP, and trim any major excess off of the webbing strips and singe them with a lighter to seal.
I installed it like the Thule instructions directed.
Here’s the final fit:
 
 
 
 
 
Now I can use the Hubby’s truck to do donuts in the middle of A1A without the board sliding around. Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!
 






DIY Surfboard Car Rack Pads

OK, so I broke down a bought a new car after 11 years and nearly 225,000 miles. It was about time. One requirement was that I had roof racks installed on this vehicle, of course. I had to get Yakima permanent mount type, so I paid through the nose to get them installed. I at least could save a bit my making by own rack pads to go on the bars so it wouldn’t damage the boards. Ok, like $40 bucks, but hey, better than nothing.
I thought a lot about the materials I could use to make the pads out of, and I decided on using an old yoga mat I didn’t use anymore since I got a new one. For the sides, I had some flag fabric, which is essentially heavy duty nylon cloth, used to make those outdoor decorative flags. It can be found at any fabric store, but I already had some in my fabric stash.
First, I measured the width of the bars across. I came up with about 27 inches. I decided to round this down to 26″ for my pads to leave a bit of room. You will have a different measurement depending on your racks.
Next, I took a pool noodle and measured the circumference using a tape measure. I came up with 8 inches. Since I’m going to use Velcro as a closure, I added 1 inch to each end, to make it 10 inches to make an overlap. This made the dimension 26″ by 10″. This is what I cut out twice from the yoga mat for each pad.
I was going for pockets on each end of the yoga mat to fit the pool noodle into- therefore, I cut four squares of the flag fabric into 10″ by 10″ squares using a rotary cutter on a cutting surface. The width is the same, but I wanted some space inbetween to fit the pool noodle into.

I then overlocked each edge of both squares using a standard overlock stitch on my machine set at 5.0 width, and 1.0 wide. I used a J foot, used for overlocking.
Next, I stitched the stitched the squares to each end of the yoga mat, placing the squares ON TOP of the mat. Here’s a diagram of the stitching pattern:

Here’s the layout on the floor:

 

When you stitch, keep the edges just overlapping- try not to overlap too much. Use a straight stitch and preferably a roller foot to make the pass.

When you’ve stitched both squares down, lay the piece down right side up and fold each half toward you.

I acquired some blue 3/4″ Velcro from the store to use for this project. Laying it up against the long edge, staple it along this edge to secure it for sewing.

 
Sew lengthwise along the edge of one side of the Velcro, then sew another line along the other side of the Velcro lengthwise. Here’s a sewing guide for this stage:
 
                                            
 
 
FLIP the piece to the other side and do the same thing. Don’t forget that the Velcro needs to be on opposite sides since the piece will be wrapping around a cylinder.
 
Finished!
Now, I’ve got to cut the foam noodle. I’m cutting it to 26″ inches. I mark the point with a pen.
For cutting foam of any kind, I use a electric knife like for cutting turkeys. Yep, they work great. They cut though foam like butter and make a mean turkey sandwich (well, when I used to eat meat).
 
I need to cut the foam noodle down the center (but not all the way through, just to the hole in the center). To help keep it straight, I chocked the noodle with a couple of heavy books:
 
Once the noodle was cut lengthwise, it was placed into the yoga mat pocket.
 
With the noodle cut side up, I tucked the flag fabric into the slit. I did not close the Velcro yet until I got the pads over the rail.
Slip the pads over the rail slit side down and with the fabric tucked in. Close the Velcro around the rails. The nice thing about these pads is that they have a slight sticky quality, which helps to keep the board from moving around.
Here they are installed over the rails:
 
Spiffy! Now my rail pads match my seat covers. I’m officially a total kook. Here’s to sorta keepin’ it real….kinda.




DIY Beach Towel Changing Cover Up

So, even though it’s January, slap me silly, it’s been quite warm here in Floriduh. Even has me thinking about shedding the wetsuit. Nah. The water’s still too chilly for me. Yeah, I’m a wuss. Tell me to my face. I’ll take you on.
Thankfully, for me, my drive home is usually pretty short, so I just usually drive home in my wetsuit. If I have to look forward to a rashy long drive, though, I’d better pack a way to get out of my suit without giving the folks on A1A a better show than the Lido Cabaret (for better or worse).
I’ve seen those nice expensive changing ponchos for the parking lot, but I had a nice large towel already that is 33″ wide by 66″ long- no holes in this old towel!- that would do nicely to make one.

My nice big beach non holey towel

So, I figured this would work to cover me pretty well lengthwise (I’m pretty short). If you’re taller, whipstitch additional hand or beach towels to each end to make it longer (or sideways, to make it wider- we don’t judge here).
I folded mine in half and pinned down each side fully. Don’t be stingy with the pins- pin the entire length down each side together:

Pinning each side in place

Use a Large t-shirt as a guide and lay it in the middle of the folded towel, with the collar close to the folded edge and the sleeves out towards the pinned edges. Notice where the line of the armpit of the t-shirt falls in relation to the pinned edge? Come down about 1 inch under the armpit if you’re a woman, 2 inches if you’re a man, from that point and place a pin ON THE OUTER SEAM OF THE TOWEL where you pinned down the side originally. You will be sewing only between this point and the bottom, leaving an opening for your arm to fit through, but go ahead and leave the other pins in place down the side to keep the seam stable as you sew, even though you won’t be stitiching the upper part.

Don’t forget to cut a neckline as well- I do this by taking that same shirt as a guide by holding it up to the middle of the fold, and measuring. I noticed that this one could use about 3 inches on each side since I’ve got a bulbous head like George Costanza, so I gave myself 12 inches across right in the middle(!).Honestly, just keep in mind that the towel won’t stretch like your favorite t-shirt will, so make sure to give yourself a generous slit, but don’t let it fall off your shoulder:

Since I gave myself a football sized head, I didn’t think I had much depth (haha), so I’m pretty shallow, at only an inch…..

I needed to sew the raw edge of the collar, so I just overlocked the edge using a basic overlock stitch on my machine:

 

That didn’t create a very nice finished look for the collar, so I finished it using some extra wide double fold bias tape stitched over the raw edge, kind of like a quilt edge:

 Much Better!

 
Here it is over a full suit, ready to go:
 
I guess a hood would be easy enough to add like I’ve seen on some of the coverups, but if it’s cold enough that I’d need a hood to change out of my wetsuit, that also means a football or basketball game is on somewhere and I’m missing it in some warm place.
Bring on Summer.