Surfy Little Pillow

I recently finished up some curtains for a friend’s place (I tend to surf at her break a lot, so it’s the least I can do), so I ended up with some scrap fabric leftover. Just for fun, I wanted to whip up a surfy themed pillow for her beach pad.

Art by Seaweedsa

My inspiration 

I decided to try out the surf primitive style, that uses bright colors and a thick, defining outline on the simple shapes. My inspiration was the art of Seaweedsa, who has done great artwork for our Florida Surf Museum’s events. For my little project, I did my interpretation in appliqué.

I gathered my scraps, a 16” by 16” quilting square (the size of the pillow), some iron-on double sided adhesive for the appliqué pieces, and sketch paper to make pattern pieces to cut out.

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My supplies

I made a simple beachy design, cut the shapes out, and backed them with the iron-on fusible Steam-A-Seam to fuse them onto the pillow case piece I would be making out of one big sky blue scrap. From there, I used a wide satin stitch in black to outline every piece.

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Arranging my pieces

Once I had my pieces where I wanted, I did my black satin stitch around them, starting with the foreground pieces- the surfboards.

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Wide satin stitch

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Outlining

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Adding detail with a Disappearing Ink pen

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Sewing over the drawn details

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Appliqué completed

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After the pillowcase has been sewn up each side, and is still turned inside out (note that I used interfacing on the back to help stabilize the fabric!)

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Hella surfy

 

And, as it turns out, she likes it. Good thing, or I would have been feeling like this dude….

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That pillow looks mighty tasty

This Old Rashguard….

It’s always good to fix or reuse whatcha got already, instead of always going for new, shiny stuff. This is especially true with clothing, which actually takes up a big percentage of our waste these days.

I avoid using the dryer as much as possible to extend the life of my boardshorts and swim gear (just look in the lint trap to see all the fibers you lose every time with your clothes). I’ve started to discover recently that it’s worth reusing and resewing some of my surf gear because the prices have become crazy for material and for the finished garments themselves.

Remember in my last blog post when I used a too small rashguard for a project? Here’s what I did with the rest of it.

This is what the original too-small rashguard looked like:

After my last project, I was left with a sleeveless top with a collar that I removed with the seam attached:

Next, I wanted to trim the length of the top so the finished garment ended up around my ribs (with a 2″ elastic band). I don’t need it riding up on me, and I’m not going for skimpy. I cut across about 4″ down from the armpit:

I also wanted to make the neck a bit shallower and matching front and back, so I used a French Curve to make a slight scoop:

At this point, you may want to line the front of the top with some of the extra rashguard material, especially if you are using a lighter colored rashguard, or if the material is really thin. I didn’t bother lining this one.

Next, I cut the collar into halves. This creates a little tunnel I can feed cord through, and the seam keeps it shut.

I pinned each of these halves onto the front and back of the neck, and serged them on.

So next, I measured out some 2″ soft waistband elastic. The rule of thumb for elastic is, take your measurement (an inch or two below my bustline for this), then subtract 10%. However, since I’ll be surfing in this, I’m going to take 15%, just because saltwater breaks down elastic quickly. Boo.

I serged the ends of the elastic into a loop, pinned the band onto the bottom, and strrrrrretched the elastic as I serged it to the bottom of the top.

To make the loop strap around the shoulder, I cut a 2″ strip from the leftover rashguard material. I pulled the strip taut to make it curl onto itself to make a cord so I could feed it through the channels at the neckline:

I sewed the cord loop closed when I got the length where I wanted it. Remember that it will stretch a bit over time. I like the long length, since I wipeout a lot, adjusting my top is a PITA.

Here it is, front and back. This dress form is a little small, but you get the idea:

No, I’m not going to model it personally and post photos. I’m a modest Southern lady that enjoyed fried foods for some years now, unlike my healthy quinoa friends.

Don’t judge me.

My Favorite Disney Princess….

Easy Wetsuit Hack Attack

It has been cold for Central Florida, with our water temps dipping down into the high 50’s. At least today was warm, but it won’t be for long. I may have to break down and buy another full wetsuit that goes all the way down to my ankles, and that makes me sad. Worse yet, I’ve got to go try some on, and it’s a pain in the ass to wriggle into the freakin’ wetsuits.

Most surfers have heard the old trick about slipping into a wetsuit easier (dry or wet) by using a plastic shopping bag over the foot or hand, sliding the appendage through, then removing the bag. There’s even surfy gimmicks out there you can buy to help you like the Jimmy or WetSox, but you can make this so easily, it’s insanity.

This upcycling hack looks similar to WetSox. I’m taking an old rash guard of mine that’s a teensy too small, cutting a sleeve off, sewing up one end with a whipstitch, and BOOM! E-Z Wetsuit Slip On Tool. Here’s my process in pics (I wish WordPress would let me do captions again):

A little more permanent than a plastic bag, plus it’s washable. Schweet.

So what am I going to do with a sleeveless rashguard? I might come up with another project, or I may go surfin’ with this brah, he knows the feeling of a good wipeout…

Another Simple Surf Wetsuit Mod

Is it Summer yet? Well, at least the holidays are almost done. Yet another year I didn’t get to spend at Mr. Kelly Slater’s Bodacious Wave Ranch. Boo.

So, back at this local wave ranch, I’ve been trying to get at least one more season out of my 4/3 Neoprene backzip fullsuit. I had modded it last year by cutting the legs off at the knee. In Florida, the north wind can feel a lot colder than the water temp, so a shorter leg can be more comfortable to surf in.

The latest mod I wanted to do is one I’ve heard many other surfers ask about: what to do with a bothersome high collar on a wetsuit. Mine seems a little tight, so I wanted to trim it down.

Like most basic Neoprene wetsuit mods, you don’t need a sewing machine, but the “big secret” is in the tools:

  • Seam Ripper
  • Rotary Cutter (preferably 45 mm diameter or less)
  • Heavy duty hand sewing needle
  • Polyester thread or fishing line

First, I removed that pesky key pocket behind the back zipper. I have other ways of hiding my keys, and dunking them in saltwater isn’t on the top of the list. It’s so scratchy anyway, and adds bulk I don’t need.

Next, I removed the Velcro tab on the collar with a seam ripper so it wouldn’t damage my rotary blade. I’m cutting away the Neoprene collar only, keeping the seal of the glued seam intact. I tried to make one continuous cut by opening up the suit as flat as it would go on the table.

If you choose to use regular scissors, be forewarned: your edges will come out VERY jagged due to the thickness of the Neoprene. This is why I stress the rotary blade over regular scissors.

I don’t like to use any type of edge guide when making these kind of highly curved cuts with the rotary tool. You can use a disappearing ink pen to make a cut line if your lining is light colored. For me, I winged it by eyeballing the 1/4″ distance from the yellow tape on the inside of the suit.

I used just a scant amount of Velcro from the tab I removed, and hand-sewed it back onto the flap so the collar would still close, just at a much lower profile. I may add a bit more Velcro later, depending on how it handles in the surf over time.

Much better!

Easier to wrestle with and the neck’s a lot more comfortable, but it’s still sealed up well.

This is a good reminder that I need to put the sugary goodness away for the season and get back in the water. Yikes.

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Surfing Beanie

In case you didn’t already know, I hate winter. We don’t generally get snow in this part of Florida- just windy, gloomy days with a biting chill that can become unbearable sometimes. At least the winters appear to be getting shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means I may have waterfront property sooner than later.

Always look on da bright side, yo.

As I’ve been playing with and learning more about Neoprene upcycling, I’ve considered more things I can make, and one thing I NEED is a well fitting Neoprene beanie hat that will stay on when I surf to keep my head warm from the chilly wind. However, most surf beanies are fitted right to the skull- great for guys with short hairstyles, not so great for surfer chicks with ponytails…

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BLEH!!!! NO chinstraps, please

I wanted to make something that had the top open enough to allow my ponytail to poke through, but I could close it up if I had wanted to wear it down. I used plain paper, a pen, and rulers to draft out a beanie pattern that would use 4 of these pieces (this is a good visual tutorial that is similar to my project).

 

 

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Drafting out my beanie pattern

 

I had an ancient 1.5 mm Hyperflex Neoprene surf vest that had plenty of decent material to use. I made sure to cut away any original flatlocked and finished seams on the vest, so the sewing machine wouldn’t bite on them.

 

 

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Cutting away the neoprene pieces out of the vest

 

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Laying out the pieces and pattern

 

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The four beanie pieces cut out

 

In this project, I used a simple 2-thread overlock on the serger since the total thickness would be 3 mm (1.5 mm for each layer). If it was any thicker than 3 mm in total, I would’ve hand stitched the pieces together. Totally doable with a sharp heavy hand needle, some heavy nylon thread, and a basic whipstitch.

 

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Two pieces of the beanies serged along the edge, with the top left open

 

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Fit check!

 

For the hat band, I used 1″ fold-over elastic in black. I measured the elastic about 3″ shorter than the hat’s circumference, and stretched as I stitched to fit.

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After the hat band (fold over elastic) has been sewed on

 

On the crown, I hand stitched grommets (2 at the top of each quarter, 8 total). I made these grommets so I could pull elastic or a drawstring through to close the crown. I made my own drawstring ribbon from some scrap Lycra in a fun purple paisley print. Just because it’s so freakin’ jaunty. You can use elastic cord, or other drawstring materials.

 

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Different things to use as drawstrings

 

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Last fit check

 

Done! Now, I can thread my ponytail through, and it will help as a pseudo-tether as well.

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Better than a chinstrap

 

Hey, surfers may get a bad reputation as stoners, but at least our beanies and hats don’t turn out like the skiers’ and snowboarders’. Ya hippies.

 

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I’ve skied in one of these, full disclosure

 

DIY Upcycled Neoprene Pouch Keychain

This week has been cray cray. The stress of the holidays is approaching, and you can see it around Cocoa Beach with the influx of angry out of towners. And here I thought the ocean was supposed to be soothing.

Instead of getting out in the crazy shopping melee tomorrow, MAKE something useful out of your old wetsuit, since you’re probably getting a new one anyways. Even if you’ve been naughty and stealing my waves, you wanker.

I used a scrap of Neoprene from a machine washed wetsuit sleeve for the main part of this pouch. Machine washing is OK and DESIRED if it is to be used for crafting! The Velcro and nylon webbing piece came from another old surfing vest zip back. I cut the piece of Velcro in half so it would span the top flap and keep it closed.

I also used a keychain ring with a clip from the hardware store, and some heavy duty nylon thread in purple and black to sew everything. You can use Neoprene repair glue if you want to glue the pieces instead, but I hand sewed everything on.

I cut the sleeve just a few inches above the wrist, then cut away a little on the inside, leaving a top flap to put the Velcro on:

I sewed the clip and strap onto the back of the pouch also:

Done- and useful for putting all sorts of surfy stuff in, like surf wax, fin screws, leash loops, etc. Schweet.

Now, wasn’t that more fun than dealing with the holiday chaos?

DIY Surfboard Carrier Sling

I think these surfboard carriers are pretty smart, but they can also get a bit over the top. I just need something to take some pressure off of my

Kinda pricey, but nice

 carrying arm when I’m taking my board down to the beach. More so now with my recent shoulder injury. There’s some on online stores that are well-designed, could probably take a bullet, but also cost some real cash (plus S&H, too).

I just figured I’d make my own simple one out of an ancient bath towel, a couple of surf tees, and a bit of rubber kitchen drawer grip ($1 for a big roll from the thrift store originally). Kinda has that MacGyver feel. Nice.

I LOVE this shirt, but it’s a little big

I did this one mostly for my 7’0” funshape, so this not-too-big, not-too-small shrunken bath towel would work fine. This towel’s width was around 1/3 of the length of my funshape board, which I thought would help for stabilization.

The only machine stitching I did on this carrier was to make the top casings for the handles. I just folded down each end a bit to the outside of the carrier, pinned it, and ran a straight line of stitching down each end. Also hid the fancy pants brocade strip so common with bath towels. Takes away from the Surf Cred, ya know.

If you want, you can add the kitchen drawer grip as a strip to the bottom of your carrier, like I did. I made mine 6” wide, and around 26ish” long, approximately the width of the carrier sling. This will help the board from sliding out of the sling as you move around. I used a heavy hand-sewing needle and Button and Craft thread (thicker than sewing machine thread) to sew in the strip to the bottom.

Next, I applied interfacing to the back of the surf tee logo to give it some stiffness for use as a pocket. I sewed the cut out patch pocket onto the front of the carrier, being careful not to overlap the kitchen grip attached at the bottom. I used a triple step zig-zag stitch around the curved edge. The top edge was open, but I had hemmed it already.

Taking the remainder from the surf tees to make the handles for the carrier sling using t-shirt yarn (learn how to make t-shirt yarn), I braided the strands, then sewed two braids together to give it some width. The t-shirt knit makes it comfortable on the shoulder, too, and also stretches a lot.

The handles were made by feeding 1/2 of my doubled braid into the casing I made on the towel, and sewing the ends together. Same for the other side.
Done!

I’m in full GNAR mode now

I was pleasantly surprised that it will carry my biggest longboard, my 9’0” Dewey Weber:

Schweet

Now that’s how you MacGyver, kids.

Yikes. World’s over.