the crabby bag + giveaway

So, you’re at Thrift Town, where you’re presumably looking for tiny roll-top desks for your tiny children, but instead you find yourself rifling through extra-large men’s swimwear, and you come across a $3 pair of highly orange trunks. And, sure, one thing you might think is, “Why am I looking at men’s swimwear rather than at tiny roll-top desks, and why am I specifically looking at extra-large men’s swimwear when neither I nor any member of my family is an extra-large man?” Or, OR, you might think, “This calls for a crabby bag!”
I mean, wouldn’t it be nice to have a little beach tote for your kids to, well, tote their sand toys around in? And wouldn’t it be nicer still if the fabric were easy to dust off, shake off, and air dry? And wouldn’t it be just the pinnacle of niceness if said beach tote had little crab appendages sticking out of it? You tell me. Tute following the giveaway details!


Who wants to play a totally random giveaway?

What you’re playing for:

I will dig into my fabric stash and make you some random thing of my choosing. That’s right, you’re playing for a random thing handmade by an enthusiastic amateur.

How to enter:

Do any/all of the following by the close of the contest on Friday, 9/5, 11:59PM Pacific. Just make sure you enter your email each time you leave a comment so that I can get in touch with you and give you the thing I will make you if the raffle smiles upon you. Don’t worry, emails don’t show up with the comments or get you added to any lists.

  • Leave a comment sharing your best upcycling moment (or what you’d like to upcycle).
  • Leave a comment with a crab-themed haiku.
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook, and come back here to leave a comment letting me know you did so.
  • Tweet this giveaway, and come back here to leave a comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow me on Facebook, and come back here to leave a comment letting me know you did so.
  • Follow me on Twitter, and come back here to leave a comment letting me know you did so.

The Crabby Bag




So, let’s start with the deets. You’ll want:

1 pair of XL (or bigger) men’s swim trunks. If you want the extreme biological accuracy you see above, look for orange trunks.

And, yeah, that’s about it, other than the usual sewing stuff like a machine and thread and scissors. A chopstick or other turning tool is great. And if you’re me, never go far without a seam ripper.

Oh, and a willingness to totally wing it.



Begin with said swim trunks.



Disassemble the trunks. These trunks have some great side pockets that I wanted to preserve and use in the final bag, so I cut off the waistband, cut out the mesh lining, and cut the trunks along the crotch seam and inseam. In other words, stay away from those side seams and their fantastic pockets!



This is where the winging-it begins. I took a look at my available fabric. I determined what portions of the trunks I wanted to make up the body of the bag (I wanted to keep the pockets), and figure out how much remaining fabric you can work with to make an oval-shaped base. Basically, I determined that I didn’t want to cut below where the tops of the pockets were. I made an oval with a circumference of 32″. (I traced a small casserole dish.) I made sure before cutting that I had enough remaining fabric to make two sections for the body that would exceed this circumference. (I made sure that the length available for my two sections together totaled more than 34″, to account for seam allowances.)



And then I cut the body of my bag. I cut two pieces to the height I wanted (really, I was restricted by the available fabric), and their length was [half the circumference of the oval + 1/2″ + 1/2″ (seam allowances)]. Mine came out to 9″ tall by 17″ wide each.



I also cut the following:

4 crab claws. These I freehanded. Just make sure you make them extra-chubby to account for seam allowances, as you’ll be sewing and turning these.

6 strips about 1.5″ x 5″.

2 straps, each 4″ x 15″.




Now, do the following:

Press (on super-low heat) your strap pieces in half lengthwise. Open them out, and press each side into the center. Press in half again, encasing the raw edges. Basically, you’re folding them into quarters with the edges inside. Topstitch along each long edge with an 1/8″ seam allowance.

Fold each of the 1.5″ x 5″ little strips in half, making them 1.5″ x 2.5″. If your trunks are like mine, there’s not really a right/wrong side. But if there is, fold right sides together. Sew along the two long sides with an 1/8″ seam allowance. Turn these right side out.

Divide your four crab claws into two pairs. With each pair, sew them together at their edges with an 1/8″ seam allowance, leaving the “base” of the claw open (the skinny part).



Now, the fun part. Place the two sections of the body of your bag right sides together. On each side, sandwich a claw and three crab legs, with all the raw edges flush against the sides. They should be facing inward, which is why you can’t see mine! I did my three little crab legs close together (about 1/2″ apart) near the bottom, then my claws closer to the top. Just make sure you keep them at least 1″ away from the tops and bottoms, because you’ll be seaming and hemming. Now, sew along the short sides of the two body sections with a 1/2″ seam allowance.


imageTurn that sucker out!



Kind of hard to take a picture of, but now you want to sew your bag’s body to the oval base, right sides together, 1/2″ seam allowance. I did three lines of stitching just to reinforce it. So, I did the original sewing to attach the body to the base. Then, I separated the seam allowance and sewed a line of stitching 1/8″ away from the original seam on each side.



Now, I folded the top edge in toward the wrong side, doing a 1/2″ hem. I sewed this down 1/8″ away from the raw edge.



Lastly, the straps. I just made sure they were symmetrical and sewed them down about 1″ down from the top of the bag with a box/crisscross deal. I’m sure that stitch has a real name.



And that, my friends, is The Crabby Bag.

  16 comments for “the crabby bag + giveaway

  1. D.A.
    August 21, 2014 at 6:35 am

    How did I not notice you taking all the pictures of Crabby?

    Captain Barnacles
    says Japanese spider crabs
    live to one hundred

  2. August 21, 2014 at 8:03 am

    I should have known you would be undaunted by the crab-ku option. Helps that you have a bottomless repository of sea creature trivia at your disposal.

  3. D.J.
    August 22, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    On an empty beach
    I found a single crab claw
    Wife said it was lunch

  4. August 23, 2014 at 12:08 am

    That’s a beauty. And you’ve learned from experience, have you not, DJ, to check if said crab claw is clean before ingesting?

  5. Joyce
    August 23, 2014 at 12:27 am

    Shell sheds, soft inside
    Exposed, grows stronger with time.
    Resilient heart.

  6. August 23, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Love it, Joyce!

  7. Jen
    August 23, 2014 at 10:10 am

    I shared on FB! I love this upcycle!

  8. August 23, 2014 at 10:13 am

    Thanks, Jen! <3

  9. Kacey
    August 23, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Scuttling quickly
    Crouching low and defensive
    You taste so yummy

  10. August 23, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    Nom nom. Thanks, Kacey!

  11. Joyce
    August 24, 2014 at 9:57 pm

    No equivalent
    In humans. Good thing ’cause, damn,
    Is green goo tasty.

  12. August 24, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    On fire, Joyce!

  13. August 29, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    I, the feisty beast
    who can turn your soup to brine
    let me dig instead

  14. August 29, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Welcome to the literary mire that is crab-ku composition, Maggie!

  15. kimberly
    September 3, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    tiptoe on the sand
    drift among the ocean waves
    sizzle with butter

  16. September 3, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    so scenic, and so delicious!

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