Monday, 14 June 2010

Barcelona beach bags

Well, we couldn't have a hen do without a memento. Using some calico, cotton tape and image transfer paper, I made beach bags for us to use in Barcelona. Whilst we didn't have time to lounge on the beach, they became our shopping bags for all things divine from Mercat St Josep.

I wanted to turn this into a tutorial, but ran out of time to photograph all the stages. I'll make sure I do when I next make one. They are essentially book bags with a wide bottom. So easy to make and I'm really pleased with how they turned out.

For now, here are some photos of the initial stages and the image transfer paper being used. I did a printing course about 3 years ago and bought it hoping to use it, but like so many of my craft bits it was tucked away for a rainy day and forgotten about. The instructions are really straightforward - simply treat it like printer paper and just remember to reverse the text or image before you press print! I had a small IT issue with my laptop and printer (they are apparently 'on a break') but this was easily resolved using a rather convoluted method of two laptops, pdf, gmail, printer and floor cushions. The latter due to the location of said printer!

Patience is the key - when you have printed the image, it needs to be bone dry before you iron it onto the fabric. When you iron it onto the fabric it needs to have cooled completely before peeling off the transfer backing. On the first bag I made, I tried to overlap the names on the main image - big mistake. Obviously the heat of the iron heats up the main image and everything becomes a hot, sticky, transfer mess. Stick to the recommended ironing times - I got distracted by Miss P a couple of times and had to cobble together a method of getting the smaller name transfers to attach fully to the fabric after I'd peeled off the backing paper.* The cherries were a standard iron-on patch - something I'd not used before, but fell in love with and thought they'd go well with the Spanish themed handles.

The bag itself is double stitched and unlined. I trimmed the seams with my pinking shears to keep everything neat. Next time I'll make them a touch wider and double stitch around the top of the bag - I gave them two rows of stitching (top and bottom) but that wasn't strong enough.

*I used the large backing paper that had been peeled from the main image and simply placed it over the smaller transfers that were being difficult. I then ironed on top as per the instructions, left it to cool and then peeled the backing paper off again. Seemed to do the trick!


  1. That's a great idea. The bag looks fab!


  2. Some tips to travel to Barcelona:

    Hire a car only if you are going to spend several days there, so you can visit also the surroundings and places like Montserrat, Port Aventura, Costa Brava, etc.

    Be careful with pickpockets in metro and city center.

    If you are going to travel with your family rent a centric apartment (here they have holiday apartments in barcelona city center and they give out a free pocket guide, which is always useful).
    If you are going with friends it's a good idea too, but then you may want to look for something cheaper (here they have cheap accommodation in barcelona, from 19 € per night or so).

    And enjoy!