Retro Beach Wrap

Retro Beach Tote

Hi everyone! Julie Eilber here with a little summer sewing that only takes a few hours. It’s a simple beach wrap, like we wore in the 70s, with a rope tie and a slit all the way up the side. You can use decorative stitches on it, too.

Retro Beach Wrap

(As much as I wanted to model it for you on a tropical beach with a drink in my hand, it was 35 degrees and hailing outside when I took this photo.)

The only tricky part is a little bit of measuring:

A. Measure around the fullest part of your hips (my least favorite thing to do). Divide that number by two, and label that measurement “A.” So, if your hips are 40 inches and you divide by 2, measurement “A” is 20 inches.
B. Measure from where you want the top of the wrap to sit (on your high hip), down toward your ankles, and decide how long you want the wrap to be. That length will be measurement “B.”

Now let’s have a glass of wine and review our algebra:
A = Fullest part of hips, divided by two.
B = Length of wrap

Materials to make a Beach Wrap:

  • Several yards of ½”-wide jute cord or rope, hand washed to prep. Try the cord around your high hip, where you want the wrap to sit. Then add 52″ to that length to give you the extra cord you need to tie the wrap. Put tape around the cut ends of the cord temporarily to hold them together.
  • Two rectangles of lightweight fabric (gauzy linen or cotton, pre-washed) to make the front and back.
  • The width of each rectangle should be your measurement “A” plus 10 inches.
  • The length of each rectangle should be your measurement “B” plus 3 inches.

To get started, cut two rectangles, cut the “A” measurement plus 10 inches wide across the top, and cut the “B” measurement plus 3 inches long down the side.

Retro Beach Wrap

1. Sew the side seam (there’s only one): Let’s do a pretty “French seam.” Take the two rectangles and pin them WRONG sides together on one side. Sew a narrow ¼” seam.

Retro Beach Wrap

Press. Now turn that seam so it’s RIGHT sides together, and sew a 1/2” seam, encasing the raw edge inside of the stitching.

Retro Beach Wrap

See, no raw edges showing when you leave your wrap on the beach to go swimming! (Or when your frenemy comes up and says “where did you get that great wrap?” and you say “I made it,” and she says “will you make me one?” and you say “no.”)

Retro Beach Wrap

2. Finish the two open side edges: (This will make a slit all the way up one side of the wrap.) Turn under one edge 3/8″ toward the wrong side and press. Turn the edge under again 5/8″ and press.

Retro Beach Wrap

3. Topstitch using a straight stitch, or finish the edge with a decorative stitch and shiny embroidery thread. Repeat for the other side edge.

Retro Beach Wrap

Little bitty beach umbrellas from my BERNINA 560! Thanks Karl!

4. Make the casing for the cord: Turn under the top edge 3/8” (toward the wrong side), then turn it under again 1½”. Topstitch close to the bottom of the casing. I used the seam guide to keep the topstitching straight.

Retro Beach Wrap

5. Then topstitch ¼” from the top of the casing.

Retro Beach Wrap

6. Make the hem: Turn up the hem 3/8″ and press, then turn it up again 5/8″ and press. Finish it with topstitching or a decorative stitch.

7. Thread the cord through the casing and gather the wrap. (Note: if the cord gets stuck at the side seam, try threading it through from the other side of the wrap.) Knot the cord at both ends and remove the tape. Tie the wrap over to the side.

Enjoy your day at the beach!

Difficulty level: Beginner
Projects: fashion
Techniques: sewing

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