Saturday, May 21, 2011

flamingo beach tote

You follow my facebook page, right?
So you knew already that this was a work in process!
Because when I stumbled upon the Kate Spade Flamingo Tote two weeks ago I got the DIY bug right away.
The bag retails at the not very friendly price of 275$.
I'm all over being stylish on the beach.
Not on board for the number, it's a canvas tote. 
Give me a break.
Fabric and paint...Voilà.
My version: suited for my needs.
--> I want to be able to carry the bag on my shoulder... check 
--> I want it much cheaper... duh... check 
--> I want it machine washable... check 
--> Most of all: I had everything except for the pink paint... triple check 
--> Last, but not least: total cost of paint : 3.98 $ ... can you beat that?

picture from - collage by me
The tote itself is a regular, rectangular piece of fabric (44-1/2" x 20-1/2"), folded in the middle with the 45 degrees corners stitched at the bottom to create the flat base.
Same process for the lining inside, where I added a pocket.

--> The straps, errr... the flamingoes' heads: length from beak to base: 28"
* I printed out a picture of the tote with scale 560%, (and only printed page 2 where the flamingo head was, I really didn't need the other 35 pages!!!)
* Cut the shape ad used as my template
* With the strip of fabric left, I folded in half and draw the flamingo at one end of the fabric, end the neck a.k.a. the strap of a 1" 1/4 all the way down
* repeat on the other side of the fabric, only the template of the flamingo must be face down this time
* now I decided to bast the straps because the stitch that I wanted to use pulls the fabric a lot and didn't want the two layers to move around. (btw, I hate basting)

* Set my machine on zigzag and length one click after 0.
* After it's done, cut slowly at the very edge of the stitching.

* I cut the flamingo template in three parts: the black beak, the white mask, and the pink head, using the three parts again, as a template.
* ... and painted pink and black

*** tip: If you're trying to do this stitch, try on a sample first. The fabric moves extremely slowly, you need to pull it, and the result is neat (well, I like it!)

* In the meantime, I hand drawn (using always a water soluble marker) the flamingo body on one side of the tote, folded in the middle, set it on my glass desk with the light underneath to match the lines on the other side.
* ... Lots of pink paint later, I was done.
* Done with the body, done with the straps, let dry (most.annoying.part. e-v-e-r)

--> Construction of the tote
* Sew the sides of the bag and the bottom corners
* Folded the top part twice and insert the lining
* Sew the top hem about 2-1/2" down
* Sew the straps in the way that the two flamingo's heads will be on the same side

Wash it to remove all the marker lines, let dry, press.

Flamingoes are happier to the beach! (and so am I)

xox, d.

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  1. very nice. the result looks very well finished

  2. This is the most amazing thing I've seen in a long time, Donatella. I am amazed and in absolute awe!! PS, I *need* it!!

  3. This is really cool, so summer-y and beach-y!! Awesome!

  4. Ohmigosh! My best friend would love this!!! Too cool :)

  5. You are brilliant! I have been in love with this bag since I first saw it. I have been thinking about trying to copy it. You did an amazing job

  6. whoops (sorry didn't mean to delete my comment).... i really like this tote! way TOO cute!!!

  7. very cool!! Love that it was so cheap to make too:)

  8. Yours is seriously way better than the original. I love it bigger and as a shoulder bag. You are awesome!

  9. I have a surprise for you on my blog tonight! :)

  10. so cool! your version looks much better than the Kate Spade one :)

  11. You sure do come up with some clever ideas.

  12. I am stupidly nuts over Flamingos and I and in love with your tote!!
    Great Job!!

  13. Oh my gosh...this is so cute!!! Thanks for sharing!


  14. this is so fun and beautiful, i love it!

  15. Wow...this is awesome. Do you make and sell these? I don't sew but I do love Flamingos!!

  16. OMG! I love flamingos and Kate Spade but yeah, to spend that much on a beach tote is not quite in my budget. did you build the flamingo over the original tote bag straps?

  17. You are very creative! Thanks for showing the tote. I love totes, but buy all of mine.

  18. This might be the greatest thing EVER. Hands down. I love flamingo's with a weird obsession and I don't think this could be any more perfect! I guess the question is, do you want to make me one?! :) Great job!

  19. What a cute idea....I'll have to make one! ♥ I love it! ♥

  20. Love this! Thanks for linking with Sugar and Spice!

  21. What an AWESOME project!! I'm totally pinning this as a funky project to do.

  22. I like yours even better than the original. If you just happen to make another one you can send it to me. ;) THanks for linking up with DIY under $5! I stumbled this.

  23. Oh my gosh! This is adorable!!
    Thank you so much for linking this up to {nifty thrifty sunday} as well!

  24. Fantastic!!! I have never seen such a bag :)

  25. wow...I am a flamingo fanatic and your bag is AWESOME!

  26. p.s. my nickname at school is the flamingo lady-the kids gave me that name. I am always wearing something with a flamingo! Believe if I don't the kids freak!

  27. I always answer to comments, but if you have a do-not-reply email it gets complicated :)
    thanks to all of you ! it was a fun project to do, and will be fun to walk across the street from kate spade's boutique! ahah!

  28. Are you making these to sell? I would love to have buy one! I love it...I contemplated the kate spade one but just could not justify it.

    1. I can make another one, no big deal. between cost of materials and my time it would be around 80$... let me know :)

  29. I cannot BELIEVE you made this!!! It is sooo darling! Thanks so much for sharing at the Kate Spade Style Soiree!


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