Made By Lex – M&J Challenger 2!

I was absolutely thrilled to be asked to be a part of the MJ Trimmings challenge. When my package arrived I was so thrilled opening it. (So thrilled, that I didn’t even stop to take a picture of the gorgeous package!) After looking through it all, I knew I didn’t want to make a bunch of little things. I wanted to work off a theme. So I chose a beach afternoon with all my essentials.


Project 1:

The first thing you need- a beach bag. Often times I’ll find adorable bags but the handles are so cheap! They’re either fake leather or something that makes the whole bag seem low end. A great way to spruce it up is to add your own straps. I actually made this bag ( which I’ll do a tutorial on soon). But the frist thing you’ll want to do to change the straps is get to strips of leather and some trim pieces.

Fold the leather pieces in half and stitch them along the sides.

Next, get your trim pieces and place them in the center of the strap.

Set your sewing machine to a long and wide zig zag stitch. Here were my machine’s settings.

The stitch was just wide enough to enclose the blue trim. If your machine doesn’t go this wide, you can always just use one piece of trim. You can reattach them to your bag where you replaced your other ones. Such an easy change!

How great does that make the bag look?

OK! Moving on to bag update number two! I thought it would be fun to use this bright orange trim to write, “la mer” on the outside of the bag. All I did was write in invisible marker how I wanted it to look.

Then with fabric glue glued it right on! I love the bright pop of it on the muted grey.


Project 2:

Beach essential number two- a beverage bottle. Why use a plain ol’ cup when you can make it so much more glamourous? I think this would also make a GREAT gift! I got a piece of leather that measure the circumference of my water bottle.

I sewed it then slipped it on my bottle. Then I used the rhinestone kit that MJ Trimming sent me. I started glueing the rhinestones down the center in straight lines. I was going for high impact glam.

I just kept on gluing them until I got one solid, sparkly strip!


Project 3:

Next beach essential- a towel. I fell in love with this beautiful ribbon that MJ Trimmings sent. It reminded me of beach coral.

I was inspired by barcodes for this towel. I got a plain white towel and cut up different length strips and began pinning them on.

I pinned them all in place then stitched it right on.

I love the way this pop of color modernizes a plain towel. And how great is the water bottle cover?!


Project 4:

I didn’t do a picture for this tutorial, but another one of my beach essentials is a sun hat. To make it more coordinated with my entire look I added this gorgeous gradient dyed silk ribbon from Mj Trimmings. I wrapped it around a few times then tied it in the back. I thought it was a great way to add a color combination that you can easily switch out to different ones.


Project 5:

My next beach essential is a light, summer scarf. I live in a cool, coastal town so it doesn’t get too hot here. I always take a wrap with my in case I get chilly. I used this RIT dye to create an extra long and skinny scarf.

I wanted to get a gradient effect on my scarf so this is how I do mine. Get two buckets next to one another. Put about 70% of one dye in one side and 30% in the other. (Follow the other instructions on the box in terms of water temperature, etc…) I dipped each end of my scarf in one side then teeter totter it back and forth. That way each end will come out a different color and the middle will be blended.

After drying I took each end and cut little strips to add fringes.

Then I tied them in little knots.

It’s a great way to stay warm against any cool breezes.


Project 6:

Now for my final beach essential- a breezy kaftan. This is EASY! It’s just a giant, loose robe so follow along! MJ Trimming sent me another great dye in golden yellow.

I knew I wanted something transparent for my kaftan, so against advice I used a polyester sheer material. I knew in my dying experience that it would still dye, just very light which was fine by me. So for the record, if you use a polyester it will barely pick up the dye. I got a large pieces and folded in it half over at the head. Here it is pinned on my mannequin so you can see what I did. (notice there’s no head hole yet)

I cut a slight shape out of the sides. After unfolding it, sew the sides together.

Next, fold it in half again and at the top folded corner, cut a little hole out for the head.

Now slip it over your mannequin or lay it on the floor.

Now I cut a diagonal slit across the front. I wanted the opening to be across and open at the leg.

Then I took some pins and opened it up the way I wanted it to lye on the front. Notice how it’s taking shape?

Repeat that on the other side.

Then from there you can cut off the excess and sew the openings, along with the hem and it’s complete! I love the way it covers and flows in the beachy wind!

For an optional belt I got two extra strips of the fabric along with some teal grosgrain from MJ Trimmings that matched my scarf perfectly. I braided them all together.

For the ends I got a small piece of grosgrain and glued them closed.

Here’s the belted kaftan.

I hope you enjoyed my beach tutorials! Now you can have all these great updates to your normal summer outings gear!

I’m so grateful to MJ Trimmings for asking me to be a part of this challenge. It was such a fun, creative experience! I hope you all enjoyed it!



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