Saltwater Canvas® Mesh Beach and Shower Bags
My father always said that the things we use every day should be pretty, even the trash barrel. He had an "elf shop" where he made beautiful lights, shelves, backgammon boards, games, star gazing equipment, gizmos, and even a huge home telescope. He used to make all of us beautiful gifts for Christmas. Above is one of my favorites: my own little light house. He always said that the best gift was a home made gift.
He encouraged my creative endeavors; he helped me design my first beach cabana prototype, until it was just right. The beach cabanas lead to the mesh beach bags, believe it or not, because I used the window mesh to make my first shower bag. This pattern, with our signature doubled straps and puffed out pockets, became the prototype for every bag to follow. Zippers and pockets have been added, but the basic idea is the same. My father told me to never look bankrupt. That to me meant to have lots of colors, and lots of styles. When things were meager at the beginning, before the web was invented, I'd sell a shower bag every few days, he and my mother were there, to help me financially. My mother helped me out at every craft show, which is where I sold these bags at the beginning. "What's that?", people would say. Thank goodness for the web!
I design strong, practical bags for living and fun. I usually start with a cut open paper grocery bag, a pencil, tape, a ruler, and an oatmeal container for curves. I get to choose the design, the mesh and strap colors, and lots of pockets. This spring I had a request for a mesh dog carry bag, which was a lot of fun to make. I grabbed my minnow bag pattern, and married that with a photo of what this woman wanted. It took 2 tries, but came out really cute, and dog safe. I had some stiff plastic mesh that I covered with 4 layers of quilt batting, and then a waterproof fabric for a softish mattress, and metal clips to make the shoulder strap adjustable. I have so many fun things to work with - rolls of zippers I can cut to any size, old backpack hardware, magnets, snaps, grommets, cotton canvas, mesh, and a 20 year old sewing machine that can sew through anything, including my finger!
If you have any ideas for bags, or colors that you would like to see, let me know. I am trying to trim our color selection to 6 of each color in each style. I love colors so much it is hard to hold back! Enjoy shopping, and always - love your bag!
Mesh Bag Origins - first attempt at shower bag below! Ugly!
When I swam at the YMCA every morning, I used plastic grocery bags to hold my shower items. One Saturday, I went to a canvas trade show where they sold mesh and webbing in great colors. I bought some and married the webbing and mesh into the bag you see above. Eventually I brought the sides together to form a cylindrical mesh bag with pockets ~ the first real shower bag. The great thing about the shower bag was that I didn't have to cap my shampoo or conditioner any more - I could just put them in the pockets and they'd stay upright. My razor and comb stayed out of the fray and dry in their own little pocket. I could bring dental floss and toothpaste without them tasting like soap. The shower became the only place where I was organized! From shower to shower, my things were clean and dry. I could take it anywhere - it was always loaded with my shower stuff, from shampoo to razor to toothpaste, and ready to go on a trip. The bag hangs up, sits down, dries fast, and fits into any suitcase or gym bag.
The bag was a hit at our YMCA auction, and soon it was featured in the Boston Globe Shop Talk, Shape Magazine, Connecticut Life, and Coast to Coast Magazine, and in 2017, was voted best shower bag by the New York Times.
I realized from my orders that the bag was not only for showers after gym or pool workouts, but for showers at the dorm, summer camp, campground, beach, outdoor cottage shower, cruise, boat, active duty, and it also doubled as a kiddie beach bag (holds a small towel and goes right into the water to hold crabs!), and a reusable gift bag. The bag has been used in make-up and athletic club promotions, and is a hit at high school grad parties - filled with shampoos, soaps, lottery tickets, gift cards & all their favorite things for a special college send off. Fill it with a membership card to a health club.
Requests for larger mesh bags have produced the large shower bag in black, the minnow bag for tots, the dolphin bag, the whale beach bag®, and the Bolongo Bay Bag, a little more slender and more vacation shop-gym-purse than our other bags.
All of our mesh bags are made out of the same indestructible, non fade outdoor furniture mesh, and sewn with tough thread. The handles are doubled polypropylene and resistant to the elements. The bags are waterproof and will not mildew.
PS - If you are filling up one or several shower bags for a graduation gift, go to Walmart to save on supplies.