Introduction: Let's Go Fishing Bucket Cover

The “Let’s Go Fishing” bucket cover allows you to grab your pole and everything needed to throw that line in the water on the spur of the moment. The bucket and lid allow you transport bait to your favorite fishing hole or your catch back to the cleaning table. The outside cover pockets can house tackle boxes containing the magic lures; a can of insect repellent; a small trowel or a stash of that all important commodity, toilet paper (wrapped in plastic to keep it dry, of course)! Quench that thirst by inserting a plastic container inside the bucket, one small enough to allow packing of ice and a couple of drink cans between the bucket and container. Use the inside container to hold the bait or fish.

Project can be completed by hand, by machine or a combination. Sewing skill level—5 (1=beginner; 10=pro).

Materials needed and approximate cost* (cost listed is estimated price if purchasing new materials):
     1 five gallon bucket with lid (purchased or used)--$4.00

     1 yard, 60 inches wide of durable, medium weight fabric (purchased or pieced)--$5.00

     4-6 multi-slot tackle boxes 5” Wide X 9” long X 1.5” deep--$4.00 each

     1 fastener or buckle to secure fabric skirt around bucket--$2.50

     Velcro fasteners--$2.00

     Total cost of all new materials, $30.00

 *List is for bucket and cover only. (Does NOT include tackle)

Step 1: Fabric Preparation

If using newly purchased fabric, wash and iron flat when dry.

Square the fabric, if needed.

     Learning Point:  "Square the fabric" does not refer to cutting the fabric into a perfect square.  It is the process of pulling short threads from the cut (frayed) edge of the fabric, side to side, until you are able to pull off one thread that is equal to the full width of the fabric.  Trim frayed edge.

If using scrap fabrics omit step 1.

Step 2: Bucket Measurements

You will need to take the following measurements in order to customize the cover to fit the bucket you’ve selected. Write down the name of the measurement you are taking and record the actual measurements beside the name. You will refer back to this record, frequently.

     a. TopBucket circumference: at a point above the handle attachment

     b. BottomBucket circumference: 2-3 inches from the bottom of the bucket

     c. Bucket height: outside—measure from the bottom edge to the point where the top circumference measurement was made

      d. Tackle boxes: measure width, length and height or use box dimensions noted on the box label.

Note: If using a variety of box sizes, record each set of dimensions separately

Step 3: Cutting Fabric Pieces

Always refer back to the original measurements taken to calculate the sizes of each piece listed below.
If using purchased fabric, measure and mark each piece onto the fabric using tailor’s chalk; plan the layout for best use of available yardage.
     Learning Point: Planning the layout for best use of yardage can be accomplished by completing all of the measurements and transferring the measurements to heavy paper such as shopping bags, newspaper or butcher paper to create a paper pattern for each piece. These can then be laid on top of your fabric and repositioned to ensure best use of the material you have available.

Strap to secure cover to bucket: Cut 1 piece
Length: Top bucket circumference measured length plus ½ inch seam allowance (¼ inch on each end) plus any additional length specified with fastener directions

Width: 2.5 inches

     Sample calculation for length of strap: Top bucket circumference is 36”. Add ½ inch for seam allowance; and 4 inches, per the manufacturer’s recommendation, to secure the buckle. The total required length is 40.5 inches.

     Sample calculation for width of strap: The buckle purchased for this project has an opening of 1inch. Double the width of the buckle opening and add ½ inch total seam allowances. This produces the 2.5 inch width requirement. The cut piece will be 40.5 inches by 2.5 inches.

Small Strap to secure part of fastener: Cut 1 piece
Width: 2.5 inches
Length: 4.5 inches
(Finished size 1 inch by 4 inches)

Cover: Cut 2 pieces
Width: ½ the bucket circumference (the cover is created in two pieces to fit over the bucket handles)
Length: equal to bucket height measurement

Pockets (each pocket is a set consisting of a top piece and a side piece): Cut 1 set for each tackle box planned
     Top: Measured length + ½ inch seam allowance X measured width + ½ inch seam allowance

     Pocket Side:
          The length of the strip is equal to the measured length for 3 sides of the pocket top (2 lengths + 1 width measurement); add ½” seam allowance.

          The width of strip will be the depth of the box + ½” seam allowance.

Bottom finishing band: Cut 2 pieces
Width: 1.5 inches (personal preference to produce a finished width of ½ inch
Length: ½ the lower bucket circumference measurement

Step 4: Pocket Assembly

• With right sides together, sew pocket side to pocket top
     (Learning Point: "Right Side" is a sewing term that refers to the outside of the fabric rather than the "Opposite of LEFT". Pattern instructions include this term.)

• Turn under ¼” on the pocket opening edge and top-stitch

• Turn under remaining raw edge of pocket side ¼” and press

• Complete all pockets in the same manner

Step 5: Placing Pockets

• Lay out completed pockets on one piece of the bucket cover to determine preferred placement

• Mark pocket placement with tailor’s chalk. The marked lines should equal the finished size of the pocket top and will become the stitching lines

• Pin one pocket to skirt placing folded/ironed edge along stitching line

• Top stitch the three sides to the skirt

• Stitch all pockets to the cover in the same manner

• Turn under the side edges of each cover ¼” and top stitch

• Repeat step 5 for the second portion of the bucket cover

Step 6: Sew Cover Pieces to the Securing Strap

• From one end of the strap, measure ¼ inch seam allowance + the recommended length of the strap needed to secure the fastener; mark this point

• Repeat the measurement from the other end again using ¼ inch seam allowance and the recommended length needed to secure the second half of the fastener; mark this point

• Fold the band lengthwise, matching the marked points. Mark the center point of the strap

• With right sides together, pin the first section of the cover to the strap, beginning ¼ inch to the left of the center mark

• The opposite edge of the cover should end at the point marked for fastener placement

• Pleat or gather the fabric as needed for this section of the cover to fit the noted space

• Begin pinning the second section of the cover ¼ inch to the right of the center mark (this should leave ½” between the two skirt edges, providing space for the bucket handle)

• End the opposite edge at the marked point for the second half of the fastener

• Pleat or gather the fabric as needed for this section of the cover to fit the noted space

• Sew the band and cover pieces together

• On the remaining raw edge of strap, iron under ¼ inch

• Fold band, right sides together, matching finished edges. Stitch end seam allowances (¼ inch)

• Turn strap; machine or hand stitch strap to back, encasing the raw edges

Step 7: Attach Fastener

• Follow manufacturer directions to attach fastener

• In this example, one end of the strap was extended 4 inches to attach the male side of a parachute buckle

• Complete construction of the smaller, separate strap by folding right sides together and stitching along one end and the length. Turn and finish raw edge

• Weave strap through female edge of parachute buckle per manufacturer’s direction

• Stitch other end of strap to the larger strap 1 inch from the end

Step 8: Finishing Lower Edge

• With right sides together, sew the bottom strap and cover pieces together (each cover section will be finished individually)

• On the remaining raw edge of strap, iron under ¼ inch

• Fold band, right sides together, matching finished edges. Stitch end seam allowances (¼ inch)
• Turn strap; machine or hand stitch strap to back encasing the raw edges

• If desired, attach Velcro to the bottom corners, to ‘close’ the lower edges of the cover. This will custom fit the cover sections to the bottom of the bucket after the cover has been secured to the top of the bucket

Step 9: Securing the Cover to the Bucket

• Fit one side of the bucket handle into the split between the two cover sections and lower the cover over the bucket

• Fasten the buckle above the other side of the bucket handle

• Load up your tackle boxes

• Go fishing!
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