Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tutorial Time: The Best DIY No-Leak Wet Bag


I know the title of today's project is a bit boastful, being called the best & all, but after years of using and making wet bags, I think I've hit on a foolproof design for making these babies kick leaks to the curb, so it deserved more than just "wet bag tutorial" as its name.

In case you're wondering "What's a wet bag?": Wet bags are useful for any time you want to transport something wet or damp without it soaking everything or everyone near it: cloth diapers, potty training accidents, bathing suits, laundry, etc.  The best part, besides keeping wet stuff contained, is how they can be tossed in the wash with the contents, which makes cleaning them a breeze.


Not only are these bags handy, but they're a relatively quick sew too.  I'd made the usual basic single layer versions over the years & they'd worked pretty well, but with the kids having weekly, year-round swim classes, I found they all started to leak or wick around the seams over time. Even stripping (a cloth diaper washing technique for removing leak-causing build-up) didn't help.  I like making them, but didn't want to have to make new ones every couple of months! 



Then I thought that making a two layer bag might work better - especially if the seams of the layers didn't match up and BOOM!  This no-leak powerhouse wet bag design was born.  It doesn't matter if I put wet suits in them or leave them sitting for a bit before tossing in the wash.  The outside still stays nice & dry because there are two separate waterproof layers, plus the inner has no bottom seam to minimize any damp seepage.  Now let's get to some bag making so you can make some too:)



Materials Needed:
- PUL fabric - 1/2 yd each for lining & outer (or extra large diaper cut for outer)
- 24 inch piece of grosgrain ribbon between 5/8 inch to 1 inch wide
- Sewing notions: rotary cutter/shears, safety pin, clips, marking pen

My finished bag dimensions are generous enough for several bathing suits, clothing items or diapers.  I always love whimsical prints on my fabrics and these cuties didn't disappoint - I loved these jolly gnomes+hedgehogs & tuxedo-wearing bulldogs with pipes I bought over at Diaper Sewing Supplies.



Cut the lining piece to be 12 inches high by 32 inches wide and outer to be 17 1/2 inches high by 23 inches wide.  PUL has a 4 - way stretch so there isn't a grain direction to worry about.  



Fold the outer fabric in half width-wise, right sides together and clip.  You don't want to use pins with PUL since those leave permanent holes (you want this baby to be as watertight as possible!)



Measure 1 1/2 inches from top and mark along side edge.  Make a second marking 1 inch below that and stitch the side with a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving that gap open.  To keep the shiny side of the PUL from sticking to the presser foot, run a bit of clear lip balm along the fabric.  It's easy to wipe away after & won't damage your machine (sewing through tissue paper or using a Teflon foot are other options, but this is SO much simpler & cheaper).



Open the seam allowance and stitch around the gap that was created - this will make it easier to snake the ribbon through the casing later.



The bag will now be a tube.  Flatten so it will have the side seam along the center as shown below and clip along bottom edge, then stitch bottom closed.




Now it's time to square off the bottom corners to create depth.  Pull out each corner to a triangle point, with the bottom seam in the center of the triangle.  Measure two inches across, mark and stitch.  Trim off the excess.



To make the lining, fold the fabric in half, right sides facing out and stitch along both sides. Square off bottom corners & trim off excess as done previously.


With outer bag right side out, insert the lining (shiny side in), into the outer bag.  Press the bottom corners of outer and lining together with your hand or a ruler.  Use clips on the corners of the outside to hold the layers together so they don't shift while sewing.



The top edge of the lining will be shorter than the outer:



Fold the outer edge down, over the lining and clip all the way around:



Stitch all the way around 1/8 inch from the raw edge of the outer fabric to create the bag's casing:



Turn bag right side out.  With one end of the ribbon attached to the safety pin, insert into cases and snake around to the other side.  Use a lighter to seal the ribbon edges (to prevent fraying) and either double knot ends together or overlap the edges and stitch together, then shift the ribbon so the stitching is hidden inside the casing.



Toss the bag in the dryer on hot for about 15 minutes to heat seal the stitching holes and the bag is ready for whatever wet wearables need containing.



And if you're looking for patterns for items to go in wet bags, check out my Sanity Saving Training Pants pattern (+ pattern giveaway):



and my Bathing Beauty Bathing Suit Tutorial



Happy Sewing!


38 comments:

  1. Thanks so much on the tutorial! These are cute, and now I know how to make one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Really simple to make, but so helpful with wet/messy stuff!

      Delete
  2. What fabulous tips, so many ways to improve a simple bag design.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes just small changes can make a huge difference!

      Delete
  3. I love this!! I am definitely a cloth diaper mama! Can't wait to try this tutorial :) Pinned it!!
    Lindi @ www.lovecreatecelebrate.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome Lindi! I just wish I'd realized it back when we were cloth diapering;)

      Delete
  4. such a great idea! Seems so logical now that you say it - two layers, don't match seems - duh! Appreciate your sharing the idea and the pattern for your DIY no leak wet bag!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When it occurred to me I thought the same thing - so simple, but somehow all the other bags & how-to's always line them up. Sometimes smarter not harder is the key to successful crafts!

      Delete
  5. I could use one of these for my daughter's bathing suits!! I've got a Craft Gossip post scheduled for tomorrow morning that links to your tutorial:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-no-leak-wet-bag/2014/11/13/
    --Anne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's GREAT for that Anne - we've been using ours at swim class for a couple of weeks now and it's such an improvement. Thanks so much for the feature!

      Delete
  6. Showing my lack of knowledge here, what is PUL? I would like to make my son a swim bag and have no idea of that this is. Thanks so much for your help. cdahlgren at live dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries Cindy, PUL is polyurethane laminate. It's a stretchy polyester that's got a thin laminated layer to make it waterproof. It's used to make cloth diapers, but can also be used for tons of other waterproof projects like snow pants, snack bags and wet bags. You can find loads of cute colors & prints online and find a limited selection in Jo-Ann Stores too. This post tells a bit more about it: http://www.sewcando.com/2013/07/ultimate-reusable-snack-sack-tutorial.html I've also got a Pinterest board for PUL projects here for more use ideas: http://www.pinterest.com/sewcando/pul-fabric-projects/

      Delete
  7. love these!! they are so cute and I'm glad they work well too! pinned it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely worth making Emily - these are my new favorites:)

      Delete
  8. This tutorial is great! Cant wait to make my own! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do - would love to see them!

      Delete
  9. Great tutorial! I'd love to add it to our list of diaper related tutorials here: http://cdsewinglinks.blogspot.com/2013/04/diaper-related-tutorials.html

    I'm curious, have you ever tried a walking foot to sew PUL? It's what I usually use when I don't need a wide zigzag (as for applying FOE), and it eliminates pretty much all of the sticking and bunching.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks & I'd be happy to have it added:) I actually use a walking foot for just about everything (including these), but still recommend using the lip balm since PUL "tackiness" can vary a lot depending on the thickness of the lamination.

      Delete
    2. That's certainly true about the randomness of the lamination! I miss the old Fabrite PUL, although I don't miss how few choices there used to be in the way of PUL.

      Delete
    3. I hear you. I've had pretty good luck with the PUL I've gotten from the source mentioned. I'm ask going to try some new PUL backed cotton soon to see how that works too. Will share my findings when I do.

      Delete
  10. Hello cute lady! I love this. Pinned and tweeted. We really appreciate you taking the time to stop by our party. It wouldn’t be a party without you. Please join us on Monday at 7 pm. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm a little behind this week thanks to computer issues, but Ill be joining in when I've got some fun & new to share!

      Delete
  11. Sheryl, this is brilliant: so practical and cute to boot. I need one of these for my swimming. Dah... Why didn't I think of making something like this. It's always a pleasure partying with you.While I'll be getting my supplies ready for this project, can't wait to see what you'll bring us in just a few hours when a new Wednesday party will open at the Fine Craft Guild. Toodles, Rose

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rose! It took me almost a year to realize how much better this would be with two layers, so I'm glad to share it so no one else has the same leak problems. I'll be linking again when I've got a new project ready:)

      Delete
  12. I know this is an older post, but where did you find the bulldog print PUL? that's so cute!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As mentioned in the post, it's from Diaper Sewing Supplies. Just click on the link in the post or their button in my sponsor sidebar section to check them out. They have an AMAZING selection of cute, exclusive prints.

      Delete
  13. I'm a little confused....it says the lining 12"x32" and the outer fabric is 17 1/2"x23"....shouldn't they be the same width?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No - one piece is being folded so that it's being stitched on both sides, the other is being folded so there is only one "side seam". If you follow the directions, it will all make sense.

      Delete
  14. Directions say the lining should be sewn facing out but it should be facing in. Also, I followed directions to a T but the cord opening did not line up with the final casing stitch. I ended up adding another seam a little lower for my cord to go thru. Loving the double layer and can't wait to use it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. These bags work great so I hope you enjoy it. The directions say the shiny side should be facing in, which is what is desired. I double checked the measurements for the casing and that should have worked fine. If your top casing marking was 1 1/2 inches from the top raw edge and the lower marking an inch below that, folding it down should have given you a 1/2 inch seam allowance and a full inch space for the casing.

      Delete
  15. I'm new to sewing so my brain needs help with visualizing. If I wanted to do a zipper instead of the ribbon, at what step in the tutorial would I add it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a totally different way of assembling and not something super simple to put into a quick sentence or two. If you're new to sewing, I'd recommend doing items like this first before tackling a lined bag with a zipper.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, my newbiness was showing ;) I did a zipper once before and it was pain in the butt!

      Delete
    3. Thanks, my newbiness was showing ;) I did a zipper once before and it was pain in the butt!

      Delete
  16. Thanks for this tutorial! I'm fairly new to sewing since I had my baby 5 months ago. I've made this for her swimming bag & it looks fab! Thanks again! �� https://www.facebook.com/lindsaystudio/ Here's the link to my Facebook page where you can see my finished bag in a cute duck print PUL!

    ReplyDelete
  17. That's awesome to here and your bag looks great. Nice job!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Can I fit a bath towel and swim suit in the final product? My daughter will be swimming at preschool so her wet stuff will be in her backpack until I pick her up after work. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This would be a bit too small for both - you could increase the the height and width a couple of inches though!

      Delete

Getting your comments brightens my day. I'd love if you left one:)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails