Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Tutorial: Sew a Huge Wet Bag

Since starting our cloth diapering journey, I have wanted to make a much bigger wet bag then I could find commercially. And with the prices of the medium bags on the market, it's well worth it to make your own. Making your own also means you can select a fabric design that's personal to you!

This project is intermediate - while it isn't difficult, it does involve sewing in a zipper and you will need to understand some basic terms and techniques.

To get started you will need the following:

Sewing Machine
Zipper Foot
¼ Foot or Basic Foot 
Rotary Cutter
Cutting Mat
22 inch zipper (not a metal)
1 yard Pul Fabric

No matter where you get your PUL (Polyurethane Laminate, same as cloth diaper water proof fabric), you will want to check for any major flaws. I would hate for you to start sewing, and there is a cut in the middle!

Keep your PUL fabric on the fold as it came off the bolt, so that it remains folded in half. Cut the fabric to the length of your zipper - - in this case it will be 22 inches. We will be keeping the width as the width of the fabric (WOF) so less cutting there.

I brought my fabric from Joann’s and it came off the bolt at 32 inches, and 64 when unfolded. So my final cut was 22 by 32 on fold.

Next you will cut your handle part. For this, I keep the PUL folded and measure over 2 ½ inches by the WOF cut off 31 inches from length. Then cut this is half, giving you two pieces with the final cut 2 ½ by 16 ½.

I like to get the handles out of the way so we will start with that.

(Side Note, make sure your bobbin thread is full) Load your ¼ sewing foot first, I will be using the one with a guide.  (Make sure you set your needle to fall in the middle of the ¼ foot. On my machine, it's 43 Brother)

Fold your handle piece in half, right sides together, sew down both sides using a ¼ seam allowance leaving the two small sides untouched.

Turn right side out. Use a pointer tool (pencil, pen, etc.) to poke out the corners.

Top stitch again using ¼ seam allowance, this time going around the entire handle except the open end. Trim if needed, set aside, repeat for second handle.

Step 3: ZIPPER
 (Switch the zipper foot)

It’s time to clip your zipper onto one layer of the PUL. Make sure that you unfold the fabric so you do not sew through both layers just yet. Start by putting your zipper face down onto the right side of the PUL (print side up).

Using the clips instead of pins help reduce holes in your final project. Begin by sewing your zipper onto the fabric making sure to lift your foot to past the metal handle of the zipper.

Now you will sew the other side of the zipper to the other end.

Place the end of fabric that does not have the zipper face up onto the table. Then pull the zipper end up and face the zipper right side down, making sure that you did not twist the fabric.

You should see the wrong side of the fabric facing you now.

Clip and sew making sure to lift foot to past metal handle. Turn it right side out and topstitch the fabric by the zipper down. This prevents it from coming up and getting caught into the zipper.

Step 4: SEW BAG
Since I want the zipper to be facing me when I’m using it, I will pull the zipper down by 3 inches.

(In the photos I am showing you, the print is side up but you will want to do this with the wrong side facing you.)

To make sure it stays while sewing clip the two layer together. I did not have enough clips so I clipped one side at a time starting with the side of the zipper that has the stopper.

At this time switch to the basic foot and the seam allowance will be ½ inch. Use the markings on your sewing machine to make sure this is correct.

Once this side is sewn make sure to open your zipper most of the way before clipping and sewing the opposite side the same way ½ inch seam allowance. (I recommend going back and forth over the zipper past a few times on both ends)

Cut corners of the bag at an angle, then reach through the zipper opening to turn right side out.

Now it’s time to attach handle. At the top of the bag, figure out where you would like the handle. I did not measure this part - I just eye balled the center and placed each end of the handle making a 4 inch gap.

Clip and baste with a 1/8 seam allowance.

Turn the bag over and line the other handle up to the one you already basted and repeat.

The final step is to pull up both handles and sew them together with a ¼ seam allowance, I went over this a few times to make it stronger.

Throw the finished bag into the dryer for 5 to 10 mins and you are done and ready to use your new wet bag!

Making your very own wet bag is very rewarding and to customize the size to your needs is even better.

Until next time Sew On, my friends!


  1. Thanks for sharing this great post at the This Is How We Roll Link Party. I don't have little ones any longer, but am hoping for a grand baby. I will make one of these for my daughter! See you next week.

  2. I like this idea. It would be a fantastic bag to have when hauling wet bathing suits home from the pool.

  3. It's summer here and I think this would make the perfect bag to take to the beach to bring home wet swimmers and towels.
    Thanks for sharing on the Homesteader Hop :)

  4. Thanks for sharing at the Pleasures of the NW's DIY party!

  5. I love using wet bags when we go to the pool They are perfect for holding our wet swimsuits. #HomeMattersParty

  6. Great tutorial and great idea. Love the fabric, too! Thanks for sharing at Funtastic Friday:).

  7. I had never heard of a wet bag before, but this is a great idea. Your tutorial is easy to follow and I really love the monkey fabric! Thanks!

  8. What a great idea and it looks wonderful!! Thanks for the tutorial!!