Tuesday, March 20, 2012

'On the Go' Wet Bag Tutorial... and...

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After months of posting to this blog, I think I can safely say that it was a good decision
if only because I've 'met' other people who have had some of the same trials and successes with their work that I have had with mine.

One of these trials, for me and I soon found out others as well, was figuring out how to sew a zipper without wanting to rip my hair out.

It sounds dramatic, I know.
After all, sewing a zipper is not difficult.
You sew in a straight line, fold, sew another straight line.

Except not, because the first time I sewed a zipper, the straight line was less than straight (to the point where even my non-sewing friends would notice),
and the worst part...
I broke my needle about 15 hundred times.

I'm in good company, though, because it sounds like at least a couple of you have had the same problems.

So here it is, one of the easiest sewing projects there is: a travel wet bag,
and with it, I'm including my tips for sewing a zipper and tips for sewing with PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric).
I love this wet bag because it is small enough to keep in a diaper bag, but big enough to hold 3-4 cloth diapers or an entire chlorinated water soaked outfit from the pool.
It's waterproof, so you can just throw diapers, swimsuits, and whatever in it, and the mess/water is contained. All thanks to the laminated fabric. Awesome.

I hope you enjoy.

Travel Wet Bag

What You'll Need:
about 1/2 yard of PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric, available online or now in most larger fabric stores)
14" polyester zipper
normal "sewing stuff"

100% polyester thread (cotton thread will wick moisture to the outside of the bag, compromising your "waterproof-iness")

Step One: Cut Your Fabric
You'll need one rectangle of PUL measuring 15"x24" for the bag
one rectangle of PUL measuring 2"x10" for the handle


Step Two: Sew Your Zipper

Before I start this step, I'll tell you some of the tips that have helped me...

Okay, okay... I know these tips seem small, but trust me.
It's the smallest thing that can make the difference.

Now for the feet...

I have 3 different zipper feet (see my pic).
Any of them will work, but might I make a recommendation?
My favorite is the one pictured on the far right.
Just make sure your needle lines up with the notch in the side.
I line it up with the notch on the left (when looking at your machine).
That way, you can use the other side of the foot as a measure.

If you run the outer edges of your zipper and fabric along the right side of the foot, you'll have a nice seam right up against the zipper.
And you'll be able to sew that zipper on smoothly. Like butter, in fact.

Okay, now back to the tutorial...
Center your zipper against the short end of your PUL, with right sides facing.
I usually pin from the center to the outside.

Notice how my zipper foot is lined up with the edges of my fabric? That ensures that my needle runs smoothly along the side of the zipper without it being too close. :)

Sew the pieces together, using the tips that I mentioned above.

Note: normally here, you would press your fabric out and topstitch, but you DO NOT want to iron PUL. It will melt the waterproof lining. Yuck.

Now you'll topstitch the seam, also using your zipper foot, but because you can't iron it, just gently pull the fabric out so it lays as flat as possible.

You're now going to repeat this process for the other side of the zipper.
Lay your PUL so it makes a loop (inside out).
Pin your zipper, sew, fold out, topstitch... just like before.

You'll now have a big loop of fabric. Set that aside for a hot sec.

Note: you could do multiple pieces (a separate piece for the back), but again, when working with PUL, the fewer the seams the better to make your project as water-tight as possible.

Step Three: Sew Your Loop

I like to add a loop to this bag so you can hang it in the bathroom or whathaveyou, but if you don't want it, by all means just skip this step.

Take your smaller rectangle of PUL and fold in half long sides together and right sides in.
Sew along this line with a 1/2" seam allowance, so you have this...

Using a safety pin, turn you tube inside out.
(because it doesn't matter if this bit is waterproof, pin away. Also, you can LIGHTLY press it to help with the topstitching. Make sure, though, your iron is set to low.

Topstitch on both sides of the strap like this.

Strap done.

Step Four: Sew Your Bag Together

While your bag is inside out, position it so you have 1 1/2" of PUL above the zipper.
Pin your sides together.
Again, make sure you pin within your seam allowance (1/2" to the outside).
You also might want to pin your zipper stops so you don't forget where they are (you don't want to run them over!)

Fold your strap piece in half and place on the inside of the bag between the zipper and the top fold.
Pin in place.

Now sew your side seams (1/2" seam allowance).
I suggest going over the strap part a couple times to make sure it's extra strong.

Zig Zag or serge your edges.

nice clean zipper

Then unzip your zipper and turn it right side out.
nice little loop

See??? I told you that was simple!

Another useful pool (and diaper bag) accessory.

I really hope that the tips help you all.
If they're unclear, or you have additional questions, just let me know!


  1. Just the tutorial I was looking for! Well done with just the right amount of sassiness : )

  2. I have been looking for a wetbag just like this. Thanks for posting this tutorial! So easy and simple!

  3. What a great tutorial. Just what I was looking for. Fast, easy and proffesional looking.

  4. Thanks for the great tips! My wet bag turned out with no stress! To help the PUL slide on my machine easier I used tissue paper and taped it all around the foot making a window and it worked really well.

    1. That's a great tip! Thanks for sharing. I'm glad to hear that your bag turned out well. :)

  5. Just finished a wet bag using your tutorial. It was the only one I could find (on Pinterest) that looked like the one store-bought one I already have. This one is a baby shower gift and I'm very pleased with it. Thanks!

  6. Great tutorial
    Except the step about folding the strap in half and placing on inside of bag between the zipper and the upper edge. When this is done as shown in the photo, the strap ends up on the INSIDE of the bag LOL.
    So it should be placed between the right side of fabric,(the outside of the bag) between the zipper and upper edge.

  7. I didn't realize you needed a ball point needle to sew on this fabric. Might be worth adding, but then again my machine won't sew on it regardless so it becomes a thanksgiving project with my MIL

  8. I used clover clips instead of pins. Great tutorial.


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