My kids are well past the baby stage (Thank the Lord!) but wet bags are also great for toting around wet swimsuits after a day at the pool or the beach. No more leaking plastic Wal-Mart and Target bags for me!
My first instinct was to purchase one already made from one of many lovely sellers on Etsy. Then I decided I could easily make one myself. However, finding PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) in any of my local craft stores was like trying to find a carnival worker with all of his/her teeth. I could have ordered it online but well, I’m just really cheap. So I brainstormed and decided to use an inexpensive vinyl tablecloth instead and it worked like a charm.
See the tutorial below for all the details. Keep in mind that a vinyl tablecloth is not as sturdy nor will it probably be as long lasting as a well made wet bag made with PUL. If you’re planning on using your bag often for soiled baby things, I would definitely suggest either using PUL or purchasing one made with PUL. However, since I knew my use of it would be limited to a few trips to the pool every summer, I wanted a quicker, cheaper option and after several wet swimsuit trips it’s held up remarkably well and it only cost me about $5 (3 for the tablecloth, 2 for the zipper and I’m counting the fabric as free since it was leftover from another project).
I wanted to have as few seams in my vinyl as possible in order for it to be as water tight as possible. Therefore I cut one large rectangle 34” by 14” (if you have a longer zipper then you can make your bag wider). Cut the same from your fabric (if you’re using scraps and don’t have pieces long enough you could always cut two pieces 17” by 14” and piece them together).
Cut a 1 ½ ” by 16” strip from your fabric – this will become your loop/handle.
Place the lining (tablecloth) and the fabric wrong sides together (as shown above). Lay the zipper face down along the top edge of the lining and pin in place. Sew the zipper to the top edge of the bag.
Fold the strip of fabric for the handle right sides together and sew with a ¼” seam allowance to form a tube. Turn the tube right side out, press flat and top stitch the edges. Fold the handle in half and pin to the side of your bag as shown below.
Step 4 - the French seam (ooh la la)
I adore French seams because they are neat and tidy and professional and I always talk with a really bad French accent when I’m sewing them and it drives my husband insane. Now the professional look of it is not really needed here because we easily could have hidden the raw edges between the lining and the outside of the bag, but I chose the French seam for this bag because it’s basically a double seam and therefore will make for a much tighter, more water proof seam than if we just sewed it once.
Transfer your bag with right sides facing you to your sewing machine. Be sure your zipper is open halfway since we’ll be turning the bag through that opening. Sew a ¼ inch seam allowance down each side of the bag.
Now sew a ½” seam along each side of the lining. Essentially you are now encasing your raw edges within another seam; making for a more waterproof seal and still keeping the outside of the bag looking flawless.
Now simply turn your bag right side out and you’re ready to hit the water.