Wet Bag Tutorial

Considering that it's the middle of winter here, and that I don't have a baby, what possible use could I have for a wet bag? Well turns out the DIY laminated cotton drawstring bag I'd made for my toiletries a couple of years back leaks! It's pretty okay for a wet toothbrush etc, but not so good for holding my sopping wet bathers. Why was I wearing bathers in winter? To go to the hotsprings of course! I've been waiting for a really really cold day to enjoy the mornington pennisula hotsprings. I was waiting for a day of torrential rain and strong wind gusts, but Pruet couldn't wait, and since he bought the passes I couldn't complain. It was drizzling at least. Still doesn't beat sitting in a hotspring surrounded by snow, but nonetheless was very relaxing and enjoyable.One of the bigger hotspring pools had spa bubble jets - very very relaxing. The noise however, also added to the light headedness from bathing too long in hot temperatures. Anyways, luckily I discovered the leaking drawstring bag before I dumped it into my actual bag.

Last year I went to Clark Rubber to by some foam to make a laptop cover...it's gathering dust somewhere. Whilst I was there it turns out they sell waterproof fabric too - the Polyurethane laminate (PUL) type not the oilcloth/ ripstop nylon type. I bought blue for some reason, thinking hey waterproof, water is blue, let's get blue...I should've stuck with white, it's hard to match royal blue with anything. End rant. 

This is the brand new wetbag. It has a detachable handle in case anyone wants to make it as a nappy bag - it unbuttons to loop around a pram handle, or over the hooks of shower cubicle doors for bathers etc.

Actually waterproof wetbag
The fabric has two completely waterproof sides - I tested it to check.

The side on the left was rubbery whereas the side on the right felt like raincoat fabric. You can tell the weave is slightly different. I liked the feel of the raincoat side better, and since both are waterproof doesn't matter which side you use.

Keep reading after the jump for the tutorial:
What you'll need
  • 2 x exterior fabric pieces (you could use laminated cotton if you wanted the outside to be waterproof) - 11.5" (h) x 8" (w) [this is for a smallish narrow bag] 
    • If you would like a medium bag, for more than one person's wet things, or for a lot of little person's wet things 11.5"(h) x 10.5"(w) 
  • 1 x bag handle fabric - 6"(h) x 9"(w) 
  • 2 x interior fabric piece - PUL- 11.5" (h) x 8" (w)
  • 8" zipper 
  • optional - metal snap button 

Extra Notes
Sewing through PUL is similar to sewing through vinyl, it's a bit hard on the feed dogs and you need to wrangle a bit with your machine. Also with fabric like this, the stitches may weaken the fabric each time the needle pierces it, so increase you stitch settings to lengthen the stitches. If you have a walking foot, now would be a good time to whip it out. If not grab some baking paper and sandwich your fabric between it, sew over the fabric as usual, and tear away the paper once done.

What to do 
  • Grab one of the exterior piece of fabric and one of the PUL pieces and the zipper. 
  • Place the PUL piece right side up. 
  • Next put the zipper on top of the PUL piece, so the top edge of the zipper and the top edge of the PUL piece is lined up. 
  • Next grab the exterior fabric and place it right side down, so the good sides of your fabric are facing each other 
    • You should use pins to keep the fabric in place, because the PUL was slippery! *Adds LOTS of change to imaginary swear jar*
  • Pin along the top and stitch along the line where the clips are.
  • Pull the fabric around so the zip can see the light of day, and your fabrics are facing the right way around. 
    • I learnt this the hard way a while back, but you really need to topstitch the fabric down, just so it doesn't get tangled in the zipper when you try and open your bag. Ever try to untangle fabric from a zipper? It's a nightmare. Save yourself the effort and the fear you'll rip something, topstitch the fabric to secure it.
  • Now do the same to the other side of the zipper. Sandwich your zipper with the two fabrics, right sides facing each other. Topstitch the fabric down.
    • Oops no picture
  • Grab the fabric for the handle. 
  • Iron in half lengthwise and open it up. 
  • Fold the sides into the centre ironed line. Iron. Fold in half in the middle. The fabric handle should now be 1/4 the height it was initially. 
  •  Leaving 1.5" from one of the ends of the fabric, topstitch both sides.
    • If you don't want to add a snap button handle, just sew both sides to the edge of the fabric
  • Flip your fabric around so the 1.5" end that was left unstitched is opened. 
  • Fold down 1/2" of the fabric, and tuck in the corners to make a little triangle type thing as below:
Folding in the corner will stop the fabric peaking out the side
  • After folding the triangles in, carefully fold the handle how it was, and topstitch around the edge. 
Making the triangle in the previous step prevents ugly overhang
  • Now back to the bag. 
  • Flip the fabrics around the zipper so that the good sides of the exterior fabric are facing each other and the good sides of the PUL are facing each other. 
  • Pin around the whole thing like it is one continuous rectangle.
  •  Now to slip the handle in. 
  • If you don't want to have a snap button handle: 
    • you need to fold your strap in half
    • push the strap in between the two good sides of your exterior fabric. 
    • you should have TWO handle ends poking though to be sewed over. Pin it.
  •  If you do want to have a snap button handle, you should only have the raw edge of the handle stick out, as below: 
  • Now to the thing about the zipper. Unzip it halfway, so it won't get caught under your sewing foot and you can open up the bag later.
  • You also need to have the teeth of the zipper on the side of your lining fabric. 
  • Last few things before you sew all the way around the fabrics in a continuous rectangle. 
  • You should triple stitch the handle into place if possible, makes it extra sturdy. 
  • Also you need to leave a gap in the PUL fabric to turn the whole thing through. I would do it at the side, if you do it in the bottom, it may make the bag less sturdy and more potential for leakage. 
  • Now to box the corners. One of my surgeons was saying fingers are the best surgical implements as they are the only one with sensation in them. 
  • You'll need to aline the seam on the side of the bag, and the bottom of the bag so they are on top of each other. Use your fingers to feel it out. Place a pin so it goes through both seams, the one on the side and the one on the bottom. Flip the bag so you can see if the pin is through the seam at the bottom. 
  • Grab a ruler and measure a triangle in the corner of the bag. In this case I want a 3" boxed corner. I want the halfway point of the triangle (1.5") to be marked by the seam I just pined.
  • Draw a line along the ruler and sew as show in the picture below and sew through this line
  • Do this for all 4 sides (2 on the exterior fabric and 2 on the PUL fabric).
  • Now pull your fabric right way out through the gap in the PUL lining. 
  • Now sew the gap in the lining shut.
  •  If you chose to have the snap button handle, add the button onto the strap
  • Instructions for attaching a metal snap button with normal pliers can be found here:
  • Now you are done: 
Happy Crafting.

Ps. If you have time and have not already done so please click the link to sign the petition to support an increase in medical internship places in Australia to actually help ease the doctor shortage.
mel@all.wrapped.up Web Developer

The indecisive crafter


  1. Hi! Thanks for your tute! Have an idea to share, would it work if I were to iron on Vilene Lamifix to my fabric and then make it up as such? It's water proof as well and not as hard as vinyl to sew... Just a though. Have a great week! :)

    1. HI Shanny, I did try that idea as well. I wanted to make the outside waterproof too, to be super protected, so I used iron on vinyl but it turned out like crunchy paper, so I just ripped it off. I don't think we have viliene here we have heat 'n' bond, probably not as good. Looks like I'll have to trawl the internet for a good deal on lamifix. I have tried to put a layer of clear vinyl on the outside, but the thinner kind tears at the folds after use, and the thicker kind is a pain to sew through. Maybe Lamifix will be the thing. I do like covering things in vinyl, stops the fabric from fading.

      Thanks for the suggestion,

  2. Hint....I read some where that PUL fabric can be sealed (as in the stiched seams) by putting it in a dryer at a low setting for a few minutes. I have recently purchased some of the fabric and am getting ready to "play" with it. Can't wait. Thanks for the tutorial. Gives me more ideas to try.

    1. Hi Robynsews,

      Thanks for the tip! I would love to hear how the dryer goes at sealing the PUL fabric. I was going to try a hair straightener with a some protective fabric around it to protect the plates.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting,

  3. Hi thaks so much for the tutorial

    Have a nice week,

    Costa Rica

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      Thank you so much for commenting. Hope you give the tutorial ago as well!

      Happy Crafting,

  4. Thanks so much for the tutorial. I used it to make holiday gifts for my entire family! (photos at http://simeonthewhale.com/holiday-gifts-for-a-family-of-swimmers-the-wet-bag/)

    Thank you!


    1. HI Nurit,

      I love the pictures of the bags you made and how you personalised each one for your different family members. I'm happy to know they were a hit, I'll add your version to my page soon.

      Happy Crafting,

  5. gearing up to start this project tomorrow (maybe)! I want to make a few so I have them in strategic places for when I start potty training my daughter. I do have a question (well actually a million, but I'll just ask this), I have a special zipper foot for my machine. Should I use this when I do the topstitch on the zipper that you first talk about? Or is the normal, general foot ok?

    1. HI randomosity,

      Ask as many questions as you want! I used my walking foot as my default sewing machine foot because it grips the fabric from the bottom and the top which was good in this case, but sandwiching the fabric between freezer paper works just as well. I'm not too good at using my zipper foot as I find it hard to sew a straight line with it, but that's just me. As a beginner I would use the zipper foot to begin with as it's skinnier and avoids the zipper teeth and use the freezer paper to avoid slippage of the waterproof fabric.

      Good Luck!

    2. I have a walking foot that came with the machine. I've never even thought about it until you mentioned it above. I think I might whip it out tonight and see if I can figure out how to change feet. I've been trying to finish up some painting projects today so I actually haven't started yet. Hopefully this weekend! Thanks for the response!

    3. hmm..so the bag took me like 2 hours or so but I was also trying to figure out how to switch to the walking foot for like 20 min (and it was impossibly easy and I was looking at it too hard). The big problem with the bag is that the zipper was shorter than the top so i tried to sew the extra sides down while it was in the big rectangle and missed parts of the seam and the zipper end on one flappy side so it is really sad looking on the top. But it will work for sorta wet stuff, not sopping wet. And I think I know how to fix the problems...unless you have some advice for the top part when the zipper is shorter than the whole of the top. Thanks for the tutorial! It was really good since this is my first complicated sewing project!

  6. So this is the first time I've used a zipper on anything... When I got to the stage where I was supposed to sew the big rectangle the zipper would not lie flat, and I couldn't actually sew over it at all. I've made drawstring bags this way before but how are you supposed to sew where the zipper is? Mine came out looking awful. I haven't tested it yet but I think it'll be functional, I was just hoping it would look prettier.

    1. Hi Megan,

      I'm glad you gave the wet bag a go. The zipper is meant to be open with the teeth facing the lining side and shouldn't usually be a problem for most sewing machines but if you are having trouble feeding the whole thing through the feed dogs you can try using the handwheel to slowly slowly get over the bump and go on as usual? If you send me a photo I might be able to get a better idea of why it didn't work?

      Hope that helps,