Wet Bag Tutorial

April 1, 2011

When it comes to giving baby gifts, I have made a ton of different things to give away: bibs, leather shoes, clothes, car seat covers, soother (pacifier) straps, and the list goes on and on.  I really love sewing for babies!

Lately, I have tried to focus my sewing attention, and make just one type of gift for new mums and babies.  Something fast, useful, and not too expensive to make.  My project: wet bags.  What is a wet bag, you ask?  It's a small zippered pouch with a waterproof liner that you can store in your diaper bag, car, or beach bag.  My version is the perfect size for just a few wet things, and has a handle for easy carrying.

Now, I use cloth diapers with my baby, so obviously I need a wet bag for on-the-go diaper changes.  If you are giving a gift to a mother using cloth, then this is the perfect gift.  And if not, then this is still the perfect gift.   Having a small waterproof bag to store wet, dirty clothing in is awesome.  It's also useful for wet swimming suits after a day at the pool or beach.  The finished size of this bag is also just right for a small case of wipes, a changing mat, a few diapers, and rash ointment, so it can double as a diaper clutch. 

Like I said, a wet bag makes the perfect gift, for someone else or for yourself.  Now that I've convinced you how awesome it is to have a wet bag, are you ready to make one?  It's easy, I promise.

*Update: a kind reader pointed out my error in listing the necessary yardage.  I originally listed 1/8 yard for both the PUL and outer fabric, but you really need 1/4 yard of each.  Sorry for the mistake!  The tutorial has been updated accordingly.  

Wet Bag Tutorial
What you'll need:

  • 1/4 yard of fabric (pretty much anything will work, although I wouldn't use felt, leather, or knit)
  • 1/4 yard of *PUL fabric*
  • 12" zipper
  • Polyester thread
*A word about PUL fabric.  I have seen this recently at Joann's and I know other fabric stores sometimes carry it as well.  There are also tons of places you can buy it online, but if you just need a small piece, I would stick to a brick and mortar store.  Outside of the US, I'm not sure how easy it is to find locally.  PUL has a shiny plastic coated side, and a knit side.  The waterproof side is the shiny side, and this is the side that you want to be visiable on the inside of your bag.*


1. Cut out two pieces from each fabric type measuring 12" x 9".  This will be the main part of the pouch.  Cut one piece from your outside fabric measuring 9" x  4 1/2" for the strap.

2. Fold the strap piece in half length-wise with right sides facing each other, and sew along the side using 3/8" seam.  Turn it right-side-out, and press it flat so that the seam runs down the middle of the strap.  Topstitch along both sides.  At this point I added my label since this bag is a gift and I am trying to label the things that I give away. 

3. Sew both layers of fabric to your zipper.  You want to arrange your fabric so that the outer fabric faces the outside of the zipper, and the PUL faces the underside of the zipper.  Line the edges of the fabric up with the edges of the zipper tape, and sew using a zipper foot.  The zipper will be longer than the fabric (it make the corners nicer on the pouch), so just leave 1 1/2" on each end.  Don't be afraid of zippers - they aren't that scary, especially when you are just using them for a simple pouch (and not a dress).

4. Figure out where you want your strap to be, and sew it to just one layer of the outer fabric.

5. Arrange your layers so that the outer fabric pieces are facing each other and the PUL pieces are facing each other, and the zipper is in the center.  Put in a few pins to keep things in place.  When you putting pins in the PUL layers, be sure and keep them within the 3/8" seam allowance.  Sew along the perimeter.  I like to start and stop on either side of the zipper, but it's fine if you sew over it.  Leave a gap on the bottom of the PUL piece for turning it. 

When I leave a gap for turning things right side out, I always rotate my needle and sew down to the edge (in the picture on the right).  This makes it easier to sew the opening shut at the end. 

 6. Box all four corners by sewing in 1" from the corner.

7. Flip it right-side-out through the hole in the bottom of the PUL.  Sew this opening shut.

8. Tuck the PUL layer inside the pouch, zip it closed, and you are done!

The wet bag in the pictures was made from a vintage table cloth that I found thrifting a few months ago.  Isn't it a pretty print?  My zipper was salvaged from a plastic bag that my sheets came in.  I used to have a whole bunch of these bags in a box, and I couldn't figure why I was keeping them, until I realized I could use the zippers for other projects.  And if you are wondering why I used neon orange PUL (the waterproof fabric on the inside), it's because that is what I had.  And if you are wondering why I had neon orange PUL (totally valid question by the way), I bought it online to make diaper covers, and thought the colour would be more muted.


Dawn said...

Thank You! I'm planning on making one of these for a mom I know.... she's going to LOVE it I'm sure!:-)

Jean said...

Thanks so much for this great tutorial. I made one for a friend and posted about it on my blog. http://www.bubblesandbobbins.com/2012/05/wet-bag.html

Thanks again! :)

Choose DIY said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I made 2 for my two sisters. I added an extra pocket, because you can'nt have too much of those. :)
Thanks! Andrea

Haandlavet Karma said...

What a great tutorial! Have just decided to make one. Will certainly write a blog on it when I'm finished ... If everything goes according to plan ;-)

Diana said...

I love your tutorial! Very well said and easy to follow. I want to make one for my daughter who is in a wheelchair and wears diapers. I think I'll sew it through and see if her bigger diapers fit. I love the idea of a wet pouch to put clothes, etc. in. So glad I found this today!! THANKS!!

Jocelyn said...

I am a beginning sewer; I don't understand what "boxing in" means?? And should the ends of my zipper be sewn in some how or do they just kinda stay tucked? I finished my bag without boxing it in but I want to make one for a friend too. Also, I am very grateful for your tutorial, cuz I still haven't found a store bought wet bag that i'm satisfied with! So thank you!

Carlee said...

Jocelyn - "boxing" the corners is what I describe in step #6. It's a common technique used to make bags, and I know you could find lots of tutorials by goggling it. I find the the ends of the zipper just stay tucked in, but you could sew them in if you needed too. Hope that helps!

Stephanie said...

I have a few tips with the PUL fabric, because it can be a pain! When the PUL fabric is facing down against the feed wheel a sheet of tissue paper helps it move smoothly and keeps the stitches from skipping. If the thread keeps breaking, there are a few tips. A little lube on the needle (you can buy specialty needle lube or use a tiny, tiny bit of cooking oil), a fresh jersey ball needle, and tissue paper along the fabric under the presser foot all seem to help. When you are finished, just rip the tissue paper off. Also, the PUL fabric is unforgiving of holes, so I use binder clips or paper clips or even bobby pins instead of straight pins to hold the fabric. I've pulled my hair out over some PUL fabric moments, so I just wanted to share with you a little hard earned advice.

Jess said...

LOVE this post, I just tried it and had tremendous success! Thanks so much for writing it, I can't wait to sew more of them!


- Jess

FutureBecwar said...

I just finished one wet bag... and another is in the works. I LOVE this! Thanks so much for sharing! http://projects.mommamelanie.com/2013/07/17/baby-shower-gifts-cont-wet-bags/

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