Thursday, February 7, 2013

DIY Wet bag, plus sewing tips

I love DIY projects, but sometimes the final product doesn't turn out how I'd like. I’ve seen several blog posts with tutorials on DIY wet bags, and I finally decided to give it a try just for fun.

Some background about my sewing experience:  I have a sewing machine that I’ve had for about 4 years, and maybe used 4 times total.  My mom was a professional seamstress for 25 + years, and has a bachelors of arts in fashion design. I have some anxiety about sewing, since every time I’ve tried, it usually ends in my mom “fixing” the project, or doing the entire thing for me.  This time I was determined to do the entire sewing project on my own.

My sister accompanied me in shopping for materials, and we purchased 1-yard PUL (polyurethane laminated) fabric, 1-yard cotton fabric, a 16-inch zipper, and matching polyester thread.

We had some coupons, but for regular price at JoAnn Fabrics making this project would cost:

$9.99 for 1 yard of cotton fabric (There were some cheaper fabrics available)

$9.99 for 1 yard of PUL

$4.50 for a 16” zipper

$2.80 for thread

Making this project would cost about $28 total (I spent $20 after our coupons), but I will have enough fabric left over to make a medium-sized wet bag that should hold 3-4 diapers.

To get started on my project, I selected this wet bag tutorial from A Lemon Squeezy Home to be a guide, and I made a few modifications. I wanted my final project to be a similar size as the large Planet Wise wet bag, and I also wanted the PUL inner lining to be made from one large piece of fabric, rather than sewing two pieces together (as suggested in the tutorial).  I thought that was more similar to the Planet Wise design, and also eliminated the risk of moisture wicking through stitching at the bottom of the bag.  This modification was easily workable for a larger style bag, but probably not possible for any smaller sized bags I planned to make. I also decided to surge the cotton edges to help prevent them from unraveling and catching within the bag (a minor problem I had with a Wahmies brand wet bag).  Since I don’t have a machine to do this, I did a zig-zag stitch over the edge of the cotton fabric to get a “surged effect”.

I measured and cut pieces as follows:

17” X 39” PUL (one piece)

17”X 19.5” cotton (two pieces)

I referred to the wet bag tutorial for instructions on doing the zipper and sewing the bag.  It took me about 5 minutes just to figure out how to put the “zipper foot” on the machine (I’ve never sewed a zipper before!), and I definitely made some major mistakes as I was making the bag, had to rip out some stitching, and make some modifications.  However, for my first time making a wet bag it actually came out really nicely and functionally.  I wouldn’t feel too badly about giving this as a gift, and I know the next bag I make will be even nicer!
Close up of PUL layer
Finished Wet Bag- sized about 16 inches by 18 inches
Wet bag holding 5 pocket diapers with room for more

 Tips when making your bag:

1. When sewing the zipper, be careful not to get the fabric too close to where the bag zips.  The second bag I made turned out great, except I got the PUL fabric a little too close to the zipper on one part of the bag. This problem was combined with not pulling the PUL tightly away from the zipper while stitching, which resulted in a little flap of fabric that could get caught in the zipper.  I ended up going back and hand stitching down the area that was catching, and this solved the problem.

2. Use a non-separating zipper.  I ended up buying zippers that separated on both sides (like a jacket would), since I didn't know to look for anything different.  Occasionally you have to stick the zipper back together in order to close the bags I made.  By using a non-separating zipper, there won't be any fiddling when trying to close the bag.

3. Select a fabric pattern that doesn't have an "up" or "down" to it.  Keep it simple for your first bag, and go with a fabric pattern that can be flipped whatever direction you want.  This can help you squeeze a few more bags out of the fabric as well.


  1. You're so brave! I've never used the zipper foot on my machine, either. Kudos on a job well done and a really cute little wet bag!

    1. Thanks! This project wasn't too difficult. Now sewing my own diapers... that's a project that would take serious bravery.

  2. Hi! Thanks so much for this and the link. I'm also learning the art of using my sewing machine for material not just paper projects. Great little gift ideas and a way for me to learn as I go : )

  3. thanks for sharing. Did it end up working well? Any wicking issues? Ordors or leaking?

    1. It works wonderfully! I can't tell any difference between my handmade bag and my purchase bag.

  4. Thanks for sharing this! About how many diapers can fit in this bag?

    1. A lot! I would estimate about 8-10 depending on the type of diaper.