This DIY wet bag tutorial is not really decor or home-related, but it IS a super handy one.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. Learn more here.
Since summer is here, I thought a simple tutorial for a wet/dry bag would be in order.
This is a long post but it’s really fun, so I encourage you to stick around until the end.
But first, you may be thinking …
What the heck is a wet bag?
Haha. I don’t know why the term “wet bag” makes me laugh. (I know, real mature.)
A wet bag is simply a waterproof zippered pouch or drawstring bag that you can use to hold wet clothes, typically swimsuits.
But a wet bag has so many other uses.
I use mine to hold the impressive collection of sunscreens I seem to have amassed. I just throw it right in my beach bag with my towels and stuff. I never have to worry about spills and goopy messes.
Why do I have so many sunscreens?? I don’t know.
Apparently, every time I’m at the store, I grab a new sunscreen.
You can also use these wet bags to hold cloth diapers, wet clothes, snacks, drink cups, etc. You never know when one of those is going to give out on you! 🙂
Or, use them the opposite way – to keep your things dry and clean. Like your cell phone and other electronics.
These wet bags are a mom’s best friend!
Hence the title of this post – you are going to want to take one of these everywhere!
FYI: I’ve also seen these bags called wet/dry bags, dry bags, bikini bags, and swim bags. You can buy these from the store too. But today, we are going to make our own!
perfect wet bag fabric
The perfect fabric for a wet bag is a … waterproof one! Sorry, dumb joke.
Ok. You have several fabric options for making a waterproof bag.
- There’s oilcloth, which I used for this tutorial. It’s slick on one side with a soft cotton backing on the other. You can just wipe it clean!
- You could also use a clear Vinyl which you can pick up from most fabric stores and craft stores. A Beautiful Mess has a good tutorial for a vinyl one.
- Laminated cotton is another option. It’s just cotton fabric with a laminated, waterproof coating on it.
- PUL – or Polyurethane Laminate. It’s basically like laminated cotton but it’s plastic. I think. I’ve never worked with this material myself.
So – I really love oilcloth fabric. It’s easy to just wipe clean, it keeps things dry and contains messes. Here are a few things to note about this fabric. You can’t machine wash it and you can’t iron it. It will melt!
But a simple wipe down with a soapy sponge will do the trick for this fabric. To me, oilcloth just screams SUMMER. The fabrics are so pretty and colorful. They are almost retro-looking.
And you can get some oilcloth fabric easily on Amazon!
You can also pick up oilcloth from your local fabric shops and online stores like Fabric.com.
I happened to have some extra fabric lying around from my last oilcloth project – these really cute outdoor coasters.
Perfect for Summer!
Here’s another tip: Did you buy oilcloth fabric and it’s wrinkled or folded with creases? Don’t worry. Although you CAN’T iron it, if you lay it out in the sun with heavy books on top, it will easily take care of those wrinkles and creases for you. I find that the wrinkles naturally flatten out over time too.
So guys! Let’s get to the tutorial. Woot!
Things You’ll Need
DIY Wet Bag Tutorial
Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way.
Tip: You don’t really want to use pins with oilcloth. It’s best to keep the holes to a minimum because it can cause the fabric to tear easier. So – I used binder clips. You can also use wonder clips. You also want a longer stitch because this will also create fewer holes.
Step 1: Cut Fabric to size
Oilcloth is slick on one side and cotton on the other. I wanted both the inside and outside of my swim bag to be that slick material, so I have to sew two pieces together.
So cut two equal-sized squares out of your oil cloth fabric.
Keep in mind that you will be folding it, so your finished product will be roughly half the size of your cut square.
Step 2: sew fabric pieces together
Now you will just sew a seam all the way around, attaching the two pieces of oilcloth together. The cotton sides should be facing in. We are sewing wrong sides together!
When you’re done, you should have a single square with the slick oilcloth (pattern part) on each side.
See the tips above for holding these fabrics together while sewing. You really don’t want to use pins and poke holes in the oilcloth. I used binder clips!
Step 3: Sew on your Zipper
Now, take your single square of fabric and fold it in half. This will create a little crease.
Lay your zipper right side down on top of this crease and sew it in place. So the back side of the zipper will be facing you.
To make this easier, use the zipper foot that came along with your sewing machine.
I repeat – you are sewing the zipper backward technically, but you will cut through the top to expose the zipper.
Because guess what?
Oilcloth doesn’t fray!! So you can clean up the edges later.
Step 4: Reveal your Zipper
Cut through the top of your fabric where you sewed your zipper.
You should just be able to feel where the middle zipper part is. Cut all the way through both pieces of oilcloth (remember, we have a double layer here.)
Your zipper should now be exposed! You can trim the excess fabric from the sides, so your zipper doesn’t get stuck on the oilcloth. You want it to look as neat as possible.
I don’t like to get technical when I sew, so I’m not going to mention any specific seam allowance. Just use your judgment and what feels and looks good to you.
Step 5: Fold bag in half and Sew
Now that we have our zipper in place, we are going to sew a seam around the other three sides, completing our bag.
First, ensure your zipper is open a bit (so you don’t sew your bag shut!)
Fold the bag in half, lining up the edges. Use your binder clips to keep the sides together. The zipper will be backwards and look upside down.
Sew a seam all the way around. Again – use your judgment on the seam allowance here.
Don’t worry about it looking too perfect. You can also trim excess oilcloth from the edges of the bag.
Step 6: Flip WET Bag Right Side Out
Now reach on through your zipper and flip your wet bag right side out.
Woot! You’re done!
You now have this cute little swim bag.
Or a wet/dry bag.
Or a dry bag.
Or a bikini bag.
Whatever you want to call it.
So I happened upon this website, which sells these wet bags. I love how cute they are! I found this site after I had already made my wet bag.
But it got me thinking …
You could totally sew a cotton fabric to the oilcloth fabric (so the lining is the waterproof slick part.) The only downside is you couldn’t really wash the front cotton side since it would be attached to oilcloth.
You could also place your zipper on the front side, as they have designed their wet bags. Super cute idea!
Don’t you just love creating your own knockoffs?
Old Navy also sells these cute bikini bags. This is definitely a good bargain.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you can buy it cheaper than you could make it on your own, it’s probably worth it.
UNLESS – you really enjoy the creative process.
For me, I really enjoy sewing and making my own things and I already had the fabric, so it was just easier to whip one of these bad boy wet bags up myself.
Whether you need this swim wet bag for diapers (both regular and cloth diapers), snacks, drinks, swimsuits, or sunscreens, you will be good to go!
Keep one in your car for emergencies.
Throw a few in your beach bag or pool bag.
Or give them away as little gifts! I would always take a gift of one of these in pretty summery patterns. Oooo, maybe as favors for a summer shower?
I hope your summer is off to great start guys!