Monday, November 15, 2010
A Useful Bag for Putting Things In
"Things" in this case being cloth diapers waiting to be laundered. After shopping around on the Internet for wet bags, I realized that I could save some money by making my own. Fortunately, PUL has become widely available on the Internet -- and even my local JoAnn's carries some in some rather offensively bright colors!
JoAnn's had the cheapest price (coupon + no shipping), so I pulled some fabric out of my stash to make a more attractive covering for the bag.
This is such a simple "pattern" -- two rectangles, with squares cut out of the bottom corners to give the bag some shape at the bottom. For the PUL, I put the fold on the bottom of the bag, since a seam at the bottom would have more chance of leaking. The wet bag and the decorative shell are sewn separately, only connected at the zipper and the top seam. I also used French seams on the wet bag, hoping that they might be more leak-proof than regular seams.
Originally I made a casing and added a drawstring -- but it proved to be difficult to cinch, and the bag wouldn't close completely. Since it's quite roomy, I ended up cutting the casing off entirely and adding a zipper. Which was nerve-wracking, but (thankfully) effective!
A little handle for hanging and transport to the laundry was a must. I discovered during this process that tissue paper worked wonders when I was trying to sew the PUL (which has a "sticky" texture that makes it difficult to sew). The tissue paper tears away easily, and makes the whole process so much simpler! And while I usually use as few pins as possible, *not* being able to pin was quite annoying! But apparently any extra holes in the PUL could lead to a leak.
You can see the shiny waterproof side of the PUL through the opening -- fortunately I checked on the Internet before I started sewing and found out that the smooth side goes on the *inside* of the bag.
This bag is intended for day-to-day use at home; I've made a smaller "outing" version (just simple rectangles with a zipper) for the diaper bag, using the same fabrics. $10 for 2 yards of PUL gave me plenty for both of these bags, with enough left over for at least another outing-size bag and some smaller projects. For three bags online I would have paid at least $35, so I'm pleased with the economic aspect of this project.
But the real test will be seeing if they actually work!
7/21/2011 UPDATE: Well, the large bag has bitten the dust. That cute cotton cover would get soaked during washing, resulting in my having to throw the whole thing in the dryer when I couldn't line dry. It was just too wet to dry inside (as in, dripping wet). JoAnn's cheap PUL is really not up to high-heat drying, and eventually the laminate started to peel off. So I pulled out my remaining PUL and a made a new bag without a cover. It works fine, plus I was able to correct a few things I didn't like about the first one (especially the zipper). Live and learn!
3/23/2012 UPDATE: Even with my updated version (just PUL, so I could let it air dry), the JoAnn's PUL started de-laminating within a few months. I think JoAnns carries cloth-diaper specific PUL in their notions area now, but I went ahead and bought a Rumparooz Kanga Care Wet Bag in August, which has been serving me very well. It's just large enough for one load of cloth diapers, and it's more compact than my original bag. My design worked just fine, and would probably still be in use if I had made it with better PUL. Live and learn!