Wednesday 16 November 2011

Kid's Wash Bag Tutorial

Afternoon all.  Today I thought I'd share my tutorial for kid's wash bags with you. 

I've been selling these wash bags at craft fairs for the past six months and they've proved very popular, I think because they're small and cute!  Once you've cut the fabric out, they probably take no more than an hour to make, so they're relatively easy too.  Here goes...

You will need:

2 x outer fabric (quilting weight is good) each piece measuring 32cm long by 27cm wide
2 x waterproof fabric* each piece measuring the same size as above

1 x length of piping cord or similar, minimum 60cm long
*I get my waterproof fabric from here and it's always been good quality and good value.  I use white as it goes with everything but there are lots of other colours available.

1) Pin together one of the outer fabric pieces and one of the waterproof pieces, wrong sides together.  If you're not sure about the waterproof fabric, the right side is shiny and slippery and the wrong side is very slightly tacky.  Do the same with the remaining two pieces.

2) I make my wash bags using French seams so they're enclosed.  To do this, pin the two double sided pieces wrong sides together so you have the two waterproof layers facing each other and the two pieces of printed fabric on the outside.  Make two marks on one long side, one about 5cm from the top and one 1.5 cm from the top.

3) Using a narrow seam allowance (about the width of your presser foot is fine), start at one top corner and sew down that long edge, along the bottom edge and up the other side, stopping at the first mark.  Backstitch a few times. Continue from the 1.5cm mark to the top of the fabric, backstitching again. 

You should have a small gap of about 3.5cm at the top of one long side

4) Cut all threads and trim seam allowances right down.  Cut corners on a  diagonal.Turn the bag inside out and poke the bottom edges with a paintbrush or similar, so they're nice and pointy. Press (the waterproof fabric is fine to press on a low heat setting but if you're worried, use a cloth).

5) Now we're going to do exactly the same on the inside of the bag. 

Using a large enough seam allowance to encase the first seam, sew along the folded edges of the fabric, starting and finishing at the same places.  That's your French seam!

Look, no unfinished seams wafting about

6) Now the next bit looks a bit unorthodox, but it will really help when you come to thread the cord through.  Trim the two top edge seams down to where the line of sewing starts again.

7) Press under 1.5cm of the top raw edge all the way around. 
Top edge (about 1.5cm) folded over and pressed

8) Then press under the remaining 3.5cm.

Top edge hem
You should now have a nifty little hole for your cord.

9) If you want to add your own label, now is a good time so that the stitching doesn't show through on the outside.  Unfold the top hem and sew on your label about midway across.

10) Fold under again and sew all the way around the top edge, starting and finishing at the hole you've created.  Backstitch a few times by the entry hole for extra strength.  Press.

Now for the fun part.... 

11) Piping cord tends to unravel at the ends so I wrap a small bit of sellotape to each end to stop this.  Secure a safety pin to one end of the cord and feed through the hole until it emerges at the other end. 

Ensure both ends are of equal length then tie a knot near the cord ends.  And that's it!  You have yourself a very professional looking waterproof wash bag. 

Obviously play with size if you want it to hold more or want to make one for adults.  Or you could substitute the waterproof fabric for cotton to make a handy little drawstring bag (endlessly useful). The size in this tutorial is roomy enough for a child's toothbrush, toothpaste and flannel. 

If you're making one with a baby in mind then it's also the right size to hold a couple of nappies and a pack of wipes.

I hope this tutorial is useful, if anything doesn't make sense, please shout.  And if anybody makes one, I'd love it if you sent me a link.  x


  1. These are so cute. The fabrics are to die for. Can you tell me where you got the first one from please?

  2. Thanks Marie and Dibs! Dibs, the fabric is from Prints to Polka Dots, here's a link:

  3. I have to echo previous comments and say how cute this is! Thanks for the great tutorial.
    Re waterproof fabric, I haven't tried using it myself but a friend was looking for waterproof fabric to make a similar project and the lady in John Lewis recommended that she buy a cheap shower curtain instead of actual fabric. That might be of help to anyone who wants to get hold of something quickly and on the high street.

  4. Thanks for the waterproof fabric link. I was thinking of making something like this to hold my lunchbox, to prevent a disastrous beetroot leakage.

  5. Brilliant tutorial! This will be perfect as a wet bag for my immenent new arrivals wet bag!

  6. Thank you for that. I'm going on my list of gifts

  7. Thanks. I like your method for making a neat hole as this is the part of making drawstring bags that has so far eluded me. LOVE your fabric choices too. xx

  8. Fantastic tutorial, thanks so much. I'm hoping to make some little wash bags once I pick up some waterproof material but in the meantime I have used the tutorial to make two little library bags. They've turned out beautifully and I especially love how the French Seam makes them look so professional :-) Thanks again.

    1. That's great Poppy, I'm so pleased it was useful. Library bags is a great idea. I've also made them as shoe bags - just a bit bigger and without the waterproof lining. Glad yours turned out so well. x

    2. Hi Jane,

      I hope you don't mind but thought I'd send you a link to my version of your cute kids wash bags,

      Thanks again

      Poppy x

    3. Thank you for sharing this tutorial. I am going to have a go at making a couple tonight as my daughters Brownie group are collecting toiletry items for the homeless (via the Salavation Army) and the Leader has asked for donations of bags to put items in. Your bags look perfect.

  9. Just made two more of these, Jane. Am losing count of how many I have made now!

    1. Hoorah! I LOVE hearing of sewing chums using my tutorials. I've probably made and sold about 40 this Xmas, they're very popular! x

  10. The waterproof fabric I am looking online is it just waterproof nylon? :D

  11. Just wanted to say thanks for the fab tutorial!! I am a complete novice - have only ever made a cushion with the sewing machine - but found the instructions and photos so easy to follow! Now my daughters have a wash bag each for their holidays! Thank you!!

    1. Aw that's great to hear! Thanks so much for letting me know. x


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  14. Thanks so much for all your information on craft fair sales. I'm doing my first in Bromley in June. You've given me lots of great ideas! I just wonder how much you would charge for your washbags and tooth fairy pillows. I'm so nervous about overpricing. Again, thanks for being so kind and sharing with the rest of us!

    1. Hi, sorry I've only just seen your comment. I charge £5 for tooth fairy cushions, which I suspect is too cheap, as they sell like hot cakes! I've seen the same ones for £8 - I guess it depends on how fast you want them to sell! I charge £7 for the wash bags, which I think is good value - again, you could price them higher but they sell steadily at the price I charge. Hope this helps and best of luck with the craft fair. x

  15. Hi Jane do you end up with 2 raw edges where the cord goes in and out I'm worried it will fray when cord is pulled. Thanks

  16. Hello! Thanks for this - lovely little bags!

    I have the same problem as Rachel though - raw edges where the cord goes in. Any idea where I went wrong?


  17. Good job. This is very nice post. I like your post. Its fantastic. Thanks a lot for share and that's my request please share me more post in future. playground tile

  18. Thanks so much, I've made mine.. Just finished and really pleased with itMane would like to send you a photo of the finished product too. But not sure how ? 😉

  19. Great tutorial - thanks for sharing. Is the lining fabric you use easy to sew with our do you need special machine foot etc? I assume the tape is removed after the cords are tied? Thanks.



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