Mar 13, 2013

Waterproof Drawstring Backpack

We are planning a trip to Disney World (more on that later), and something that I always take when I go is a drawstring backpack. They're lightweight enough to wear all day, and they can hold quite a bit. The only problem is that I haven't found any that are waterproof. I usually end up taking a whole bunch of ziploc bags to keep my camera, phone, etc. safe on water rides, but it can be a bit of hassle having everything stuffed in ziploc bags and then stuffed into a larger bag.

I thought I'd look online for some kind of a wet bag that could be worn as a backpack but didn't find anything that was quite right. So, I decided to make my own!

You know how some people cook a fabulous meal and when asked for the recipe, their response is that they just threw a bunch of stuff together? I not only do that when I cook, but I also do it when I sew. I'm kind of a "cut and paste" kind of girl, and that's probably partially because I just taught myself to sew over time. It doesn't lend itself to very thorough tutorials, so consider this as more of an if-I-can-do-it-you-can-too post.

Here is my sketch of bag measurements that I used while I was planning and constructing.

I bought this napkin at Target almost a year ago and had no idea what I would do with it. It was on clearance for about a dollar, and it was just too cute to pass up. It's 18 inches square, and I thought it would be the perfect size for a backpack. I ripped out the top seam (and tag) and opened the napkin so it could be used as the outer part of the bag.

I ordered some PLU (waterproof fabric) online for the inner lining. PLU can be a little tricky to work with. The fabric side is slippery, the shiny side is sticky, it can't be ironed or put in the dryer, and you aren't supposed to pin it (pin holes allow water in). Since I hadn't used PLU before, I practiced sewing on a small piece before tackling the bag.

A drawstring enclosure isn't very water tight by itself, so I added a zipper at the top of the bag. The bag wouldn't cinch up very well if the zipper was right at the top, so I placed the zipper about five inches below the top of the bag.

Since there isn't any point in waterproofing the bag above the zipper, I just used cotton for the top part.

I added a waterproof interior pocket to the bag for things like cell phones and room keys.

Nylon parachute cord worked well for the drawstrings. You'll need about 60 inches of cord for each side, and you can see in my sketch how I strung the cord through the casing. If you string it through the casing and loop it around each side, you will create "straps" when you pull the string to close the bag. Does that make sense?

I opened about an inch of the side seams at the bottom of the napkin to insert the cord. I sewed over the cord, backtracking several times to secure it well.

I should have tried on my bag before I sewed the cord in; the straps are perfect for Marshall but a little bit long for me. I tied the excess into a bow at the bottom, and I think it's actually kind of cute!

The bag is just the right size for an adult, and I think it will make life much easier if we can just toss things into the bag and go. I can't wait to test it out!

Functional and CUTE!

Sharing at:
Savvy Southern Style
Gingersnap Crafts
Skip to My Lous
House of Hepworths
Tatertots & Jello

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