How to make a wash bag

Learn how to make a waterproof wash bag. The perfect gift for taking on holiday or staying organised at home.

How to make a waterproof wash bag

Follow these steps to make a handy and stylish waterproof wash bag to store your essentials. We also have a guide to embellishing your wash bag with text or someone’s initials for a personal touch.


  • Use a 1cm (38in) seam allowance.
  • If you’d like to monogram your wash bag, you need to do this before the bag is assembled. Using the alphabet templates here, place your fabric right side up over the letters and trace onto the main fabric. The bottom edge of the letters needs to be 14cm (5½in) down from the top short edge with the last letter of the embroidery ending 9cm (358in) from the right long edge. Embroider the letters in backstitch using three strands of stranded cotton.

You Will Need

  • Fabric and lining, 45x40cm (18x18in) of each
  • Interfacing, iron-on medium weight, 45x40cm (18x16in)
  • Zip, 35cm (14in)
  • Thread, stranded cotton and sewing thread to match your fabric

Cutting out

Step 1

From the main fabric cut:

  • Outer: 32x42cm (1258x16½in)
  • Tabs: cut two pieces 9x7cm (358x234in)

From the contrast fabric cut:

  • Lining: 32x42cm (1258x16½in)
  • Binding trim: four pieces 4x12cm (158x434in)

From the iron-on interfacing cut:

  • Main bag: 32x42cm (1258x16½in)
  • Tabs: two pieces 9x7cm (358x234in)

Making the bag outer

Step 2

Press your interfacing onto the wrong side (WS) of the main fabric outer and two tabs.

Step 3

Place the zip with teeth facing down on the right side (RS) of the short outer edge.

Step 4

Place the lining piece RS down on top to create a sandwich. Pin them together then sew into place using a zip foot.

Step 5

Wrap your fabrics to the other side and sew on the zip in the same way.

Step 6

Turn and press so the outer and lining fabrics are WS together then topstitch along the joined fabric edges close to the zip.

How to make a wash bag 01

Step 7

With the zip pull open and in the middle of the fabric body, close the zip teeth by machine sewing backwards and forwards close to the ends. Cut off the excess.

Attaching the tabs

Step 8

Fold one tab in half widthways RS facing and stitch together down the length.

Step 9

Turn RS out and press with the seam running down the centre of the back. Fold in half, matching raw edges, and press. Repeat to make the other tab.

Step 10

Turn the bag WS out so the lining is on the outside and fold it together so the zip lies exactly down the centre of the top edge and press, then open the zip to the centre.

Step 11

Slip one tab between the outer fabric layers so it is centred on top of the zip and matching raw edges.

Step 12

Sew across this side seam of the bag, encasing the edges of the tab as you go. Repeat this for the other tab and bag end.

How to make a waterproof wash bag

Cutting the corners

Step 13

Mark a 5x5cm (2x2in) square at all four corners of the bag. The marked line is your stitching line.

Step 14

Cut 1cm (38in) outside this line, so you’re cutting a 4cm (158x158in) square at all four corners.

Binding the seams

Step 15

Take one binding strip and fold the long edges WS together into the centre and press.

Step 16

Unfold then fold the raw edges so they meet at the centre crease. Fold in half again to encase the raw edges and press.

Step 17

Fold this bias strip around one of the stitched side seams to cover all the raw edges, trimming to fit if necessary, then hand-sew into place down both sides. Repeat this with another binding strip at the other side seam.

How to make a wash bag 03

Boxing the corners

Step 18

Pull one of the corners apart and pin it RS together so the side seam runs down the centre and creates a box shape. Stitch together.

Step 19

Bind with one of the bias strips in the same way as for the side seams but turn the short ends under to the inside for a neat finish. Repeat this with all four corners and then turn RS out to finish.

How to make a wash bag