The Stay Dry Tote — Tutorial!

This summer [whenever summer decides to arrive here… ] we’re planning on spending a lot of time at the wading pools.  They are perfect for my boys and I – small, not crowded, shallow enough that the boys can play freely, and free [the big selling point!]

Look at my little wading pool baby!

When we go to the wading pool, we bring along little bath toys.  However, when we are heading home, the wet toys get thrown into the bag, getting everything else wet too.  I can’t even tell you how annoying that is to me.

This year we will not have this problem, though, thanks to the Stay Dry Tote.  It is lined with vinyl, so that all the wetness stays in the bag.  It’s made from a random rummage sale fabric that reminds me of waves (and was $4 for 4yds!), with upcycled jeans pockets on the outside.  It’s the perfect size for my three-year-old to carry by himself [because this prego mama’s going to have her hands full!]

Mine is made to really only hold small toys, and not much else, but you could easily make yours bigger to fit whatever you need.

I know you want to make your own!  So here’s how:

1. Cut two pieces of fabric for the main pieces of your tote.  I didn’t measure mine at all, I just drew onto the fabric what I thought would be a good size and shape.  Just make sure your two pieces are the same size.

2.  Cut two pieces of vinyl that are an inch shorter than your fabric pieces.

3.  Cut two rectangles of fabric for your straps.  Again, I didn’t measure these.  I just held up the fabric to my three-year-old to see about how long they should be.  You will be folding these pieces of fabric in half, so make sure it is twice as wide as you want your straps to be.

4.  Grab an old pair of jeans and use a seam ripper to take off the pockets, if you’d like some on your tote.  You could also make fabric pockets, but I knew my son would think these pockets were much cooler – and it’s faster!

5.  Sew the pockets onto the outside of one fabric piece.  I overlapped my pockets onto one side, but you could also put one on each side (or just use one pocket).

In doing this, one of the pockets gets sort of divided into two small sections, which are perfect for holding sunscreen, granola bars… or matchbox cars, depending on who is packing the pockets. ;)

6. Take the two main fabric pieces, put the right sides together, and sew along the curved edge – but NOT along the top edge.  I used a serger, but you could zig-zag this on your sewing machine instead.

7.  Take one piece of the fabric for the straps and fold it in half, right side in.  Sew along the edge.

8.  The fabric for the strap will now be an inside out tube.  Attach a safety pin to one end, and use it to help you turn the tube right side out.  Repeat steps seven and eight for the other strap.

9.  Press the straps so that the seam is in the middle.

10.  Press the seams of the tote.

11. Fold the unfinished edge at the top of the tote down about 1/2 inch and press.

12. Insert one end of one strap, under the edge you just pressed.  Do the same for the other end of the strap – on the same side of the tote.  When you insert it, the seam will be facing down.

13. Fold the strap flush with the edge and press.

14. Fold the top edge over again another 1/2 inch, then press.  Pin the strap in place.  You can double check at this point that the strap is laying correctly, isn’t twisted, and is in the right place.  Repeat steps 12 – 14 for the other strap.  Make sure you fold, press, and pin your edge all around the top of the tote.

*You won’t want to press it again after this, because the vinyl could melt [not that I’ve done that before or anything….]

15. Sew the two pieces of vinyl together.  I serged it – which turned out to be tricky for me, because I had a hard time finding good tension for the vinyl, but you can zig-zag it also.  Make sure you use a short stitch length on your sewing machine.

16.  Put your vinyl inside your tote.  Check how it fits, because now is the time to trim it if you need to.  You want it to fit underneath your pressed edge, right up to the top.  If it seems too big at all, you can trim it and re-sew if necessary.  Pin the vinyl under the pressed edge.  When tucking it under the straps, be careful they don’t shift out of place.

17.  Top stitch around the top of the tote.  Be careful that you keep the straps laying flat and not in the bag at all.

Now you are all set to enjoy your new Stay Dry Tote, keeping your water toys from getting everything else wet!  And bonus for a bag that a three-year-old is is super psyched to carry around… at least for now.

And now that we have our Stay Dry Tote, we are ready for summer!  Even if we did have to turn our heat on yesterday. [Seriously.]

If you make one, I’d love to see a picture!

Linking up here!

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