Tuesday, July 17, 2012

DIY Project: Waterproof Bikini Bag Tutorial

I first saw these Bikini Bags at a department store ages ago (find some here). I loved the idea, and through it was perfect for a DIY. This past weekend I decided to finally give it a try. The end result? These small-but-fabulous, waterproof, wristlet-style Bikini Bags. I love, love, LOVE them! They are the perfect solution to the classic summertime wet-bikini-in-your-beach-bag problem. You see, these little zipper pouches are lined with oil cloth, to keep the wet stuff away from the not-so-wet-stuff. So no more waterlogged paperbacks/e-reader in my beach bag!

What's even better? This project is super easy!

DIY Project: Waterproof Bikini Bag

What You'll Need:
2 10x8 inch pieces of exterior fabric (interfaced)
2 10x8 inch pieces of waterproof/water resistant lining fabric - I used oil cloth
1 3x22 inch piece of exterior fabric for ring loop and wristlet strap
1 ring loop
1 strap clasp
1 10 inch zipper

iron-on letters or DIY appliqué letters (optional)

1. If you want to add any lettering, do that before you start constructing the bag. Same thing if you're adding a label.

2. Start with your exterior fabric, right side up, and place your zipper on top, teeth side down, lining up the edge. Lay one piece of lining fabric (oil cloth) on top, right side down. Pin if you want to. Using your zipper foot, sew seam with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn over and stitch over where exterior material meets zipper, right by the edge.

Exterior fabric facing up, zipper teeth facing down, and lining facing down

3. Lay your remaining exterior fabric right side up, and place your zipper, teeth side down. Add remaining lining oil cloth, right side down, on top of the zipper. Sew. Turn over and stitch over where exterior material meets zipper, right by the edge.

 Exterior fabric facing up, zipper teeth facing down, lining facing up

Now you will have 2 pieces of fabric, exterior plus lining, attached to each side of your zipper 

4. To make the strap, fold the long strip of exterior fabric, right sides together, and sew with a 1/4" seam allowance. Turn right side out, and press strap, with the seam in the middle. Sew the entire strap again and again, at a 1/4" seam allowance.

You will end up with one long strap, just like this one

5. Cut off a 3 inch piece of the strap, this is your ring tab.  If you're using a ring that does not open, tuck it into the tab now. Close with a seam to secure ring.

Ring loop

6. Open the zipper halfway (!!!), and fold rights sides together. Tuck ring tab between the exterior pieces of fabric, with the tab's raw edge pointing out.

Make sure the tab is oriented with the raw edge pointing out

7. Sew around the entire perimeter, leaving a gap in the lining for turning the bag. Miter the corners, on both on the exterior fabric and the lining. Cut of excess corner fabric, turn right side out, and push out  the corners.

Inside out - here you can see the raw edge of the ring tab poking out

8. Close the gap you left in the lining, and tuck lining pouch into exterior pouch.

Your zipper pouch is completed, and should look a little something like this

9. To make the strap, fold one end of the strap around the ring in your ring loop, making sure to tuck in the raw edge. Stitch a box onto on top of fold, several times, until it is secured.

With the strap attached

10. Here you can finish the bag off either with a simple wristlet loop, or you can add a clasp, like I did. Measure out how long you want your strap, adding an inch for the fold, and cut.

Measure what strap drop length you would like, 4-5 inches is typical. 

11. Attach the clasp, at the remaining end of your strap, the same way you attached the strap to the loop ring above. If you're not using a clasp, attach the end of the strap at the same place as you attached the first end, using the same method.

I wanted to be able to secure the wristlet strap around the strap in my beach bag, so I added the clasp.

12. Bikini Bag is done!!!! Enjoy coming home from the beach with your WET bikini and a DRY bag, a DRY book, and a DRY phone, forever (or, you know, every time you actually remember to bring this thing...).

Completed Bikini Bags

I made a bunch of these at the same time, in a few different sizes. Some small for a single bikini, some large to fit multiple bikinis, a swimsuit, or rashguard. The big one is 12x10 inches, the smaller one is 8x9 inches. Adjust size of the pouch to your liking.

Bikini bag can hold more than bikinis...

Bikini bag in action, wet bikini inside - I did try my bag already, and I'm happy to report that it worked perfectly!

After having had this idea for ages, and I'm glad I finally pulled the trigger. The bags are quick and easy to make, especially if you make a few of them at a time, like I did.  I can already think of a gazillion different occasions to use these, from the beach, the pool, to vacay. Of course, they also make a nice gift, that can be personalized as well (bridesmaids' gift at destination wedding, anyone?).

The bag made in this tutorial is the actually 3rd version of this bag. It's not very different from the first one I made, but since the starting point was pure improvisation, with each one I find some place to improve the design. Let me know if you give these a try, especially what changes/improvements you would make. I'd love to see what you come up with!


  1. That is so cute, Annelie! What a great idea!

    1. Thank you!
      I'm just happy I finally made some of these, I've had the idea forever.
      Glad to not have to have a wet beach bag any more :)

  2. Can you make them longer to accommodate swimsuits with wires?
    would it work with the same instructions?

    1. Absolutely! The bags can be made in any size that you need, just adjust the measurements, and follow the instructions the same way.

  3. why i never think of oil cloth before... silly me..
    thanks for sharing xoxo

  4. OMG! I love this! Heading to the beach this summer and I have my first DIY thanks to you!!! #southerngirlslimdown

  5. I am pretty sure about this information you shared because its really helpful for everyone.
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