June 28, 2011

Camping Shower Bag tutorial . . .

Our family is going to enjoy some campgrounds this Summer, and one of those 'fun' evening activities involves wrapping up the shampoo bottles, shaving cream, and other essentials in a towel, bringing them to the bathroom, and hoping you don't lose anything along the way (or leave them behind!). This is why I came up with the idea of the 'Camping Shower Bag.'

This little bag is lined with PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric); PUL can be found at most fabric chain stores, and it provides a waterproof layer between the contents and outer fabric. The straps on the bag can hang off one of those handy hooks found in most changing areas attached to the shower, which also stops me from placing my bottles and razor on the floor of the shower ~ I can just reach out and grab what I need. The outside pocket keeps anything you want to keep dry, or put anything sharp (like your razor), because razor + PUL = bad.

So here's the steps! Please let me know if anything needs better explaining or is missing! Seam allowance is 1/4".

Step one ~ Cut out your pieces.
For the outer bag ~ 9" x 27". For the pocket ~ 6" x 13". For the straps ~ cut two of 4" x 21" (or a bit longer if you prefer to carry on your shoulder, I like mine to just hang on my arm). For the interior (PUL layer) ~ 9" x 24".

Step two ~ Attach the pocket.

Sew the two pocket side seams right sides together. Turn rightside out and press. Tuck in the unfinished edge about 1/4 inch and press. Center the pocket on main outer bag piece, about 4" from one of the top edges (making sure the unfinished pocket seam is to the bottom). Topstitch the two side seams and bottom edge, making sure to stitch the bottom edge seam closed.
Step three ~ Prepare the straps.
Press straps, making sure to conceal all raw edges.
The most common method of doing this is by pressing in half, then again in quarters, making the finished strap about 1". I find this method a bit bulky on the one edge, and have come up with my own method. I'll try to explain it, but the pictures probably speak for themselves.
First press in both side edges about 1/4" and then bottom edge 1/4". Bring top edge down to about 1/2" from bottom pressed edge, press again. Then bring up bottom edge to top and press. My finished straps are about 1 1/4".
Topstitch close to both long edges of each strap. Set aside.
Step four ~ Prepare bag pieces.
Fold main piece in half (no need for a bottom seam), and sew side seams of main bag, right sides together. Serge or zigzag raw edges.
Make the bottom corners of the bag ~ do this by pushing out corner, and measuring three inches across, mark with a pen. Sew on this line. Trim excess fabric from corner, and serge or zigzag. Repeat for other corner.
Repeat 'Step four' for PUL piece of fabric.
A couple tips when working with the PUL: try to avoid using pins, you don't want to poke holes within the main part of the bag. Never use an iron on an item containing PUL. Serging or zigzagging unfinished edges gives strength to the finished product, but lowering the blade on your serger is a good precaution; and stay beside the initial seam. And if you do find a couple pinholes in your finished bag, or find it's not containing moisture that well, throw the bag into the dryer on low heat for 20 minutes to 'heal' the PUL and close up any small pinholes. But for regular washing, hang indoors to dry (it can be hung outdoors, but right-side out, direct sun on PUL can damage it over time).
Step five ~ Assemble bag.
Press top edge of main piece down 1/2" and then again by 1".
With main fabric wrong side out, place inside PUL layer, wrong sides together. Tuck PUL layer as far as it will go into the top edge of main fabric piece, and sew along bottom edge of the turned-down main fabric. (I did use pins for this part, but make sure they are well out of the way of the seam).
Step six ~ Attach the straps.
Pin the straps to the main bag about 1 1/2 inches from side seams, and making sure to stay above the bottom of turned-down edge.
Sew the straps to bag ~ I stitched an 'X' inside of a square for added strength.
And there you have it! A finished Camping Shower Bag! It fits up to four bottles, my brush, and my razor. It will also come in handy for the gym and swimming this Summer.
And would you look at that?! I just sewed something for me! Now how often does that happen?


Melinda said... #

Cute! I have a girl scout so this would be a cute idea for her!

Alisa said... #

Very nice, Rebecca!

Quilts And Pieces said... #

This is brilliant! We go to quilt camp at a Y camp but still with public showers this would be so nice to hang from that little hook!

N. Perez said... #

Wonderful tutorial and idea. Now, I have two weeks to make this, if I happen to find PUL at my local fabric store, before we hit the camping grounds.

Thank you for posting this...

Sue said... #

So practical and pretty at the same time. Love it! :)

Christina Marie said... #

Smart idea! I am going to have to make one -- or six -- of these for my family and I before camping this summer! :o)

Adrienne said... #

Made it and it turned out great, now that the measurements are sorted out. My daughter is off to university tomorrow with the shower bag in hand.

Anonymous said... #

What an idea! really like the tutorial. I do wonder if another type of material can be used in lue of PUL. clear vinyl, oilcloth etc. I live on shoestring, need to use what is available and would make these for others.

Anonymous said... #

Love this idea. Is there a way that this could be made as open and hung in your popup camper or rv? May try to improvise. Thanks for the idea regarding the lineing so the material doesn't get wet.

http://www.artfire.com/users/auntiechrisquiltfabric said... #

Great idea!This would make me a very happy camper.

Elizabeth said... #

Love the idea. You could use part of a shower curtain for a proofed easy sew lining.

Lavender Lone Star said... #

I love this bag and will be making one today or tomorrow. We will be spending the summer as camp hosts in southern New Mexico and while our motorhome does have a shower (with VERY small hot water heater), I will be using the campground shower occasionally so I can enjoy a LLLOOONNNGGG shower.

I could not find PUL at Joann's or Hancock ~ the sales ladies looked at me like I was crazy and/or making up the product. After some research I decided to use Rip Stop Nylon ($7.99/yard at Joann's, on sale for $6.99/yard) for the liner (I purchased 1/3 yard).

Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said... #

Brilliant! I wish I had one of these many years ago when I went to Girl Scout camp. This is such a practical idea-that's why sewing in so rewarding; find a need and make it!

Leslie said... #

If you can't find PUL, how-about laminating plastic several (Target)shopping bags between parchment paper with a warmish iron?

mj said... #

I'm wondering if I could use a shower curtain liner? I see them occasionally for really cheap.