Friday, October 1, 2010

Wet Bag #2 --the big kahuna (a.k.a. laundry bag)

Living in a third floor apartment with no washer and dryer was hands down my biggest excuse for not using cloth diapers before.  I honestly don't mind doing laundry when there's a washer and dryer located in my home.  But, in our current situation, I really hate.  I hate lugging big heavy bags up and down three flights of stairs.  With our big heavy jug of laundry detergent.  Wah wah wah.  Wo is me.  May my cries invoke all of your pity.

So I think you'll understand why I obsessed a little over this laundry bag.  And why it's perhaps a little too specific to my needs.  But I wanted to make going up and down three flights of stairs doing a load of laundry every few days with Olivia in tow as easy on myself as possible.  That is how this crazy laundry bag came to be.

Here's the quaint little sketch I did of the way it looked in my head.  Basically I had planned on making a big zipper pouch (lined with PUL) with a long strap for easy carrying and pocket on the front for a small bottle of laundry detergent and whatever else I might need to bring with me to the laundry room--keys, cell phone, ID card, etc.

Not for carrying drugs.  I'll give you three guesses as to who wrote that.  But I think you'll only need one.

He thinks he's so funny...  (Actually, so do I.)

I had the zipper and all the material for this bag picked out and ready to be sewn a few days before I actually got to it.  But I'm glad it took me a few days to get to it, because, by the time I was ready to sew, my plan had changed a lot.

Originally I had planned on it being a smaller, sort of messenger-bag size.  And I had planned on it having a zipper.  But I hadn't really planned on how I was going to easily get the soiled diapers into it while in the midst of changing Olivia's diaper.  So Bryan and I wised up and bought an $8.00 trash can from Walmart with a flip-top lid.  Waaaay better idea than trying to undo and then redo a zipper with a squirming and diaper-less kid.  To tide us over until I started finished the much-praised-and-talked-of laundry bag, we put a regular garbage bag in the flip-top lid diaper trash can.  Boy did that not work.  It slipped right down to the bottom of the trash can.  Lame.  So now I realized that I needed to have a drawstring bag, big enough and long enough to overlap the top of the trash can so it would stay up.  But I still wanted to have a pocket and a strap.  Want to see how it turned out?

Ta-da!  I am happy to report that, with the drawstring cinched up around the trash can, it functions beautifully as a trash can liner.  No more bag of soiled diapers falling down inside the trash can at the worst possible moment.

In between those two rows of stitching is where the drawstring runs.  Just FYI.

Here you can see the shoulder strap hanging out the back of the trash can to keep it from getting smelly or whatever.  You'll see where that strap is coming from in a minute.  And that white string hanging down is the drawstring.

Here's a close-up peek at that drawstring opening.  Using a seam ripper, I just opened up a little bit of the seam in the cotton fabric (green) and made a sort of make-shift button hole around it.  Easy peasy.  Then I just sewed two lines of stitching all the way around the bag to make a casing and threaded the drawstring though it.  Quite possibly the easiest drawstring bag method I've yet tried.

Then, when the bag is full, I can just take off the lid, undo the drawstring, and pull the bag out.  Please ignore my toes.

Here's what the front of the bag looks like.  You can see the little pocket I attached there, along with one of my handmade labels.  :)

Here's a close-up of the pocket.  Yes, it has elastic at the top.  I thought it would be a good idea for holding things in place.

And I was right.  But I realized later that this pocket is kind of pointless.  Because--duh, me!--this bag will get thrown in the wash along with the dirty diapers!  So I'll have to carry things in a separate bag or in my pants pockets or something anyway.  Oh well.  :)

Here's a view of the back of the bag.  Boooring!  But you can see the shoulder strap better in this picture.  Basically, it's just some 2" webbing that's sewn onto each side of the bag, about halfway down the length of each side.

So when I want to take a load of diapers down to the laundry room...

...I just grab the drawstring...

...cinch it up...

 ...fold the top part over...

...and I'm ready to go!

I must admit I am a little worried about the strap not being very well attached to the side of the bag, but other than that I'm very happy with how it turned out.

I would have loved to write a tutorial for all of you, but I was totally make it up as I went along, so, sorry, no tutorial.  But the pieces of fabric I was using (including seam allowances) measured about 36" long and 48" wide.  Then I just folded them in half (right sides together) and sewed along the bottom and side of each piece.  Then I turned the cotton part (green fabric) right side out and inserted the PUL (blue fabric) inside the cotton, put some bias tape around the top, sewed a couple of lines for a drawstring casing, and that's it!  The shoulder strap I already explained above and the pocket--honestly--is pointless, so I'm not going to bother explaining that.

What do you think?  A little weird?  Mega awesome?  I'm leaning toward mega awesome.  But maybe I'm biased.

See you all tomorrow for our last day of Cloth Diaper Week! 


Beth said...

That's a really awesome laundry bag. Too bad the pocket thing didn't work out. I was thinking of that when I was reading the beginning of the post. Cloth diapering has a learning curve, and everyone has a different experience, but it's totally worth it. ($$$ back in your pocket! Plus, it's an investment in the next kid too, right?) Good luck!

Lisa Lou said...

too bad no pocket for drugs.
but I definitely am going to go for MEGA AWESOME. You are my hero.

Lindsay said...

Ditto. Mega Awesome.

Kathy Haynie said...

I already thought mega awesome before I read the comments. I love the idea of having the strap half way down, so you don't have such a long bag to lug around. You are genius.