Waterproof Carrying Sleeve

My oldest son is in his second year of piano lessons and needs to bring his books in his backpack between my house and his dads – which means the potential for these books to be dropped in the snow, or have his lunch and/or water bottle spilled all over them is quite high. So, being the sewer that I am, the easy solution was to create a simple carrying sleeve that he could bring in his backpack and would protect his books. Sewing mum to the rescue! Extra points that it was a great stash buster for me!

The Janome HD9 made sewing it up a breeze, even with some of the thicker seams from the waterproof canvas.

Henry’s piano books – just take a quick measure to figure out how big of a sleeve you’ll need
Gather up your supplies!

This sleeve is really simple and a perfect quick sew. First off, measure the length and width of what you’ll be putting in the sleeve then add your seam allowance. I measured the larger piano book and added 1″ to each measurement for my seam allowance. I am a bag maker and am most comfortable/most used to working with half inch seam allowances, but if you’re used to a quarter inch, or something else, just use that! The best part about this project is it can be easily adjusted.

My son is very much into superhero’s and math right now and since I didn’t have enough of either print to make the whole sleeve I decided to do both! I chose waterproof canvas for my lining, but you could use any kind of waterproof fabric for your lining – PUL, ProCare, or you can even use OdiCoat and create your own waterproof fabric out of your favourite cotton prints. Once you have your fabrics picked out and cut to your desired measurements – 2 exterior and 2 lining – you can grab a zipper that is long enough to go across either end (I chose the short end), and if you’d like a strap, you can either make one by cutting a strip of fabric 4″ x 16″ and doing a double fold to make a 1″ strap, or like me, you can use some polyester webbing (a personal favourite for quick straps and handles). Once you have everything ready, you are set to go and in about 30 minutes you’ll have yourself a perfect little sleeve.

Let’s Get Started Sewing!

Baste the zipper in place on the lining, both the lining and zipper right sides up (photo 1)

Lay your completed side right side up onto your second lining piece, right side up and baste your zipper in place (photo 2)
Lay your second lining right side down on top of your completed side, matching the raw edge to the raw basted edge of the zipper. Sew in place (photo 3)
  • Once your zipper is basted, place one of your exterior fabrics wrong side up (right side facing the lining) on top and line the raw edge of your exterior piece to the top edge of your basted zipper. Sew in place making sure to cover/hid your basted stitches
  • Press your lining and exterior away from the zipper and top stitch. you have now completed one side of your sleeve!
  • Now you are going to repeat for the other side of the sleeve. Lay your second lining piece right side up and lay your completed side right side up so your linings are together and your exterior is facing you and match the raw edge of the zipper tape to the raw edge of your lining (photo 2 above). Baste your zipper in place.
  • Place your second exterior fabric wrong side up, right side facing the right side of the other exterior, on top and line the raw edge of your exterior piece to the top edge of your basted zipper. Sew in place making sure to cover/hide your basted stitches (photo 3 above)
Top stitch the second side of your exterior to the lining and away from the zipper (photo 4)
Baste your strap in place if you decide you’d like one (photo 5)
Open your zipper up half way to give yourself space to turn your sleeve (photo 6)
  • Press your exterior and lining away from the zipper and top stitch. You have now completed both sides of your sleeve and you just need to sew them together! (photo 4 above )
  • If you have chosen to add a strap, fold it in half matching the two short ends and baste it in place about an inch down from your zipper on one side of your exterior. Make sure you are only basting it to the exterior fabric and NOT the lining. If you choose to use a polyester webbing, be sure to melt the edges to prevent it from unraveling. Leave about a half inch to a full inch of fabric past the exterior when you baste (photo 5 above)
  • Once your strap is basted, it’s time to sew up the sleeve. Open your zipper up at least half way so you have a way to turn it once it’s all sewn up (photo 6 above)
Put your exterior and lining right sides together (photo 7)
Pin or clip all around the 4 sides (photo 8)
Sew all around your sleeve, leaving your turning hole open along the bottom (photo 9)
  • With your zipper half way open, put your two exterior pieces right sides together and your two lining pieces right sides together. Your zipper will be in the middle. With your zipper, put the zipper teeth towards your exterior (pointing down into your exterior) and the seam allowance going towards your lining. Start by pinning your zippers in place. (Photo 7 above)
  • Once your zippers are pinned in place, pin or clip around all four edges of your sleeve leaving a turning hole in the bottom short end of your lining (Photo 8 above)
  • Using the teflon foot on your machine, start sewing at the bottom of your lining (leaving the turning hole) and sew all around your sleeve removing the pins or clips as you come to them (Photo 9 above). The teflon foot prevents sticking on the waterproof canvas, or any kind of waterproof fabric you choose to use.
Trim your seam allowance down and square your corners (photo 10)
After turning your sleeve right side out, fold your turning hole under, clip in place then sew along the whole bottom to close it up (photo 11)
You’re Done! (photo 12)


  • Once you have sewed all around your pouch, trim the seam allowance, but leave the strap as is. If you end up trimming if off you will need to carefully burn the edges again if you used a webbing (Photo 10 above )
  • Reach in through the turning hole, open your zipper up all the way and pull your sleeve right side out. Fold the turning hole opening closed and use pins or clips to secure it (Photo 11 above ) then run a line of stitching across the whole bottom to close up the hole
  • Tuck the lining into the exterior, and there you have it! You are all done and now you can pop in whatever you’d like into your fun waterproof sleeve.

This project is perfect for just about anything – make up, markers, sewing supplies, electronics, tablets – you name it, and the adjustable zipper foot on the  Janome HD9 makes switching back and forth for sides a breeze, as well as the teflon foot. As a bag maker and someone who works with a lot of sticky fabrics daily, the teflon foot is my go-to for everything I make. It is simple, easy to use and glides effortlessly over even the most stubborn fabrics.

I had a lot of fun creating this sleeve for my son, and he absolutely loves it too. And of course, I feel way more secure about sending it along with him knowing it’s not going to end up soaking wet in his backpack!

This entry was posted in Janome HD9 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Waterproof Carrying Sleeve

  1. Dmr says:

    How very clever. Thanks!


    • lizafrica says:


      Glad you like it! Meagan has offered us some great projects and hints and tips for bag making on Janomelife since she became one of Janome Canada artisans last year.



Share your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s