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Making a bag by Sharlene S.O. Sew Dressmaking

by Sharlene Oldroyd
Sharlene with Wool and Wax tote bag

Hi everyone! I am back again on the Good Fabric blog to share with you my first ever bag!

Wool and Wax tote in sand wax cotton  tote bag in dry wax cotton bag

I was so excited when Polina asked me if I wanted to do a blog on bag making as this is something I have always wanted to try. I chose a beautiful Dry Wax Cotton in sand colour by Mind the Maker. I was really torn between this colour and the rust, but knew I had the perfect lining fabric in my stash for the sand colour.

Being a complete bag making novice, Polina recommended I have a look at Noodle-head for a pattern. There are so many beautiful bag patterns here, and the Compass Bag and Redwood Tote are now also on my to make list. For my first attempt at making a bag I chose the Wool + Wax Tote. I chose this as there wasn’t a lot of hardware or complicated steps, perfect for dipping my toe in. It’s simplicity also means there is a lot of potential for hacking- my favourite kind of pattern.

This was also my first time working with Waxed Cotton, or ever feeling it for that matter. I was really surprised when it arrived (carefully packaged to avoid damage during delivery). I was expecting something a little greasy I think, maybe it was the word ‘waxed’, but the fabric has a beautiful feel and texture. I instantly could picture it as a parka or trench coat.

Check out my Youtube video showing this fabric – starting at min 13.

The pattern gives some great tips for working with waxed canvas. It recommends not using interfacing for the waxed cotton pieces, so I interfaced the cotton lining with medium weight fusible interfacing. It also recommends a strong denim needle and polyester thread to avoid deterioration over time. And most importantly use the iron with caution. I avoided using an iron for most of it, just finger pressing or using a seam roller. You can also use a Teflon foot to avoid the wax sticking as it is being fed through the machine.

close up of the tote bag

For the details I decided to keep it simple with this bag and use cream and gold accents. I did a lot of trawling through the hashtag on Instagram before I finally settled on this. I bought natural cotton webbing/straps from Hector House Supplies and light gold rivets Bag Making Bling, both on Etsy. I couldn’t find everything I needed from the one shop so decided etsy would give me the best options from multiple sellers. I used a cream coloured topstitching thread too and added a magnetic clasp to the inside for a little more security.

I love all the details of this bag. I can already see some of the distress lines appearing on the canvas and love the texture it is giving the fabric. It perfectly fits my purse, diary and iPad with plenty of extra space. I think the biggest feature missing from this is a zipped inner pocket, so I will be adding this the next time I make one. This will be a great pattern for using up scraps of heavier weight fabric, I have lots of denim leftover that I will be trying out next.

Sharlene with Mind the Maker tote bag

Have you ever made a bag? I would love to know what your favourite patterns are!

Happy sewing,
Sharlene xx

by Sharlene Oldroyd

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