Pattern Review, Sewing

Waxed Canvas Gentleman’s Travel Case

My oldest boy turned 12 this month! Twelve is a big year around here. The boys count down the years until they are invited to attend the church men’s retreat and be counted among the men. To celebrate, we bought him a few special manly gifts, but I also wanted to make him something. I waited until the last minute, but I was still able to make this in an afternoon.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

(Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thanks for supporting my business in this way!)

All men need a bag for their toiletries, right? I looked at a few free box pouch patterns but didn’t really find what I was looking for. Then I remembered the Gentlemen’s Travel Case pattern in Betz White’s Present Perfect and went to work making it. It’s very roomy, probably bigger than a 12-year-old needs, but it will grow with him. I love the extra pocket details and zipper tabs. Both make it a very practical and useable bag.

I love sewing with waxed canvas, especially for men. It looks rugged and stays nice for many years. Since this will be stored in the bathroom and most likely get wet, the wax will protect the canvas and keep it clean. I had plenty of canvas in my fabric stash, along with some denim scraps and a masculine cotton print for the lining.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I made my husband a waxed canvas messenger bag about 3 years ago. He carries it to work daily. Though the inside is showing signs of wear, the waxed canvas still looks as good as new! I make my own waxed canvas using Otter Wax. Here’s a tutorial I posted, showing how you can make your own waxed canvas.

I waxed this bag after it was completed (and after the gift was opened….told you it was last minute!), but in hindsight, I would have added the wax as I sewed.

Waxed Canvas Geltemen's Tavel Case | Betz White Present Perfect | Radiant Home Studio

I followed the directions in the book but omitted one of the outside pockets. I also added a metal snap instead of the hook-and-loop tape suggested in the pattern. The exterior and lining are constructed completely and then the lining is dropped in and finished with hand sewing. I was a little bit worried about hand stitching all the way around the zipper, but it didn’t take long and it looks great. Overall, I’m really happy that I used this pattern. It makes a great gift for both the young and older men in your life.

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Sewing, Tutorials

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

It’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts. It always feels too early to start before Thanksgiving, but when you plan to make several handmade gifts, it’s best not to wait until the last minute. I know some of you stay up half the night trying to finish Christmas pajamas at the last minute, right?!

This is a quick and easy project—waxed canvas gift pouches. They are just the right size to wrap gift cards or jewelry. I recommend making 2 or 3 at a time. If you already have everything out, you’ll save a lot of time making them in batches. You can make them in even bigger batches for holiday craft fairs.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

I used waxed canvas on the flap as an accent fabric, but you could also use faux leather, denim, or another layer of quilting cotton in a contrasting color. The fabric requirements are flexible on this project, so use what you have in your scrap bin.

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio
(Some links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business in this way!)

Materials:

2-3 fat quarters of quilting cotton (this will be enough for 6-10 pouches)
1/4 yd. canvas (or faux leather, denim, etc.)
Medium-weight interfacing or fusible fleece (I used Pellon 987F. You could also use 808/809, 931, SF101…this a good way to use up scraps.)
Size 16 metal snaps – 1 set per pouch (I used Snap Source snaps. You could also use KAM Snaps or small pieces of hook-and-loop tape.)
Otter Wax
Coordinating thread

Printable pattern (make sure you set it to print at 100%)

Sewing Instructions:

1. Print and cut out the pattern pieces. For each pouch, cut 2 pouch pieces, 1 flap piece, and 1 interfacing piece.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

2. Fold the straight edge of the flap 1/4″ toward the back, with wrong sides together. Press. Align the flap piece on the exterior pouch piece so that the rounded edges match, both with right sides up. With the 1/4″ section folded under, topstitch along the straight edge of the flap piece through both layers.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

3. Align the fusible interfacing with the stitched line on the wrong side of the exterior pouch piece. Fuse the interfacing using the manufacturers’ instructions.

4. Align the exterior and interior pouch pieces, right sides together. Stitch around the entire pouch using a 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving a 2″ opening on one side. Trim the seam allowances and corners to 1/8″.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

5. Turn the pouch right side out, push out the corners, and press. Make sure to tuck the raw edges in at the opening.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

6. Take the straight edge of the pouch and fold it up toward the flap, about 1/4″ below the straight edge of the flap piece. Press. (If you plan to use hook-and-loop tape, add it now.)

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

7. Place the folded pouch, with the flap facing up on the sewing machine. Begin sewing, with a 1/8″ seam allowance, at one folded edge and continue around until you get the folded edge again. Backstitch at each end.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

8. If you would like to apply wax to your canvas flap, do that now. The short version of the instructions—rub on some Otter Wax and then rub it in with your fingers. You can use it on denim too, but avoid using it on light colors because it will turn the fabric yellow. If you need more specific instructions, see my directions for making your own waxed canvas.

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

9. Add a snap. I like the Snap Source snap setter for metal snaps. You can use the instructions on the package, or look at Anna’s helpful tutorial if you need a visual aid. I’ve also used plastic KAM Snaps with great success.  You could even add a button hole and button. Totally up to you.

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How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

That’s it. Make a lot, load them with gifts,  and give them to your friends…

How to Make A Waxed Canvas Gift Pouch | Radiant Home Studio

Happy sewing!

I’ve linked this post with: Sew Can She, Sew Can Do, Stocking Stuffer Ideas, Women with Intention, Raising Homemakers

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Patterns, Sewing

How to Make a Waxed Canvas Retro Rucksack

I’m excited to finally share this new waxed canvas Retro Rucksack with you! I made this weeks ago, but didn’t have the time to photograph it and get the pattern updated until this week.

Waxed Canvas Retro Rucksack | Radiant Home Studio

Ever since I made a waxed canvas messenger bag for my husband, I knew I wanted to use some for my Retro Rucksack. If you haven’t used waxed canvas for bags before, I highly recommend it! The wax protects the fabric from dirt and moisture, so it’s perfect for bag bottoms. It has the look of beautifully aged leather when it is finished, and it continues to look great after use.

I have more information about how I use Otter Wax to coat my canvas in this post. I used about half of a large bar of wax for this bag. Different fabric absorbs more or less wax, so the amount can vary…but at least that gives you an idea.

I prefer to wax after I finish sewing. It saves wax because you aren’t waxing the parts that will be caught in the seam allowances. It also brings out the character of the bag as you rub the wax in and accentuate the folds of the fabric. And you can finish sewing the bag all in one sitting instead of waiting for waxed pieces to dry in between.

If waxing sounds like too much effort, you can also find pre-waxed canvas by searching Etsy.

Waxed Canvas Retro Rucksack | Radiant Home Studio

For this pattern, I made all of my straps and added the wax after doing all of the topstitching and pressing, but before sewing them into the bag. I waxed the bottom accent pieces and top strap band after completing the bag. If you aren’t planning to wax the whole bag, you can protect the other fabric by using masking tape or painters tape along the edges.

Retro Rucksack Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

A few months ago, I updated the Retro Rucksack pattern to include a roll top option in addition to the recessed zipper option. This version shows how the roll top looks. I’ve also updated the pattern listing with these new photos and I have included a preview of one of the pattern instruction pages. Check out the new pattern listing for more information!

Retro Rucksack Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

Here, you can see how the strap converts from a backpack to shoulder strap. You can wear it as a backpack, or as a cross body style bag. And there’s actually a third option that I use, which is the short shoulder strap you get when you leave the strap adjusters in this position.

Retro Rucksack Sewing Pattern | Radiant Home Studio

I really love how this came together with the waxed canvas! I hope it inspires you to try sewing the Retro Rucksack or to use waxed canvas in your other bag projects!

Sewing Tips, Tutorials

How to Wax Canvas Fabric

Last week I sewed a men’s messenger bag with waxed canvas fabric. Waxed canvas has the look of aged leather, but is much easier to sew. It’s also water repellent and stain resistant, which is great for items that will be used outside often.

How to Wax Canvas for Bags Using Otter Wax | Radiant Home Studio

(Some links may be affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you for supporting my business in this way!)

Though there are a few sources of waxed canvas in the US (you can find a short list recommended by Colette Patterns), I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for at a reasonable price. I remembered seeing a post over on the Thread Theory blog recommending Otter Wax to make your own waxed canvas fabric.

Men's Waxed Canvas Messenger Bag | Radiant Home Studio

After weighing the options, I decided to try the Otter Wax. It worked exactly as I had hoped! (I feel like I need to say this, but this is not a sponsored post. I’m just a happy customer, sharing my experience!)

First, let me share a few tips about working with the wax:

Use the suggestions on the website to figure out how much you need. I most likely ignored the estimates, hoping to stretch the limits. I ordered the small size bar and ran out. Thankfully, their shipping is super fast and received the 2nd order in 3 days! I ordered the bigger bar the second time, and have plenty left for another bag or a couple of smaller projects.

How to Wax Canvas Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

Applying the wax is easy, but a bit time consuming for larger projects. I worked in small sections (6″ squares) and took breaks. I decided to apply wax as I was putting the bag together. I wanted to avoid stitching on the waxed fabric as much as possible. The presser foot makes extra marks and if you need to pick out stitches there will be visible marks as well. But I also wanted to wax some of the parts that would have been difficult to reach after the bag was finished, like the insides of the outer pockets. I sewed the outer pocket pieces together, then waxed the entire pocket. I waxed the main outer section of the bag before attaching the pocket, but I did the sides of the bag at the end.

How to Wax Canvas Fabric:

Rub the bar of wax vigorously on the canvas. You need to create a bit of heat from friction to warm up the wax. As you can see, it won’t cover every part of the fabric.

How to Wax Canvas Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

Next, use your fingers to rub the wax and spread it evenly across the fabric.

How to Wax Canvas Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

I tried rubbing in all directions, but I created a smooth finish by rubbing perpendicular to the direction of the wax bar strokes. If body heat and friction aren’t enough to smooth out the wax, you can use a hair dryer to warm it up. I didn’t find that a hair dryer was necessary though.

(Update: Wax tends to dry out when stored for months, even when wrapped in plastic. You can soften your wax by microwaving it for about 10 seconds. The surface also forms a sort of crust as it dries out. You can just scrape off that layer to expose the softer wax underneath.)

How to Wax Canvas Fabric | Radiant Home Studio

Just work in small sections, using the corner of the bar to get into the cracks and seams. The wax will stay sticky (and have a distinct smell) for a couple of days while it dries. I recommend letting the wax dry overnight before sewing with your fabric.

You can reapply wax as needed. Just like paint, a second coat will go on smoothly, quickly, and require less wax than the first coat. I expect that a bag would need a fresh coat of wax about a once a year.

Waxed Canvas Retro Rucksack | Radiant Home Studio

Update: Since writing this tutorial, I have continued to use and love the wax! My husband has been carrying his bag for two years now, and it still looks great. The wax keeps the fabric looking new and resists staining. I haven’t applied any more coats of wax and it doesn’t seem to need any.

I recently updated my Retro Rucksack pattern sample with this waxed canvas version. Check out the post for a few more tips!

I also posted a free gift pouch tutorial with a waxed canvas flap.

What do you think? Will you try waxing your own canvas fabric?