Canvas, a heavy-duty plain-weave fabric, is sought after for its durable and water-resistant qualities. Initially gaining popularity as a sail cloth and a preferred medium for painting, canvas has expanded its use to include tent material, casual footwear, and designer handbags. While most modern canvas is made from cotton fibers, it was traditionally crafted from hemp or linen. Canvas is also made from acrylic, or linen.
Canvas' durability, strength, and water-resistant properties have also made it a nice choice for making various types of bags, including messenger bags, totes, duffle bags, briefcases, as well as backpacks. Canvas can typically handle heavy loads and is quite easily customizable with dyes or prints. Waxed canvas has become a popular textile for bags, blending style with robust practicality. A few examples of bag patterns that work well with canvas are: the Minimalist Reversible Hobo Bag, the Retro-Tec Backpack Sling Bag, and the H20 2GO Sling Bag. Canvas is also the perfect fabric for making bags that attach to bicycles such as this Bicycle Seat Bag, and this Bicycle Frame Bag. Canvas is popular for bags that are used for hiking, biking, and other outdoor sporting activities because of it's durability and water resistance.
Canvas is usually very easy to sew. Use a heavy-duty needle, such as a jeans or leather needle. The size should be around 90/14 to 110/18, depending on the thickness of the canvas. Opt for a strong thread like upholstery or heavy-duty polyester. Cotton thread may break under the strain. Set your sewing machine stitch length to a longer stitch length (around 3-4 mm) to prevent the fabric from bunching up and test on a scrap piece first. Cotton canvas can fray easily. Use seam finishes like zigzag or overlock stitches to prevent fraying. Fraying can be prevented when using acrylic canvas by cutting your pattern pieces out with a hot knife that will melt and seal the edges of your canvas bag pattern pieces. Sew canvas a little slower than usual to allow the thicker layers to pass under the sewing machine more easily. Regular sewing pins may bend or break when pinning pattern pieces. Use heavy-duty pins or clips to hold the canvas in place while sewing.
The use of any type of canvas in bag making is a practical choice that offers dependable durability, style, and versatility. Canvas allows for the fabrication of unique, long-lasting, and very functional bags suited for a wide range of purposes.
Tips for sewing with waxed canvas:
Subscribe to Sallie Tomato on YouTube