Better Bag Making

Working with Waxed Canvas

Waxed canvas is experiencing a bit of a revival, and with good reason! Waxed canvas is a heritage fabric that is both beautiful and functional. For home sewers, it offers the benefit of looking a little bit like sueded leather, without the headache and difficulty of sewing actual leather. Here are our tips for working with this wonderful fabric.  You can see all of the colors we offer in our Fabric Shop.

1) The More Marks the Merrier: At first you might worry about scratching the surface of your waxed canvas, but the wrinkles and scratches just add to the character of the fabric. We do recommend avoiding deep, obvious marks (such as writing) on the right side of your fabric, as they may not wear off easily. By the way, there isn't really a right side or wrong side on waxed canvas. To mark waxed canvas (as when cutting out a pattern) we recommend using a tool such as a Hera marker, a chopstick, or a pencil. 

2) Pressing Waxed Canvas: Generally, we do not recommend ironing waxed canvas because the wax and oil will melt onto other fabrics as well as your work surface. Instead, use a bone folder or the edge of your scissors to create a nice, sharp crease. If you must iron waxed canvas, use a medium setting and a protective pressing cloth.  You can use the heat of your iron to remove unwanted creases, wrinkles or (gulp!) mistakes. See more about healing waxed canvas here.

3) Securing Waxed Canvas: Since waxed canvas is thick and dense, pinning multiple layers can be tricky. Instead, try using "Wonder Clips" or clothespins to keep layers in place. Fusible tapes or wash-away tapes generally won't work for waxed canvas because the oil and wax in the fabric's finish prevents these products from sticking. 

4) Needles and Thread: Use sharp jeans needles and high quality 100% polyester all-purpose thread. 

5) Expect Wearing In: Over time, the look of your waxed canvas project will change. While the fabric will maintain much of its weather-resistance and durability, the fabric will begin to look softer and less obviously waxy. This is part of the beauty of waxed canvas. 

Ready to get started with this fun fabric? Hop on over to our fabric shop and check out our beautiful selection of waxed canvas.