Tips on Sewing with Waxed Fabric

Waxed Canvas Concealed Carry Purse @ GCC

Recently I took on the adventure of sewing with waxed canvas.  I have been dreaming of using waxed canvas for years!  I always thought it was off limits to me, either because it would be too thick or the wax would ruin my machine....not true!  

So, lets start with the question of, "What is waxed canvas?"


Waxed canvas is what I used for this project.  It is said that waxed canvas is one of the oldest materials in the world.  People in Scotland began adding linseed oil to their clothing to make it water resistant.  


I had avoided waxed canvas for a long time because I had read so many articles saying it would gunk my machine and it is just a pain to work with.  However, when I began researching again a few months ago, I camE across a waxed canvas fabric made by Big Duck Canvas. There are different weights of waxed canvas and I knew that I would need the lightest weight possible to be able to work with it on my Kenmore.  Don't get me wrong, my Kenmore is AMAZING.  I use it every day but Sunday, all year long.  (It desperately needs a cleaning...poor thing).  Anyway, Big Duck Canvas offers a 10.10 oz waxed canvas.  The part that sold me was that Big Duck states on THIS information page that it will "not gunk up your sewing machine".  SOLD!!  It also says it is non-toxic and non hazardous.  Those are all great things. 


The more that you touch the waxed canvas and work with it, it becomes softer.  When it arrives it is on a huge roll so that it will not crease before it reaches you.  This is important because any little fold will leave a mark.  I will talk about how to get rid of unwanted creases in a moment.  

It really did sew beautifully.  I did soon realize that I needed to use my walking foot attachment.  The wax makes the fabric a little sticky, so the extra feet really do help move it along.  You can see the difference in my stitches in the picture below.  The stitches on the right were without the walking foot.  I could tell my fabric was not wanting to move through the machine.  I put on my walking foot and then achieved the results I was looking for (on left).  Another option is using a Teflon foot.  I actually did put on the Teflon foot when making the straps because the walking foot is just SO annoyingly bulky. 

Use walking foot to help sticky wax fabric along.


This is where I feel I can really help my readers.  I read many tips on how to remove the unwanted creases in the waxed canvas.  Everyone said that you could iron the creases out with a pressing cloth.  So, that is what I tried first.  The first thing I noticed was that the wax was really coming off on my pressing cloth.  However, stupid me kept ironing.  As I was making my purse I would continually iron to keep it all looking nice.  I soon noticed that my fabric was looking very faded on the sections I was ironing a lot.  I began to be concerned that I was removing a lot of the wax.  Which I'm sure I was since I could visibly see it on my pressing cloth.  

My advice to you....

1. Don't worry about the creases you are creating while you are working on your project.  
2. Finger press everything.  The waxed canvas folds like a dream and stays in place, just like you would have ironed it.  
3. When you are finished with your project-USE A BLOW DRYER.  The blow dryer worked wonderfully to remove any unwanted creases and just gave it a fresh look.  With this method you are not even touching the fabric with heat and risking scorching or removing the wax.  

Waxed Canvas in chocolate.


I just used the thread I use for all my projects- 100% polyester Gutermann thread from JoAnn's.  You could use a top stitching thread, but I would recommend using a regular thread in the bobbin.  You might just want to experiment with what works best with your machine. 


I just used a Jean Needle for this project and it worked fine. 


Waxed canvas is pretty pricey, so you will really want to consider that before you begin your project.  I am considering offering this as an option in my Etsy Shop, but I have to think about the pricing.  My purses are already more expensive because they are concealed carry and custom order.  Will my customers be willing to pay for a purse that is over $200?  I believe there is a market for it, yes.  So, the waxed canvas concealed carry purse is something I will be considering for the Fall of 2018. 

I purchased the Waxed Army Duck Canvas in Chocolate.  The price for a 60" wide, 1 yard fabric is $21.00.  With shipping my total cost was $29.75.  


You do not want to use pins, as it will leave holes in your project.  Like leather, you have to really try to avoid poking any holes in your fabric.  That means, no mistakes.  Well, that is pretty much impossible.  There are always mistakes, right?  I did have to rip out a few pieces after I had sewn them.  I used the blow dryer to remove the holes as best I could and this worked pretty well.  

I recommend using the clips below.  Also, it should be noted that since the wax makes the fabric stickier it is pretty easy to get by without using pins.  

Waxed Canvas- Use Clips instead of pins


The only part of this purse that I had anxiety about before I even began was the straps.  I knew that my machine might have problems with my bulky straps.  As I mentioned earlier, it was an issue.  I was using my walking foot to sew my shoulder straps on, when all of a sudden it just was not stitching.  It was really weird and I could not figure out why the top thread was not catching the bobbin thread.  Anyway, I decided to put on the teflon foot and my troubles were over.  

I am considering using rivets next time instead, although I am not a big fan of rivets.  It adds unnecessary cost to your bag, but in this case maybe it is necessary??  

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Thanks for stopping by!  I really do hope this has helped you to take the plunge and give the waxed canvas fabric a try.  This bag feels amazing!  I really had a hard time parting with it.  

If you are interested in checking out some of my other concealed carry purses then you can find me at or on Facebook

Have a blessed day!

Gina ;)


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