Tuesday, 16 June 2015


I have been thinking for a while of possibilities of making my bags waterproof. I have always sprayed them with a water repellent spray but that does not really make them waterproof, just water repellent.

So, I came across waxing. The net is a fantastic tool and it was not difficult to find out a few ways of waxing. I had to search the cellar, where my husband keeps all his stuff, only to be told by him to keep my hands of his stuff. After telling him what I was looking for, he helped me in my search and came up with a bag of paraffin pellets, which I had completely forgotten about and suddenly remembered that they were a leftover of my candle makings days, which did not last long. I also needed some bees wax and knew that he had this for the furniture wax he is always making. He also gave me one of his empty tins which he keeps in the cellar (don't throw those tins out, you never know when they may come in handy!).

Having found all these treasures, I headed upstairs again to gather some pieces of scrap fabric and to set to work in the kitchen. I read that I had to melt the wax au bain marie (a tin in a pan of simmering water) and I used a mixture of 1 part bees wax and 9 parts paraffin wax. I put some paper on the sink and used a wide brush to put the molten wax onto the scraps of fabric. After that I used my hairdryer to get the wax properly absorbed into the fabric. I looked okay but It did not really spread evenly.

Bain marie

I showed the results to Alan and he promptly came up with the question 'what happens when you walk in the sun?' I did not find the answer to that on the net, so I had to try it out myself and as it was a sunny day yesterday, I put the scraps of fabric on paper in the sunshine, left it there for a few hours and did not find any traces of wax on the paper when I picked them up again. Okay, it was not extremely hot but I left them for a few hours, so I guess it's fine.

From left to right: fine linen, cotton, thick linen

No sign of any wax residue after a few hours
However, I was still not completely happy with the results of the waxing and decided to use the tumbler dryer method. I had started a new bag on which I wanted to try this method and I first put the scrap bits into the tumbler dryer and they came out perfect after about 45 minutes.

I had finished one panel for the new bag including the interfacing but not yet the fleece so I decided to wax this, put it in an old pillowcase and in the tumbler dryer.

The panel on the left is the waxed one and the one on the right is the original second panel. The fabric goes a bit darker when waxed but it feels fine.

And then a thought struck me - can I still iron the seams when I finish the bag? Reading up on ironing  waxed fabric, I suddenly found 'use a clapper'. I had no idea what a clapper was and googling 'pressing tool clapper' I found a video explaining it all. I also found this clapper tutorial, so all I have to do now is to ask Alan to shape one of his pieces of wood, which he has lying around in the cellar and make me a clapper.

Ready for the tumbler dryer!
Which in the meantime he has done. As luck will have it, it is raining today and he cannot work on his drainage trench in the garden, so he went to work immediately when I asked him!

And here it is:

Half the body of the bag has been done and I used the clapper for the side seam. Not easy when it's not a straight seam. After that I used it on the outside to get a crisper edge and it worked great! So here I am - up to 24 hours ago I did not even know that a tool like this existed and now I'm over the moon of having one!

Post a Comment