Sewing without fitting: the Cooper Bag


This was a really fun project for me, and one I’m pretty proud of. In addition to the fact that this is the first bag I’ve made (besides a basic tote), I’ve been feeling down about the quality of my sewing lately; fitting issues… zipper woes, etc, and this project really helped me get back to basics & focusing on improving quality of the basic skills, while still challenging me with learning new skills.

One of the main new skills I learned was working with waxed canvas. I couldn’t find any pre-waxed in the colours I wanted so I decided to wax my own. It was fun – time consuming but worth the time & effort; I used a particularly heavy washed canvas and I thought it was really cool how the thick, stiff canvas changed colour & became more supple once cured.

Working with this very thick fabric was a challenge in itself. My machine is a trooper – it handled 4 layers fine, but as soon as there was more, or a thick ridge (which happened often) it needed help. There was a lot of hand cranking and I went through 3 denim needles in the process lol.

Another thing I learned is that you can’t press waxed canvas, even from the inside; I was gentle & used a press cloth & low heat but the waxed surface blotched & I had to re-treat that area; afterwards I pressed using pressure only; only heat from my hands and in cases with thick seams, I used a hammer to pound seams flat or open.

I’ve worked with some hardware before (boning, belts, eyelets, etc) but this time I got to install rivets & magnetic snaps too, as well as assemble the bag strap using sliders. I find working with hardware in conjunction with sewing oddly VERY satisfying!! so that was fun 🙂

I reinforced the straps with a double pass of zigzag stitching because I find those tend to go first on my bags – I must carry a lot of heavy stuff! lol

Shot of inside:


I’ll be using this for my carry-on on my upcoming trip so I’ll get action shots while we’re in transit – for next time! 🙂

About symondezyn

graphic designer, illustrator, and artist of many skills... always striving towards new challenges and goals, and always with more projects than time to do them in!! View all posts by symondezyn

25 responses to “Sewing without fitting: the Cooper Bag

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