Waxed Canvas Buckthorn Backpack + Waxed Canvas Tips

Buckthorn Backpack in Waxed Canvas - NoodleheadI am so excited about this Buckthorn Backpack! And glad you guys are loving the pattern! This backpack turned out just how I envisioned and we even got a compliment on it when doing our photo shoot (that’s my daughter by the way in these shots, yes, she’s basically as tall as me now).

I used Fabric Funhouse‘s waxed canvas for this sample, this is the Orion Blue color. I loved working with it! For me, I feel like it’s the perfect weight for this pattern. I lined the backpack with Big Sur canvas in Unbleached and used my webbing, zipper and hardware from my shop.

Oh and I’m publishing a quick little IGTV video of two ways to add leather zipper pulls to your project. I recently added those to my shop as well if you need any.

So, onto more about waxed canvas. Lucky for us waxed canvas is getting easier to find! More and more shops are carrying it. It can be a little tricky navigate what waxed canvas might work the best for you and your particular project, as not all waxed canvases are the same. Because they are made by different manufacturers, you’ll want to pay close attention to their weights and widths. As someone who writes sewing patterns, I give a suggested range of weights that will work. Typically a heavier weight canvas, the stiffer the fabric. Too much stiffness also comes with some disadvantages, it’s a bit trickier to sew. You’ll be doing more ‘wrestling’ with the fabric to get it to move out of the way while you’re sewing your project. A real advantage of waxed canvas is the ability to use it without needing interfacing. I think we all can agree that if we can skip a layer of interfacing and have our project turn out how we like, we can consider that a win! Yard for yard it is more expensive than regular canvas, and I think that’s what some people might overlook when shopping. You can eliminate using interfacing on waxed canvas (unless you’re using a very lightweight waxed canvas), so it ends up being similar in cost to buying canvas plus interfacing. Plus it’s a huge time saver! Less to cut and less time spent at the ironing board.

Also keeping in mind the width, many come in a 54″ width or wider thus getting more bang for you buck! You might want to take a close look at the size pieces you’ll be cutting from the waxed canvas and adjust the yardage you buy accordingly. Unfortunately there’s not a quick fix to figuring this out. But a little bit of math and you’ll be well on your way. Start by looking at the width of each piece you’re cutting and see how many you’ll be able to fit across the width of the fabric, then move on to figuring out the height you’ll need in the same fashion until you’ve accounted for all the pieces you need.

Another couple of notes worth mentioning is that it’s so easy to mark waxed canvas and you won’t need an iron (you’ll actually want to NOT iron it!). You wouldn’t think a thing like saving time marking centers and placement of straps or zippers, but in the end it really adds up! All you need to do is fold! In the case of marking the center of a piece, fold it in half and run your finger up and down the fold and there’s your marking! You won’t need to press your seams with an iron either, just finger press! 

Here’s a few more tips that I can pass along from my own experience from working with waxed canvas. If you haven’t worked with waxed canvas before, I hope you give it a try! Waxed canvas is excellent for bag making and is sturdy and durable. I think you’ll love it!

  • Because an 8-12 oz. weight waxed canvas is sturdy, there is no need to add interfacing to the waxed canvas pieces.
  • Use a large strong needle. I find a denim needle (size 14 or 16) works very well.
  • Use polyester thread (because I always have a lot of questions on what thread I use, I’ll link it here, it’s Gutermann Mara 100). Cotton thread will deteriorate over time and will not be as strong on some of the more stressed seams.
  • Use caution when pressing. An iron can melt the wax. Instead of using an iron, finger press the seam.
  • Double stitch within the seam allowance for extra durability. I sew an additional row of stitching 1/8” away from the actual seam (but within seam allowance)for reinforcement.
  • A Teflon foot might be helpful so the waxed canvas doesn’t stick as it’s being fed through your machine.
  • Pin holes will be visible. Instead, pin within the seam allowance or use binder clips.
  • Take your time when turning pieces right side out. The waxed canvas is stiff, so pull gently and slowly. Wrinkles and creases all add to the distressed and rugged look of waxed canvas. If you’d like, you can use a hair dryer (on a low setting) to help reset the wax.
  • Spot clean only.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below!



New Pattern! The Buckthorn Backpack + Tote

Buckthorn Backpack + Tote Pattern - Noodlehead

Happy Saturday everyone! I’m so happy to introduce you to my newest pattern, the Buckthorn Backpack + Tote Pattern. This pattern has been so many months in the making! So it’s such a relief to finally be able to share it with you.

The timing of this pattern was a tough decision, one I don’t take lightly. The pattern was about 95% ready the week before COIVID-19 really hit most of the United States, just before most things closed down. I’ve gone through a full range of emotions and what-ifs since then. As I’m sure all of you have as well! My hope is that by sharing this pattern it might bring a small glimmer of hope, a few hours of escape, or the joyful feeling of making something with your two hands (whether for yourself or someone you love).

I want you to know that I am so excited to see your backpacks and totes that you make using this pattern! I have quite a few blog posts that I’ll be sharing in the next few weeks about some fun options and customizations for this pattern, so I hope you might find that inspiring as well.


Click here to purchase, grab your copy today through Monday (April 6th 10pm CST) for 20% off!


I love a list of features, so here’s one for the Backpack:

  • front exterior pocket, large interior pocket
  • flat base
  • zip top closure to keep your important belonging secure
  • adjustable straps
  • perfect for carrying tablets, small laptops, and/or notebooks

…and a list of features for the Tote!

  • front exterior pocket, large interior pocket
  • flat base
  • zip top closure to keep your important belonging secure
  • grab and go handles
  • perfect for projects, anything from knitting to embroidery to paper piecing and more!


Click here for more information and to purchase

Today through Monday (April 6th 10pm CST) pick up your copy for 20% off!

Pattern: Buckthorn Backpack + Tote Pattern
Fabrics: featuring Big Sur Canvas (by Robert Kaufman Fabrics, I ordered mine from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics a month or so ago) and Waxed Canvas from Fabric Funhouse (I really love this waxed canvas!)

Also! You’ll find some new items in my shop, including many of the products you might need to complete either the backpack or the tote (or both!), including zippers, a hardware kit for the backpack, and cotton webbing for both the backpack and tote (*although instructions are included for making your own handles/strap from fabric, too! Lots of options with this pattern!). I also know that so many small business right now are struggling. So if you’re able, please also help support your local quilt shop. I know many are offering shipping and curbside service (where available).

Most importantly, I want everyone to know that I truly care about you. I hope you are well.

Take care,



Abstract Cottesloe Swim Suit for Emily

Abstract Cottesloe Swim Suit for Emily - pattern by Megan Nielsen PatternsWow, okay, so I’m just posting here to try and keep some normality in our lives. I want to let you know that with everything happening in the world right now, I think it’s so important to hold tight to the small things in life. I am so glad to be so fortunate to have sewing in my life. Thank you for connecting with me here over the years, without you this just wouldn’t exist. Your support and connection means everything.

A few months ago now my daughter Emily asked me to make her a suit like mine. First of all, I am so happy that she wanted a swim suit like the one that I had made! I mean, that’s just an amazing thing right there. Actually, Natalie wants one, too. So that’s next on the list of fun sewing projects. I jumped at the chance and bought the girls version of the Cottesloe Swim Suit by Megan Nielsen Patterns. I am thrilled that she has an adult and child version. It made it so easy!

Emily picked out this gorgeous abstract print that I had purchased through Spoonflower. I had originally bought it for myself, but after I made my gingham version, I didn’t make another (maybe this summer though!). I was very excited she loved the print! I had enough of the other supplies leftover from my suit, so it really was a project that was meant to be!

Emily helped with assembling the pattern pieces and then she hung out when we cut the fabrics and starting sewing. I ended up making two bottoms because the first size I made seemed too tight for her, so to help ease any worry that they wouldn’t feel comfortable to swim in, I made a second bottom. It was easy enough to make another, I’m just happy that I had enough fabric and elastic. She wore her suit to her school’s Winter Wellness day (basically it’s a reward day for middle schoolers where they get to pick from all sorts of fun activities to do for a day) to a nearby water park. She said the suit was great and I’m excited to see her wear it this summer, too.

Pattern: Mini Cottesloe Swim Suit by Megan Nielsen Patterns
Fabric: Sport Lycra from Spoonflower, design by Taisya Kordiukova
Elastics purchased from The Fabric Fairy