Compass Bag – Waxer Canvas

I haven’t made a Compass Bag for a while, and I’m so glad I took the time to make this new sample! I honestly forgot how fun it is to sew. I think some might look at this pattern and think it’s too complicated for them to sew, but it really isn’t too difficult! I really love seeing the Compass Totes that others have made, they are really awesome! If you’d want to take a look, check out the #compassbag on Instagram for some ideas.

So after I made the waxed canvas Explorer Tote, I was curious to try the Waxer Canvas on the Compass Bag. I hadn’t made one yet using waxed canvas and I knew this would be a great one to try. If you’re at all intimidated by working with waxed canvas, I highly encourage you to try this Waxer Canvas by Robert Kaufman.

I’m used to working with heavier weight waxed canvases, but this 8.3 oz. weight is really perfect in my opinion. The lighter weight means it’s a bit easier to get through your machine and bends more easily than a heavier waxed canvas. I do sew both this and heavier weight on my home machine. I don’t own an industrial machine, although I get asked all the time if you have to have one to use these fabrics. The answer is no! 🙂 All I’d recommend is a heavy needle in a size 14 or 16 (denim or Microtex) and a walking foot if your machine doesn’t like to handle a lot of layers with its regular foot. I’d recommend trying a smaller project (zippered pouch) or basic tote if it’s your first time working with waxed canvas. It’ll give you a good feel for how it handles in your particular machine without committing to a long or difficult sew.

This is the small size of the Compass Bag (it has two sizes) and I really love it. This is the shorter fixed length shoulder strap.

Pattern: Compass Bag (small)
Fabric: Waxer Canvas (in Cider) and Big Sur Canvas (Smoky Beige) both by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

Here’s a small list of shops that carry Waxer Canvas (be sure to check with your local shop as well!):

Jones & Vandermeer, Bijou LovelyThree Little Birds, Sewtopia., Crimson Tate, Bolt Fabric, Sew to Speak

Here’s a google search (includes Etsy and

If you are a shop owner or if your local shop carries Waxer Canvas please let me know! I’d love to add the links to this post. Thank you!


Explorer Tote – Waxer Canvas

I finally tried out Robert Kaufman’s Waxer Canvas! If you’ve followed along here you’ll know I love a good waxed canvas. The Waxer Canvas is a bit lighter weight (8.2 oz/yard) than what I’ve usually been using (10-12 oz/yard). I honestly wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but the more I used it, the more projects I thought would look great using it! I can think of all kinds of projects that aren’t going to need a heavier canvas, they might have curves or too many layers for sewing with something thicker.

Interior (optional recessed zipper omitted)

I sewed up the big size of my Explorer Tote pattern first. I knew it was going to look great using all one fabric for the exterior. Clean and simple yet still interesting to the eye! I used two layers of the Waxer Canvas as the contrast bottom and I think it worked beautifully! For the lining I used Big Sur Canvas in Unbleached. I just love how it turned out! I didn’t add any interfacing to any of the pieces (total time and money saver!). The tote would be great for an overnight bag and can still easily pack up if you needed to fold it flat for storage or an extra take along bag for traveling.

To make things easy on myself I used leather for the handles and strap. I’ve been thinking about adding a leather kit like this to the shop if there might be any interest? Let me know in the comments below! I’ve considered attaching the crossbody strap to the swivel hooks just for the sake of convenience, that way you wouldn’t have to set any rivets.

I love how this bag turned out! It’s perfect for fall! Some other ideas for projects I would try using the Waxer Canvas would be: Crescent Tote, Minimalist Wallet, Fika Tote, Traverse Bag just to name a few!

Exterior Back view

Pattern: Explorer Tote (Large size)
Fabrics: Waxer Canvas (Olive) for exterior, Big Sur Canvas (in Unbleached – my fave!) lining (both by Robert Kaufman Fabrics)

Here are some links to shops that carry Waxer Canvas (includes Etsy and Also, I did some more digging and found more at the following shops: Jones & Vandermeer, Bijou LovelyThree Little Birds, Sewtopia., Crimson Tate, Bolt Fabric, Sew to Speak

If you are a shop owner or if your local shop carries Waxer Canvas please let me know! I’d love to add the links to this post. Thank you!

Leather and turn lock from my shop (let me know if you’d want pre-made leather handle/strap kits).



My Studio

Finally! I know some of you have been waiting for me to post the last update on my studio space. I’ve been working in the finished space since October of 2018, so almost one year! I keep getting sidetracked with projects plus I had a few minor things to finish in the space, so it has been getting put on the back burner! I’m so happy to have this space for my work. No longer is every crevice in my house filled with work things. My daughters can each have a bedroom, and I get a space that is separate from my house. Of course there’s both good and not so great things about both working at home and having a separate space. But I’ve made it a point to have this studio be a happy space where I can let my creativity flow.

So my last post I shared just up until the drywall phase, I know, I’m such a tease. But this is the fun part now! I’ll share some pictures and then go into a little bit of detail on some of the specific spaces. Sound good?

Here’s the sewing desk and my computer area setup. All desks and parts are from Ikea, shelves, too. I’ll write a separate post of the framed quilt blocks, so look for that coming up (I’ll share all the details including each quilt block, etc.). I made them, and it’s pretty easy! So if you’re looking for some fun decor this might be the ticket!

Up front of the building is a lounge type area. We exposed the brick on the one entire wall by taking off all the original plaster. That took us dayssss to finish, but I think it really makes the space. So the one side has a couch with the brick wall and the other has a white wall with a couple of lounge chairs and side table. I’ve been loving using this space for taking photos. The light in here is amazing and getting a nice photo doesn’t take ripping apart my entire living room any more!

The center island is one I made after I spotted this one on the Studio McGee blog (it’s the first image in the post). I made mine from four Ikea dressers put together to form an island. I had a my friend make the island work surface of reclaimed wood. We added some different drawer pulls to make it less Ikea and more like my inspiration image. I use this as my main cutting table. Inside the drawers are interfacing and hardware as well as some empty for work in progress stuff! Still getting the hang of having extra space. I also have a roll up cart from Target that holds a lot of my hardware tools.

Opposite my desk and across from the cutting table are some Ikea Pax closets that hold my fabrics and other random things. For now it’s mostly unorganized. I do have my fabric fairly neat in one of the cabinets. The rest is a work in progress. Maybe once I get them more organized I’ll share some pictures of the insides. Does that sound okay? I also need to add some long handle pulls to the doors themselves. I also use a NORRÅKER Ikea table for a pressing station. I made a topper for it using plywood, a few layers of batting, and some linen I had laying around.

I also have a small kitchenette and dining table and chairs. These have both been super handy spaces. The table is from Ikea and the chairs from Target. My friend Heidi also made these amazing floating shelves from more reclaimed wood and I love them! A couple of lights and a plant and I’m all set!

Exposed the original brick chimney in the back bathroom.

Hoping to add some wallpaper or color to these bathrooms, but for now they work and I’m happy.

The back area is where I keep my inventory. I have a large work table we built from Ikea kitchen base cabinets and some plywood for a top and beadboard (from Home Depot) to finish the back. I had to have two bathrooms to be up to code, so I have a summer and winter bathroom! Just kidding really, but it has been nice the few times I’ve had larger gatherings here. I recently added a shaker style peg rail that exists between the two bathroom doors which is also handy for photos! Last, there’s the mechanical room full of the boring stuff, at least it’s clean.

Closeup of interior windows.

That’s about it! I tried to link things within each area. If you have questions please ask in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them there!

Oh and here are a few shots of the finished rear exterior of the building. I can’t even explain how much was done to this wall to make it like this! It was a completely new wall that we built because the original had collapsed. I also spent so much time chipping the old crumbling plaster off that brick wall! eeek!

Thanks for your endless support and encouragement throughout this process. Here’s a couple of posts if you want to read more about the construction: Studio Update, Studio Update (2), Studio Update Drywall. We purchased the building in December of 2017 and spent from then until October 2018 completing the project.