Weekend bag – waterproofing the fabric

Remember this Weekend bag from the August 09 KnipMode?

Well, I cut out all the pieces back in August, but I’m only just now getting around to making actual progress on it. Though as you can see from my sketch, I’m making some changes:

Mostly, I’m adding a thin magazine pocket to one large side, adding a waterbottle pocket to each end, creating a lining with some more pockets, and using storebought vinyl handles to make carrying the weight a bit more comfortable on the hands.

I know how filthy my storebought weekend bag gets travelling about and resting on train floors, so I thought having a wipe-clean bag would be a great solution. I found this iron-on laminate from U-Handbag, which claims to turn any fabric into oilcloth and decided to give it a go.

It’s hard to tell in this photo, but the pice on the left is the plain IKEA furnishing-weight canvas, and the piece on the right is the same fabric after it’s been coated (and there’s a small piece of the raw Lamifix on the left piece). Watching this official Lamifix instruction video made it really easy to apply – you just take two passes with the iron, pressing down quite heavily and using a press cloth (oh dear god I’d be very afraid for your iron otherwise!). You really want to make sure that you press your fabric really well before you apply the laminate, too, because any bumps or lint will be stuck there after it’s fused!

It really does laminate your fabric, giving it a plastic coating that makes it feel almost papery – much stiffer and less drapey than the fabric was before, though for something like bag making that’s a plus as you don’t really need interfacing after this! I stitched up some test pieces and it sewed nicely with just the standard foot and universal needle, though you do need to treat it like leather in that every time the needle pierces the fabric it creates a permanent hole. So if you have to rip out any stitches, the holes will remain (and create a leak in your waterproofing!) for all time.

My only problem with the Lamifix thus far is that the rolls are really narrow (45”) – I could just barely fit my two big bag pieces on it, and it turns out that I don’t have enough so I had to order another yard. And I’ve timed it really badly for the postal strike now, guh!

Now I just need to figure out if I feel like messing around with laminated piping for this bag. It looks so nice as an end result, but it’s such a PITA to sew when you’re dealing with thick fabrics and fiddly zippers and corners anyway…

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