Here’s my Olive backpack, plus I’m sharing Dry Oilskin tips today! This fabric is one of those colors that shifts depending on the lighting!
The exterior fabric is a dry oilskin in Olive (scroll down for all the pattern and fabric links – under the “Project Details” heading). I realized the other day that I hadn’t shared tips on working with oilskin here on the blog, so it’s time to fix that! Below is general info & some tips for working with dry oilskin! Hope you’ll find it helpful!
Using Dry Oilskin for Bag Making
I really love using dry oilskin in bag making. 2020 was when I think I first started working with dry oilskin, maybe? If you’ve got any additional helpful info or tips feel free to share them in the comments below!
- Dry oilskin has a history of being used in the sailing/fishing industries! It has excellent water repellant qualities.
- Width: it’s typically 59″ wide, which is great for bags! You might be able to get all the pieces you need out of less yardage – be sure to check the cutting layouts for the project you’re working on
- Yard for yard it is more expensive than say, a regular cotton canvas. However, usually you can eliminate using interfacing altogether (unless you’re using a very lightweight dry oilskin). I think that’s something that can be overlooked when shopping! 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. And remember that the width is typically wider that most cotton canvases, etc.
Interfacing & Substrate Info
- Interfacing? should I use it? and how? Well, great question! I typically don’t use any interfacing if using the dry oilskin on the exterior of my smaller projects (think smaller totes, accessories, etc). You can use a sew-in interfacing that you’d baste along the edges of your dry oilskin pieces to add some stability. I like to beef up my lining with a little bit stiffer interfacing (or even go with a canvas/fusible woven interfacing combo).
- Thinking about swapping dry oilskin for other substrates? Yes! In general, if the pattern you’re working with doesn’t suggest dry oilskin as a recommended fabric, you certainly can. Be sure to adjust your lining fabric and/or interfacings accordingly.
Sewing with Dry Oilskin
- Instead of using an iron, finger press seams! Major time saver — it’s great for center/quarter markings, too, fold and finger press and it’ll leave a crease!
- 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.
- Pin holes will be visible. Instead, pin within the seam allowance or use binder clips.
- Spot clean only. Because dry oilskin holds up really well to spills and stains, use a damp cloth for a quick clearn up!
- Dry oilskin is much more flexible than waxed canvas, and typically a light pass with a dry iron will remove any crease markings used during the bag making process. Be sure to test a scrap if you’re uncertain.
New to you?
I think that’s most of it! When I’m trying a new substrate I follow a few simple tips to take the pressure off:
- buy a half yard, it’s not going to be too expensive, but it’ll be enough to make a project with. If you end up not liking it, there’s not a lot to lose.
- Start by making a project you’re familiar with. I love making a zippered pouch or simple tote bag – they’re always great for gifts, plus it’ll give you a good feel for what the new substrate is like to work with.
- Pattern: Making Backpack (mini size with alternate front pocket option)
- Fabric: exterior is dry oilskin in Olive (purchased from Oak Fabrics), lining fabric is Lightweight Duck in Rosewood purchased at Fancy Tiger Crafts, binding is Kitchen Window Wovens in Doeskin (also purchased at Fancy Tiger)