We have some new supplies in the shop today! Let me introduce to you three new Otter Wax items (and then I’ll share the details on this waxed bag).
Otter Wax is a line of natural, environmentally low-impact fabric and leather treatments. They are created in Portland, Oregon. We’ve carried their Fabric Wax in our shop for quite some time now (it was the very first item that we added to our supply shop aside from our own patterns!) and I felt it was time to expand our selection…especially since I was eager to get my hands on a few of these items for my own projects!
To accompany the fabric wax, our shop now includes Castile Soap Canvas Cleaner. This is a very gentle cleaner that can be used to wash waxed items (such as jeans or Matt’s waxed Jutland Pants) by hand in cold water without stripping off the wax. So far, I’ve washed Matt’s waxed Jutlands by hand a few times with just a touch of laundry detergent. The wax layer has become considerably thinner than when I first applied but it still manages to repel water. I think I will touch up his pants with a bit more wax for the first time and wash them occasionally with this Castile Soap from now on!
The next Otter Wax item we now carry is their Heat-Activated Fabric Dressing. This is a pot of wax that can be melted in a pan of water on the stove. It performs the same waterproofing task as the rub on bar of wax that we have always carried but with a couple distinct differences. The extra step of melting the wax before applying it creates a smooth finish that is more “Factory Finish” and less “aged” in appearance than the rub on bar creates. Also, melting the wax allows you to saturate the fabric more fully. You might prefer to use this wax over the rub on bar if you want both sides of your fabric waterproofed.
I haven’t tried out this version of Otter Wax yet but I will be sure to report on how the application process differs from the rub on bars when I have!
The next item I want to show you is something a bit different for the Thread Theory shop – leather care!
This Leather Care Kit includes everything you need to care for, polish and waterproof leather – naturally! These soaps and salves are void of petroleum byproducts. They all smell heavenly…
… and work wonderfully! I tested them out on Matt’s loafers yesterday afternoon. He got these leather shoes at Winner’s (the discount brand name store) about 6 years ago and I’ve been hinting they should head to the trash for about 2 years now. They haven’t been cared for and they are absolutely tatty.
I rubbed on the saddle soap with a damp rag first and used a horse hair brush to whisk off the dirt. It darkens the leather considerably but this is temporary. Now that the shoes are drying they are becoming lighter again (lighter than you see in these photos which were taken 10 minutes after polishing).
I then rubbed the loafer over with Leather Salve and was absolutely shocked at the transformation. The salve sunk right into the leather and within moments most of the major cracks were completely gone! You can especially see this along the toes in the photo above. It also felt really nice on my hands that were dry from gardening yesterday morning 😛
To finish off the shoe I added boot wax (this waterproofs the leather using lanolin and beeswax) and then I gave the shoe a quick buff of boot oil to create a gleam. I didn’t buff for too long because the shoes were a matte finish originally and I wanted to keep them this way.
Anyways, as you can probably tell from these photos and my glowing review – I really love this leather kit (far more than I expected to!). Here’s to shoes and leather bags that look as fresh and cared for as the home-sewn outfits they accompany!
That’s it for the new products in our shop but now I have a new project to show you that suits the Otter Wax theme of the day:
You’ve likely seen our Bag Making Supplies Kits in our shop before – they have been one of our best sellers ever since we launched them in honor of Father’s Day in 2014. I’m showing it you again because this winter I made a new project using this kit and I’m so thrilled with how it turned out!
This is my Mom’s daily tote. She’s a principal at an elementary school so she uses this bag to carry huge loads of textbooks, laptops, other electronic apparatuses (she has MANY), and lunch to and from school each day.
I made the bag using the Burnt Orange colored canvas and all the notions included in the bag making kit. I added lining fabric to the inside and the pretty antique brass rectangles (not included in the kit) to the handles to match the kit’s antique brass metal zipper.
I sewed the kit’s garment tag to the handle since I know my Mom likes to proudly display the Thread Theory brand on items that I make her. 😛
I used the Chicago Screws on the bottom of the bag to hold a cardboard insert to the base and to act as little ‘feet’. I forgot to take a photo of these and I’ve already returned the bag to my mom for use at school today…sorry!
I waxed the bag with the regular size bar of Otter Wax (also in the kit). It is a huge bag and used all but a tiny nubbin of wax. I gave it a VERY thorough waxing.
My Mom has been using the bag daily since I gave it to her for her birthday in November and reports that it sits in the (sometimes) dirty trunk of her car, is always on the floor of her office, and is often thrown atop her muddy winter boots beside her desk. She is impressed by how clean the Otter Wax has kept it! The dirt brushes off easily and the bag still looks brand new.
You can see the original color of the canvas (pre-wax) inside the pocket that I added to the exterior of the bag. I love the burnished effect that the wax gives!
You might be interested to know that my thick coating of wax and the damp, west coast winter air led to a VERY long cure time for the Otter Wax. It usually cures in 24-48 hours but this was not the case for this bag – I waited two weeks and it was still tacky! Also, big chunks of wax were stuck in the zipper teeth and the hair dryer that I normally use to work the wax into the fabric was not enough to melt these chunks. I ended up putting the bag in the dryer with an old towel so that it would be ready in time for my Mom’s birthday. It worked wonders! The wax sunk into the fabric with no effort on my part. I think I’ll use this method from now on!
I haven’t read any other tutorials where people suggest using the dryer. The latest tutorial that I’ve come across uses a heat gun to the same effect. I like that there are so many ways to work with this fabric wax – you can combine all sorts of tricks to come up with the system that best suits they way you like to operate (I like to avoid heat guns near fabric since I’ve accidentally browned cotton in the past, for instance).
All the new items in our shop are perfectly suited for the Spring rains that are in our near future here on Vancouver Island. I hope that they will fit into your climate and project plans as well as they fit into mine!