Monday, December 30, 2019

Compass Bag

When Anna/noodlehead came out with her Compass Bag a couple of years ago, I really liked it, but I didn't need a new bag then, so passed it by. Fast forward to this fall when I did need a new bag, and when I saw Anna had remade the Compass using waxed canvas, I was sold. I decided to make the small version, 9½” W, 11” H, 4” deep, with the slip style exterior pockets. 

It took me a while to gather my supplies:

I already had other supplies on hand - lining fabric, Carolyn Friedlander's scallop in olive and brown from her harriot line; rivets; 1" leather for the handle. 

Now there's a couple of things to remember when working with waxed canvas

  • Do Not use your iron or you'll mar the canvas. All 'pressing' needs to be finger pressing.
  • Don't use pins either; use wonder clips if needed.
  • Expect the 'fabric' to become distressed as you work with it. To quote the Robert Kaufman website: "Fabric cracks, scratches, wrinkles and creases are a natural part of this fabric’s character as it ages and patinas."

So back to the bag itself.... as is my nature with bag-making, it's a thoughtful, methodical process, ie. not necessarily speedy. I take it easy, one step or two at a time. After a while, I reached the step where I 'got' to add some rivets, which was a whole 'nother thing. The Compass Bag hardware was some of what called me to this bag, but that doesn't mean I'm completely comfortable with it. A quick review of Anna's "installing rivets" tutorial, and I was feeling pretty good.

The bag also features two interior pockets - a slip pocket as well as a zippered pocket, in a configuration that is really unique - one on top of the other. I made the most of those details by fussy-cutting the scallop design of my lining fabric. 

So hard to get a good photo, but maybe you can look close and see the scallop inside the zippered pocket as well? I know no one will see that once the bag is in use, but you know I will!

There were a couple of options for the handle, and I loved the look of the leather. It involved a few more rivets, but that went well.

In fact they were one of the details I really loved - that and the handle hardware, and especially that D-Ring Holder and Strap Tab with an 'X' combo. Oh yeah.

So I took the bag out for a trial run yesterday and it felt great! It's a little bigger than I needed, but is definitely a pretty normal 'purse' size, and gotta say, I really love it. When I started, I didn't really realize it would be so distressed, and actually worried about that in the process, but as a finished bag, I'm really liking it, and am very glad I tried it!


Anyone out there like to make their own handmade purses? I looked back, and this is the sixth one I've made for myself since 2013. I think it's a fun thing for a maker like me.


  1. that's a great bag. I might have to make one for myself

  2. Very nice bag! Thinking I must try waxed canvas in pouch or bag soon!

  3. It's a gorgeous bag. I love everything about it - the size, the color, the details. I'd be interested in making a bag but I'd need to take a class. Every time there's a local class for one that looks interesting, I'm not available. Maybe 2020 is the year!

  4. What a wonderful bag; I'm envious. I bet you get lots of compliments on it.

  5. Great bag! I've had a piece of waxed canvas in my stash for a while, looks like time to use it. The canvas I have is pretty oily, tho. I'll need to wipe it down first.

  6. I love it! All of the details like the rivets, leather, and hardware make it look so professional.

  7. It looks great - overall and all the details. Enjoy your new bag! PS: I have not made myself a bag and am not inclined to. But I love my self made wallet :) xo

  8. Your new bag looks absolutely amazing Debbie! The rivets, leather and fabric you chose really make it look professional.

  9. Fantastic bag and thanks for the insight on waxed canvas and rivets. I've wanted to work with both but have been intimidated!