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Have You Tried Sewing With Waxed Fabric?

I recently stitched up a bag and wanted the bag to be water-resistant, which led me to research water-resistant fabric options. I landed on waxed fabric, often seen as waxed canvas, waxed cotton or waxed linen. Did you know it even existed? It’s not oilcloth (what you would see on a picnic tablecloth), which would definitely be water-resistant, but it is a natural fabric option with great water- resistant qualities.

Woman holding a purse made with waxed fabric

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What is waxed fabric?

Waxed fabric is actually just what it sounds like. It is fabric with wax woven into the fibers. It first became popular with sailors who were seeking a waterproof fabric for their coats. The wax helps repel water droplets, causing little beads of water to just sit on the surface of the fabric.

Waxed fabric can have great rustic qualities. It will show wrinkles and creases, scratches too, which all add to the beautiful, natural character of the fabric.  

Closeup shot of water-resistant waxed fabric

Where do you find it?

If you do a search for waxed fabric by the yard on your computer, you’ll see a few online options for ordering waxed fabric. These options can be a bit pricey, but waxed fabric is something you can make as well with beeswax and paraffin wax. (Actually, that is how waxed fabric began, by rubbing wax onto the outer layer of your garment).  

So you want to work with waxed fabric? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Use a pressing cloth when ironing to avoid any wax build up on your iron.
  • When sewing with waxed fabric, each puncture mark (with your sewing needle or pins) will show. If you make a mistake and need to seam rip a line of stitches, use your iron to help those puncture marks disappear into the waxed fabric — they really will vanish!
  • Use a needle designed for thicker fabric. I used a denim needle, which worked great when sewing through this heavy fabric.  
  • Clean your machine after your project to avoid gunking it up.

Do you want a little waxed fabric inspiration?  There are a few projects I found here on Craftsy that are made from waxed linen and waxed canvas and look great!

shave-kitShave kit via Craftsy member kaseadilla20

Waxed Fabric

Summer linen shorts via Craftsy memeber PaulineGuillett

Have you ever sewn with waxed fabric before? What did you stitch up?

Shop Sewing Fabric by the Yard

Get Fabric You'll Love, Fast!

Find the perfect fabric for gorgeous projects, at the right price.Shop fabric now »

6 Comments

Joyce

I have learned so much from your free classes on the computer. In the past 50 yrs. I was afraid to tackle a zipper, and now I’m learning to do this. Also sewing things I never thought I could. Thank you for these classes, I love them.

Reply
L

How do you recommend cleaning the sewing machine after using waxed fabric? Are there any particular cleaning products you recommend? What parts of the machine will need attention?

Reply
Pamela Donald

Is there any way to remove the wax from a waxed-linen garment?

Reply
gloria

You’re best off to sew in regular natural fabrics first, and THEN wax the garment… no werries about gunking your machine, etc etc. Use cotton or linen threads, and they get waxed right along with your fabric. Much easier.

Reply
Jennifer

That’s a great idea!

Reply
Charlotte

I found some waxed linen and another kind?? For $5.00
yard. What I am not finding nice colors.

Reply

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