Waxed Canvas Handbags | Essential Guide to Waxed Canvas
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
FABRIC FOR PRACTICALITY
If you’ve ever purchased a bag from Yorkshire Fox , you know that we are big fan of waxed canvas. Waxed canvas is our favorite bag making fabric for lot of reasons. It’s durable, water-resistant, has a lot of structure, and is a dream to sew with—not to mention it develops a beautiful, weathered patina with time.
I've been using waxed canvas in my workshop for over a year now and are very excited to announce that we now offer More collections in this fabric. Read on to learn everything you need to know about this historic, heavy-duty material.
WHAT IS WAXED CANVAS?
Waxed canvas is a densely woven cotton fabric that has been saturated with wax, giving it an extra layer of protection against the elements. This fabric has been long-loved for its durability, natural water resistance, and rugged character. The waxed coating is made from either a paraffin or beeswax and records folds and creases, giving it a weathered patina over time. Waxed canvas quality and strength is determined by the wax, thickness of the yarn, and weave density. YORKSHIRE FOX WAXED CANVAS is made from 100% Better Cotton Initiative certified cotton canvas and treated with a unique wax blend of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF WAXED CANVAS?
Waxed canvas is considered to be the original waterproof fabric. It first became popular in the early nineteenth century with sailors in England and Scotland. Ultimately, Linseed oil was set aside for Paraffin wax, which prevented fabric stiffening and yellowing. In 1894, a British brand called J. Barbour & Sons Ltd began manufacturing waxed canvas for a broader audience. To this day, they are widely known for their waxed cotton jackets. (Yorkshire Fox sources some of our waxed canvas from the original Barbour Mill in Scotland!)
IS WAXED CANVAS THE SAME AS OILCLOTH?
Early forms of oilcloth were cotton or linen coated with boiled linseed oil. This fabric was greasy and damp to the touch and mostly used in a nautical context. Today, oilcloth refers to printed vinyl with synthetic backing, most commonly used for tablecloths. Waxed canvas is a durable cotton fabric coated with paraffin-based wax; it is soft and dry to the touch.
WHERE DOES YORKSHIRE FOX WAXED CANVAS COME FROM?
Yorkshire Fox waxed canvas is sourced from the original Barbour Mill in Scotland, as well as a mill in Devon. The waxed canvas we sell is made from 100% Better Cotton Initiative certified cotton canvas, which is ethically sourced from the Uk. The wax is comprised of a unique blend of petroleum jelly, mineral oil, paraffin resulting in a dryer touch to the fabric than other waxed canvases on the market. Like all our products we buy everything from the uk. For us it's important to support out countries independent business as its good for the environment because they often have a smaller carbon footprint than larger companies.
WHY IS WAXED CANVAS EXPENSIVE?
Waxed canvas is three to four times more expensive than canvas. This reflects the cost of the paraffin-based wax (alternative waxes, such as beeswax are even more costly) and the time-consuming process of saturating the canvas with wax. Waxed canvas is far less expensive than leather and has many of the same qualities!
IS WAXED CANVAS WATERPROOF?
Wax canvas is water-resistant and will repel rain and moisture, but if it's immersed in water for a long period, the fabric will eventually become soaked. Waxed canvas bags and outerwear will repel and wick moister and keep you and your stuff dry. We definitely appreciate that feature here in the Uk
WHAT DOES WAXED CANVAS FEEL LIKE?
While waxed canvas has a lot of structure, it is surprisingly flexible. It’s not gummy or damp, but soft and pliable. Waxed canvas has a “memory” meaning that it records folds and creases and will hold its shape with a simple finger press. The wax has a slightly tacky feel to it and will probably make your hands feel a little waxy after working with it.
CAN I REMOVE THE MARKS ON MY WAXED CANVAS?
Many companies recommend using an iron with a press cloth between the iron and the fabric to reduce the appearance of marks. Be careful that your iron is not too hot otherwise you’ll risk discoloring your fabric. The chances of damaging your fabric are less if you use a hairdryer, hover a blow dryer on high a few inches above the fabric, moving quickly, not heating any particular spot too long. Waxed canvas will always keep a memory of use, but to restore your project to its early glory, you can always completely rewax your canvas.
WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO CLEAN MY WAXED CANVAS BAG?
Due to its protective wax coating, waxed canvas will not stain easily, and the inevitable scuffs made by daily use will most likely blend into the weathered patina of the fabric. However, if your waxed canvas does need cleaning, only spot cleaned with a damp towel, never put it in the washing machine or dryer.
IS WAXED CANVAS VEGAN?
The wax blend used in our waxed canvas is a vegan, but some waxed canvas is created with beeswax, although it’s uncommon. Wax canvas is also much more environmentally friendly than other vegan leather substitutes, which generally use products derived solely from petroleum. Additionally, Yorkshire Fox waxed canvas is Better Cotton Initiative certified, which aims to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in. Currently, only 30% of global cotton qualifies to be BCI certified.