Waxed Canvas DIY

Posted by Abigail Quist on

It's no secret that we prefer the look and feel of natural fibers around here, but I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I am always looking for natural solutions to staying somewhat dry in the winter. (Psst! Wool has some very naturally water-resistant properties!) I've been wanting to try my hand at waterproofing our canvas YKRA backpacks with wax for a while now, and since this has been the wettest, coldest winter to date in Oregon (which is not really that cold, but is really really wet) It seemed like the perfect time to try!

Many types of wax that are available for this purpose have petroleum or animal based products that we wanted to avoid, so I chose Otter wax for it's natural contents. It's a huge plus that it's made right up the road from us in Portland!

Our test subject is my son's orange Scout Pack from YKRA (that I use way more than he does). 

Make sure whatever you decide to wax is perfectly clean and dry.

I started on the top flap. This is the area that I figured would get the most rain so I applied pretty heavily. Just rub the bar of wax onto the fabric in a back and forth motion. I wasn't too careful with the leather or twill trim, just tried to be really thorough and get right up into the seams.

You can see that the wax changes the texture to be, well, waxy. :)  It softens the color a bit as well.

You can see the slight difference in color and texture between the flap and the rest of the pack in this image.

I left the back unwaxed, since it is less likely to be exposed, and the wax could be a bit sticky on my son's clothes.

After the wax has been applied all over, rub it in with your fingers once more to make sure it has penetrated a bit. Then it needs to cure in a warm dry place for at least 24 hours. After reading a ton of reviews and tutorials, I settled on placing the finished and cured pack inside 2 old pillowcases, and then running them in a hot dryer to even out the wax and allow it to penetrate even more. After this step allow to cure again for another 24 hours.

This only used up a small amount of the wax bar and can be reapplied as often as needed to maintain. 

Weirdly, I ran into a guy at the grocery store who had a waxed jacket on the day I was working on this pack! He graciously let me ask him a ridiculous number of questions and touch his coat... a lot. No shame or boundaries after having 3 kids. :) He said his was sticky at first, but it went away pretty quickly. 

I am interested in trying this with straight beeswax next time. Didn't want to take any chances on the first try, and the otter wax was so easy to work with. Plus, I feel completely comfortable with all the ingredients and it came packaged only in recyclable cardboard. The wax product may be one of those things that is not worth DIYing, but I'd also love to be able to use something that I already use for homemade cosmetics, cleaning supplies and the like. :)

Happy waxing! xx

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Sashiko Mending

Posted by Abigail Quist on

Here, Jenny shows us her loveliest technique yet! This type of stitching works well for all woven textiles, and is especially well suited to denim and twill. We happily sport Sashiko mending on our vintage jeans, kimonos, and work jackets, and think it's the perfect application for your little one's well-loved clothes too! xx

Mending Holes

Kids play hard.  After years of being handed down from child to child, even the sturdiest clothing can develop wear and tear.  Before fabric production was industrialized in Japan, cloth was precious and garments were lovingly cared for and mended with beautiful Sashiko stitching.  Inspired by this attitude and technique, we'll show you how to mend holes with embroidery to extend the life of your children's clothes.  Mending can be a relaxing and cozy activity, so curl up with a cup of tea and let's get started.
Materials needed: see-through ruler, pencil or disappearing ink pen, scissors, cotton embroidery thread, thimble, scrap fabric, and embroidery needle.  Traditionally, special Sashiko thread and indigo-dyed fabric is used, but we're using embroidery thread and fabric naturally dyed with black beans.
Cut a square out of scrap fabric, making sure it's bigger than the area of the hole.  Use a ruler while drawing parallel lines horizontally every 1/4" onto the square.  If you're worried about fraying, tuck the edges under 1/4" and press with an iron.
Pin the fabric square underneath or on top of the hole, placing one hand underneath to make sure you're only pinning to one layer of fabric.
Thread the needle with a long length of thread and tie a double knot at the end of the thread.  Insert the needle into the fabric and secure the thread with a few tiny stitches.  Hold one hand under the fabric to ensure sewing only one layer of the garment.  Sew the patch to the garment by gathering the fabric from right to left onto the length of the needle with multiple evenly-spaced stitches at once, and then pull the needle and thread all the way through.  Smooth the fabric to prevent bunching. Repeat, stitching rows along the drawn lines.
When making the last stitch of each row, bring the needle up directly underneath the end of the last stitch.  Continue stitching the next row in the opposite direction as the last row.
If you come to the end of your thread, simply tie a knot at the end of a row.  Snip the thread and start a new one.
Continue in rows until the patch is completely sewn onto the garment.  Erase pencil or spritz disappearing ink with water to remove lines.
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Replacing a Button

Posted by Abigail Quist on

Jenny Gordy from Shop Wiksten has done it again with a super helpful and thorough tutorial on replacing buttons! If a garment loses a button, it's so easy to set it aside and either forget to fix it or feel like you're not up to the task. Here, Jenny will talk you through, step-by-step, to perform the best damn button replacement you've ever seen, if you do say so yourself! Even veteran sewers may get a few great tips from this one. xx

Replacing a Button-
Life happens, and sometimes a well-loved garment will lose a button.  There's no reason to fret!  You can replace that button in no time.  Here's how:
Materials needed: needle, thread, button, scissors, seam ripper, and spacer (a match, needle, pin, or toothpick).  Optional: thimble.
Start by using a seam ripper to remove any thread left over where the button was originally.  Thread a long length of thread onto the needle, tying the end with a double knot.  You should be able to see little holes in the fabric where the button was sewn before, and this is where you'll insert the needle.  Make a few tiny stitches to secure the thread.
Bring the needle through one of the button's holes.  Center the button and bring the needle back down through the button hole below the first one and through to the fabric's back side.  Insert the spacer into the loop you just made.  (If you can't find a spacer, just sew loosely.)  Holding the button in place, bring the needle back up through the fabric into the first button hole.  Come down through the second button hole and fabric again, and repeat the process several times.  Move over to the next set of button holes, creating loops that are parallel to the first.
Using a thimble can help protect your fingertip. 
Bring the needle back up underneath but not through the button.  Remove the spacer and wrap the thread several times around the threads underneath the button, forming a shank.  Make a few tiny, hidden stitches underneath the button and tie a knot.  Trim thread.
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Letting out a Hem

Posted by Abigail Quist on

We've partnered up with Jenny Gordy, the talented designer, pattern maker, and all around lovely person from Wiksten to bring you a tutorial that will help increase the longevity of your kids clothes. This is a key part of our philosophy at ARQ, and we hope it will inspire you to rethink whether or not it's time to give up on a garment. We believe that a simple, deliberate lifestyle with fewer, better things makes time and space for richer experiences and deeper relationships. Don't be intimidated if you are a non-sewer! Making small adjustments to well made clothes can be so satisfying. This is a great beginner project. Just go slow, read Jenny's instructions carefully, and don't be afraid to ask for help! (And if you have no interest, by all means ask your mom/aunt/husband to do it! Just be sure to bring them a treat in return!) 
This tutorial is perfect for our straight hemmed dresses, (we always make sure to design a deep hem so you can add a few inches), but will work for any garment that has enough fabric to add a bit of length. 
    + Letting Out a Hem +
Kids grow so fast, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't have nice clothes.  The Camp Dress was designed for longevity, with a 3" deep hem that can be let out as a child grows.  It's pretty simple to do, and we'll show you how.
Materials needed: scissors, seam ripper, seam gauge or see through ruler, and (not pictured) iron, pins, needle and matching thread.  Optional: thimble.
Start by using a seam ripper to rip out the hem gently, working on the inside of the garment.  Slide the sharp part of the seam ripper underneath a stitch to break it, careful not to rip the fabric.  Break a stitch every inch or so all the way around the hem.  You should be able to pull the thread on the right side of the dress out easily now.  Remove stray threads on the inside.
Use an iron to press the hem creases out of the skirt bottom.
Set the seam gauge to 3/4" or twice the width you'd like the seam to end up.  Use the seam gauge to measure as you fold the raw edge up 3/4" all the way around the skirt, pressing with an iron as you go.
Tuck the raw edge under to meet the crease you just made, pressing and pinning all the way around the skirt.
Skip to the next step if you have a sewing machine.  If you don't have a machine, you'll sew the hem by hand.  Thread the needle with a long length of thread and double knot the end of the thread.  Secure the thread to the hem with a couple of tiny stitches.  Working right to left on the inside of the skirt, start with the needle coming up through the edge of the fold.  Make a tiny stitch (grabbing just one or two threads of the fabric) right behind the fold where your needle came out, securing the fold to the skirt.  Move the needle 1/4" to the left of your stitch and come up through the top edge of the fold again.  Repeat the process around the whole hem, securing the thread with tiny stitches and a knot at the end.
If you have a sewing machine you can edgestitch the hem fold to the skirt, sewing 1/16" to 1/8" from the top edge of the fold.
Voila! Longer dress. Happy kiddo. 
-Jenny xx
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I have had a most rare vision.....

Posted by Abigail Quist on

In the summer, the song sings itself. -William Carlos Williams

Photos- Nicole Mason


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