All black – Oilskin Explorer Tote


When I saw Annas new pattern, the Explorer Tote, she – again – got me. I immediately could imagine the large version as a great weekender bag.

I was thinking about sewing myself a new travel bag for a while. I was kind of fed up by the one I sewed about two years ago (similar to this one) which I use for smaller trips. It now felt just too much: too many colours and patterns, too floral.

The new bag I imagined had a minimalist, clean and somehow “natural” look, it had to be sturdy and durable.



Anna had used for her bags waxed cotton for the bottom part…. I discovered – along winded roads –  Merchant & Mills  oilskin. And I knew this was it! I was even more excited when I opened the package from England: what a great fabric, the surface feel, its industrial touch, the “used” texture that it gets when you wrinkle it.

Does this fabric need any sides? No. Only the back pocket and and the interior slip pocket got a little accent lining. The rest is simply black. And I love it!



I had respect for sewing with this kind of fabric. But it all went absolutely smooth. I sewed most of the bag with a regular denim needle (130/705 H-J) 100/16. Only for sewing the lining and the exterior bag together I switched to a leather needle (Clips instead of neeldes are very helpful here). To increase the longevity of the tote, I used a throng thread and strong, “seamless” D-rings that can hold some weight. A good investment as I know from experience.

Off we can go now, for weekend trips in style!




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