Merchant & Mills Oilskin Bag Kit


I love sewing with new-to-me fabrics and have been very curious about oilskin fabric this year.  When my local store, Tissu - - ran a sale on the Merchant & Mills oilskin bag kit, I knew it was time to jump in and try it out.

Merchant & Mills is a pattern and garment company based in England.  It is a treat to have their patterns and kits available through Tissu - and they do have the kit available on their website, if you're not local to Dallas.  The kit comes with everything besides thread and sewing tools.  The pieces are precut, so I got straight to sewing.  Loved that!  I didn't take a picture before I started, but you can see pictures of the kit at the link above.  

Oilskin is originally a technique developed by sailors to waterproof their coats by coating the fabric in oil.  As would be expected, oilskin is very oily out of the box.  Really oily.  Working with this fabric required protecting the ironing board and using a press cloth so oil didn't seep into everything.  I tried to be careful not to let it come in contact with other fabrics in my studio and keep it away from my clothing as much as I could too.  

So why go to all this trouble for an oily bag?  The fabric will dry out when exposed to air, and the texture and creases that lighten the fabric as the bag is bent, bumped, and crushed with use make a uniquely beautiful fabric.  

The pattern has very detailed instructions and photos, and it is really a very simple pattern.  I think almost any skill level could sew this bag successfully.  Clipping the fabric and pivoting at the corners is the most advanced step in the pattern.  I marked the corner points on the  front and back of the bag and lining pieces so I could turn precisely and at an equal point on all pieces.  


I love the logo motif on the lining pocket and the front of the bag.  


In this picture, you can see how oily this oilskin is!  


The pieces fit together perfectly, and in no time, I had my finished bag.  It will need to dry out some more before I can carry it, but I am super pleased with the experience.  If you have been curious about oilskin fabric, I highly recommend this kit, and Tissu has it for a great price.   

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Lastly, after some digging, I found care instructions for the oilskin on the Merchant & Mills website.  The info states the fabric is not washable but can be re-oiled.