the roll-up canvas sack

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The other day a friend stopped by to see my burlap buckets I've made.  She thought it would be a great idea to make a few to hold bottled waters and snacks for the wedding party on the day of her daughter's upcoming wedding.  I loved the idea, the easy transportation via plane and such, but knew it would take some time to make each burlap bucket and time was of the essence.

This idea of a roll-up canvas sack kept coming to my mind.   It is kinda like the bucket put completely simple.  Canvas, especially the duck cloth I use, is sturdy enough that the sack stands on its own, no lining or batting.  What you see is what you get.  Plus I thought her idea of storing bottled waters and snacks in these would be more aesthetic than the wide-mouthed, flimsy burlap buckets.  

So here is the roll-up canvas sack.  So versatile that I really can't wait to make a few more this week: one for our weekend trip to Virginia labeled "travel" for waters and snacks to keep in the car and another for random half eaten baked goods to be stored in one place for my counter.  Once you let your mind start exploring all of the descriptive words that you could paint or stamp or stencil on the sack, you realize they could be used in so many rooms of your house for organization, and beautiful organization at that.

More ideas:

  • make multiple sacks for your pantry to be stored neatly in a row: boxed pastas, snacks, dried fruit, onions, potatoes, and so forth.
  • a sack for next to the front door for mail, keys, sunblock, or whatever you need on the go--labeled "welcome home" or "mail".
  • a large sack for all of the unmatched socks which can sit pretty on the dryer--labeled "socks".
  • a small sack for each of your children's small trinkets, jewelry, stickers, and rocks for their bedrooms--labeled with initials or names.
  • a sack by beds with bedtime books--labeled "bedtime".
  • a large sack labeled "donate" where you collect items until the sack is filled and then you donate them.
  • a sack to keep in your trunk with bottled waters, an outdoor blanket, and emergency supplies--labeled "car".
  • a large sack for outside each bedroom's door where clean clothes can be tossed for older children to fold and put away--labeled "clean".
  • mini sacks made as party favors, filled with candies, a candle, flowers, or homemade cookies--labeled "for you" or "thank you".
  • a sack to be kept in the shed or garage with gardening supplies labeled "garden".

The Roll-Up Canvas Sack

You'll need:

duck cloth (a very thick, sturdy canvas found at any fabric store)

needle and thread

paints and brush

Decide how big you want your sack to be.  This sack I made is about 15 inches wide.  I consider this a medium sack.

With your cloth folded, cut the fabric 1 inch extra than what you want the sack to end up measuring width-wise.  Don't trim off the top until later in the sack-making process.  This is how your fabric should look above to begin.

All the sack comprises of is essentially two side seams.  So sew along each side, with 1/2 inch seam allowance, which will create a basic bag.  Flip inside-out and press.  You will be leaving the top unfinished.

Roughly fold down the top of the bag to create this above.

Now stick your hands into the bag and form a simple bottom by pushing the sides of the sturdy cloth out against the backs of your hands.  Bring your hands outside of the bag now and you'll see that you have just created two natural folds that can be pinned down to make a permanent bottom as seen above.  They don't have to be perfect.

This is how the two pinned-down folds should look once pinned.

With your needle and thread, stitch a few stitches on both sides of the folds to secure the bottom.

Now that the bottom has been created, decide if you want to trim any of the roll top.  Because the cloth is so thick and sturdy, the more you keep to roll down the more bulky the mouth of the sack will be.  I trimmed off a few inches and was satisfied once I rerolled the top.

Embellish.  Flatten your bag and slip a scrap of your canvas into the sack to prevent paint from seeping through.  Get creative with this part!  Stamps, stencils, freehand painting, children's artwork painted on, iron-on adhesive of your favorite fabrics, sewn-on buttons or charms, or left simply blank.

Once your paint dries, you'll have a beautifully simple organizing sack to add to any corner or cubby of your home.  Fill it to the brim or keep it lightly filled, either way the duck cloth will hold its shape perfectly because of the rolled top.  And if you couldn't tell by the tutorial, this sack, before the embellishing take roughly 10 minutes to make.  I'd love to have a stash of these flat in a closet somewhere, ready to be filled as a gift basket--and a reusable gift basket for the recipient at that!

If you want to make a bunch of these, make them in an assembly line.  Have all of the fabric cut and sew all of the side seams first.  You could sew 10 sacks' side seams in minutes.  Then you can do the hand sewing all at once, as well.  You could definitely whip out a ton this way.

How would you fill a sack?

the sleepy time gal