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Saturday, 13 February 2016

Duct Tape Repair & Cheap Sewing Supplies

Repairing my waxcloth bucket bag
Whimsical duct tape comes to the rescue!
When I made my first bucket bag out of waxcloth, it was intended for use as a vacation beach bag.

When we made our annual journey into the BC interior last September, the weather forecast was promising cloud and rain; therefore, this waterproof bag was the natural choice. On the road trip out, I noticed with some consternation that although it had only been used once before, the corners at the base of the bag were wearing through.

This particular waxcloth is a bit thin and the sharp corners of the Peltex support piece at the bottom is obviously punching its way out, especially when the bag is loaded up with stuff.

So what's a gal to do? Well, ingenuity being one of my stronger points, the first thing I thought of was decorative duct tape. Since we needed to stop at a Dollarama to get some kragle (love the Lego Movie), I also grabbed a roll of zebra patterned duct tape for a buck twenty-five. The above shot is what my repaired bag looked like afterwards. No one who sees it now will realize what it used to look like. Not bad, huh?

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After the week of vacation (which happily saw only a little bit of rain), I noticed that one of the sides had also developed a couple of small tears. (The culprit this time was the top edge of my purse organizer.) Certain sections of the strap had also taken a beating. So a few more pieces of duct tape later, here is my repaired bag.

Repairing my waxcloth bucket bag with duct tape

The side view here shows more clearly where the damage from my purse organizer was located. Of course, for the sake of symmetry, I applied an identical strip on the other side as well.

Repairing my waxcloth bucket bag with duct tape

And here is the back...

Repairing my waxcloth bucket bag with duct tape

I realized at the time that this likely meant a short lifespan for the bag, but the materials did not cost me very much at all and many of the elements such as the zipper, the cord, the rings and the entire lining could be reclaimed and put to use in another bag of the same or similar pattern.

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Still, I am somewhat sad to report that after using it for a week in Mexico last month, I deemed the bag a total loss. The duct tape itself held up fine, but at the edge where it met the original waxcloth, it was tearing away. Not to mention that the daily bouncing that the back side of the bag took against my thigh (which was invariably slathered in sunscreen) left the lovely pink and black print quite faded.

So yes, I've since stripped it of all reusable parts — too bad you can't reuse grommets and snap fasteners — and those components will have new life in some future project.

But speaking of snap fasteners, while in the BC interior last fall, I happened upon some darn good bargains. Take a look here at what I got for just under fifteen bucks, taxes in:

Cheap crafting supplies
A plate of goodies...

The 1/4" grommets, sewing needles, and the quick release buckle/clip were 99¢ each; the snap fasteners were $3.87. I cannot get that price locally. At best, Walmart has grommets for about three bucks and the snap fasteners for six bucks.

I'm thankful for the fact that in retirement communities (which many of the little cities in the BC interior are), a significant segment of the population still pursues sewing and crafting activities. That built-in demand for supplies keeps pricing at a more reasonable level, allowing me to grab some goodies once a year when I pass through. (I will clarify, however, that these items were found at discount stores. The dedicated sewing shops were quite a bit pricier, as you might expect.)

Where do you find the best prices for your sewing needs? Online? In big discount stores? Are you lucky enough to have some place with good selection and reasonable prices that you don't have to drive miles to get to?

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