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Clothing Personal work

Repairing a military canvas bag

I’ve been struggling quite a bit to write introductions for these articles. There’s an invisible compulsion that I have to use the first section to entice you, the reader, into continuing to the end of what I write here. And to achieve that, I need some kind of preamble with a ‘hook;’ some anecdote or factoid tangentially related to the actual subject to pull you along. Frankly, I don’t like having to write these, so I’m electing not to for this article. This one’s about mending a bag.

I’ve obscured the logo on my T-shirt to protect the innocent.

I got this bag as a gift from my grandfather, who himself got it from his time spent in the military. Which military exactly, I’m not sure; from his stories, he’s served in a few different countries, but my best guess is it was issued to him in the United States. It’s made from a heavy duty canvas in a beautiful sand colour, and is rugged in a way almost unique to wartime apparel, with plenty of stitching and metal fixings. Despite it’s age, it’s held up fantastically well. That being said, it has gathered some scuffs and tears from it’s service, along with a couple I’ve given it since I started using it. The worst of it is focused around the area where the bag brushes against my leg as I walk with it on my shoulder, which has left a neat row of holes cropping up on the back.
The damaged areas being so close together meant that it was an ideal scenario to repair them all with one large patch; on this occasion I chose to keep the patch concealed on the inside, partially to preserve the minimalist look of the bag and partially to hide my amateur sewing.

This was another mend where I went for a pseudo-sashiko design. I wanted this mend to help reinforce the surrounding area, and sashiko patterns help to cover a wide surface area with stitches without removing any aesthetic appeal. The olive thread was chosen for the same reason, as it’s an unobtrusive colour that keeps the military look. In this case, the mend was about preserving the bag as much as possible, rather than transforming it, so it was important to me that the repair didn’t look out of place.

This is how the bag looked after the first round of repairs. As luck would have it, there was enough room left at the end of the mend to squeeze in one extra square of stitching. I also missed a few spots on the far left side, so it gave me an extra reason to go back and add some extra stitching.

The fabric scraps I used are denim and calico, which both hold up well to wear and tear.

By William

A third year Graphic Design & Illustration student currently studying at De Montfort University. I enjoy creating both physical and digital design and dabble in various creative outlets in my spare time.

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