Sunday, April 7, 2013

Project Complete: Canvas Pilgrim Bag #1

A shoulder bag, typically referred to as a "pilgrim bag", seen in manuscripts throughout the medieval period, used by traveling pilgrim's as a type of carry-all.

What it is:
With a need for my husband to be more mobile at events and still keep important officer-related materials on-hand, a large shoulder bag provided a nice solution. This bag has no particular relevance to any period, and is styled in a very period-neutral manner. Pilgrim bags as depicted in period images are often colored, and are usually thought to have primarily been made of leather. SCA versions, however, often employ heavy-duty fabrics. We chose a drab-colored hemp linen canvas, which will hold up well to use, and will be easy to clean as needed.

How I made it:
The majority of the steps I took can be found in my previous post. The bag is entirely hand sewn using 100% hand-spun linen thread which I manually waxed with beeswax. I used a variety of hand-sewing stitch types, which makes the piece something of a sampler.

The sack itself is stitched on each side using the Elizabethan seam technique. It's a great seam technique and is extremely strong.

I used running stitches on seam allowances, and hem stitches to attach the strap and pockets, as well as tack the corners down on the inside.

I had to reconstruct the strap after getting the bag done, since it turned out that the seam where two pieces were attached to make the long strap ended up in just the wrong spot on my husband's shoulder. Since I had to create a new pieced connection without taking the strap completely apart, I used a modified slip stitch to minimize the stitch visibility.

To give the two seams in the strap one more level of strength, I stitched a line of herringbone over each seam.

Once done with the bag, my husband attached three leather award badges using the same linen thread. He punched holes in the badge with his awl first, then used the awl again to sew them on.

What I think of it:
I'm very happy with the bag and the level of craftsmanship I was able to put into it. I'm also jazzed that this is the most authentic piece I've yet to create and it turned out so well! It didn't go together quite the way my husband was expecting, so we did have a bit of a hiccup with him actually liking it at first, but after correcting the strap and explaining my reasons for constructing it the way I did, he liked it much better. In retrospect, I should have taken my time before cutting it out. It would have been better to cut the flap as part of the back to avoid a seam there. In general, however, I think it's a quality piece, and I look forward to seeing my husband sporting it at events!

You can see all the photos from this project in the Flickr set, or on Facebook!

1 comment:

  1. You've done a very nice job. We have several of these, and use them for everything from SCA to War of 1812 reenacting. As a cheat for future bags, sew in a pocket with a button closure to secure wallet/keys/cell phones. My husband and son often have to "die" on the field, and this keeps things from getting lost.