DIY Waxed Cotton Jacket

Ok, so I totally didn’t make this jacket.  Obviously, because it takes me like 6 hours to sew a skirt.  I don’t have great sewing machine skills. Anyway, a few months ago, I happened across a post that someone made about waxing a cotton jacket that they had.  It was pertinent to my interests.  Craig has a waxed cotton trucker jacket that’s pretty neat, and he had a whole drink spilled on him at a bar a while back with none of it actually wetting the fabric.  I’ve been on the lookout for a decent spring jacket that isn’t like something from REI (which I also have and love, but it looks better with sneakers than heels).  I found this military style canvas jacket from Old Navy for $45, and figured at that price, I could afford to experiment with DIY waxing to make it more weatherproof (have you heard? Seattle gets lots of rain).  So I bought it and went to town.

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket
This is the jacket in the Old Navy dressing room.  I find that I am able to make more objective decisions about clothes if I look at a photo of myself vs just looking in the mirror.

The wax that I used is Fjallraven Greenland Wax.  I got it for $10 on amazon.  Basically, once you’re sure the jacket is clean (you won’t be able to launder it after it’s been waxed), you just rub the wax all over the jacket, working in sections. With darker fabric, you may be able to work more willy-nilly, but with something like this camel color, at least attempting to get a slightly even layer is useful.  Thicker deposits of wax ended up making slightly dark spots on the jacket.  I may go over with another layer of wax in the future, and I am thinking of trying to hit it with a cloth-covered iron to even out some of the darker spots, but overall they don’t bother me and will contribute to the jacket “wearing in” and developing creases and stuff in the creasy zones.

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket

Once the wax has been rubbed onto an area, you just hit it with your hairdryer and let it melt into the cotton.  The cotton absorbed all of the wax in my case.  With subsequent coats, I expect that it won’t be so absorbent, but will also be more weatherproofed .

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket

The process was actually surprisingly time consuming.  I’d say that the first coat took me probably 2-3 hours.  Luckily, I just set up on the kitchen island and watched TV while I rubbed the wax on.  The hairdryer part was extra boring though.

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket
Here’s the difference in color between waxed and unwaxed.  The waxed areas have taken on a slightly darker color, and you can also see some of the spots in the upper right hand corner of the photo where the wax is a little darker looking.

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket

And here I am wearing the jacket.  I’m still not entirely sure what to do with the super long strings coming off of it, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out.

diy waxed cotton canvas jacket
I look so concerned here.  Promise I’m not.

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