This tool roll is an easy and useful sewing project that can be whipped up in an afternoon.
Materials & Supplies
For this project, you will need:
- 1 yard 100% cotton canvas
- Matching sewing thread
- Metal zipper
- Printer/paper for pattern or paper to draft your own
- Fabric wax, or blend your own (1:1 ratio of paraffin to beeswax)
- Double boiler with wax pitcher (optional)
- Bristled brush for wax application (optional)
- Heat gun (or hairdryer, or iron you don’t mind using on crafts)
- Sewing machine
- Sewing pins and/or clips
- Thread snips
- Scrap cardboard for protecting your work surface from wax
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Print The Pattern (Or Draft Your Own)
I designed the pattern for this project to be easily printable on seven pages of Letter sized paper. Assemble it by lining up the registration marks and taping the papers together. I’ve included the printable PDF attached to this step, along with the Illustrator file in case you want to make changes (CC BY-SA-NC).
To draft the pattern, I laid out the tools I wanted to hold, and loosely traced around them on a large piece of paper. Then I photographed my paper pattern and traced over it in Adobe Illustrator.
Cut Fabric Pattern Pieces
I made two of these tool rolls at once, so I cut the pieces out of two colors and mixed and matched the pieces. All the pieces fit on a folded length of 45″ wide fabric less than one yard long, but half a yard is too little. Take care about right sides and wrong sides if your fabric has them (my canvas is the same on both sides). You should have the following pieces:
- Main body rectangle
- Two trapezoidal pocket/flaps
- Two rectangular pieces for the zipper pocket (one skinny, one wide)
- One long piece for the strap
Install Zipper, Topstitch Inner Layer Pieces & Strap
The first step of assembly is to prep the inner layer pieces.
On the tool flap piece, iron the three loose edges over twice and topstitch the foldover to create a nice edge.
On the tool pocket piece, iron the top and left edges over once and topstitch. These edges will not be captured by a future seam, but we won’t see the other side of them either.
Install the zipper between the two rectangular pocket pieces. Refer to Mikaela’s excellent guide if you’ve never sewed a zipper before.
Fold and iron the long strap edges to the center, then fold in half and iron again. Topstitch along the length of the strap.
Once the flap and pockets are prepped, it’s time to attach the front to the back. Pin/clip the pieces together, right sides facing, and stitch around the whole perimeter. Then turn everything right side out, iron, then topstitch around the whole thing, including across the top of the zip pocket. You don’t have to topstitch around the outer edges of the zip pocket if you don’t want to (doing so does reduce the pocket capacity slightly).
Attach the strap on the outside wherever you like it– I sewed the midpoint of the strap to align with the top seam of the zip pocket.
Adding wax to the fabric makes it water-resistant and overall more durable. It’s an optional step depending on how you want to use your tool roll! For motorcyclists, it’s super important to keep your tools dry. For drawing, maybe you don’t need the wax to protect your pencils.
There are two ways to apply fabric wax. If you buy the bar type, you can just rub it on and melt it in with a heat gun. This method is a little slow and provides an arm workout. You build up the desired amount of wax with multiple applications.
The other way is to melt the wax in a double boiler and paint it on before melting it in with a heat gun. This method is faster, but provides less control over the amount of wax that is applied– you’ll get a full soak on the first application. This method also allows you to make your own blend of wax. I made a mix of paraffin and beeswax at a 1:1 ratio.
Since the last time I used my wax pitcher, it was for candles, and the paraffin I had leftover was already mixed with some mica, I ended up with sparkly wax. Happy accident.
Applying heat to the waxed fabric helps it soak in and become evenly distributed. It’s so satisfying to watch.
Load up your new tool roll and get out there and make something!