Foraging pouch

Testing placement

Often when I go out foraging as a bushcraft instructor with a group of customers, I use baskets for the produce we gather. This is great when you are in a large group as someone is always on hand to hold the basket, but I want to have something that I can use for gathering when I am not part of a group and am foraging for myself. There are many options on the internet if clicking a button is your preferred choice, but I like to challenge myself to make something as I enjoy the “Craft” element of “Bushcraft”. Here’s how I went about the process of designing and executing my small project.

To begin with I considered what the requirements of the item need to be. So, the pouch needs to attach to my belt to keep my hands free for gathering, small enough to fold away when I am not using it, weather proof and large enough for foraging for a small meal.

I settled on using waxed canvas as I had some spare and this ticked the weather proof box. I then began to think size of the item in relation to how it might fold and attach to my belt. I experimented with different options and eventually settled on the dimensions of 24cm x 24cm for the size of the pouch. This worked really nicely for folding the fabric into thirds of 8cm x 8cm for gathering the material.

I cut a template 24cm x 24cm from an old cereal box to act as my template. This was great for setting out the dimensions on the waxed canvas prior to cutting my double sized piece. I like to have a line to follow when cutting fabric so with chalk I marked out the material.

The next component was the loop for attaching the pouch to my belt and again I experimented with different size pieces of card and settled on a section 28cm x 8cm. This allowed me scope to attach the loop on the back of the pouch, loop over my belt, hold the 8cm x 8cm folded material and shut with press fastening. I had wanted to use leather as the loop when I first began thinking about the project, however, I had nothing suitable in my craft box so had to think again. I opted to use waxed canvas for the loop too. Knowing that the material as a single piece would not be strong enough, I chose to cut a slightly oversized double piece of 28cm x 8cm material and sandwich my template in the middle to add extra rigidity.

Making a start
Making a start.
Preparing to sew
Preparing to sew.
Planning to bring it together
Planning to bring it together.

This seemed to be a sensible solution to the problem and has worked well for the purpose I wanted. Having cut all the component of the project I had all the pieces of the puzzle with only the small matter of joining everything in the correct positions. I knew I wanted a strong stich so settled on a saddle stich using waxed cotton. This requires stitching from both sides but does produce a strong join. I like to hold the material in place at intervals using clips so the work piece does not slip while I am stitching.

In terms of order of stitching I began by making a 10mm gap for a pull fastening on the pouch at the top.

Marking out
Marking out.
Creating the closure loop
Creating the closure loop.
Stitching it closed
Stitching it closed.

I then marked up and attached the loop to the outside of the pouch making sure of its location and that the material folded nicely to give a good finish. An easy mistake could have been to stich the L shape outside edge of the pouch before attaching the loop. This would certainly have made it really tricky to attach the loop.

Attaching the loop
Attaching the loop.
Getting there
Getting there.
Closing the pouch
Closing the pouch.

Having attached the loop, I then followed the outside edge of the pouch from the bottom right to the top left. I wanted the sewing to look neat so folded the material back on itself before stitching. This in effect meant that the needle had to pass through four pieces of material and meant that I needed to use a chopping board to push the back of the needle onto and the bullnosed pliers on my Leatherman. But hey bushcraft is often about problem solving and this certainly did the trick!

I then had a sewn pouch with a loop that packed down neatly and looked fit for purpose. The only missing piece was how this would be fastened to my belt. Fortunately, I had already taken this into consideration and opted for press stud fasteners. I like to use the hammer fasten press studs, so having marked out the locations I joined these to the loop.

The finished size
The finished size.
Testing placement
Testing placement.
Almost there
Almost there.
All finished and ready to use
All finished and ready to use.

Having not worked with waxed canvas before I found this project most enjoyable. It is definitely worth spending the time on the planning and setting out stages to ensure a successful outcome. I love the challenge of a project and have learned a lot from working with this particular material. I have an old waxed jacket with several large rips in prominent places and this has inspired me to patch them up to gain more years of use. I hope this simple little project will inspire you too!

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