Monday, September 17, 2012

The Sailor's Ditty Bag

Sailor's Ditty Bag, nearly finished. Needs to be monogrammed.

Often the first project given to a new sailmaker's apprentice was the sailor's ditty bag. It covers a lot of the same sewing technique and craft of working a full size piece of canvass. I'm wanting to learn to sew my own sails. Rather than just jump right in and ruin a perfectly good canvas tarp, I'm opting to learn at a smaller level, on smaller projects to mess up. This being the first of them.

Working from The Sailor's Ditty Bag by Frank Rosenow, The Arts of the Sailor by Hervey Garrett Smith and photos found online, I sketched out the cutting dimensions onto a yard of olive green cotton duck canvas. This isn't quite a traditional ditty bag. I liked the olive fabric better than the off white and I simplified the lanyard a bit.

Just got this in the mail. Should come in handy with the project i started last night and learning to sew my own sails.

A couple recent purchases - "Pete Culler On Wooden Boats", a collection of writing by Pete Culler and "The Arts of the Sailor" by Hervey Garrett Smith

Ditty Bag Start

I next cut out the pieces with my wife's fabric scissors and stitched an overlapping vertical seam. Then rolled down the top edge and sewed that seam and then sewed the bottom on. The hard part was the seven grommet eyelets, I turned the bag inside-out and sewed six along the top and one on the bottom to take the lanyard toggle. The toggle I cut from a piece of hardwood that I carved a point onto during a camp trip back in the mid 90s. The point of which, I cut off to make a wooden fid from later. The lanyard, not a traditional one, I made from some cheap line I had in the garage. I'll likely redo it later with some three strand cotton rope.

Sailor's Ditty Bag Progress

Sailor's Ditty Bag Progress

got the bottom on

finally got to use one of my rigging knives for something other than staring at it.

All that's left to do, is monogram my initials onto it. I'm still undecided if I'll go cursive or sans serif. I'll post again when I figure it out.

1 comment:

GJRopes said...

Cotton Braided cord comes in a wide range of designs/shapes and can be customized for use in not just bags but also belts, shoes, jewellery and a wide variety of other fashionable applications.

For more information on cotton ropes and cords please visit: or follow @GJRopes on Twitter.

Thank you and happy DIY-ing!