fancy fabric
January 3, 2010 8:38 PM   Subscribe

Where to buy the materials to make messenger bags in Canada (Montreal)?

I am interested in making my own bags out of typical components used to make most messenger bags. Condura or ballistic nylon fabric, vinyl lining, heavy duty bias tape, etc. Most normal fabric/hobby stores where I usually shop do not sell these kinds of materials.

I want to buy this stuff in hobby sized quantities. Where can I buy it? Ideally, a fabric store or hobby store in Montreal, or a wholesaler or warehouse I can visit in the city, or a distributor in Canada who sells online.

If I have to buy large quantities that is OK, but a place catering to hobbyists rather than industrial buyers is probably preferable.
posted by The Wig to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I recently bought messenger bags made out of reclaimed seat belts, billboards/banners, and bicycle inner tubes. I paid good money for them, too. I specifically wanted upcycled stuff and I thought the concept was fabulous. Just an idea for you. Reduce your footprint and make something *really* cool and definitely available in small quantities.
posted by acoutu at 8:40 PM on January 3, 2010

Do you have any 'surplus' type stores? Here, there is a store called "the yard" that sells heavy duty fabrics, buckles, tools, nylon strapping, plus a 'yard' full of metal stock, etc. It's pretty unique, but I think it's the type of store that exists lots of other places. Maybe look under tools or surplus supplies in the phone book?
posted by thylacine at 8:51 PM on January 3, 2010

You should be able to find some actually in Montreal as there's enough textile industry there. One way to find out is to contact one of the colleges that has a fashion or fabric program to get you into some sources. When I lived on the plateau there were some textile companies which were located right on the corner of rue St. Laurent and at or maybe a couple blocks north of Mont Royal. (and others farther north, by Chabanel?) Maybe finding sources like this you could access scraps? Or get leads for other sources? contacts?
posted by kch at 9:42 PM on January 3, 2010

Banner/Sign shops often will print on vinyl. They might give you misprint signs for free.

Thrift stores are a good place to look for bag hardware. Just cut the stuff off of old backpacks!
posted by gregr at 10:31 PM on January 3, 2010

tent/awning stores will have vinyl [and vinyl cement which works better than sewing it]. Asking a school with a fashion program about fabric sources is a brilliant idea to find anything else you need.
Sometimes places that repair military gear will tell you where they get their fabrics [or sell it to you]. Mountain equipment co-op repairs tents and bags and things, but will not sell you fabric. Depending on who is on staff doing repairs they might be able to point you in the direction of a good source, or else be completely unaware that supplies don't just magically materialize when they run low.
Lots of places with scraps will have scraps that are big enough for you to use. You only need two really large pieces in a conventional messenger bag design, and vinyl scraps from tent and awning stores are generally much bigger than you need. Finding cordura or similar for sale in small quantities should not be impossible, as it is hardly an exotic fabric.

Make some prototypes out of broadcloth or something cheap first. Getting a comfortable and reliable design is not as straightforward as you might think.

PS: for water resistance you can't beat the 'bag inside a bag' technique where there are no stitches that go through both your inner and outer layers. Except at the edges, of course.
posted by Acari at 11:05 PM on January 3, 2010

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