Katie Jay has wanted a pipe roll for a while now. We live without a balcony and the public spaces around us forbid any type of smoking so using her pipe requires packing it up for travel.
Simultaneously, the straps on a beloved bag have given out. It has been sitting on our shelf forlorn, unused, but still cherished.
It was the perfect confluence ; a sturdy panel of the thick canvas bag (travel marks still on it), a soft cotton square from a shirt I thrifted to make stuffed animals, and strips of leather from Katie Jay's parents from years ago, and an old military button practically begged to become a pipe roll.
I began by seam ripping to release the back panel in the bag that also included the top flap, giving me plenty of material to work with. I then trimmed it down to my desired size of 10 x 11.5 inches. Because of how worn the bag was along the back, I reversed the seams and made what was once the inside of the bag the outside of the pipe roll.
Then all I had to do was evenly round the corners, pin the seam, and sew it up. The final dimensions are 9.5 inches wide x 11 inches tall.
Next came the inside pockets. I cut a panel out of the shirt so that the button edge would be the top of the pockets. I cut it to 10 x 8 inches, removed the buttons, and hemmed it to its final size of 9.5 x 7.5 inches. Pinning all around again, I sewed the pocket on, folding the bottom corners underneath to match the rounded edges of the canvas.
The hardest part finished, I moved on to sewing in the pockets. I laid the items I wanted inside out on top of the roll. I chose to make three pockets and shortening the third to keep the lighter from being lost. Working left to right, sew a seam from top to bottom at 3.5 inches. Sew the next seam top to bottom another 3.5 inches over. Then, inside that third column that you have formed, sew a seam left to right 3 inches from the top of the pocket, forming a shorter, third pocket. You can of course choose to make this pocket whatever length would be best for the lighter or box of matches that you use.
And there's the body of the roll!
Now all that's left is the fastener. You can choose any number of options. I chose to go with a leather strap with a button.
Cut a strip of leather to 1 x 6.5 inches. I chose to cut the corners off at an angle but you can choose to leave it straight or finish it however you so choose. At one end, cut a button hole into the leather so that it runs along the length of the strap. Make it just long enough so that the button can slide through it.
Sewing into the space BELOW your lighter pocket, fasten your leather strap with a zig zag stitch for extra strength. Fold the roll up and wrap the strap around to the other side. Sew the button where the buttonhole falls being sure to only stitch into the canvas without going through the pocket and sewing it closed.
And there you have it! A pipe roll that looks like it already smells like tobacco.
Not to mention that the material is already woven through with memories, travels, and so many stories.
A memory-filled bag preserved, soft cotton and sturdy canvas, a leather strap and a little bit of military flair.
Here's to upcycling, thrifting, and making do.