Quiet Friday: Custom Lining for a Handwoven Bag

Every good bag deserves a good lining, with pockets inside and a zipper on top. This handwoven rag rug bag is no exception. The lining fabric is some of the same fabric that is woven in the bag. The polka dot pocket fabric is a cheery piece from a visit to The Philippines. The completed zippered tote is a perfect fit for my small tapestry frame, and goes with me when I travel. Quiet Friday: Weave a Bag with Handles shows how I made the bag.

How to add zippered lining to a bag.

How to Add a Custom Zippered Lining to a Bag


  • Sewing machine
  • Zipper foot
  • Walking foot (recommended, but not required)
  • Steam iron
  • Straight pins
  • Tool for pushing out corners
  • Needle and sewing thread
  • Disappearing ink fabric marker
  • Fabric scissors


  • Fabric for lining. Lay bag on top of folded lining fabric, with bottom of bag aligned with the fold of the lining fabric. Cut the folded fabric a generous 1 1/2″ wider and 1 1/2″ taller than the bag.
  • Fabric for pocket. Mark two pieces of fabric (or use a folded piece of fabric) the desired pocket size. Add 1/4″ seam allowance. Cut along the marked lines. Stitch, right sides together, leaving an opening for turning. Turn right side out, pushing out corners. Press. Topstitch all four sides.
  • Fabric for zipper insert pieces. Cut two pieces of fabric 4 1/2″ wide by the length of the zipper plus 1″.
  • Tabs for ends of zipper tape. Cut from handwoven band or piece of fabric with sides folded under.
  • Zipper. Regular, non-separating zipper, as long as, or longer than, bag opening


  1. Sew bottom three sides of pocket onto lining fabric. Stitch a dividing line on pocket.Adding pocket to lining for bag.
  2. Stitch sides of lining, right sides together. Fold and stitch box corners.Box corners on lining for a bag.
  3. With lining seated in bag, fold down top edge of lining, so that folded edge fits just inside top edge of bag. Pin folded edge of lining and remove from bag. Set aside. Fitting lining for a handwoven bag.
  4. Bar tack top ends of zipper tape together. Bar tack over end of desired zipper length. Cut off excess. Cut a tab from a woven band, or from fabric with sides folded in, to fold over each end of zipper tape. Use zipper foot to stitch tabs over zipper tape ends. Preparing zipper to add to bag.
    Handwoven tabs for ends of zipper tape.
  5. For zipper insert, cut two pieces of complementary fabric 4 1/2″ wide by the length of the zipper, plus 1″. Making zipper insert for top of bag. Tutorial with pics.
  6. Fold each zipper insert piece lengthwise in half, right sides together. Draw stitching line that matches length of zipper. Zipper insert for top of bag. Tutorial.
  7. Stitch both short ends of zipper insert pieces. Clip corners and trim seams. Making zipper insert for top of bag.
  8. Turn zipper insert pieces right side out. Push corners out. Press. Making zipper insert for top of bag.
  9. Pin folded edge of zipper insert fabric to right side of zipper tape, centered lengthwise, 1/8″ away from zipper teeth. Open zipper partway. With zipper foot, starting at top end of zipper, topstitch close to folded edge. After stitching a third of the way, with needle down, close zipper, and then continue topstitching to bottom of zipper. Repeat for other side of zipper insert. Press. Making zippered lining for handwoven bag. Tutorial.
    Adding zippered top to handwoven bag.
  10. With zipper opened, and zipper tab down (picture shows zipper tab up, after having pinned both sides), center and pin one side of zipper insert under one side of folded top edge of lining, so that lining overlaps insert 1/2″. Repeat with other side of zipper insert and lining. Making zippered lining for handwoven bag. How to pics.
  11. Insert lining into bag, matching side seams and mid points on bag and lining, with top folded edge of lining 1/4″ below top edge of bag. (Edge of zipper insert is sandwiched between lining fold and bag.) Make sure bag handles are up and out of the way of stitching. From inside of bag, use walking foot to stitch 1/8″ from lining fold, all the way around top of lining, keeping zipper insert up and out of the way of stitching. (Walking foot helps ensure even feed of fabric layers.) Adding zippered lining to handwoven bag. Instructions.
    Pinning lining into handmade bag. Instructions.
    Sewing lining into Handmade bag. How to.
  12. Fold zipper inserts down into bag. Press. Stitch across zipper inserts 1/2″ below top of lining on inside of bag. Press again.Last step of tutorial for inserting lining in bag.

Give your new bag a special purpose.

Handwoven bag with custom lining. Karen Isenhower

May your lining on the inside be as attractive as your handbag on the outside.

Happy Creating,

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Weaving Double Binding Rag Rugs in the Ozarks

Come with me to the quaint little town of Eureka Springs, nestled in the heart of the Ozark Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. First, we need to prepare and pack up. Then, enjoy the day-long drive. Put rug warp on six looms (five of them Glimåkras!) with Debbie Davis and me. And then, greet each eager weaver the next day and enjoy the process of creating special patterned rag rugs together.

Sit on the porch swing with me at the serene cabin secluded in the woods, and do some small frame tapestry while Steve whittles out more little men.

Then, greet the second round of weavers, and be sure to congratulate each one on their fabulous work. Drive home to Texas with me and let’s recount all the blessings–the kind and interesting people we met and all the fun we had!

Beaver Lake in the Ozark Mountains.

Beaver Lake

Double binding workshop, designing rag rugs.

Designing double binding rugs.

Double binding rag rug workshop at Red Scottie Fibers.

Debbie Davis, of Red Scottie Fibers, enjoys the end result of her design. She let me share in the fun of weaving some of the rug.

Double Binding Rag Rug Workshop 2015 from Warped for Good on Vimeo.

May you enjoy the results of your efforts.

Happy Weaving,


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Rug for a Happy Dance

Three days is almost too short for threading looms, sleying reeds, tying on, and tying up. And designing and weaving a real double binding rag rug. But with this fantastic group of weavers, we did it! It is satisfying to hear a roomful of looms at work. Beaters banging, treadles clacking, and exclamations of “Oh, look at this!,” and “Karen, Help!” The highlights for me are seeing the amazing designs created by each individual, and watching the delight in each weaver’s face as she rolls out her own rug on the floor.

Sunlight in the morning at Arkansas cabin.

Morning sunlight at the cabin in the woods where we are staying.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs - weaving supplies and classes.

Red Scottie Fibers in Eureka Springs, Arkansas is hosting the workshop.

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Six looms with weavers setting up for weaving double binding rag rugs.

Double binding rag rug workshop.

Janet’s was one of the first rugs off the loom.

Happy dance on new double binding rug!

Gayle’s reaction to seeing her new rug on the floor was a spontaneous happy dance!

Double binding rag rug workshop - Karen Isenhower

Double binding rag rugs and four of the rug designers.

May you make something beautiful and do your own happy dance.

Happy Weaving,


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Quiet Friday: The Teaching Side of Weaving

This time I get to teach. I enjoy being a student, learning new things, and new ways of doing things. I also love to teach. It is a wonderful opportunity to come alongside a learner, to lead someone to see what they can achieve, to open up a door to fresh possibilities. This week I am in the teacher role. I’m eager to get to know the students and see the double binding rag rugs they will create as a result of our focused time together. And I am looking forward to learning what the students will teach me!

Preparations for rag rug weaving workshop.

Compiling notes and assembling folders takes place in my office, which is in my music studio.

Social media business cards

Gathering supplies to teach rag rug weaving class.

With my checklist in hand, I make little piles of supplies, tools, and examples in my weaving room.

Workshop supplies are stacked in plastic tubs.

Workshop supplies are stacked in plastic bins. The big duffle bags holds example double binding rugs.

Car is packed for roadtrip to teach rag rug weaving workshop.

Car is packed while there is still daylight. Road trip begins very early the next morning.

I’ll let you know how it goes!

May you teach what someone else wants to learn.

Happy Weaving,


  • Trisha says:

    I would love to partake in your class!
    But I am also happy to be an armchair traveler and learn from
    “Warped for Good”
    Even a photo of your supplies and favourite books inspires me …. a picture is worth a thousand words!
    Look forward to reading about the fun and creativity that comes from this class.

  • Martha says:

    Wish I could have made it down to Red Scottie Fibers to partake in your class. Enjoy the class!

  • Liberty Stickney says:

    Hi Karen,
    Have fun teaching, I know you will do a great job! Can’t wait to hear all about it!

  • Janet says:

    Thank you Karen for the wonderful workshop! You are such a positive, warm and friendly person and such a knowledgeable instructor. Loved your class and the chance to meet you. Hope to take more workshops from you in the future.

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My Mistake that Made Rug Warp Snap

Draw-in can wreck your weaving. Avoid it at all costs. Did you know that draw-in can cause even 12/6 cotton rug warp to break? First, two ends on the right, and then, an inch later, two more in the middle. I had ten broken warp ends in all. Strong, sturdy, Swedish rug warp! I was weaving miniature rugs. Between the absence of a temple, and my failure to place in enough weft, the drawn-in warp ends could not stand the abrasion they got from the reed. What started out as a bright idea ended up a “learning experience.”

Miniature rag rugs, side by side.

Double binding warp is divided into four sections to weave individual mini rag rugs.

Four mini rag rugs on the loom. Draw in was a problem.

Draw-in happened gradually, and didn’t seem to pose a problem until near the end. Then warp ends started snapping.

Finishing miniature rag rugs.

Mini rag rugs off the loom. After making all repairs and finishing the ends, they will be hemmed and ready for use as mug rugs and hot pads.

Words reveal a person’s core. When abrasive thoughts continue time and again, words eventually break loose from the tongue. The warp end breaks, and the stability of the rug is compromised. It may seem like the warp end is the problem, but the problem is the abrasion that led up to the breakage. Fortunately, broken warp ends can be fixed, with time and effort. But learning to eliminate the abrasion in the first place is the tactic I want to employ.

May you strengthen your core.

Your friend,


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