Handwoven Treasured Leftovers

In my bin of handwoven fabric, most of the pieces are leftovers, like a short section from the end of a towel warp, or a colorful sampling of weft from the beginning of a warp. But a few of these woven treasures are good-sized pieces that can be used to make something. So, since I want to make a bag for my large Freja tapestry frame, I look through my selection of handwoven fabric pieces.

Piecing handwoven fabric to make a large bag.
Piecing handwoven fabric to get the large side panels needed for the bag.
Making bag from handwoven fabric.
Lightweight fusible interfacing is applied to the back of the fabric. I adapted and enlarged McCall’s pattern 3894, and used the pattern instructions for the sequence of steps to make the bag.
Patterned band woven on the band loom.
Patterned band woven on the band loom, used for straps on the bag.
Sewing a bag from handwoven fabric.
Topstitching with red thread.

I find just what I need! Coming across these two significant lengths of fabric is like getting reacquainted with old friends. The meter of red and black cotton eight-shaft twill is something I wove in a Vavstuga class. And the blue cotton warp-printed yardage is fabric I wove to make a tiered skirt, a favorite garment that hangs in my closet. (See Quiet Friday: Handwoven Skirt.)

Bag with Freja loom is ready for a travel excursion in the Casita.
Bag with Freja loom is ready for a travel excursion in the Casita.
In the Casita - handwoven articles.
In the Casita.
Bag from handwoven fabric for Freja tapestry loom.
Casita tapestry to work on in the Casita.
Casita tapestry for quiet evenings in Big Bend state park in Texas. I may be able to finish it on this trip.
Bag for tapestry frame - made from handwoven cloth.
Blue cotton warp-printed fabric, red eight-shaft twill, and patterned band from the band loom. Treasures from the past, assembled together for a joyful today.

Treasures from the past come into today to bring value and meaning. Put treasures in your today that will add value to tomorrow. Everything can change in a day, so we can’t put our confidence in tomorrow. But every new day is from the Lord, who holds the future in his hands. Today is a gift. Live it fully. Who knows? Your joy today may be tomorrow’s treasure.

Casita, ready to roll!
Ready to roll!

May you find treasures from the past.

Love,
Karen

8 Comments

  • Beth says:

    Great idea! Have a wonderful time!

  • Anonymous says:

    Very nice and inspiring!

  • Nannette says:

    No moss is growing under your feet. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the memories. All are a gift from God.

    Nannette

    PS.. The snow is leaving us and the leaves of the spring flowers are pushing through, and the squirrels ate the kale seeds I planted.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Nannette, It is always interesting to observe the changing of seasons. Here, where we are this week, we see cactus in bloom, desert bluebonnets (they will die off as soon as the temps reach 95 degrees), and red-tipped ocotillo everywhere. Dots of brilliant color on a backdrop of desert brown. The rugged and massive mountains declare the glory of God!

      Love,
      Karen

  • Linda says:

    I have so many scraps of my handwoven fabrics that I try to find uses for. In the process of moving now, I find there are far too many and I’ve bagged many to throw away. Sad! Enjoy Big Bend. It’s one of my favorite places.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, It is sad to say goodbye to scraps of handwoven fabric. But the good thing is, you still get to enjoy the memories of all that time at the loom.

      Big Bend is such a unique and remote place. At times, the terrain is such that it seems like it could be another planet. There is beauty all around, but it’s different. I’m glad to know you enjoy this place, too.

      All the best,
      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Handwoven Handbags

Is there such a thing as too many handbags, pocketbooks, tote bags, and purses? Of course not. Naturally, my favorite handbags are made from handwoven fabric. Linings made from remnants, handwoven bands used for shoulder straps, hidden zippers, and, of course pockets–these are the details that other people will seldom notice. Yet these are the details that make me smile every time I use one of these bags.

Handwoven handbags - with 1 minute video.

Nineteen handwoven handbags. Various sizes, fibers, styles, and purposes. And colors. Lots of colors!

…You know that box of handwoven bits and pieces? Those weavings from the end of the warp, and the “scraps” from various projects? Hmm… looks like I might need to make another handbag or two.

Here is my collection of handwoven handbags, divided into a few categories. Plus, a short video just for the fun of it!

Rigid Heddle Loom

Handbags from fabric woven on a rigid heddle loom.

Wool, novelty chenille yarn, crochet cotton, and narrow fabric strips are used for weft in these bags. Buttons are from my grandma’s button jar. The small rag-weave pocketbook has a permanent home in my daily handbag. The fabric for these bags was woven on my Beka 32″ rigid heddle loom.

Handwoven fabric for handbags from the rigid heddle loom.

Linings are from remnants of other sewing projects. Bag handles were woven on my inkle loom.

Travel Finds

Handwoven handbags from international travels.

Trips to The Philippines yielded interesting woven goods by artisans there. The green stripe tote bag is woven from native plant material, and the teal and burgundy purse is a beautiful example of ikat weaving. The colorful weft-faced woven shoulder bag and the purple bag with lovely weft-float patterning came from travel to Chile.

Project Carriers

Handwoven project bags.

Large tote bag, woven with 1/4″ fabric strips for weft, carries my “show and tell” when I go to my weaving study group. It’s known as the “Mary Poppins Bag.” Rag-rug bag in the center has straps, woven on the band loom, that were woven into the bag. This bag carries my portable tapestry weaving. The rag rug bag on the right carries my one-and-only crochet project.

Special Use

Handwoven handbags.

Linen bag has beads woven into the fabric. It is lined with satin. Rag-weave purse is simply a flat piece folded in half, with lining and pockets added to the inside. The blue bag is wool, woven in a weft-cord technique. The fabric was partially fulled to produce the ribbed texture.

Handwoven lining in a handwoven purse.

Lining for this bag is made from extra fabric after weaving cotton/linen fabric for cushions, and the pocket is a remnant from a two-block twill tencel scarf.

Daily Use Favorites

Favorite handwoven handbags! Karen Isenhower

Representing some of my “firsts.” The brown and blue small shoulder bag is from one of my first cottolin towel projects. This is what I did when the last piece was too short to use for a towel. The green and turquoise clutch has remnants of my first ever handwoven towel, my first rosepath rag rug, and my first big rep weave project! The blue shoulder bag is the bag I use every day. It’s a remnant from the baby wrap I wove for my daughter’s first baby. It’s lined with a remnant from an Easter dress I made for her when she was a little girl.

May you carry your handiwork with you.

Happy weaving,
Karen

10 Comments

  • Mary Kay Stahley says:

    I would love to know where to get patterns to make a bag. Have yardage and really want to turn it into a purse

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary Kay, I have found a few good commercial patterns for an assortment of bags.

      I used McCall’s 3894 to make the large tote bag. (I did break several sewing machine needles when sewing the very thick corners.)
      And I used Simplicity 2201 for the green and teal clutch. Other patterns that I have not used yet are Simplicity 9949 and Simplicity 2274. All of the patterns have multiples sizes and shapes of bags. There are probably some more good patterns out there now. I’ve had these for several years. I enjoy browsing the pattern books at the fabric store.

      For some of the bags, I folded and played with the fabric to make up a simple design.

      For the shoulder bag that I currently use all the time, made from the baby wrap remnant, I purchased a bag at the store that I thought would work well with handwoven fabric. I took it home and ripped out all the seams to deconstruct it. Then I had the basic shapes, which I reconfigured to exactly what I wanted. I made a practice bag first out of denim before using the handwoven cloth to make the final bag.

      I hope that gives you some ideas!
      Karen

  • D'Anne Craft says:

    It was so much fun to see all your beautiful bags, Karen! Nineteen is certainly not enough!! Hope you keep making more and sharing them with us. You have a wonderful sense of color!

  • Cindy Bills says:

    Hi, Karen,
    You had the icon to share to Facebook, so I shared this post with my Rigid Heddle Adventure group. They’ve been talking a lot lately about creating bags. Thanks for the post!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Cindy, That’s wonderful! The rigid heddle loom is perfect for making fabric for bags because it’s so easy to use a variety of fibers in the warp and in the weft. It’s a fun adventure!

      Thanks so much for sharing!
      Karen

  • Angela Roberts says:

    Truly an inspiration, as always
    Thank you Karen

  • Kantilal Doobal says:

    Please quote me a Magazine for which I wish to submit and an article dealing with woolen durrie weaving.
    thanks

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kantilal, Thank you for asking.

      I don’t know a magazine that has an article about woolen durrie weaving. “Väv” magazine sometimes has articles about different types of rug weaving, and “Handwoven” magazine sometimes has articles about rag rug weaving. The March/April 2017 issue of “Handwoven” has instructions for a “Swedish Rosepath Rag Rug” that I designed.

      Karen

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Quiet Friday: Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs and More

The sample piece, a long rug and a short rug with string yarn, and a short rag rug. I look on these results with fondness. A challenge and a joy to weave! The two string yarn rugs will have bound hems when I get a chance to do that. I have world map fabric for the hems. The sample piece and the rag rug piece are destined to become cute bags. I have all the supplies–band loom-woven strap, and yarn to make a band loom-woven strap, lining material, and a handwoven remnant to use as inside pockets. Now, all I need is time. And we all have as much as we need of that.

Dressing the Loom

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Fabric Strips for Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Stringyarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with Fabric Strips for Weft

Making a rag rug bag. Strap woven on band loom. Karen Isenhower

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft, make bound hems.

Eight-Shaft Block Twill Rugs with String yarn Weft, making bound hems.

Making cute bag from sample piece of 8-shaft block twill weave.

In case you needed a smile today!

In case you needed a smile today. Our dear Lucia Annabella.

May you have all the time you need.

All the best to you, my dear friends,
Karen

20 Comments

  • Julia says:

    That is one beautiful Lucia Annabella! And some delightful weaving. My mother use to tell me, “You have all the time there is.”

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julia,
      As any grandmother would, I have to agree with you about Lucia Annabella. I love your mother’s words of wisdom. It would be well for all of us to remember that. Thank you for your kind words!

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Gabriela says:

    Thank you, Karen. So lovely.

  • Barbara says:

    We all have time for what is important. I can choose what to put first in my life. You have placed God first and it shows in every other aspect of your life.

  • Denise says:

    Karen,
    I’m hoping you can help me, again, by giving me an idea of how much string garn it might take for a lovely rug such as the pink one shown here. Thanks in advance for your help–especially as you have other things on your mind.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Denise, It’s no trouble at all! I can tell you how much string yarn I used in total– for the sample, long rug, and short rug, and I’ll let you do the math for the length of rug you want to make. 🙂

      Lengths: Sample 17cm, Long rug 115.5cm, Short rug 42.5cm
      Midi string yarn 500m/kilo; 250g/125m per tube (#124 Dusty Coral from Vavstuga.com)
      Total yarn used: 4 tubes, with about 2-3m leftover

      I hope that helps!
      Happy Weaving,
      Karen

  • Elisabeth says:

    From one grandma to another…
    Although everything you make is just beautiful, little Lucia Annabella shines even brighter 🙂

    Love, Elisabeth

  • Angie says:

    Pictures speak a thousand words! I really enjoy seeing your weaving process and all the lovely items you make, and the beautiful grandbaby.

    As you are a weaver that gets good use from your Glimakra, may I ask where you rest your feet when not pressing a treadle? I’m almost ready to bring one into my home and while I’ve sat at one I haven’t woven more than a pass or two on it. I have a Norwood Jack loom and just slide my feet to the base of the treadle when switching. Of course, a Standard is set up differently. Thanks for your advice and any tips you may have for my Glimakra contemplation.

    • Karen says:

      Angie, First, thank you for your very sweet words. That means a lot to me!

      Glimakra? You said the magic word. 🙂 I am extremely happy with my 2 Glimakra looms, Ideal and Standard. It is all I have woven on, so I don’t have anything to compare them to.
      The Standard has a foot rest directly under the breast beam. It’s in the perfect spot for resting your feet when not pressing a treadle.

      Here are some resources I highly recommend for Glimakra loom weavers:

      Learning to Warp Your Loom, by Joanne Hall, GlimakraUSA.com
      Tying Up the Countermarch Loom, by Joanne Hall, GlimakraUSA.com
      The Big Book of Weaving, by Laila Lundell, GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com
      Dress Your Loom the Vavstuga Way: A Benchside Photo Guide, Vavstuga.com
      Dress Your Loom the Swedish Way DVD, Becky Ashenden, GlimakraUSA.com or Vavstuga.com
      Vavstuga Basics class at Vavstuga

      Please let me know if you have any more questions as you get going with your Glimakra Standard. I predict that you will love it!!

      Very happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Na says:

    Your photos including all of your finishing ideas are very helpful! Would you tell me what part of the world you are in? Just curious–since you use meters, etc.!! Grand babies are beautiful everywhere–even when they grow up.

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Na, I’m an oddball from Texas. Houston, Texas. I like to use metric for weaving — makes the calculations simpler. Also, I primarily use Swedish drafts, so I have gotten used to using metric measurements from the Swedish weaving books I have.

      Yes, grandbabies any age are the best everywhere in the world.

      Happy weaving,
      Karen

  • Gerda Hoogenboom says:

    Thank you, Karen, for all the clear pictures and inspiration. Now I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be pictures (or even a video) of the process of binding a rug with fabric. I wonder how you reinforce the rug before sewing the binding on, and how long a cloth binding would last on a rug. It is not a quilt, after all. Every one of your posts teaches me things and leads me to ask questions I had not anticipated. The mark of a true teacher! Looking forward to seeing the finished products (on Etsy?). Greetings from France, Gerda

    • Karen says:

      Hi, Gerda, You have great questions! I can answer some of them by referring you to previous posts. But first, I want to say that’s a terrific idea to do a video tutorial of making a bound hem on a rug! Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will do that.

      (Click on the links)
      How to bind a rug with fabric: How I Make a Bound Hem
      How to reinforce the rug before sewing the binding on: Tools Day: Rag Rug Finishing Video
      How long a cloth binding lasts on a rug: I made this rug a few years ago that sits in our front hallway and is walked on every day. Blue Twill Rag Rug

      I don’t know if the items will show up on Etsy, but I will try to remember to show the pieces here when they are finished.

      Happy weaving from Houston to France,
      Karen

      • Gerda says:

        Thanks Karen for taking the time to give real answers and even to index your previous posts for me. Please remember, we do not actually deserve that much of your time! But I am gratefully reading the posts and learning. Hopefully absorbing enough to avoid crucial mistakes. Thanks again!

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Make a Handwoven Something

There is less than a yard of this lovely fabric. I want to use it for something. After weaving the baby wrap, I wove off the remainder of the warp in twill, using multiple weft colors. The colors seem even more vibrant in this twill weave. The fabric feels great in hand, as well. Is there enough to make a handbag? Just barely; but, yes, there is enough!

Making a handbag from handwoven fabric.

After ironing interfacing to the back of the fabric, I work the puzzle of fitting the pattern pieces onto the fabric. Some piecing is necessary.

Making lining for a handbag.

Lining pieces have pockets added.

Making a handbag from handwoven fabric.

Topstitching goes all around the top perimeter of the handbag.

How do you feel about cutting into your handwoven fabric? Once you cut, there’s no turning back. You better be sure before you get out the scissors. Fear of ruining your precious fabric can keep you from ever making the first cut. You might be tempted to fold up your fabric and tuck it away in a drawer. “At least you didn’t ruin it,” your fear would tell you. However, if you know something good will come of it, and if you have a plan, you walk past the fear and do the cutting.

Finished handwoven handbag holds rolled baby wrap. Karen Isenhower

Finished handbag holds the rolled baby wrap.

Handwoven handbag. Karen Isenhower

Handbag front is mostly twill, with five different weft colors. The warp length is crosswise in this piece.

Handbag made from handwoven fabric.

Back of the handbag. The lining fabric is cut from a remnant left from an Easter dress I made my daughter umpteen years ago.

The peace of Christ takes the power out of fear. Instead of looking at the status quo as the only option, internal peace enables us to walk past the fear. His peace enables us to do things that require faith. Fear fades when you know that the one who is truly good does have a plan. After all, handwoven fabric is made for such a use as this.

May you do things that require faith.

Making things,
Karen

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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

Tools

  • 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

Supplies

  • 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

Steps

  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,
Karen

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