A few weeks ago I attempted weaving and hand sewing my first pouch, and failed miserably- well, that is if I didn’t look on the bright side.
Did my pouch turn out the way I wanted it to? No.
Did I learn some things from the process? Yes.
So, it was not as big of a failure as I had first thought. There are a few things that I learned from this first try and would like to share them with you.
A full tutorial on how to weave a pouch can be found here.
Here are 10 things that I learned:
Tip 1: Consider the use of the pouch before weaving it
The type of yarn for the pouch can vary based on what you plan its use to be. For a pouch that is handled often, you might consider cotton, a bled or acrylic yarn for daily use and easy washing.
If you are new to weaving and would like to start learning step-by-step, check out the Beginner Frame Loom Weaver Guide.
Tip 2: Weave big or go home
Think of the tapestry you weave as fabric. However unlike the fabric that you can go to the local craft shop to purchase more of, making more of what you weave can be challenging once its off the loom. Therefore I recommend that you weave a little more than you expect, just in case.
Weaving a larger piece does require more time, but learn how to quicken the process with a few tips in this blog post, 6 Tips for Weaving Faster.
Tip 3: Calculate waste
In addition to calculating how much to weave, the amount of fabric waste needed must also be add. My definition of waste in this project is the fabric woven that is lost from uneven edges or used to create seams or attach other woven panels together. Here are how I divide the calculations:
I like to reserve about 1 inch of the edges for creating seams later. Of course you will not need so much, but I like to have extra in case of mistakes and adjustments.
The second calculation comes from the warp drawing in. While weaving the yarn will draw in, so it is important to keep those edges straight. The straighter and more consistent the warp remains, the less waste you will have. But, when you are first learning how to weave, this can be challenging. In order to assemble the pouch both the front and back panels must be be stacked and lined up. However, when the edges are uneven, they must be realigned and cut to match both panels.
Therefore if this is one of your first projects, I recommend giving about 2 inches extra fabric to weave with.
A sample calculation:
I want to weave a pouch that is 10 inches wide. Therefore I would probably dress the frame loom to 13 inches wide to leave room for “waste”.
For tips on weaving straighter, check out 6 tips in this blog post, 6 Tips for Weaving Straighter.
Tip 4: Measure twice, weave once
Measure your loom and warp properly before weaving. Similar to tip 2, you may have to adjust the measurements for additional waste or elements of the project you are creating. I think that it is better to have more than less (with in reason, of course).
Another reason is that the weaving remains consistent. You will find that while weaving you get into a groove and rhythm with the weft and warp. Dressing the loom again and collecting all the yarns again require more time but you also have to remember the pattern and the yarns you wove with. Most weaving projects span over a few days and your design can vary through that time. I find it better to weave everything once. Even if you weave separate panels, weaving the panel side by side at the same time help maintain consistency throughout out the entire design.
Tip 5: Weave one big piece of fabric or weave two sections
In the first attempt, I woven the pouch in one continuous section of fabric. However, after removing the warp from the loom, I decided to cut the material in half and reattach the ends evenly.
Benefits of weaving one large panel
One large panel consolidates all weaving to one area. This creates one area to manage your design. Special designs and or colors added to once section can continuously follow into the next area of the fabric, with no interruptions.
If both the back and front of the weaving will have the same pattern, then weaving the entire fabric needed in one section could be easier than two separate panels. When you are done weaving the large panel, you can fold over the weaving and sew the edges together.
Benefits of weaving two separate panels
I prefer to weave separate panels because I like to weave pieces side by side. That way my weaving stays consistent and it helps me stay mindful of how much yarn is needed for each panel. If I know that both sides will mirror each other, then I complete each panel in sections and copy the same design on the other side.
Tip 6: Control the edges of the fabric
Continuing from tip 5, maintaining a consistent width of the fabric is critical to weaving efficiently. Keeping the edges straight and keeping the entire width consistent will give you more fabric to be used in the project.
Patterns and Edge Control
In this project, I wove the pouch with almost only the twill and chevron pattern. As you may know, these patterns require the third yarn to be lifted to secure the weft in place. When weaving with this pattern, I like to still secure the final warp yarn strand, even if it doesn’t keep the weaving pattern consistent.
Thick yarn and Edges
However, while weaving twill with thicker fibers, such as roving, I found it difficult to secure the final warp yarn. Therefore, I let the roving stick out and left it to be cut off after the weaving. After I removed the warp from the frame loom, I even applied a bit of glue along the edges to keep the roving in place.
This tuned out to be a mistake. The fabric became bulky on the edges and it didn’t rest well. However, the yarns did stay in place. The pouch that I wove was small, therefore I believe that is why the edges didn’t rest well. When using thicker yarn, I would recommend using a sewing machine to go along the edges to help secure the yarn in place.
Tip 7: Concentrate your design or pattern in the center
As mentioned in tip 3, seams must be created with the woven material. Therefore if you are weaving a design with a focal design, then center the design in the center of the material. This will insure that it will remain in the pouch and not end up lost away in the seams.
If you are creating an over all design that will be seen throughout the entire pouch, then might not be too important to more the design around. However, if it is easier to focus the pattern in the center, then try it.
Tip 8: Use a pattern that can stay in place
As mentioned in tip 6, the twill and chevron pattern was used in the first trial of weaving a pouch, and I think that it is good pattern to weave with in this project. Besides the edges, the yarn remained locked into the warp well and it created a really nice design.
However, the rya knots used in the back of this piece really did not survive. I thought that the rya knots would be a great accent to the back of the bag and make holding the bag a bit more comfortable. A side from a proportion and placement problem, while weaving the rya knots, I thought that they would turn out fine. But while turning the bag inside out, I pulled too hard on the knots, and pulling them out of place.
Tip 9: Weave with a higher density
A pouch will be handled often and should be woven to last a while, but it must also withstand the construction process. Weaving a pouch with more ends per inch can not only hold the yarns in place, but also better create a specific design.
Cutting and Sewing the fabric
You may find that after cutting or folding the fabric that the ends may loosen. If this is not your intent, then next time it would be helpful to weave with more ends per inch.
After cutting the fabric into sections, I realized that the yarns were not secure enough. The yarns began unraveling not only where I cut the fabric but also when I folded the yarn. The fabric needed more structure and more warp yarns .
Although I had dressed the loom at every .25 inch, I gathered every 2 warp yarns with the weft. So, instead of weaving every other single warp yarn, I gathered every 2 warp yarns in an alternating pattern. So, this basically gave the weft more space to breathe, which allowed them to loosen up when they were cut.
I recommend sampling with various warp yarn and density to find what works best for your project.
Learn more about high and low density on this blog post, Weaving Low and High Density.
Tip 10: Don’t be afraid to experiment
It can be a bit nerve racking when you first start a project, but let the creative ideas flow and allow you to create something to share with the special people around you or making something nice for yourself.
Trial and error are my big recommendations when it comes to pattern and design. Sampling can give you initial insight into the materials used for weaving the pouch. If you have questions or concerns about the combination of certain yarns or colors, you can weave small panels and try out what you may like.
Before starting your pouch weaving project, try sketching out your idea or concept. Play with color and yarn and try to visualize the pouch you want to make. Take these ideas and place them next to the loom and let them inspire and guide you along the way.
As you have seen, my first attempt at weaving a pouch did not go as planned. But I am happy with what I learned along the way. I hope that this information was helpful and I hope you enjoy the learning process as you continue to grow and develop your weaving skills.
Learn from your mistakes and share what you learn with others.
Thank you so much for visiting Fibers and Design!