Transform your weaving into a pouch to wear or to store your favorite items in. Weaving a pouch is a great way to practice weaving straight and developing your creative skills on the loom. In this tutorial (my second attempt at weaving a pouch), I will show you step by step how to weave and assemble a pouch together.
This tutorial is not so much about creating the fabric design of the pouch, rather the process of taking woven material off the loom and creating it into a pouch. Now that being said, I will share my ideas about the design I wove and give some ideas for your own project, just to help along the way.
Full disclosure: this is my second attempt at weaving a pouch. The first attempt started surprisingly well, but later it took an unexpected turn into the land of no return. But, that being said, there are a lot of things that I have learned along the way that have helped me create this second pouch. If you are interested in learning from my mistakes on the first attempt, I have written a blog post about it: “10 Tips for Weaving and Hand sewing a Pouch”.
Here is a list of the materials used in this tutorial:
weft and warp yarn
sewing thread / needle
How to put a pouch together without a sewing machine?
I am just learning how to sew on a sewing machine, so my skills are limited on the thing, but I actually wove a pouch and hand-sewed it together in my first attempt. Honestly, it didn’t turn out as I thought it would. But there are quite a few things that I have learned along the way.
So, I have written a blog post about it: ” 10 Tips for Weaving and Hand sewing a Pouch”.
Here are a few answers to the questions you might have about weaving a pouch on a frame loom:
How do I design a pouch?
Perhaps most of the tapestries you weave on a frame loom can be converted to a pouch. The key thing to remember is to create a design that can be applied to the front and/or back of the pouch.
Choose a design aspect that is interesting to you and give it a try.
You could also weave just one side of the pouch and then attach fabric to the other side. This cuts down on weaving time and it gives the pouch a focal point.
What are the best pouch dimensions to weave?
In addition to deciding how big you want your pouch to be, there is one big calculation to make: waste. There are two types of “waste” that are formed in this project. The first is for the seams, where the two woven panels will be attached. I like to leave about one inch for seams. Although I am aware that the seams will need only about .5 inch of fabric to weave, I like to have a phantom .5 inch just incase.
The other waste comes from the fabric drawing in. That hourglass shape is inevitable, especially when you are just learning how to weave. Now, I’m not saying that you should give up on improving your straight edge techniques, but what I am saying is that you might dress the frame loom for a 10 inch width project, but end up with something that is 9.5 or 9.0 inches wide at the end. Therefore I think it is better to weave more than less. Unlike using fabric from the fabric shop, you can’t just go and pick up more from your frame loom if you run out.
I write about this issue in the blog post: “10 Tips for Weaving and Hand sewing a Pouch”. I show the challenges that I faced assembling a pouch that was not wide enough in diameter. It bubbled up, looking more like a summer sandal, than a pouch.
I hope that you can learn some things from the mistakes I made in the first round of weaving a pouch.
What is the best yarn to weave a pouch?
I recommend weaving with material that can with stand being handled everyday or often. In this tutorial, I used a mix of cotton yarns. I chose these yarns because it would be easier to hand wash and I really love the feel of the texture.
I would recommend sampling a few yarns to determine if you like the feel, design and durability of the material as a pouch.
You can learn more about yarn types in this blog post, 3 Types of Yarn.
What texture or pattern can I use to weave a pouch?
A pouch is an item that (depending on what you use it for) can be used daily but is prone to wear-and-tear. Therefore you want to use a pattern that can be handled often and keep its shape and form.
Weaving with chunky yarn
Weaving with a chunky yarn can help you finish the project faster, but you want to make sure that the material will remain in place. Therefore I would recommend using basic weaving patterns, such plain weave, twill, chevron and sumak weave, to make a tight pattern that will stay in place.
Focal point pattern
Unless it is an all-over design that wont be disturbed if the edges are cut off, I like to focus the pattern or design of the pouch towards the center. This helps insure that you will not be wasting your energy or time weaving designs that will not be seen if they have to be cut off for seams or to center the design when it is off of the loom.
Build your design to be the focal point of the pouch. Whether its the colors, shapes or texture, let your design and idea stand out.
All over pattern
An all over pattern can be created with various elements.The focal point of the design is not confined to only one area of the pouch, rather it repeats itself through out the fabric. This can be made simply by using a few yarns in a pattern. It doesn’t matter where the fabric or tapestry is cut, the design remains consistent. The same can be done with shapes and colors.
Learn 6 beginner weaver patterns in this blog post.
What colors can I use to weave a pouch?
Above are a few color concepts that I had thought about before weaving. I did not use any of them and it was not until I had started weaving that I finally chose the colors that I wanted for the design. So, just try a few things and see what happens.
Experiment. Trial and Error. Be bold.
Creating a color palette doesn’t have to be intimidating. I know that the number of color combinations are truly limitless, and when you walk into a yarn shop it is hard to just pick a few skeins and create a cohesive palette with them.Take the time to experiment and sample out a few colors that interests you. Keep the color palette simple and build as you go.
Weaving Color: A Guide to Building a Color Palette is an introductory color theory guide that explores the basics and gives you some ideas for weaving colors together.
Weaving a Pouch Tutorial Instructions
You can weave the fabric for a pouch in one piece and later cut it into the smaller desired panels. I tried this in the first attempt, but in this second attempt I wove two sections on separate warp. Its up to you how you decide to create the panels. After weaving two separate panels, I found this method to be easier to check and develop the pattern.
1.Decide on the dimensions of the pouch
As mentioned in the “What are the best pouch dimensions to weave?” section, it is better to weave bigger so that you have more fabric to work with. This is also important for having enough fabric for waste.
In this tutorial, I decided on a width of 8 inches as the base, and later wove up the piece by … inches. You can decide on the dimensions before weaving, so that you can prepare enough yarn and material for the pouch. However you can also weave as you go. Sometimes a design or the yarn begins speaking to you as you work, so you may become inspired to work longer and weave larger than expected.
2.Decide on the design of the pouch
As mentioned in step 1, ideas can come to you once you start weaving. There are various techniques you can use to develop a design.
Sample. Sample. Sample.
The first way to learn how the yarns interact with each other is by creating smaller versions or sections of the yarn together in a sample. A sample will allow you to play with the yarn and see how they communicate with each on the loom as warp and weft.
Prepare and go
A sketchbook is one of the most essential tools that weavers should own (If you are curious about the other 9 essential weaving tools, check out this blog post.). Brainstorming ideas for a piece give you a starting point for starting your project. Even if once you start weaving you realize that you want to go in another direction, a few quick sketches and color studies helped kick start the creative process.
Weave as you go
Just jump on the loom and start weaving. Sometimes you just have to start weaving to get the ideas rolling.
3. Dress the loom to fit design dimensions
The loom was dressed 8 inches wide in two sections and I developed the design as I wove up the fabric. As always, check the tension and be sure to use strong warp.
4.Weave both sides of the pouch
I like to weave both side one and side two at the same time side by side. I think its good to see how to two sides develop together.
5.Remove weaving from the loom and finish the ends
Cut the warp from the center outward. Secure the ends with a loose knot. Send the warp back in to the weft.
A full tutorial on finishing the ends of the weaving can be found in this blog post, 6 Ways to Finish Weaving.
7.Stack woven panels together and pin edges
It is important in this step to line up the edges of the weaving as exact as possible. Place the two outer facing sides (the sides that you want shown later on the outside of the bag) on top of the other- so that the inner panels are visible on both sides.
Once the edges are lined up, along the sides and bottom pin them together in place.
Use as many pins as needed to keep the two panels in place for sewing.
8.Sew a 1 to 2 cm seam
A seam will keep the two panels together, but not much is needed to create a secure seam. Here I created a seam between 1 to 2 cm wide. Luckily the lines and grooves of the weaving served as a guide and I just followed them along the sides of the panels.
I wanted to make sure that the seams would remain in place, therefore I hand sewed them twice.
9. Flip the bag inside out.
Do not rush this step and take your time handling your pouch. This is where you have to be gentle and careful.
Slowly grab and bring out one corner of the pouch. Then gently pull the rest of the bag out.
As mentioned in the blog post, 10 Tips for Weaving a Pouch, density plays a HUGE role in keeping the pattern and integrity of the material together. It seems that I did not learn my lesson in the first tutorial nor in THIS tutorial. Any time this fabric had to bend on the edge, the warp yarns became exposed and the weft loosened. Next time, I will definitely increase the ends per inch to avoid this issue.
10. Add a closure to the pouch
I wanted to keep the structure of the pouch intact but also find a way to secure the opening. Therefore using a button was suggested to me, instead of adding a zipper. As mentioned before, this is my second pouch and I am a very novice sewist. So after taking a few tips from sewing professionals, I picked out a button to finish the pouch and had to figure out how to weave a button in this pouch.
Above is the method I used. Similar to hiding the yarn tails in the back of the weaving, I used the same approach for adding a few strands of yarn to secure opening flaps. I attached these yarns to the back of the front panel (therefore the button would be hidden on the back of the pouch.
After threading the button with the yarn, the yarn ends were sent through the front into the back of the weaving.
Once on the other side, I created a knot to secure the button on the other side. Then the yarn ends were sent back through the weft (hidden away from the outside view).
Cut the extra ends off once the yarn is secured.
Then loop the yarns over to secure the pouch opening.
This second attempt at weaving a pouch on a frame loom went a lot smoother than the first- and that is what it’s all about: Experimenting, learning, and trying again.
First try on the left. Second try on the right.
I am really happy with the development.
Take a look at the pouch you created today. Did it come out the way you liked? Did the edges stay straight? Did the design surprise you? More importantly, did you learn something new or try something new? Creativity is a muscle you have to exercise and trying various projects will help your flex.
I hope the pouch you created helps you strike a pose and drives you to keep creating and trying new things!
Thank you so much for visiting Fibers and Design!