An Experiment in Fabric Weaving
Posted on Friday the 29th September 2017 by Fiona @ The Sewing Directory
I have been following Mister Domestic on Instagram for quite a while and have long admired his amazing fabrics weaving creations. Just look at the beautiful dress he made for his daughter.
Image © Mister Domestic
I really wanted to give it a try. Reading on his blog I saw he used the wefty fabric weaving tool so I ordered that from the states (works out fairly cheap as it’s under the customs limit), drop her a message to get cheap postage too.
I decided to try the tumbling blocks design which requires 3 different colours. I was using this video on the Wefty website as my guide. I have to admit I would have preferred to have written instructions as I went wrong several times in the beginning trying to figure out the design as it’s hard to see on such a fast-paced video.
The first stage requires preparing a lot of fabric strips to make bias binding. I decided to make the thinner strips, you can weave 1 inch strips or half inch strips with the Wefty tool. For half inch strips I had to cut 1 inch strips and then make into bias binding using a Bias Maker. I used my Stripology ruler to make quick work of cutting the strips.
I had no idea how much Fabric I would need so I cut just over half of each half metre piece of fabric into strips. To start with I made half of those strips in bias binding, I did have to make a few extra once I got partway through the design. So I think I probably used just over a fat quarter of each fabric.
I found the fastest way to make the bias binding was to put the iron right against the front of the bias tool. Pull the strip of fabric taut from behind the tool and then use the iron to slide the tool along so it presses as it moves. It was too slow doing it my normal way, moving the tool with my hand and moving the iron along slowly in front of it.
You need a base which you can pin your fabric strips onto, I used foam boards. I bought a 3 packs of A4 ones for a couple of pounds on Amazon. I thought A4 would be easier to store and I could tape them together if I wanted A3. An A4 size piece of woven fabric should be enough to make a small pouch which is my plan for the finished piece.
I started by pinning the fabric strips horizontally across the full width of the board, you don’t want to leave any gap between them. I was originally just placing my pins straight (so they were standing vertically). However, when I started weaving I realised this allows the fabric to slide up the pins as you pull strips under it. So I soon realised you want the pins to be diagonal to the point that they are almost lying flat.
You then take the second colour and weave them at a 30 degree angle following the pattern of under two over one. Make sure each line starts at a different stage of that pattern eg. Strip one goes under 2 over 1, strip 2 goes under 1 over 1 and then under 2 over 1 and strip 3 goes over 1 then under 2. Have a look at the bottom of my board in the image above to see what I mean.
It’s slow work, it took me hours to get to the point where I had woven the full board. I did make a few mistakes at the start with the pattern as it was hard to tell from the video what I was meant to be doing. I had to pull them out and start all over again, I’m sure if you know what you are doing it must be quicker. When you add to that the time taken to cut and prepare the strips it’s certainly not a fast make.
I haven’t added the third colour in yet to make the tumbling blocks design as I quite like the pattern I have now. I can’t decide whether to just keep it as is and use it or to add the third colour so I’m going to think on it for a while. Do comment below and let me know what you think I should do.
From what I’ve read the next steps once the weaving is finish is the tape around the edge of the design with masking tape or washi tape to hold the strips in place as you remove it from the board. Then stitch over the tape and remove the tape afterwards. That then gives you a stable rectangle of fabric to work with for whatever you want to make with it.
My final thoughts on fabric weaving? I do like the final look but it’s quite a lot of work to create your own textile. I think I would only do it again for an extra special project.