Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tutorial Thursday: Fabric Weaving

I promised this a week ago, but here it is: so, so easy, and such a cool manipulation! I came up with the idea myself, but putting it all together was strongly influenced by a technique Ajaire Parello shared on her blog, Call Ajaire, for a Project Run and Play entry. Amazing technique, Ajaire! I'm trying yours next! 

This weaving is probably easier if you have a type of loom set up, but I don't - so I went high tech and used invisible tape to hold the ends in place! ;) I always have plenty of that on hand for all the patterns I tape together!

All you need is a fat quarter (or more or less, depending on how big your project is), some tape, your sewing machine and matching (or contrasting!) thread, and some type of stabilizer. Ajaire, in her technique, used a water soluble stabilizer. I didn't have any on hand, but I did have embroidery backing! It worked great, and no soaking is needed. It's very thin, so it doesn't affect the overall thickness of your finished piece much, but if you're concerned about that or you don't want anything left on the back, go get yourself some water soluble stuff! :) 

First I cut the whole piece of fabric into half inch strips. I cut them all in half, so I'd have smaller, easier pieces to work with - but again, your strips really depend on what you're using your weaving for.

I used a very scientific method to determine how many strips for "warp" and "weft" - called "splitting the pile of strips in half, roughly". Using the strips from one pile, I laid them all down on my ironing board (I really recommend using a table or desk - more space to work on!) one after another, just touching but not overlapping. Then I took a looong piece of tape, and taped down the ends of the strips.

Then all you do is channel your inner elementary school student - remember weaving paper placemats?? Fold back half the strips, starting with the second one down and skipping every other strip. Make sure they're neatly pulled back.

Then I took a strip from the other pile and laid it down vertically, and folded the strips back over it. Don't let your fabric shift around or you'll end up with wonky weaving (unless that's what you want. I won't judge.)

All you do now is pull back the opposite strips - start at the top and skip every other again, meaning the ones you just put back in place. Put down another vertical strip, and fold them back over. 

Lather, rinse, repeat. This technique is very repetitive, and can get old after a while if you're doing a large piece - but it's a great way to pass some time if you want a quiet activity to do! (Or enlist your kids to do it for you ;) )

Once you have the piece the size you want (or run out of strips - mine just happened to come out just right) you need to apply something to the back to hold them in place for stitching. I should mention, you could do this all upside down - you might get a slightly different look, but it won't matter. Or you can use a piece of thin cardboard and flip the whole thing over, like I did. Then iron on your stabilizer or embroidery backing.

I don't know why I don't have pictures of these steps - I'm a terrible tutorial maker.

You can stitch all over your weaving with any design, or follow the rows to make a grid. I like how the grid makes the edges of the weaving pop in between the rows, just a little. It's a neat texture effect!

I cut the basket for the baby carriage on my mini quilt out of my weaving. Use it for applique, quilts, or do a huge one and make a skirt out of it!


  1. What a great technique Meriel! I love how it made the circles look almost like a floral print.

    1. Thanks, Amy! It did, didn't it? I debated trying to line them up, and then decided I liked the randomness better - plus, it takes long enough as is, haha!

  2. Ha I totally thought it WAS a floral print until I Read that comment--way to be observant, me! ;P Merl, I don't know HOW you have time for this kind of stuff! I don't even think I have the time to keep my blog going! This looks like so much fun, I feel a little jealous, like normal! :)

    1. Hahaha :) It pays to be a night owl, I guess! If I wasn't one, I'd never get anything done ;) Thanks! It's fun, don't worry - someday you'll be closer and I'll teach you how to sew and stuff.