Weaving makes rectangles, which as weavers we end up making a lot of scarves, dishtowels, table runners and other flat rectangular projects. Don't get us wrong, we love scarves way more than is probably healthy, but we wanted to give you a project idea for something you can weave that isn't a flat rectangle! Meet our Plaid Tote Project!
Amy wove this up on our Schacht Flip Folding Rigid Heddle Loom. You could also weave this on a Table or Floor Loom, it's just simple plain weave! Amy also used the Schacht Inkle Loom to weave up the matching strap, but you could also buy a strap or ribbon for this if you don't Inkle weave! It's a great little bag for carrying books, groceries, or projects. The finished bag is 12.5" wide by 12" tall and 4" deep.
Tools and Materials We Used:
- Kid Cotton Yarn: - This yarn has been discontinued. Omega Sinfonia Cotton will be a good substitute!
- Schacht Flip Rigid Heddle Loom (Any Loom that is 20" or wider will work)
- 12 Dent Rigid Heddle
- Schacht Inkle Loom (optional, you could purchase a strap or ribbon)
- Clear Packing Tape
- Sewing Machine
The Kid Cotton Yarn is a DK weight yarn which we would normally suggest you weave at 10 EPI but we chose a 12 Dent Heddle because we wanted to make sure the weave was extra tight to give the bag structure.
Pattern: Plain Weave
We wrote this pattern up for a Rigid Heddle Loom but you can also use a Floor Loom or a Table Loom! Check out our blog post, How to Create Plain Weave on a Multi Harness Loom if you need help setting up your treadles!
Amy warped up her loom with a 2 yard warp. We suggest you have fun and plan out your own plaid design for your bag, but if you want to make your bag look just like ours here is how Amy placed the colors in her warp:
Color A - Dark Green
Color B - Light Green
Color C - Purple
Left Border: 22 Threads Color A, 6 Threads Color B, 6 Threads Color A, 6 Threads Color B, 6 Threads Color A. 46 total threads (this gives enough length to fold part of the border for the box pleat at the bottom when sewn).
Left Stripe: 2 Threads Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 2 Threads Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 2 Threads Color C. 14 total threads (where the handle was joined. Amy used the order for the warp threads on the Inkle loom so they would match).
Left Middle: 6 Threads Color A, 24 Threads Color B, 12 Threads Color C, 2 Threads Color B. 44 total threads.
Middle: 6 Threads Color A.
Right Middle: 2 Threads Color B, 12 Threads Color C, 24 Threads Color B, 6 Threads Color A. 44 total threads.
Right Stripe: 2 Threads Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 2 Threads Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 2 Threads Color C. 14 total threads.
Right Border: 6 Threads Color A, 6 Threads Color B, 6 Threads Color A, 6 Thread Color B, 23 Threads Color A. 47 total threads (note extra thread than other side).
Amy wove at 12 PPI, her woven piece measures 34.5" when it is off tension. You don't need to weave for exactly the same length, just know that your back will be taller or shorter depending on how long your woven piece is. Here is how many picks Amy did of each color:
First Half: 45 Picks Color B, 10 Picks Color C, 2 Picks Color B, 6 Picks Color A, 2 Picks Color B, 10 Picks Color C, 24 Picks Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 51 Picks Color A, 6 Picks Color C, 16 Picks Color B
Second Half: 16 Picks Color B, 6 Picks Color C, 51 Picks Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 1 Pick Color B, 1 Pick Color A, 24 Picks Color B, 10 Picks Color C, 2 Picks Color B, 6 Picks Color A, 2 Picks Color B, 10 Picks Color C, 45 Picks Color B
The First Half and Second Half are mirror images of each other. Tie your ends to secure them and wash your fabric before you sew your bag!
Amy used her tape trick to secure her threads and so she could save her warp pattern as a sample. This is an easy way to keep record of your warps. All you need to do is run a piece of packing tape along the front and back of your warp before you trip off your excess. She then wove up the strap on the Inkle Loom. If you don't have an Inkle Loom or don't want to weave your own handle you can use a ready made strap or ribbon!
Amy wanted a 1 inch wide strap that measures around 18” long for each handle. This means she needed to weave for a total length of 40” so she could cut her piece in half to have enough for two straps with wiggle room.
She warped the Inkle Loom with a 55" warp and duplicated the same warp ends in the Left and Right Stripe section of the bag warp.
Strap Warp: 2 Threads Color A, 2 Threads Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 2 Threads Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 1 Thread Color C, 1 Thread Color B, 2 Threads Color C, 2 Threads Color A. 20 total threads.
Amy used Color B for the weft of her strap but notes that if you use Color A, which is the same color as your edges, your strap will look neater. Amy's woven piece measures 40" off tension.
Once you have woven or chosen your strap material, you're ready to sew your bag!
While you can hand sew this if you want, we suggest using a sewing machine for a stronger finish! Amy made a YouTube Tutorial to show you exactly how she made her bag.
Like Amy says in the video, you can cut a piece of cardboard to place in the bottom of your bag for extra structure. We hope this inspires you to get outside of the flat rectangle and weave up something 3D!
We curated some palettes for you to get inspired to make your own plaid tote. The Kid Cotton Yarn we originally used for this project has unfortunately been discontinued. We do have some colors of it left, check the yarn page to see what we have left!
We made some kits using Omega Sinfonia Cotton as a substitution! Omega Sinfonia Cotton is our go-to rigid heddle cotton yarn suggestion. This yarn is a similar weight to the Kid Cotton but will make a slightly denser bag because of its ply construction.
Tropical Trip uses 2 Balls of 833 - Azul Rey, 2 Balls of 832 - Turquesa, and 1 Ball of 880 - Verde.
This one makes us excited for upcoming Fall weather! It uses 2 Balls of 805 - Ladrillo, 2 Balls of 842 - Canela, and 1 Ball of 804 - 1 Cafe Mink.
This is a fun bright palette! It uses 2 Balls of 836 - Morado, 2 Balls of 825 - Rosa Mexicano, and 1 Ball of 872 - Obispo.
This bold choice can work with several different colors as the contrast but we picked a bright blue. Pop Art uses 2 Balls of 802 - Hueso, 803 - Negro, and 1 Ball of 833 - Azul Rey.
This one is kind of the opposite of the sample bag Amy wove up with 2 different purples and 1 green pop. This uses 2 Balls of 879 - Morado, 2 Balls of 872 - Obispo, and 1 Ball of 840- Verde Hoja.
Jewels and Gems is for our jewel tone lovers. It uses 2 Balls of 837 - Morado Intenso, 2 Balls of 824 - Burdeos, and 1 Ball of 814 - Marino.
Doesn't just looking at this one make you feel relaxed? Beach House uses 2 Balls of 816 - Azul Nordico, 2 Balls of 817 - Verde Cristal, and 1 Ball of 861 - Arena.
You can also put together your own colors! A tip on making your own palette is to choose 2 shades of the same color (like the sample bag's greens) and 1 pop of a contrast color (like the sample bag's purple).
We hope you have lots of fun weaving up your own plaid tote bags. Feel free to email us if you have any questions! If you make this project we'd love to see your version, tag us on Instagram or Facebook!