Finishing The Tapestry Purse

-This week we will be finishing the tapestry purse. We will give everyone one more week to finish their beaded purses, since that project tends to take longer and it seems most people are still working. We’ll do the finishing of that project next week!


We are at the end of this project.  I hope you’ve had fun weaving it.  Those of you who have posted pictures have done an amazing job.  I truly am impressed and inspired by your work and hope that you will continue on your tapestry journey.  Clearly, we need to do another tapestry weave-along.  I have a great idea for a project.  It’s a piece I taught years ago in a workshop.  Once the New Year has rolled around we can start on this.  But now back to the work at hand.

Weave your piece to at least thirteen inches.  You can make it longer if you’d like.  Compare the size to what you would like to put inside.  A little longer will better accommodate an iPhone, for example.

The last thing you need to do once you are finished weaving the body of our tapestry, is to weave a footer.  This, along with the header, will be folded under your piece and not seen.

Now it is time to cut the piece off the loom.  Loosen the tension a bit and cut the threads so that they are at least four inches long.  More is fine, less causes problems when tying off your ends with overhand knots.

Next, tie off the ends.  This is how to go about that.  Put some kind of weight on your piece.  I use my heavy brass beater, but anything from a stack of books to a brick (and yes I have one of those in my studio too!) will do.

Take a pair of warp ends and tie the beginning of a square knot (the knot you use to tie your shoes).  This is illustrated by the figure 1 in the above diagram.  Just do that first one.  Do not do figure 2 and 3.
This will get the beginning of the knot firmly against the edge of the tapestry.  Do not pull so hard that you distort the piece.  Just keep the edge line of the tapestry straight.

Now fnd yourself a thick needle or a thin knitting needle . . . anything that’s pretty thin and sturdy. You will use this to help place the overhand knot close to the square knot.  Let me first show you an image of an overhand knot:

You are simply treating the pairs like one thread and tying it around itself.  Okay, so what’s up with the needle?  Well, when you tie this knot it’s not particular about where it lands and chances are it will not land very close to the edge of your tapestry.  So, if you stick a needle in that hole before you knot is secure and push it toward the edge of the tapestry you will be able to control exactly where that knot will land.  Once it’s flush with the edge of the tapestry, remove the needle and tighten the knot.  You can use this trick for so many things.

In the below photo my warps are all tied off and trimmed to about a half inch and a tad.  The thing about overhand knots (and this is why we did not continue with the square knot) is that they stay without being under pressure.  A square knot is great, for example, for tying on warp that will remain under tension but they can be pretty uncooperative when not under tension.  They like to come undone.  It does depend on what you are tying.  For example, any kind of knot in wire tends to not want to come undone but knots in, let’s say, rayon love to come undone.

You will notice I’ve also cut the wefts so that they are uniform length.  At least one inch but not more than one and a half.  We don’t want them to sneak through to the front but we also don’t want them to be too bulky.

Close up for those cool knots!
The back side with all knots in place and weft trimmed.

This is how it looks from the front.  Our next step is to sew under the header and footer and to sew up the slits.  In the below photo they are not yet sewn up.  They look fine.  You can barely see the spaces but once you turn this piece into a functional item those slits might cause a problem.  First of all, the weft ends will want to creep through them to the surface of your tapestry.

The front side before sewing up slits and sewing down header and footer.

 Turn the header or footer to the back enough so that the white does not show on the front and sew it down.  Doesn’t have to be fancy, just has to stay in place while you sew on the silk liner.

Now do sew down the other end.

Now to sew the slits.  Do it from the back making sure your stitches do not show on the front.  I just carry the thread to the next slit after I’ve put a little knot at the end of the former slit by sewing under some weft yarn and around the thread.  Sew up any slit that is longer than a quarter of an inch.  Ones smaller than that will not cause any problems.

It is really easy to make is not show not he front because the weft is so thick so even if you have sewing phobia, you should survive this activity.

Now for the lining.  We have provided in your kit a piece of silk which is well beyond the size you will need.  Place your piece on the silk and trim the silk so that you have an inch left over on each side.  Then place the silk on the back of your tapestry.

Fold the edges of the silk underneath the linking and pin down all around the tapestry to hold it in place for sewing.

Once that is sewn in place, fold your tapestry so that there is enough flap left to suit you.  Ours is about two and a half inches.  You want to sew up the sides leaving a small hole (about half an inch at the bottom corners).  This is where you will be hiding the ends of your strap.  If you are not going to use a strap, then just sew to the corners.

Making as strap can be done two ways.  You can either make a rope or a braid.  Below is a rope.  I’ve combined the novelty yarns with yarn from the kit.  
Making a Rope:
-Cut a piece of yarn two and half times as long as the desired final length. Cut at least four-to-six pieces of yarn.
-Tie one end to a post or doorknob.
-Have a helper nearby for when the yarn is twisted tight. 
-Hold the other end and step backwards until the yarn is in a taut, straight line.
-Start twisting and keep twisting until the rope is very tight. Always twist the yarn in the same direction, don’t let go, and stay in place – as the yarn becomes tighter don’t release the tension by stepping forward. The tighter the twist is, the better the end result.
-Get the helper to hold the yarn firmly at the halfway point.
-Bring the end toward the tied end, keeping the yarn as straight and tight as possible.
-Ask the helper to release the yarn. It will twist around itself although it may need some adjusts by hand so the twist is smooth.
-Cut the end from the doorknob and tie a knot at this end.
-Tie a knot at the end that was folded and cut so there is a knot with fringe at both end.

My rope using novelty yarn and wool weft yarn.

A braided rope using a kumihimo disk or stand.  This is my braided rope in the making.  Follow the directions for the disc.

Using beads to disguise your sewing and to attach the strap

Once you have made your strap, tie knots at either end if they are not already tied.  Stick the knots into the two holes you left at the corners of your purse.  You are going to use beads to sew on the strap.  String up a few beads (a variety of 8/0s and 11/0s of your choice) and sew together that hole at the bottom, making sure to stick your needle through the strap as well as the purse.  The goal is to make it pretty and secure.  Then head up one side of the strap, threading three beads at a time and sewing through the edge of the strap and the purse.  Once you’ve sewn up one side, you will head back down the strap and sew on the other.  The strap will be pretty much covered by all those beads, showing just slight in the center.

Once you’ve got the strap in place you will want to sew beads around the flap (covering the seam between the silk and the tapestry) as well as around the top edge of the purse.  The final product will have a beautiful finished look because you will see beads where all the seams are.  And beads are beautiful!

Then using your gem stone as a guide, make a loop of beads in the center of the edge of the strap.  I made a loop and then sewed in a extra beads to make it a little thicker.   But one loop of beads is fine.  Just make sure you sew back through it a few times with your thread to make it sturdy.

Determine where you should sew your gem stone.  To do so come up through the purse with your thread.  Pick up eight 11/0 seed beads. Sew through the stone and then pick up eight more 11/0 seed beads and sew back through the purse exactly where you thread came out of the purse.  Sew throughout the beads and stone at least one more time for strength.

And you are done.  Look at that gorgeous purse you just made!

You should be so proud of yourself.


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