Tuesday 13 March 2012

From Scrap Pieces of Linen

I have an awful lot of fabric scraps, most of them from past projects. A few days ago I went through the case containing my linen scraps and dug out some herringbone twill. I wanted to put it to good use, and had some vague ideas about making a cloth bag to put our toiletries in during events, and, if I found a piece big enough, another towel. You can never have too many towels when you have a baby (especially a pukey one), and we don’t have enough linen ones to last us through an event.
I had enough fabric, and have now finished the bag and the towel. They’re both straightforward enough, the towel being a rectangle of fabric, 34x48 cm, hemmed on three sides, the fourth being a very neat selvage. The warp is running from side to side, rather than up-down, but I should think many simpler towels and washcloths were made from scraps and old worn out clothes, the warp directed every which way gave the best use of the fabric, so I don’t mind.

The bag (21,5x28,5 cm) also has the warp running the wrong way, and is pieced in one place. It closes by a braided linen cord in a casing. The thread in the cord is pulled from the fabric left when cutting the pieces to the bag and towel. None were long enough for the cord, but I managed anyway; I used three threads in every strand, and every time I got close to the end of one thread, I added a new one, braiding with four threads for a little while, and then continued with three, the new one having taken the place of the one that ran out. I waxed the threads before and after braiding, and the cord is now quite strong. It felt good not wasting good thread or yarn on such a common, rather dull thing, but using what would have otherwise been thrown away.

 I found a similar bag in a picture depicting the Biblical story of Joseph beeing sold by his brothers.

 Bible historiale, Royal MS 17 e vii vol 1 c. 1356-1357.

Tobias and I had talked about marking our things in some way, to lessen the risk of loosing them, and making them identifiable if they should get lost. In the past, it was not uncommon for households and/or individuals to have a mark, used as a signature on documents, and to identify property and sometimes animals. These marks often looked a little like runes. I don’t know much about them, so perhaps you should take what I wrote with a pinch of salt, I might have gotten my facts wrong. 

Anyway, we designed a mark for us. It’s just a T and a W on the side (we tried to fit an S in as well, but didn’t manage to make it look good…), but I rather like it. I embroidered it in the corners of the towel and bag with unbleached linen thread.
I think it looks rather nice. Now I need to make a larger bag for diapers…. I think I know in what style I’ll make it :)


  1. what a great idea! i have many scraps i should use up, so this is very inspiring!

  2. I just found your blog. I particularly love the 1840's skull cap that you made. Do you sell patterns? Or could you give me the dimensions of the pieces?


I love to hear from you - please comment!

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.