Thursday, January 22, 2009

tutorial: woven heart bag for Valentine's Day

I've been making these little woven heart bags since I was a child - they're a great way to give little treats and presents for any occasion! Just change the colour of the fabric and they're great for Christmas, Easter or Valentine's Day.

You can make the woven heart bags out of sturdy card stock, but being the fabric hound that I am - I'm going with pretty spring prints :-)

To begin, you'll need two contrasting fabrics (I prefer a tightly-woven quilting cotton - it's less likely to fray), your favorite brand of iron-on fusible, a gridded ruler, scissors, and optional, but useful - a rotary cutter and mat. You can also use ribbon to create a handle as well:Roughly cut a piece of the fusible to 13 inches by 5 inches and fuse it onto the wrong side of the fabric:
Peel the paper off the fusible and fuse the fabric together to make a fabric sandwich approximately 13" X 5". Trim it to exactly 12 inches by 4 inches (this is why the gridded ruler is so handy):
Fold the fabric in half to make a rectangle 6 inches by 4 inches and press with your iron:
Round the corners off like this:
I usually just cut them free-hand but you can use a template to mark the half-circles if you prefer.

Using your gridded ruler, mark lines, one inch apart, from the bottom and going up 4 1/4 inches:

Carefully cut the lines, so each heart has four "fingers".

It's time to start weaving! The process actually takes longer to explain than it actually takes to make - just go slowly and make sure you're not weaving the insides together. Begin at the top and work your way down.

The basic technique is taking one strand and weaving it inside the other strand. To begin, take the left top "finger" and place it inside the top right "finger", like this:
Now take the top right finger and slide it inside the top left finger:
Top left into the top right finger again:
That's the basic pattern, just alternate weaving the "fingers" into each other!

The second row is the opposite of the first row - so the top right finger gets woven inside the top left finger:

Here's the last weave of the second row:
Keep weaving until you reach the end of the heart. The final weave looks like this:
If the heart is scrunched up and won't lie flat, un-weave everything and cut the fingers so they're an extra 1/4 inch longer. Weave it again and that should solve your problem :-)

Here's how the inside should look:

The basket opens completely and all the fingers are locked into place.
I hope you'll give this tutorial a try - it's one of my favorites :-)