So messenger bag mark two is finally complete and I am very happy with how the fabric turned out.

finished bag number two

Amazingly, after much anxiety and wet finishing, it was exactly the width it needed to be. It is also much brighter and crisper than the original. This is only partly because the original has had more than a year of wear and tear. Another reason is that the hodge podge of yarns I used the first time included a hand-dyed red silk which ran when I washed it. The section I used for the bag was the part where the white cottolin was least pink… but overall it wasn’t as healthy an appearance as one would have wished for. This time round I restricted myself to safer yarns and the cloth definitely shows the benefit. I stuck with the original sequence in the violet-gold section, partly because there seemed to be a consensus that it would be fine (thanks! you were right!) and partly because I reckoned that re-threading offered too much of an opportunity for me to introduce errors in a pattern which is hard enough to thread correctly the first time around.

No, my problems this time were with the strap. When I made my own, I just measured how long I wanted the strap to be and stitched it directly to the bag. However, for a ‘proper’ bag the strap should be adjustable. I didn’t think this would be very difficult — you just need the right widgets. But the strap I had designed was 65 mm wide. Who knew that strap adjustment widgets don’t come wider than 50 mm? At least that is the widest widget I have been able to source in the UK. I had already wound the warp for the strap when I cottoned to this, but it wasn’t yet on the loom so I gradually shed sections and ends as I set it up. Fortunately, the warp was so densely set that there was very little change in the width after weaving and, to my great relief, I ended up with a 50 mm band…

…which is attached at each end by one of these…

strap anchor

…and adjusted by one of these:

strap adjuster

Technically, this project stretches me on all my weak points. Sewing, for a start. Weaving to a required width, for another. And weaving warp-faced bands in general. But overall I am very pleased with the flavour of it. Plus I now have a stash of 50 mm widgets so I can practise.

adjustments” was posted by Cally on 12 Dec 2012 at

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6 Responses

  1. Margreet

    Cally, it looks really lovely! Glad you were able to stick to the colours. Never a good idea to start doubting your choice of colour after threading…
    Truly a great finished bag finishing it with the woven strap.
    Looking forward to seeing more now 😉

  2. MegWeaves

    I think it looks wonderful. So, you’re going to become The Dundee Bag Lady now??

  3. Janet in Silver Spring


    It looks fantastic! Lucky owner!

  4. Aviva

    Festive !!! Much nicer than a shiny plastic satchel!!! Looks great!

  5. Michelle

    One word – stunning!!

  6. Cally

    Goodness, thanks for all the compliments! I really had better practise my sewing…