Braided Rag Vessels

written by:
December 16, 2010

Ever since I got my hands on a copy of Meg Mateo Ilasco's latest book, Crafting a Meaningful Home, I've been flipping through trying to decide what to start working on first. Calling upon creative folks from across the country to share projects with a personal tie, Meg's hardback not only offers a wide-ranging array of 27 things to make, but a lovely portrait and background of all the contributors, too, who range from Lisa Congdon to Billie Lopez and Tootie Maldonado from ReForm School to Derek Fagerstrom and Lauren Smith of Curiosity Shoppe fame. I was drawn to Brooklyn–based Sian Keegan's braided rag vessels when I had a chance to check them out in person at a show at Congdon's Rare Device and, as luck would have it, found all the necessary materials already kicking around my apartment (yesss!).

Read Full Article
  • 
  (note! :: the instructions are from the book, and I took the accompanying snaps of my vase-in-progress)

Materials (for one 6 x 3" vessel)

-Scrap fabric (such as old clothing, sheets, leftover pieces from other projects, etc.)
-Matching sewing thread

Tools
-Measuring tape
-2 safety pins
-Scissors
-Hand-sewing needle
-Straight pins
    (note! :: the instructions are from the book, and I took the accompanying snaps of my vase-in-progress) Materials (for one 6 x 3" vessel) -Scrap fabric (such as old clothing, sheets, leftover pieces from other projects, etc.) -Matching sewing thread Tools -Measuring tape -2 safety pins -Scissors -Hand-sewing needle -Straight pins
  • 
  1. Tear fabric into strips, 2" wide x 36" long. Tie the three strips together into a knot at one end.
    1. Tear fabric into strips, 2" wide x 36" long. Tie the three strips together into a knot at one end.
  • 
  2. Braid the strips together. The final braid will need to be about 10' long, but it is best to work in 36" segments. Sew additional strips to the end of braided strips as you go until you achieve the total length.
    2. Braid the strips together. The final braid will need to be about 10' long, but it is best to work in 36" segments. Sew additional strips to the end of braided strips as you go until you achieve the total length.
  • 
  3. Undo the knot and braid the remainder of strips at that end. Attach a safety pin securely to either end of the 10' braid. With scissors, trim each end at an angle. Using your needle and thread, sew each end of the braid to secure it and remove each of the safety pins.
    3. Undo the knot and braid the remainder of strips at that end. Attach a safety pin securely to either end of the 10' braid. With scissors, trim each end at an angle. Using your needle and thread, sew each end of the braid to secure it and remove each of the safety pins.
  • 
  4. On a work surface, lay the braid flat. Take one end of the braid and coil the braid around itself in a circular motion to create the base of your container. Create a 3" base. Pin each row of the coil into place.
    4. On a work surface, lay the braid flat. Take one end of the braid and coil the braid around itself in a circular motion to create the base of your container. Create a 3" base. Pin each row of the coil into place.
  • 
  5. Using your needle and thread, make small stitches between the braided rows of the coil to secure. Remove the pins when complete.
    5. Using your needle and thread, make small stitches between the braided rows of the coil to secure. Remove the pins when complete.
  • 
  6. When the base is secure, you will start building the vessel upward. Holding the excess braid so the flat side is facing out and is uniformly flush, coil the braid on top of the base, pinning each row into place as you go.
    6. When the base is secure, you will start building the vessel upward. Holding the excess braid so the flat side is facing out and is uniformly flush, coil the braid on top of the base, pinning each row into place as you go.
  • 
  7. Using a needle and thread, stitch between each row. Remove the pins when complete.
    7. Using a needle and thread, stitch between each row. Remove the pins when complete.
  • 
  8. Tuck the top end of the braid into the vessel, making sure the top of the vessel is flat, and sew in place.
    8. Tuck the top end of the braid into the vessel, making sure the top of the vessel is flat, and sew in place.
  • 
  And here's my little mantle tableau. I put some twigs wrapped in embroidery floss in there for a bit of color, and surrounded it with some wooden bud vases that my grandpa made. Lookin' good! This project was seriously perfect for a drizzly afternoon indoors. The next one I make I'll try with a softer knit that might have less strays threads to trim away in the end, and it's tilting a little, so I will make sure that when I'm pinning it up it stays straight. Loads of fun, though, and I'd very highly recommend trying out your own textile vessels.
    And here's my little mantle tableau. I put some twigs wrapped in embroidery floss in there for a bit of color, and surrounded it with some wooden bud vases that my grandpa made. Lookin' good! This project was seriously perfect for a drizzly afternoon indoors. The next one I make I'll try with a softer knit that might have less strays threads to trim away in the end, and it's tilting a little, so I will make sure that when I'm pinning it up it stays straight. Loads of fun, though, and I'd very highly recommend trying out your own textile vessels.
  • 
  Meet Bette, a pretty damn adorable 3-D pet made by Sian Keegan.
    Meet Bette, a pretty damn adorable 3-D pet made by Sian Keegan.
  • 
  And the Sian-made Wally, who literally could not be any cuter. Literally.
    And the Sian-made Wally, who literally could not be any cuter. Literally.
  • 
  Here's a selection of Sian's digitally printed fabrics, available for purchase here.
    Here's a selection of Sian's digitally printed fabrics, available for purchase here.
  • 
  Another festive fabric from Sian. It's not everyday you have the chance to chat with someone who's described as "owning an eponymous company that creates stuffed animals," so I got in touch with Sian to hear a little more about her unique occupation. Click here to read the interview and see more from Crafting a Meaningful Home.
    Another festive fabric from Sian. It's not everyday you have the chance to chat with someone who's described as "owning an eponymous company that creates stuffed animals," so I got in touch with Sian to hear a little more about her unique occupation. Click here to read the interview and see more from Crafting a Meaningful Home.

@current / @total

Read Full Article

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...