Learning the String Rag Weaving Technique

A little disclaimer: this video is in Tagalog / English language. Title translation, “How to make rugs for business | TUTORIAL | STRING RUG by Wyn Bautista.

One of the ideas I wanted to play with for this project is to make a garment based off of rug weaving technique very common in the Philippines. This is what families usually do to clothes that has lost its wearability. It has also been a source of income for some, and thus uses fabric remnants from factories. These are cut strips tied together at the ends to form long pieces of strings. I have, at home, a number of old clothes that I may be able to play with.

This idea had been dwelling in my mind ready for the day I get a chance to use the inspiration. It was inspired by the very first time I learned about Rag2Riches. Video on the right was one of those videos.

The first attempt took a long time to wrap my head around. One of the first obstacles was not having the right tools for weaving. We barely use any frames at home so DIYing a weaving frame is an excursion and time is not yet on my side. To start attempting to understand this technique, I draped the design onto a borrowed mannequin and used pins as my nails. Having a solid back made the weaving very difficult. Nonetheless, I successfully close the edges of the woven strips.

Unlike in the tutorial where she uses unstretched fabric for her strips, I used an old t-shirt (knitted fabric). I stretched the strips to its ultimate stretch allowing the strips to curl and become thin. I like that it’s thinner, but the curled knitted fabric did present another setback.

The strips are thick. While it is perfect for its initial purpose as a rug, it isn’t for wearing. It became too stiff and heavy to wear. Still, I am not dismissing this sample as a possible use because it can be perfect for outerwear. Maybe. There is still a need to sample different fabrics, sizes of strips, and, maybe, using strings for the warp, instead of thick fabric.

Something also went wrong somewhere at the beginning of my weaving and at 12 am Tuesday morning, as I write and evaluate my progress, I cannot figure it out. So to the tutorials, I go back.

However, there is another technique I will be trying out before I get lost in the sampling for the rag technique. I will be trying the mat weaving techniques that have a different approach and various ways. I’ll have to see if that has a different look and feel that would work better for a wearable garment. Notes, thoughts, and information on banig (mat) weaving technique will be in the next post.

More tutorials to view

  • Experiment with the warp strips to change the size and weight of fabric. See what works best as a fashion fabric.
  • Do not drape. That's not helpful as it shrank after closing the edges anyway.
  • Acquire a loom to better practice the weaving technique.
  • Research on how to apply the technique onto a pattern piece.
  • More samples!

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