Tutorial – Cutting and protecting fabric for shaped bag flaps

This tutorial shows you how I go about making rounded bag flaps by cutting my backstrap-woven fabric. I first secure the fabric, cut it and finally protect and cover the raw edge.

backstrap weaving bhutan bag

STEP ONE: Choose the curve…

???????????????????????????????I have a small plate that has the right curve for the width of fabric that I am using. I used it for the black bag and saw that it would also work just fine for the lavender piece.

STEP TWO: Make a template.

???????????????????????????????I traced the curve on paper and cut it out.

STEP THREE: Pin the template to the fabric and sew along the edge.

sewing around templateI sewed by hand and used crochet cotton for the thread. It’s a good thing that beauty does not count! I backstitched from one end to the other and then returned using a running stitch for extra security.

STEP FOUR: Paint diluted white glue onto the stitches.


I used white glue, or carpenters’ glue, carpi cola , as it is known here. I diluted it with water, painted it onto the stitches on both sides of the cloth and waited until it dried before proceeding.

STEP FIVE: Cut the cloth and glue again.

???????????????????????????????I cut close to the stitches and then applied more diluted glue along the edge of the fabric. The glue goes on white but dries clear. The fabric I am using is dense and I needed to make sure that the glue got right into the weave. As the glue was drying I pinched the threads along the edge together to seal the edge. Once it was almost completely dry, I gave the edge a final trim (this is easier to do when the edge is still damp and supple). You may need to trim some loose weft ends or tidy up the edge a bit. Once it is dry and stiff, it will be harder to make fine cuts.

STEP SIX: Weave and sew your band to the edge.


??????????????????????Now you have a nice stiff secure edge to which you can attach a band. See this tutorial for instructions on weaving and attaching tubular bands.

Judge the width of band needed to bend around the edge and cover the stitches and create a warp accordingly. Note that it is easier and often neater to weave these bands using a heavier yarn and few warp ends than fine yarn with many ends. I used a finer yarn here as I did not have a matching color in my heavier yarns. I used a heavier yarn on my recent black bag project and feel that that band is more attractive.

Make sure that your needle clears the glued stitches on both sides when it pierces the cloth. This way, the stitches will be completely covered by the band. Practice weaving and sewing bands many times on scrap fabric. It takes a while to have them turning out neatly and you don’t want to spoil your good fabric until you feel confident with the technique.

As for what to do with the warp ends when the band is done, I have suggestions for that on the tutorial page.


  1. I love your work! Thank you for sharing.

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