Have you ever seen something and said, “WOW, how did they do that?” That is what I thought when I first saw Tara Curtis’ Instagram account (back in 2016). You see, Tara invented this awesome tool for weaving fabric strips so the weave would stay nice and tight. She began posting pictures of her fabric weaves and projects she made with her weave panels. I was amazed at the complexity and the overall statement these projects made. I started stalking the #madweave hashtag on Instagram and soon I knew that I had to try this for myself! Let me show you how to do the Mad Weave so you can start weaving fabric too!
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The first thing I needed to understand was the materials that I needed to successfully create a Triaxal Weave (or Mad Weave). It turns out you only need a few things, and you may even have most of this already!
- 1/2 yard of base fabric
- 1/2 yard of 2nd layer fabric
- 1/2 yard of 3rd layer fabric
- 1″ bias tape maker
- large foam board (approx 18″ x 24″)
- lots and lots of sewing pins
- 1″ Wefty Needle
- 1 yard of ShapeFlex 101
- Masking tape or blue painters tape
- Basic Sewing Supplies, including a long acrylic ruler with a 30 degrees mark
Begin by cutting all your fabric into 2″ strips of fabric. There is no need to cut these on the bias since this weave does not contain curves. Simply cut this along the grain. For your typical 1/2 yard of fabric, you should get about (20) 2″ x 18″ fabric strips. Once you cut all your fabric, you should have a total of 60 fabric strips.
Next, you will pull each fabric strip through the bias tape maker. This is essentially fold each strip into a 1″ x 18″ size.
I would also recommend using a nice fabric starch, which will help the fabric stay nice and flat during the weaving
process. My favorite starch is Best Press. I love the Lavendar scent the best!
Once you have all your fabric strips folded and ironed, you will pin down your first layer. Before you start lining out your bottom layer, you will need to lay down some ShapeFlex onto the foam board. Make sure you face the fusible side up so the back of your fabric strips will be in direct contact with the waiting glue. Line up, side by side, all your 1st layer of fabric strips and pin both the top and the bottom of each strip. You will need to ensure that there are hardly any gaps or spacing.
Before you add your second layer, you will need to identify your 30 degree angle. Take your acrylic ruler and identify the 30 degree mark on your ruler. Place either masking or painters tape onto your ruler to help you see the degree line better.
Hold the marked ruler flush with the bottom edge of your foam board. Using your Wefty needle, begin to integrate your second fabric layer into the panel. The repetition is simple: Over one, under two. You will stair step each fabric strip after the other. For example; if you begin your 2nd layer with OVER ONE, UNDER TWO…. your next fabric strip will be UNDER TWO, OVER ONE. UNDER TWO – OVER ONE, UNDER TWO – OVER ONE… your third fabric strip will be UNDER ONE, OVER ONE, UNDER TWO, OVER ONE, UNDER TWO. See image below is this is tricky to understand in writing (watching the video really makes sense of what I am writing). Continue this until the entire panel is filled with the 2nd layer.
The third layer is probably the trickiest, but definitely the layer that has the most impact. The third layer gets added at a 30 degree angle as well, but you will go UNDER ONE – OVER TWO. Identify what may appear as a “BIRD” shape in the two layer weave. Using your Wefty needle, you will travel under the wings and the body, over two strips and then under first wing of the next bird. Continuing in this fashion thru the rest of the line and panel.
Once you have the final layer in place you will carefully iron the panel so that the fusible interfacing becomes active to adhere to the back of the fabric strips. Be sure you don’t overdo the ironing (as the foam board shouldn’t want to get too hot)!
Take your fabric panel and sew around the perimeter of the panel (about a quarter inch from each edge). This will help to secure your fabric weave. Once you have secured your weave panel, you can incorporate this into many different projects!
Join the fun! Get your Wefty Needle and start weaving!
I’ve taken this weave process and made another weave panel into a Tote bag! Instead of using only 3 colors, I used a wide variety of Kona Solid Cotton Fabrics. I was very intentional about the color gradation and created this ombre effect. After I completed my weave panel, I used the weave panel and made a Tote Bag. This Tote bag pattern is by Elizabeth Hartman and is called the Perfect Quilted Tote. I love how it turned out!
If you would benefit from watching a video of the process I described above, simply subscribe to my Newsletter in order to gain access to this video tutorial for FREE!
Until the next project, check out some other fun things below!
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