Many years ago the owner of this cute little handbag brought it back as a souvenir from South America. Ever since, this handbag has gone to many places, and seen many adventures. Such an intensive lifestyle did leave its marks: both on the front and the backa hole had appeared, and signs of wear were everywhere, threatening to become a new hole. Would Mémé Georgette be able to save the lot?
Of course. A thorough inspection and some intensive research thought me that this was a Peruvian weaving desing, and that the (imminent) holes could be repaired. I searched for thread that fit the colour palette and that was the same thickness as the originally used thread, got out my grafting paper, and browsed the internet for plenty of Peruvian inspiration. But before I could start drawing myself, I needed to know how big my working surface would actually be.
Warp and weft
First of all, I put in place the warp threads. These are the threads that run vertically in your work. These have to be long enough, to make sure they are safely anchored to those parts of the handbag that show no signs of wear yet. You can test this by putting your needle under a warp thread from the original design, and gently pulling up. If you feel that the original thread is giving way, it means it's not secure enough, and you need to move up a bit (or down, depending on where exactly you are testing). Test again and again, until the thread is no longer giving way. That's where you should anchor your warps. When you've done this above and under the hole and you know where your anchor points should come, you now know how long your warps will be. Time to work them in and define how wide your working surface should be.
You already know where to anchor your warps above and underneath the hole, but make sure to start them at least 1 cm from the side of the hole, so you cover the hole completely and prevent that it gets bigger. When done, count how many warps you added. Then estimate how many wefts - the horizontal threads you'll be weaving in - you'll need. To do so, put your thread across your warps, and count how many you need to fill up 1 cm. Based on that, you can calculate how many wefts you'll need in total.
Draw your design
Now you know exactly how many warps you have, and you've estimated how many wefts you'll need. Next step is to get out the graft paper, and start drawing. Each square equals one of the places where warps and wefts cross each other. I decided to go for a diamond pattern, making sure never to have more than 4 squares of one colour next to each other, to avoid that the whole weave wouldn't be sturdy enough. This also meant that I had to start over a couple of times to get the design just right, since aiming for symmetry turned out to be more difficult than I thought (at least for my brain it was). To save you from going completely cross-eyed, I'm sharing the final design with you further below. The black line shows the repeating part, in case you need to lenghten/broaden the whole thing.
Design for the big hole
Design for the small hole
As soon as you have finished drawing the design, you've done the largest part of the job, and you can finally start to actually repair those holes. And that's basically just a question of counting correctly to get the design exactly right; go over the warp when your weft needs to be visible, go under when it needs to be invisible.
Getting rid of ends
It was impossible to weave in the ends like I normally do, since the lining got in the way. So I had no other choice than to just tie a knot in them.
Accept for the holes that were already there, this handbag also showed signs of holes-in-the-making. For those I decided to weave over 1 single colour, to make sure these holes wouldn't be able to grow any further.
All upcycled now, and ready to see new adventures for many years to come!
Do you have a handbag lying around that needs fixing? Feel free to drop me a line, and together we can find a solution.