Woven Flag Placemat Made from Old Clothing

Woven Flag Placemat

Did you know that in the US we dispose of Millions of tons of textiles every year and only a small percentage are recycled. According to the most recent report from the EPA in 2014 we tossed out almost 25 million tons of rubber leather and textiles. And even though this group includes rubber and leather and still only makes up for 9.5% of all the solid waste in the US; at the end of the day we Americans are still tossing out a lot of our perfectly usable clothing.

(Information found on page 7 of the 2014 Fact and Figures Fact Sheet)

You may think that I am stretching here but it honestly seem a little unpatriotic to be so frivolously wasteful. I am fascinated by the polar shift in the american psyche from World War II to today.  We have gone from the “Use it up, Wear it out, Make it do” mindset to the “More new stuff faster” generation.

My age is probably showing here, but I assure you that I was actually born after the War had been over for several years.  Maybe I am just romanticizing that era and trust me I do my share of consuming and tossing things but I do try to find new life in old objects when I can.

And so on to today’s project.

Which was made from an old pair of jeans and a couple of shirts. The jeans had some holes and the shirts had some stains and so they weren’t the best items to be donated. They where however good candidates for ripping up. So that’s what I did. 🙂

I have actually used this weaving technique before with knit fabric. My first project was a t-shirt and then later I made an entire dress that was featured in Green Craft Magazine. Sorry I got a little off topic there any way I decided to try the same technique with woven fabric and a more detailed pattern. With the impending 4th of July holiday a flag design seemed like the appropriate choice.

The project started with this sketch and the afore mentioned shirts and jeans.

Woven Flag Placemat

Once I had my design I drew a one inch grid onto a piece of fusible interfacing

Woven Flag Placemat

The grid is 13 x 16 but you what some excess around the edges so the interfacing needs to be at least 2 inches bigger on all sides (17 x 20)

Woven Flag Placemat

This is what the piece looked like when I was done marking it. I made a couple of mistakes so here is a cleaner looking template.

Woven Flag Placemat

This grid might be a little overwhelming at first but the letters are for the colors and the bold squares are where the two colors meet. The lines in the bold squares show the direction of the strips of fabric when they meet.

Here is a color overlay of the grid showing the direction of the top piece of fabric in the weave.

Is everything as clear as mud? Great let’s continue. 🙂

The next step is to tear up and press your red white and blue strips. They will all be 1″ wide.

Strips of Red White and Blue Fabric

You will need the following lengths.

Red – 4 strips 20″ long, 4 strips 16″ long, 3 strips 13″ long and 4 strips 11″ long

White – 6 strips 20″ long, 5 strips 16″ long, 3 strips 11″ long and 3 strips 10″ long

Blue – 7 strips 9″ long

And now one more template to show the placement of the different lengths the X indicates the the strip runs all the way through the design.

template for woven flag

Alright lets get weaving. With the fusible side of the interfacing up lay out the bottom red 20 inch horizontal strip, then a white 20 inch strip and so on.

laying out the flag weave

Change the strip lengths according to the last template. On rows 9, 11 and 13 make sure to over lap the white and red strips in column 7. All the strips should extend out over the edge of the design.

laying out the flag weave

Once all the horizontal strips are in place fold back all of the white strips from the right edge to the center of the design.

laying out the flag weave

Place a 16″ red strip in column 9 and then lay the horizontal white strips back out.

laying out the flag weave

Next take the horizontal white strips and pull them back to the red strip in column 9. Lay a 16 inch white strip in column 10.

laying out the flag weave

Replace the horizontal red strips and continue the process until you reach column 16.

laying out the flag weave

Once column 16 is in place begin working on the opposite side in similar fashion. Making sure that the colors meet in the appropriate square. Use a small piece of heat n bond to attach the two colors together as you are working with the weave.

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

Once all the weave is in place use an iron to attach the pieces to the fusible interfacing.

laying out the flag weave

Trim the edges to the width of the heat and bond about 3/4″ of an inch larger than the finished piece on all sides.

Flip the piece over and add a strip of heat n bond to all four edges.

laying out the flag weave

To finish the edges fold press edge down.

laying out the flag weave

laying out the flag weave

Happy Upcycling,

Have a fantastic 4th of July.

woven flag placemat

 

 

 

 

 

2 Replies to “Woven Flag Placemat Made from Old Clothing”

  1. No fair – your flag lends itself beautifully to the stripes that weaving makes … we have a doggone maple leaf …!!

    I agree so strongly about the waste of clothing. In our province in Canada we seem to be doing quite well with this. We can now take all fibre materials, plus shoes, purses, belts, etc. to our dump to be diverted to resale or recycling. It’s an awesome feeling to know that even stained, torn or faded items will have a second home (or in many cases a third home, for those of us who buy most of our clothing at thrift stores) . Before we had this program, though, I tried to do the same as you’ve done here – find a new use for the material in old clothing. Saving the environment, one shirt at a time 🙂 🙂

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