How to Weave Our 8-Shaft Bread Bag on 4-Shafts

Want to weave Laura Demuth’s Bread Bag but have only 4 shafts? We’ve got you covered!

Christina Garton May 8, 2020 - 5 min read

How to Weave Our 8-Shaft Bread Bag on 4-Shafts Primary Image

Photo credit: Joe Coca

Since posting the free project for Laura Demuth’s Bread Bag, we’ve received more than a few emails from folks saying they love it but can’t weave it on their 4-shaft loom! Well, I’m happy to say that if you have a 4-shaft loom, this project isn’t out of your reach. There are two options for weaving your own bread bag on a 4-shaft loom.

Twill at Twice the Width

The first option is to weave the pattern as 4-shaft twill (instead of tubular doubleweave in twill) at twice the width and then sew the bag on the side as well as the bottom. Because the project is written with the expectation that you’ll be weaving 2 different layers, it has a much higher density of threads than if we were weaving a single layer of cloth, so we need to adjust the sett as well. The recommended sett for 16/2 linen for twill is 24 ends per inch—half of the original sett of the project—so that should do the trick.

Now, on to the warp color order. It’s written with the assumption that you’ll be weaving two layers, but what we want to do is take those two layers and instead weave them side by side. So take all the numbers in the warp color order and cut them in half. Instead of starting with 194 ends of unbleached, you’ll start with 97, and then you’ll follow it with 4 ends of blue instead of 8 and so on and so forth. Then because you’re still weaving that second layer—this time next to the first layer instead of on top—you’ll repeat the warp color order one more time. You can see what I mean in the revised warp color order below. An important note is that because you’ll need to stitch the open side, you’ll end up with an assymetrical design. Adding 12 extra threads of unbleached to each side of the warp will give enough extra cloth for a seam allowance.

bakers-bread-bag-3 (1)

The revised warp color order for Laura Demuth’s bag when woven in 4-shaft twill.

When you warp the loom, do so for 4-shaft straight twill threading and treadle it as such, which means you'll also need floating selvedges, so wind 2 more ends of unbleached and thread them in empty dents on each side of the warp and weight them off the back. Then you’re ready to weave! You won’t be able to weave a casing but can just make one during sewing. If you follow the draft below, your fabric will look the same as Laura’s. When you take it off the loom, put right sides together, line up the twill lines, and stitch the open side to create a tube. Then follow the rest of the sewing instructions as written.

Straight twill draft

Revised 4-shaft straight twill draft for Laura Demuth’s Bread Bag.

Plain Weave Tubular Doubleweave

If part of the appeal of Laura’s bag is the doubleweave and having less to sew, weaving the bag as tubular doubleweave in plain weave works as an option. For this, you’ll need to change your sett, threading, tie-up, and treadling, but the warp color order will remain the same. For the sett, because you’re weaving in plain weave, you’ll need to adjust to 40 ends per inch (twice the recommended sett for 16/2 cotton in plain weave). Then instead of following Laura’s draft, use the one provided below.

4-shaft tubular doubleweave

4-shaft draft for tubular doublweave in plain weave.

Your fabric will have the same stripes as Laura’s, but it won’t have the same twill patterning. It will be a tube, however, so you can follow the rest of the instructions as written.

There you have it! Two different ways to adjust Laura Demuth’s 8-shaft bread bag so you can weave it up on 4 shafts.

Happy Weaving!