How to make a handwoven bag?

handwoven bag

Making bags out of leaves are an essential livelihood for the Filipinos. People in secluded areas usually use pandan leaves to create these magnificent handwoven bags that we have in our site. The artisans have mastered the traditional weaving practices which dates back to hundreds of years ago from the cultures of the indigenous people in our motherland. 

Through the years, the Filipino artisans have aged along with their crafts. And not a lot of the younger generations have taken interest in the continuation of the weaving culture as their precedents. Through Isla Bags, we want to preserve our cultural heritage by ensuring that it is passed on to younger generations, and by promoting the Filipino artistry around the globe.

handwoven bag

Now I’m going to be walking you through the actual process of the Filipino Artisan’s way of creating a beautiful handwoven bag. 

  1. The pandan leaves are first harvested, then the leaves are cut into strips and divided into two by an arc-shaped cutting tool.
  2.  It will then be dyed into artificial coloring to enhance the product’s marketability.
  3. The leaves will then be tightly tied up in bundles so that each piece will not curl up as it dries. It will then be placed under direct sunlight which gives them a shiny and vibrant tone, and strengthens the leaves fiber.
  4. After the pandan leaves have been processed and dried, the Artisans will now structure the design of how the bags would look like.
  5. When they’ve measured and structured the woven purse, they weave it intricately using their bare hands, folding over the strips of the pandan leaves to yield a design of interlaced folds and put together a sequential order of steps to create the geometric patterns of the determined structure of the bag.
  6. The leaves are rolled one after the other in a round form. This step sustains its softness and elasticity of the pandan leaves in the weaving production. When the size and the length of the bag is decided. The width will be determined by weaving at the sides, and folding of the remaining strands on the edge-line to keep the weave tightly locked in place.
  7. The next step is to repair all the slightly damaged parts of the bag during weaving, to ensure the highest quality standard of artistry is met.
  8. Lastly, the artisans then remove unwanted and excess strands in the bag. They steadily start attaching and connecting wooden handles into it. After that, the zippers or buttons are carefully sewn into the newly made handwoven bag.
handwoven bag

The Philippine handwoven tradition is a culturally rich form of art. It is a very technical, tedious, yet beautiful expression of Filipino creativity. Our mission is to appreciate, share and showcase the artistry of Filipino weaving. As Filipinos, we are very honored to support the livelihood of the traditional artisans in the Philippines, and raise awareness of our country’s rich cultures and unique identity.

Take a closer look at the Filipino Artisans' passion, talent, and hardwork through our collection.