Meet the maker: Rag Makers

Rag Makers small and large woven bags from the National Trust

A family-run business based in Yorkshire, Rag Makers, have created a special collection of woven bags for our Artisan and Craft collection. Run by mother and daughter Liz and Margaret Beaumont, Rag Makers work with a textile mill in Yorkshire to turn cloth made from waste yarns into unique bags and accessories.

Every bag is made using recycled cloth from the mill and hand-finished by Liz and Margaret in their Yorkshire studio. We spoke to Liz Beaumont to find out more about this special collection and the inspiration behind it.

Rag Makers Liz and Margaret Beaumont in their studio in Yorkshire

How did you get into textiles?

Generations of our family have worked in the textile industry. We have been inspired by the many men and women who worked in the woollen mills in Ossett, West Yorkshire as well as numerous dressmakers like my grandmother. These skills and love of the craft have been passed onto us. I (Liz) studied textile design at the Royal College of Art and Margaret has been sewing and crafting from a young age. Our family history is really important to us and so we name each different bag design after women in our family. We’ve named the National Trust bags Ethel and Martha after women who worked in the mills.

Yarn on a loom

How do you make the bags?

All our bags are made using cloth woven from a local family-run mill in Yorkshire. The yarns we use to weave with are ends of lines which are a by-product from the UK textile industry. We work with the weavers to design and weave the cloth then every unique bag is handmade by Margaret and myself in our studio.

Rag Makers sewing cloth

What’s special about working on things by hand?

The nature of the yarns we use means that we never know exactly what shades and quantities which are going to be available. This means that when we go to make the bags, there is a variation in the colours and weaves across the cloth. I think this makes the pieces very special as every bag and accessory we make is unique and has its own character.

Puple heather on Marsden Moor, Yorkshire

How did you choose the colours for the collection?

We’re lucky enough to live and work in the village of Marsden on the National Trust’s Marsden Moor Estate, West Yorkshire. It’s a beautiful area of rugged moorland and heather-covered hills that we looked to for colour inspiration for the National Trust collection. In our bags, we've reflected the purples of the autumn heather and many shades of blue in the sky and water around Marsden.