Thursday, 9 September 2010

Rag rug tutorial...sortof

I was bored the other day and my hubby was sick of the bags of old t-shirts and fabric scraps lying around and had been moaning for a bit for me to clean them up. But I hate to waste anything, and didn't want to throw them out, nor did  feel like giving them away just yet. I had previously been making pompoms for a pompom rug and had my yrn ut and was absentmindedly braiding it, when suddenly it came to me, cut the tshirts into strips, and braid them into a rag rug! I'd done it before when I was a kid, and made a really cool basket, and the basic principle is very simple. No problems right?? I cut the t-shirts and fabric into strips as long as possible and 1-2 inches wide and knotted three together and pinned them to the floor and started braiding. Its useful to have a needle and thread handy to be able to sew the ends of the strips together when one starts getting too short to braid, but I was lazy and knotted them together instead. This works, but not as well....
I also used extra bits of fabric holiday ribbon, and other ribbon scraps and braided them in with the ribbon which looks really cool.This is a great project to do while watching TV, or waiting for something to cook, as it's really easy, only takes a bit until you can do it without looking. The only problem is that it takes a while.

The basic instructions are this:

Cut strips of fabric approx 1-2" wide and fairly long. I find that approx 1 yard at a time is feasible and easiest, although if you want a more varied look, vary the lengths you are braiding together so the the seams joining new fabric onto the braid will be at different intervals and spaced out.

As you braid, sew new strips onto the ends of the ones you're braiding as needed. Do this for as long as you like. The longer the braid, the bigger the rug. Try to keep the braid flat and not twisted as it makes it easier when you are coiling it. For a medium sized rug (approx 2' by 3') you will need approx 30' of braid. Yes, it's a lot, but it's a great way to use up all those mismatched fabric bits! Also, kids can do it as well, so it's a great family project for young crafters around the age of 7-12. They can make a braid, you can make a braid...multiple braids can also be sewn together at the ends to make it longer, or even sewn side by side to make a thicker coil.

Once you have finished, find a large flat area and start coiling the rug the shape you want it, keeping the braid as flat as possible and as close as possible to itself (i.e. no gaps). Once you have the shape you want, get out your pins and pin the braid together in lines.

Once pinned put the whole thing under your sewing machine and stitch the braids together. Either up and down, across, both, or even if you want to use a large zigzag stitch and go with the spiral itself. Go slowly, as it will be a bit thick. I recommed using a strong needle for this, just in case. Use strong thread as well. You can, alternatively, do this by hand, or even use yarn on a large needle to tie the rug together, but these both take a LOT more time.

Flip the rug over and stitch it again.
This is my rug before stiching and trimming. I handmade giant pompoms and they as of yet have not been stitched on, but this is what it'll look like. the finshed size here is about 2.5' around. I am making more braid to make the rug way bigger....eventually.

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