Category Archives: Survival / Home Making

Waste not, want not : Rag Rugs

Don’t throw away those hole filled, stained ,clothes or fabrics that have come well past their time of usefulness!

In times past, cloth was expensive, and to waste it was unheard of, which is how we ended up with quilts constructed of flour and feed sacks, as well as another useful innovation: the rag rug.
Our great grandmothers would save the fabrics too far gone for quilts, but too nice for dust-rags, and give them a new life, as a rag rug.
Today I am going to tell you how to make one of your very own.

What do you need?
*Old clothes, sheets, towels, or any fabrics that no longer serve their intended function.

*Sturdy thread

*Sharp needle of a middle-heavier gauge depending on fabrics being used, if you are using denims consider an upholstery needle.


*A clip, bent hairpin, rubber band or other item to hold the end of your braid

To start, cut strips out of your fabrics, depending on type and condition of fabrics, try to make your strips down the longest side and around 2-4 inches wide. If your fabric is short, cut short strips and sew them together to form one longer one. Your goal is to end up with three strips at least a yard long each..they can be longer, but I strongly discourage shorter, if your fabrics are too short, sew end to end to end, straight stitches across the 2-4 inch surface joining it to the next, and so on, until you have what you desire, you can also use this method if you wish your rug to have a varied color pattern, by sewing strips of varied colors to each other.

Now, for a ‘professional ‘ look, you can make fabric tubes before you braid, turn them inside out (like pillows )with the seam facing inward, so that you won’t get frayed threads poking out.
For those of you who could care less about the frayed look, take your three strips and bind the top edges of all three together with a tidy straight stitch. This will be the beginning of the rug. You can now have someone hold the end, place something heavy on it, clip it to something, whatever, and start braiding from the closest to your top seam as you can, trying to keep your braid tight but not tighter than you’d plait your own hair. Braid to within three inches of the bottom and secure to avoid unraveling. Now take your top edge and roll it towards itself on a flat surface, like a honey bun. Taking your needle and thread, sew on the desired underside, binding edge to edge where they touch, you can use any stitch you please, most use a zigzag pattern, but whatever you know, continue rolling and sewing until your rug looks like a honey bun and is secured with thread along the ‘seams’ between the braids. When you get to your loose ends, stop, do not secure them, you will sew future strips to them and continue your braid. To add onto your rug sew the next three strips to the ends of your prior strips, tucking them neatly and flatly together, secure them with several stitches each, one strip for each loose end (3) of equal length to each other. If you have unequal ends from your original braid, trim them even to each other before securing your new strips to them. Remove clips and continue your braid as you did before, leaving 2-3 inches at the end. Secure in ‘honeybun’ fashion as before, rolling the new braid around as flat as possible and securing along the seams where the braids touch until all but your loose ‘lead ‘ pieces are bound up.Continue process for next pieces. You can make your rug as big or as little as you please, depending only on your scrap fabric and patience level. When your rug has reached the diameter that pleases you, bind it up like normal until you reach your lead pieces, you will now sew these together as flat as possible on the ends and roll your flat ends upward towards the honey bun until they butt against your last binding seam..bind them against the rug as flat as possible. You can also cheat and sew your end to the bottom side of the rug, but heavy foot traffic may wear them loose again.

A variety of cloth colors and textures will make the rug interesting and colorful , much like its cousin quilts.

I hope this helps you to put good use to all those ‘trash’ fabrics.


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