How to Cut Fabric for Rag Rugs

Written by elizabeth tumbarello
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Rag rugs are rugs that are braided, crocheted or knit from long strips of fabric. These rugs, traditionally made from clothing that was so worn it could no longer function as apparel, are now made from both reused and new fabrics. Cutting fabric for a rag rug can be time-consuming but it requires little more than patience.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Fabric
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Tailor's chalk
  • Flat surface
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Cutting mat (optional)

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  1. 1

    Lay your fabric flat upon your cutting surface.

  2. 2

    Choose a side, and measure a 1-inch strip. Mark this line with tailor's chalk.

  3. 3

    Cut the strip with your scissors or rotary cutter. Stop 1/2 an inch from the end of the fabric.

  4. 4

    From your stopping point, measure out another 1-inch strip across the fabric.

  5. 5

    Begin cutting again, this time from the opposite end to keep the first strip attached to the second. Stop cutting 1/2 inch from where you began your initial cut into the fabric. This will create a zigzag pattern in the fabric.

  6. 6

    Continue measuring and cutting in this manner until all of your fabric has been cut. You should now have one long, continuous strip of fabric that can be wound into a ball or skein.

Tips and warnings

  • The amount of fabric you will need for a rug varies. Small rugs can consume as much as 20 yards of fabric, depending upon the technique used and the type of fibre.
  • If you need more fabric than what you have cut, choose another piece of fabric in a contrasting or complimentary colour. To secure the ends together, it is acceptable to knot the ends of the fabric strips together. For a neater look, you may also sew the edges together.
  • A rotary cutter makes cutting the fabric much less tedious and may spare you pain from the repetitive motion of cutting with scissors.
  • Do not worry if your strips are not all the same size. Varying the width of the fabric strips can create unique and interesting effects. Because the strips will be manipulated into a rug, a small difference will not affect the final outcome.
  • Be careful when using scissors or a rotary cutter. These items are sharp and may cause harm if used improperly.

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