How to Make Sewn Rag Rugs

Written by sue stepp
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How to Make Sewn Rag Rugs
Make a warm rag rug from scraps of material. (handmade rugs image by Earl Robbins from

Making rag rugs is a way to use scrap material and create decorative, warm rugs that would otherwise be expensive to buy. Rag rugs are simple, easy-to-make projects that can be sold, used in your home, or given as gifts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Scrap cloth
  • Scissors
  • Rotary tool (optional)
  • Cutting mat
  • Straight or safety pins
  • Thread
  • Long doll needle (3 to 4 inches)

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  1. 1

    Cut fabric into 2-inch-wide strips. You can use any type of fabric to make your rug: newly bought, used clothing, or old sheets. You can either use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut the fabric into strips. When you cut the fabric, make sure you cut the longest strips possible. You will use less strips to make your rug when you cut the strips longer.

  2. 2

    With right sides facing out, sew the strips of fabric together at the ends to make one long continuous strip. The rough sewn edges should be on the back of the strip.

  3. 3

    Sew together two more long strips of 2-inch wide fabric. You can use the same colours on the other two strips or use two contrasting colours.

  4. 4

    Fold both outside edges of the 2-inch-width of cloth inward so that they leave a thin line between them. It will be one inch across after you fold it to this point. Fold the cloth on the line and sew the two open sides together down the length of the strip. After you have folded and sewn the strip to this point, it will be half an inch wide.

  5. 5

    Repeat step 4 on the other two long strips.

  6. 6

    Gather all three long strips so that the edges are all lined up together. Sew the three ends together before you begin to loosely braid the three strips together.

  7. 7

    Lay the braided strip flat on the floor, and roll it around until you get the shape that you want. If you want a round rug, start curling the braided strip around itself while keeping the braid flat on the floor. If you want an oval-shaped rug, extend a straight piece of the braid flat on the floor, and wrap the rest of the braided strip around the long strip, while also staying flat on the floor. If you want another shape, play with how to lay the braided strip until you get the desired shape. Pin the strips together with straight pins or safety pins to hold the shape.

  8. 8

    Thread the long doll needle and sew the rug together, braided edge to braided edge, to keep the rug flat. Sew each row to the next row in line. Most people will take about 2 to 3 hours to sew a 3-foot-long rug together. If you sew quickly, you can finish faster.

  9. 9

    Fold the end of the braided strip together, and press it into a flat 1 inch long edge. Sew the edges to the braided strip that it touches. Stitch it as tightly as you can to flatten the edge, and make it blend into the rug.

  10. 10

    Once you have finished sewing, flip the rug over, and it is ready to use.

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