How to Make Rugs Out of Old Sweaters

Updated April 17, 2017

You can recycle old wool sweaters that have worn out, no longer fit or have acquired small moth holes into usable fabric for your home. When wool is felted, the fibres create a thick fabric that lock the yarn strands together. The felted wool does not fray and does not require hemming. Make thick plush rugs out of old sweaters. The shaggy texture of the rug's strips will keep your toes warm all winter long.

Wash several wool sweaters in hot water and dry in a hot dryer. This process will shrink and felt the fibres of the wool yarn, creating a sturdy, non-ravelling fabric.

Cut the sweaters apart at the seams and lay each piece flat. Cut the sweater pieces into rectangles 2 inches wide by 4 inches long. These are your rug's shag strips. The amount you need will depend on the size of your rug and how tightly together you position them. Throw all the rectangles into a grocery bag and mix them up.

Cut a rectangle of canvas, denim or heavy fabric in the size you desire for your rug. Add a 1/2 inch before cutting for the hem. This is your rug's foundation fabric.

Lay the foundation on your sew surface with the right side facing down. The right side will be the bottom side of your rug. The wrong side will be covered and will not show. Fold the edges of the foundation 1/2 inch to the wrong side. Press and pin the folds. Sew the pinned edges.

Lay the foundation with the wrong side facing up. Measure in 1/2 inch from one short end. Lay a yardstick across the short end at this measurement. Using the yardstick as a straight edge, draw a line across the foundation using a marking pen. Continue to draw lines across the foundation spaced 1 inch apart. These are your sewing guide lines.

Pick a sweater shag strip at random from your grocery bag. Place the strip on the first drawn line, on one end of the line. Center the strip with the short ends on each side of the line. Squeeze the centre of the strip together and pin to the line.

Sew across the pinned centre of the strip. Do not remove the rug from the sewing machine. Place another sweater shag strip against the first strip. Squeeze the centre and sew across the strip. Repeat along the length of the drawn line. Repeat on each additional drawn line to complete the rug.

Things You'll Need

  • Wool sweaters
  • Washer and dryer
  • Scissors
  • Yardstick
  • Grocery bag
  • Canvas, denim or heavy fabric
  • Iron
  • Straight pins
  • Sewing machine
  • Marking pen
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About the Author

Based in the Midwest, Cyndee Kromminga has been writing craft and interior design articles for 15 years. Her articles and craft designs have appeared in Crafting Traditions Magazine, Easy Holiday Crafting Series-House of White Birches Newsletter and Country Woman Christmas Books. Kromminga's education is in interior design and she has experience operating a craft and design business for more than 20 years.