Recycled denim is an ideal fabric for making your own scatter rug because it is tough and hard-wearing as well as machine-washable. You can use old jeans or denim fabric scraps left over from a sewing project; different shades of denim sewn together in the same rug enhances its pleasingly shabby-chic look. A rectangular rug is easy to make and versatile enough to fit in various parts of the home, but with some simple adaptations, you can craft a rug of any size and shape.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tape
- Safety pins
- Sewing needle or sewing machine
- Heavy thread
Cut and tear recycled denim into strips approximately 2 inches wide. Start by cutting into the fabric with scissors, then firmly tug the two sides apart to tear along the grain of the fabric. Tearing consumes less time than cutting the strips entirely with scissors.
Join three strips of denim at one end with a safety pin and loosely braid them together. When you reach the end of the shortest strip, incorporate a new denim strip by overlapping the ends and continuing to braid. The ends hold in place within the folds of the braid.
Stop braiding when the braid reaches the length you desire for your finished rectangular rug, plus 12 inches. Secure the ends temporarily with a safety pin.
Make additional braids of the same length in the same manner. Line up the braids on the floor, side by side, with the ends aligned. When the lined-up braids form a rectangular shape as wide as you want your finished rug, you have enough braids.
Thread a sewing needle with an arm's length of heavy thread and knot the end, if you plan to sew the rug together by hand. If you plan to use a sewing machine, thread the machine, fit it with a heavy-duty needle suitable for denim, and set it to sew a wide zigzag stitch.
Sew the first two braids together along their adjacent sides, starting 6 inches from one end of the braids and stopping 6 inches from the other end. If hand-sewing, thread the needle first through the side edge of one braid, then the side edge of the adjacent braid, back and forth along their entire length. Pull the thread taut as you work. If machine-sewing, align the two braids side-by-side under the presser foot and sew with a zigzag stitch, so that the needle alternately catches the edge of one braid and then the other.
Continue sewing the braids together side-by-side in this manner until you have sewn all the braids together.
Sew a line of stitches, either by hand or machine, perpendicular to the rows of braids, 6 inches inward from each short end of the rug. These stitches serve to secure the ends of the braid and divide the main rug from the fringe you will create at each short end.
Remove the safety pins from the ends of the braids and splay out the ends to create a fringe. If necessary, trim the ends of the denim strips to all the same length.
Tips & Warnings
- To make a round rug, or a rug with rounded edges, make one long continuous braid and sew it together in a spiral shape.
- Tearing the denim strips and leaving the edges raw results in a frayed, raggedy look that is enhanced over time as you use the rug.To avoid a frayed appearance, make your strips wider; fold them in half lengthwise with the right-sides together; seam along the raw edges; then turn the strips right-side-out. Use these seamed strips to make the braids.
- Give your rug a backing by gluing it onto a rectangular piece of denim or other heavy fabric, if desired. You can also purchase spray-on or paint-on latex to give your rug a non-slip backing.
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