How to Make a Rag Rug Without Knitting or Crocheting

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Creating rugs from strips of old clothing dates to Colonial America.
Creating rugs from strips of old clothing dates to Colonial America. (Image: NA/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

You can make a rag rug without knowing how to knit or crochet. The traditional rag rug was made from braided strips of cloth. It is possible to recreate the rustic look of a traditional rag rug using modern fabrics. Recycling worn out clothes into home decor is green and fashionable.

Things You'll Need

  • Old clothes, such as men's dress shirts and jeans
  • Seam ripper with a razor edge
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing machine needle suitable for use on denim
  • Measuring tape
  • Straight pins

Remove all belt loops, buttons, zippers and added decorations from the fabrics. Open all seams with the seam ripper. Remove pockets, sleeves, collars and cuffs. Press fabrics if necessary before continuing.

Mark the bias on all of the fabric pieces with a straight pin. Cut against the bias, not with it. If you cut on the bias, your fabrics will be too stretchy. To determine the bias of a fabric pull on one side, then on an adjacent side. The side that stretches the most is the bias.

Cut all fabrics into 2 1/2 inch strips. Join the strips together by overlapping the ends. Position the ends so they are perpendicular to each other -- they will form an "L" shape. With right sides facing each other, sew a diagonal line across the area where the two fabric meet. Open the strip along the seam, trim the edges to 1/4 inch and finger press the seam, allowing it to lie flat. Repeat until you have a single long strip of fabric.

Roll the long fabric strip into a ball. Repeat the process until you have created three balls of fabric strips.

Unroll each ball about 12 inches. Secure the ends to each other by sewing across the three strips. Start braiding the strips until you run out of fabric. Secure the loose ends by stitching across the three pieces with a sewing machine.

Starting with 12 inches of braid, wrap the braided fabric alongside the 12-inch strip. Secure with straight pins as you go. This will create an oval rug. For a circular rug, start wrapping the braid around itself like a flat coil. Secure the edges together with a sewing machine on a wide zig-zag setting, or hand sew it as you go.

Tips & Warnings

  • It might be easier to braid the fabric if you secure it to a board or door with a nail. This allows you to create a tighter braid.
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