3.07.2012

how to: a braided rag rug


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If I told you how long I have wanted to make one of these, you might not believe me. 
I'll tell you anyway.

I was seven. And I was in my Little House on the Prairie phase (wait, I don't think that phase has ended yet). I read all the books. I watched back-to-back episodes on tv. I had a pioneer bonnet you guys. I wore it with my Dorothy costume from Halloween. I wish I was kidding. I made my own candle, and corn husk doll. I covered up my bunk beds to make my own covered wagon. Okay this is getting embarrassing. Um, anyway. Long story short, I read a Laura Ingalls craft book and there was a rag rug in it. Since then, I've wanted to make one.

(don't ask about my Anne of Green Gables phase where I had tea parties and pretended to throw tea on that rude Mrs. Rachel Lynde. Or my Nancy Drew phase where I tried to solve mysteries in my closet.)

In case you ever want to make one too, here's how:

you need:
2 yards of muslin
2 yards of colored fabric
sewing machine- optional
needle
thread
scissors
rotary cuter and mat

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I did half a yard each of the yellow and pink fabrics, and 1 full yard of the blue print.
My rug ended up being about 27" in diameter. 

Start by cutting your stash of fabric into strips 1 1/2" wide. This is easiest with a rotary cuter and mat, but you can do it with scissors (obviously) if you don't have one.

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I wanted the center of my rug to be white, so I started braiding three white strips together.

Sew a straight stitch at the top of your first three strips. Run over it a few times so it is secure.

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Pin it to something (like my favorite green chair!) and begin braiding. Make sure you braid loosely or your rug won't lay flat later.

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When you reach the end of a strip, cut a vertical slice in the fabric. Slip a second strip through the slit and cut a second slice in the second strip. Pull the tail of the second strip through that slit and pull to make a knot. Does that even make sense? (sorry for the weird light, I did this part after dark)

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 Then braid. When you want to add color, add it to the middle piece of the braid. I did one color with 2 white strips. And braid and braid and braid. For forever. I recommend finding something good to watch. This part took me two hours.
When you're done, you'll end up with this:

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I started sewing my rug together on my sewing machine just to get it going. I wanted to make sure it was extra sturdy at the start. Use a zig zag stitch to catch the edge of the braid.

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Then start hand stitching together. Just use loose stitches. Make sure you don't wrap the outside of the rug too tightly to the inside, or it won't lay flat. I found it helpful to pin the tail as I went.

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Get comfortable, because you'll be here for awhile too.
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When you finish, tuck the tail into the braid to hide it, and enjoy! 
It definitely makes my feet feel extra cozy while I pretend to be Laura Ingalls do the dishes.

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1 comment:

  1. Eep! I love it! :] I need to make myself one of these! And I'm glad you finally fulfilled the dream of your seven year old self!!

    ReplyDelete

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