The following is a post from Jackie.
Have you seen those totally cool rugs that are made from old T-shirts? A few months ago I decided I was going to make one. I purchased the latch hook material to go with the latch hook tool I got from my grandma. Before I started cutting up T-shirts, I decided to read those tutorials a little closer only to find out that they took a really long time to make.
I decided to put the project on the back burner. However, one night I had a dream about T-shirt rugs. (Yeah, I dream about craft projects.) In my dream I was using a hand towel and my sewing machine to make a rug. Guess what I did when I woke up?
Well, I ate breakfast, took care of the kids, and did a few other things. But, after that, I got to work on my “new” T-shirt rug.
Would you like to make one, too? First, you will need to gather some supplies.
- Hand Towel
- Tailor’s Chalk or Water Soluble Marker
- Rotary Cutter
- Cutting Mat
- Sewing Machine
1. Using the chalk, water soluble marker, or even a pencil make marks along the towel in 1″ increments.
The lines need to be made vertically from long side to long side of the towel. Make sure you can see the lines you made because they are critical to making the rug.
I did want to note that the hand towel was 16 inches by 26 inches. I suggest using a hand towel that is similar in color to your T-shirt strips. I did not do this, but definitely will next time.
2. Lay out your T-shirts on a cutting mat. Use a ruler and a rotary cutter to cut strips of T-shirt fabric that are 1 inch by 4 inches. I recommend cutting all of the strips you will need before you start sewing. (Do not use the parts of the T-shirt that have designs on them.)
To make the rug pictured at the top of this post I used approximately 900 T-shirt strips. The amount you need will vary depending on the size of your hand towel.
3. Lay out one row’s worth of strips next to your sewing machine. By laying out the strips first, each row can be sewn faster.
I made a pattern out of my strips, but you can use strips that are all the same color or just be totally random. Each of my rows had an average of 36 strips in them. I recommend each row have between 36 and 40 T-shirt strips.
4. Set your sewing machine to the triple stitch (#5 on my machine). This will ensure that the strips are securely sewn to the towel.
5. Take 2 or 3 T-shirt strips at a time and center them on the line. Scrunch the strips a little bit so that your rug will be nice and full. Sew right down the line adding more strips as you go.
This is what the row should look like when you have sewn on the T-shirt strips. Each row took me about 5 minutes to lay out and sew on.
6. Fold the previous row of T-shirt strips out of the way before starting a new row.
7. Repeat step 5. Continue in this manner until you have sewn T-shirt strips on all of the lines you marked.
This is what your rug should look like now. I ended up with 25 rows of T-shirt strips. The total time it took me to cut the T-shirt strips was probably about 1 hour. The actual sewing time was probably close to 2 hours, but I broke that time up into several smaller sessions.
Here is a peek at the back of the rug. Notice how my rows aren’t perfectly straight? Thankfully, this is a very forgiving sewing project.
After I finished sewing my rug, I washed it and tossed it in the dryer. Here is what happened to the strips.
They curled up and made the rug look totally different. I think that it was easier to sew the strips on before they were washed than it might have been if I had washed them after cutting them. However, if you want a more clear idea of how your rug will look while you are sewing it, wash all of the strips after you cut them.
I am really happy with how my rug turned out. I think it will make a great bath mat and a fun addition to my bathroom. Plus, it was totally free!
Sometime I would like to try making a monochromatic T-shirt rug. Dying white T-shirts would be a great way to ensure all of the strips are the same color.
Do you have any T-shirts lying around that you don’t wear anymore? How about making a T-shirt rug?