Monday, April 10, 2023

How to sew a fabric rug : Tutorial

how to sew a fabric rug


I started this rug as a bit of an experiment and with no plan to create a tutorial so please forgive me if the photos are a little cobbled together.

OK guys, now this is more of a marathon than a sprint (although it is super quick) so I think we need to organise ourselves before we start. Why ? because of course I jumped in feet first and fluffed up a few things and could have done them better so you guys get the benefit of my experience.

You will need :
  • Cotton sashing cord: I started with 8mm and had to really squeeze it under my presser foot. Once I ran out of 8mm I had to use 7mm - and it was much easier. You may need to see what your own machine is happy to cope with. My finished rug measures approx 47 inches across and I used 125 metres  (almost 400 feet) of cotton sashing.

  • Fabric strips: Any length x 1 1/4 inches wide. (Depending on my mood, I ripped some and cut some.) My strips varied between 1 and 2 inches but I found the narrower ones easiest to wrap. I have no idea how much fabric I used but my scraps are once more actually fitting in the scrap basket.
  • Polyester Thread : Lots of thread - more thread than you can imagine. It is a good idea to pre-wind a stack of bobbins as well, because once you get started you are going to want to keep on going - it is highly addictive!
  • Jeans needle: I started with a regular needle and broke one before commonsense kicked in and I switched to a jeans needle.
Set Up:

OK guys, this is the secret to success. You need to be able to sew somewhere that your machine will be at the same level as a flat surface roughly the size of the rug you want to make. You cannot fudge this step or you will end up making a basket. 
I started by putting the weird little plastic table on my sewing machine (I have never used it) but in the early stages the rug grows so quickly that it outgrew that little table in no time.
In the end, my kitchen table, butted up against the kitchen bench (With the Guinness book of records under my machine to raise it) was the perfect workstation. There is a box, also on a book behind my machine and once the rug got wider than this arrangement I put chairs next to the bench. Yep, home beautiful all the way.
You really need to be able to sort this out, if you don't have a flat surface it is impossible to keep your rug flat.

fabric rug by ric rac

Machine settings:
I set my machine at the widest zigzag stitch possible and the stitch length at roughly the midpoint of what my machine offers.

Getting started:

Simply wrap one of the strips around the end of your sashing, making sure you have covered the end. 

If you look closely you can see, not only the zigzag stitch but also a straight stitch running the length of the cord. I began by stitching the length of the cord after I had wrapped it. I soon realised this was double handling and it wasn't really needed.
Wind your covered sashing into a circle and sew. It could not be simpler.


Simply tuck the next fabric strip into the one previous and keep wrapping.

You will most likely get little bits hanging out - it is no problem at all, they get hidden as you add the next row around the rug.

I began by sewing the ends of the sashing cord together but that meant taking the rug out of the machine each time. The sashing cord had tape on each end to stop fraying, so in the end I just taped them together - woohoo !! Easy !!
As the rug grows it is going to get heavier - a lot heavier ! It will then become harder for your machine to 'pull' the rug through. Once the rug became very large, I would sew about 20 cm and then pull the rug around, constantly readjusting it so I was doing the heavy work not the machine.

fabric rug by ricrac

Tips: if you have a needle up/needle down function on your machine set it at needle up. Once your rug gets large and heavy and you start shoving it around a bit,you are less likely to break a needle if you leave it up. 


I took this photo late at night so please excuse it.

fabric rug by ric rac

I wrapped the end of the sashing in sticky tape (just one layer) and then cut it, tapering it to a kind of point. I covered the raw cut edge with a bit more tape and then wrapped it and sewed. A little spot of backtacking and the rug is done!

Note : My machine collected an amazing amount of lint during this project. I am not sure if it was the hours of sewing in one sitting, or something to do with the cotton sashing but it is worth your while to stop every few hours and remove the lint build up.

fabric rug by ric rac

fabric rug by ricrac

If you have any questions I will answer them in the comments so everyone can read them, so make sure you pop back to get your answer.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Australian Designers Pattern Bundle - that's a mouthful !

 I know that very few people stumble in here anymore but it would be remiss of me not to mention that I am being very posh right now. I have been included in the Australian Designers Pattern Bundle. The ADPB is a bundle of twelve specially curated PDF patterns from Aussie designers .The bundle is only available for a limited time and is an absolute bargain at $22 AU

All of these projects - by such a wonderful group of designers. Plus two more bonus PDF projects !! This is such a great way to meet some new designers and there are so many techniques and styles included-there really is something for everybody. That little mushroom house bag kills me!!

My project for the bundle is brand - new. 
This is Banjo & Blue, the sweetest koalas. Banjo is 12 ish inches high and Blue is 6 ish inches high. They can be made out of cotton, minky, fleece - just about anything.

You can even make them out of souvenir tea-towels !!!
To grab the bundle for yourself and to see more images of all the projects

The bundle is only available for five days July 14 - 19th 2022

Thursday, June 16, 2022

From the sublime to the ridiculous

It's all about elephants this week. I am making a Liberty sample of one of my Trunk Show elephants. The sewing table features in both these pictures. Yeah, I sometimes think I should go and get a whizzbang clean white sewing table but I do love this old table. 

One things always leads to another..... and so we have a new friend. He is nameless and so far I have added stars to the wheels (fail), a party hat (unsure) and a bunch of packages. He is about 4 inches high and this version needs new ears.
Tweak tweak tweak.....

Friday, June 3, 2022



Look at those whiskers on the face of the dog that I collided with when I was checking the letter box this morning.

Look at the whiskers on the face of the dog that I fell over that then continued running and thought it was the greatest game.

I have officially reached the "does-not-bounce" stage of falling over in my life.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Soft 5

 Friends, I'm trying but obviously still suck at popping in here.

I've been sewing, getting yelled at in supermarkets and making toast. 

I was trawling the blog this morning looking for a photo that I know I have but apparently I also suck at naming photos. Some of these blog conversations feel like a lifetime ago. I have been reading old posts in that kind of happy sad way when something feels a long way away.

For example: This photo that is quite obviously of a pear shaped pincushion is 

called "soft 5 ". 

The inside of the computer, much like the inside of my mind is arbitrarily organised by someone who thinks they will remember all these weird things when they are needed. History reveals time and time again that this is not true.... and yet I get no better at it.

Sunday, April 3, 2022

Twig and Thistle

These little furry friends are really close. I am just waiting on some supplies (Oh and yeah I have to finish writing the pattern too).

 They are delightfully squishy and I just need to add noses to these two.

Speaking of noses...

This guy is patiently waiting for me to make a nasal choice.


Tuesday, March 22, 2022

The Boss

 This tub of pure enjoyment has arrived at my house today and I want nothing more than to sit and slowly sort and clean and ooh and ahh over every tiny treasure

but the Boss has said i cannot go near them until I have completed a whole month of bookwork (being 2 and half months behind).

I tell you, I'll be setting the land speed record for excel this morning !