Piecing Rag Rugs - Tutorial

I had to run to Old Time Pottery the other day for a few cheap plastic serving spoons for my daughter's swim team dinner. I rarely go in there, mostly because I get overwhelmed when I walk in. If you've never been, it's a massive warehouse of housewares, linens, candles, pet supplies, seasonal items, lighting and artificial flowers. The vast majority of the items found there are pretty cheap. Cheap as in inexpensive because they're pretty crappily (is that a word?) made. Cheap crap. But sometimes you find something that's a "good" cheap.

I found these rag throw rugs for $4 each. I would have loved to find larger versions of these, but they measure about 2 1/2 ' x 18 inches. It hits me - maybe I can make a larger version by zigzagging them together with my sewing machine. Experiment on.

Start with 2 rag rugs. The thicker, the better. Sometimes you'll find these made with a thinner feel. which I'm sure would work, but I'm sure would wear out pretty easily. The ones I bought  are nice and chunky and thick.

Determine which ends of each rug will butt up against each other the most evenly. These rugs are rarely squared up, so just compare each side to see which combo will fit best and be the straightest.

**I wanted to snip off the knots that are at the ends, but if we cut these, the rugs would fall apart. They're the strings that hold the fabric rags strings together. So I just tucked them to the back when I was feeding the rugs through my machine. If the idea of running these rugs through your machine and possibly hitting these knots scares you, maybe just hand stitching these together would be a better option. My Janie {Janome} had no problem with them.

Roll up one rug so it slides through the neck of your sewing machine easily. Make sure you leave the correct end out.

Use a good-quality thread that will blend into the colors of your rugs. I used navy blue. Using the widest and longest zig zag stitch your machine has, smoosh the ends of the rugs together so that the last fabric strips of each rug are touching and the knots are tucked back out of the way.
**The idea is to zig zag into the fabric, not the webbing that's created by the strings at the end of the rugs. The yellow arrows are the fabric rag strips (olive green and brown) and the purple arrow shows the webbing (bright green and white). Zig zag stitch all the way to the end of the seam, making sure to lock the stitch in place at the end for strength.

Yes, my baseboards need painting. Don't judge me.

Et voila. Turned out just like I wanted it to. I now have a 5' hallway runner for $8! To keep this in place, use a rug pad, rug tape or my technique- I keep all of our worn-out bath mats and use them as rug pads. I have a large rectagular one that, cut in half lengthwise, fits perfectly under this runner.

I'm so going back for more of these. I need to replace all of my entry rugs and kitchen mats. Cute, cheap and handmade. Awesome sauce.


  1. That's a great idea! Love it!

  2. $8 for a rug? Priceless! Love the ingenuity!

  3. you are so smart and crafty (not to mention THRIFTY!)

  4. Waaaaayyy COOL! Another reminder to think outside the box. Have a couple of rag placemats which I will use this technich to make into a table runner. True art inspires!


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