Thursday, February 21, 2008

rag rug tutorial

Since some of you expressed interest in how to make a rag rug (see this post), I thought I'd try to write up a tutorial. Let me know if you have any questions, and I will try to answer them in the comments.

First, lay your t-shirt flat. Cut off the hemmed end and discard.
Just a warning...this does make a bit of a mess on your cutting mat.
Working from the bottom of the shirt, cut in 1/2" strips, leaving the side seams in tact. This will form loops.

You can cut a few loops from each sleeve, too. Again, discard the finished ends.

Once you have loops cut, use a slip knot to join them.

Pull until the knot is snug.

Make a string long enough to start crocheting.

Using a P hook, chain stitch to desired width. I started with 50 stitches and my rug is approximately 30" wide. Chain one more. (to use for turning)

(Ok, I am going to change colors here, because this rug is already in progress.)

Single crochet in each space.

Join a loop when your "string" runs out.

At the end of the row, chain one...

Flip over the rug and begin working in the first space with a single crochet.
Continue single crocheting in each space.
Keep working back and forth until the rug reaches the desired length.

Knot and weave in the end.
This is the rug that I crocheted last summer. I have run it through the regular washing machine a few times and it has held up very well. I used about 20 knit shirts used to make it.
If you make a rug using this tutorial, I'd love to see it.

85 comments:

Danetta said...

I so admire you and your talents!

Jelly Wares said...

I've been dying to make one of these rugs!!! Thankyou so much for taking the time to do a great, easy to follow tutorial... BTW, I love the finished top of your sampler quilt..

Jodie

Linda said...

I wondered exactly how you cut and joined the strips. I don't think I have that many t-shirts sitting around waiting to be cut up. Were they kid size shirts, or big people sized shirts?

As an aside, I giggled a little and told J, "you can tell she's a lefty because her crochet is going the opposite direction from how mine would be." :)

Paula said...

Beautiful and practical way to recycle old t-shirts. Thanks for the tutorial!

Mama Urchin said...

I'm not up for learning crochet but I am catching up on the quilt-along.

lera said...

Cute. Now was it 20 kid shirts or adult shirts?

amandajean said...

the 20 shirts were a mix of kids and adult sized, some short sleeved, some long sleeved.

Aunt "B's" Backyard said...

That's cool! I can't wait to rustle up enought shirts to make one. Thanks!!

Amy said...

Thanks so much for sharing! This is a great tute!

Marcia said...

Another great tutorial. Thanks for sharing.

Katherine said...

Such a great way to give new life to t-shirts. I made a bathroom mat using my husband's white undershirts and cut the shirts in one long spiralling piece instead of the loops you cut. I think I will try the loop method as I could use my rotary cutter instead of scissors for faster cutting.

Great tutorial!

Louise said...

Wow thanks, that's a great idea!

Gretchen said...

Thanks so much for sharing! I never would have thought to use a slip knot.

I've been looking for a reason to cull through my husband's undershirts!

Oiyi said...

This is so cool! Thanks for the tute.

Roxanne said...

Thanks! I've been wanting to make one of these for a bath mat. And I think I know just barely enough crochet to accomplish this!

Kirsten said...

What fun! I have always wondered how to do one of those, thanks for the tutorial.

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

How cleaver

Melissa said...

Cool -- Thanks for sharing. Soon as I get enough shirts, I am going to start one.

Marita said...

this is really a great idea. I did this years ago and I still use my rugs (or my dog do now) But instead of using a cutter, I used scissors and cut the t-shirts around and around getting loooong strips with no knots. I had to sit outdoor because of the mess, but still - a joyful job. I also used worn out sheets in my rugs. Very colourful.
Now you inpired me to make more rugs! thank you.

Patchworkheike said...

what a wonderful idea. Don't throw away anything.......;o).

qusic said...

what a great way to reuse old t-shirts!
I tagged you, feel free to

kgirlsmom said...

oh my gosh, this is brilliant! I've made my girls all the t-shirt quilts I and they can stand and still have more--now I know what to do with them. And I love the idea of being able to connect each loop with a slip knot.

Jeanette said...

ARGH, I just sent all my kids shirts to goodwill!

Oh well, as fast as they grow, it shouldn't be long before I have enough to start.

sulu-design said...

Oh, I LOVE this idea. I don't know how to crochet, but this might make me finally learn how to.
You are amazing with your tutorials, lady!

Jolene said...

At our house, my nephews are working on a HUGE ball of yarn so that I can make them this rug. Instead of t-shirts though we are using those loops that we used to make pot holders out of when I was kid. You can buy a big bag of them at any craft store. They come in nylon or cotton, and we prefer the cotton ones.
The downside is that the boys tend to only make a few loops each time they come to visit, so it has been in the works for a several months now. But they love adding to the ball of yarn.

Katie said...

thank you for doing this. now i need to go get a hook and lear how since i have never had a croched anything before. these looks so nice.

Leanne said...

You are so kind for sharing. Thank you.

Deirdre said...

OMG I can't wait to start this rug! So easy! Thank you so much for the tutorial!

I want one for in front of the kitchen sink.

a friend to knit with said...

thank you so much for this!
i am going to start my collection of t-shirts. :)

upstateLisa said...

thanks! I have always wanted to make one but never knew about using old t-shirts! always have plenty of those that the kids have grown out of!

Chara Michele said...

Oh neat! Now I just need to learn how to crochet! :)

Chilliwack PieceMakers Quilters said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I am going to start thinking about cutting up those old t-shirts I have been saving!

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

Great tutorial! I'm going to share this with my homeschool group.

robyn said...

love it ,love it ,love it!!!
thanx, will be starting one very soon.
willpost the pics on my blog,with a link to yours(if you dont mind?)
love

Louise said...

Amanda Jean, I just wanted to let you know that I made a couple of these this week for my bathroom. You can see them on flickr if you're interested. I'm singyourheart over there.

Thanks so much for the great tutorial!

mariluisac said...

Olá amiga...navegando pela net eu encontrei essa idéia genial...já estou juntando as camisetas e breve vou fazer um tapetinho...coloquei a sua idéia em meu blog tá...Bjssss

Aniza said...

great tutorial. I love your cool idea of recycle and so practical.
Thanks

Sherry said...

I love this rug!! What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing!

Anitra Cameron said...

Great tutorial! And I just happen to have a huge stack of old tees...hmmm....

Online Onslaught Host said...

Do you use both layers of the overlapped t-shirt at once? I tried this with your tut and I was having such a hard time :/

Discount Bedroom furniture said...

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Gina said...

Thank you for this idea. I just learned to crochet and this looks like fun, and simple too! Thank goodness! I guess I know what everyone will be getting for Christmas (o:

Anonymous said...

I did this very same thing back in about 1977. A friend gave me a big box of kids T-shirts to use for rags, and I made a rug for my living room. Everyone laughed because I didn't have a big crochet hook, so went outside and grabbed a green branch off a tree and whittled one! Needless to say, they didn't laugh after they saw my beautiful rug!
Christy

Dave said...

excellent tutorial!

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Beyond All Measure said...

This is soooooooooo wonderful. I blogged about this here: http://sarahatbeyondallmeasure.blogspot.com/2009/03/fabulous-rag-rug-tutorial-by-crazy-mom.html
Thank you for this great info, you saved me the frustration of trying to figure it out myself!
Sarah

Anonymous said...

Hi, thanks for the great tutorial. I have a question for you. My rug is looking really thick compared to yours. How thick would you estimate your rug is? The thickness seems to be making the stitches difficult to complete. I have arthritis in my hands and they quickly go numb when I am working on my rug. Other than that, I totally love it.
Linda

Amy said...

thanks so much! now I know what to do with hubbies t-shirts we are able to see through.

Little Lucy Goosey said...

I LOVE this idea -- thanks for posting this tute!!

I think I will use hubby's old undershirts and use dye to get them to a uniform color for my bathroom!

Kids Rugs said...

that's a really cute way to create
kids rugs. I'll try to write about it on my kids rugs blog!

Thanks,
Raza

Helby said...

This is such a great idea! I have a stack of tshirts I could use, since I'm a slob and always get a very noticeable little dot of a stain right in the center. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

fran says hi,

how do you keep the rag rug from fraying/unraveling? thanks for making the rag rug with better directions. have many patterns . i like yours the best,
thank you

fran

edsmermaid said...

I love this tutorial. I can't wait to make one with all the XL t-shirts we have refashioned into cute fitted tops. Now I just need to learn to crochet a circle.

MagicalCavy said...

Hi!
This is a great tutorial. I had it saved in my favourites for ages and finally got round to making it up.
It works really well in our shower room.
I have put a picture up at Flikr http://www.flickr.com/photos/magicalcavy/4248264437/
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Finally!! something to do with my husbands t-shirt collection! LOL He has taken over our bedroom closet....chest of drawers and my laundry room with all of his shirts! I think I will try to make this :)

bbrunophotography said...

Great tutorial! I'm recovering from a recent knee replacement surgery and am thinking this might be a good time to make a rug! Thanks for inspiring me to try something new.

thesscurry said...

I've finally gotten enough T-shirts saved! I'm really excited about putting this idea together...

NOTE: I thought that an oval rug would be just easy as pie to make, but it punches up and pulls into the shape of a nice hat or bowl! Cute, but not quite what I had in mind.

I'll try to make it the way you've written and I'm certain that it will turn out nicely! :-)

Sarah, aka Beyond All Measure said...

thescurry-
In order to get your rug to *not* bunch up you need to make increases along the curvy edges of the oval. You have to give it enough fabric (by adding stitches) so it can spread out and lay flat. hope that helps!

Linda- My guess is that you are using a hook that is too small for your yarn (or t-shirts). I would try a larger hook, or cut the t-shirt into narrower strips, or maybe both. A larger needle with a smaller yarn always means easier to get the hook into (think of crocheting lace and how hard it can be to get that little hook into the right spot between the little threads.) Good luck!

sissylu3 said...

I love that you are left-handed! I am too and to me it seems so logical to crochet from left to right, but it seems like all the tutorials show righties! I just finished a t-shirt quilt and now I know what to do with the leftovers!!! Great idea!!!

Anonymous said...

What "P" hook did you use? I am fairly new to crochet and I was confused in the store today where I saw more than one "P" hook (different mm sizing).

amandajean said...

i wouldn't worry the exact size of hook. (especially if they are only a few mm difference.) hope that helps!

Sarah, aka Beyond All Measure said...

because different companies have different standard sizes for crochet hooks (even with the same letter), there are charts availible on the internet to help you figure out what size corresponds. It at least gives you an idea.

I have noticed that especially vintage crochet hooks tend to have different sizes than modern standards.

Here is a link to a hook size chart:
http://www.crochetandknitting.com/charts.htm

Good luck!
Sarah

www.sarahatbeyondallmeasure.blogspot.com

Homesteadgirl said...

Just started cleaning out closets...hate to throw out clothes just because they have a stain or paint on them. Glad to have found this innovative (nouveau pioneer) way of repurposing them! Like the rectangular mat...more manageable size for me to conceivably create at this point in my life (although I'd love an area rug, too!)

Anonymous said...

this is just clever in so many ways. thank you for sharing your talent step by step. recycling rocks!

Anonymous said...

Hi,

this is so amazing that though having absulutaly no background in crochet, I'm going to try this!

Thank very much!

aleveRo said...

Wow!, i can´t stop reading and learning from your blog. This rag rug is just a wonderful idea, thanks!

baseball cap said...

Thank you share this to me !
good usefull!~

Brandy said...

I know this is a really old post, but I just found this tutorial and think it is really great. I have seen many other tutorials and they are ok, but I really like yours. I have one question though, why do you leave your strips in rings instead of doing a back and forth zig zag type of cut? I am wondering if this makes it sturdier or something. I just think your fabric would go farther if you didn't double it in a ring fashion, but I could be missing something as I have never made one of these before.

Thanks again for this great tutorial, and in advance for answering my crazy questions!

Jean said...

I have a Q hook but I think it's time to go to AC Moore again! lol I am going to a rummage sale next month I am going to get a bunch of t shirts that are bright have patterns on them to see what I can come up with.
Thanks for the great ideas!

Anonymous said...

Loved the look of the rug. I am going to try it using plarn (recycled plastic shopping bags. Plarn is made the same way as your yarn from t-shirts). Saw some crocheted rugs at a local fair last weekend and was really impressed. Can't wait to get started. Thanks for the simple pattern and ideas.

Mamachildress said...

Thanks for this great tutorial! I can't wait to try one of these.

Nanjimfitz said...

This rug looks great!! If I cut the strips in a single layer spiral, like Katherine did, and sewed the pieces together instead of loops and slip knots, would the rug be too thin since it'd be a single layer fabric?

Tryphena said...

This would be an excellent technique for making a set of family-friendly placemats and hot pads also. Terrific idea!

vicky said...

wow thats like cutting plastic up and joining awsome gonna make me some of them thanks vicky

Anonymous said...

I am making rag rug with fabric instead of tee shirts. Please tell me how to join the strips that I cut together.

Thanks!Betty

Anonymous said...

Great idea for fastening the loops.
I have not read the other comments, but just in case --- from the pictures it looks like you are left handed, which might be a little confusing for right handed crocheters.

jazzsinger53 said...

I just found this and I remember my grandmother always making rag rugs. I think when I clean out my closet, if I don't have enough old t-shirts, I will go to Goodwill and buy some. You can get them there very cheap and it's still recycling. Thanks for bringing this 'lost art' back!!!

Michelle @ Changed By The Maker said...

Can you please clarify "flip it over?" I am doing that but it seems like the sides are alternating, then, front, back, front, back, etc. I'm not sure how else to do it. It looks pretty good otherwise. I'm not really a crochet person. I just picked up crochet to make bags from plarn. That's my only experience!

Anonymous said...

I don't remember how I came across this tutorial but it was s perfect guide to make my first one! My husband and two sons seem to leave t-shirts in their wake wherever they go so there was plenty of raw material on hand. I would love to post a picture but don't think I can do it in this box .... to see some of my quilting work, visit
http://patwig.wordpress.com/

Thank you!

iconrugs said...

Great! I think it would be a great learning experience for me, if I can follow the same techniques to make wool rugs.

jeanetteann said...

Great easy to understand tutorial. Thank you
Jeanette

Kathleen said...

I know this post is really old, but I just wanted to let you know that I recently completed a rag rug using your directions. You can see the finished project on my blog here: http://sewingwithoutzippers.blogspot.com/2012/04/scrap-rug.html

Thanks.
Kathleen

John S said...

Thanks for this idea to use 'ol t-shirts. I like that idea to make reusable shopping bags too.

Angela said...

Its funny because I use to work in a garment factory and made T'shirts. We also made tank tops and the "tape" fabric that comes in a rolls that is used to sew along the finished edges of the neck, arms and bottom of shirt, I used to make these rugs. I knitted them. I still have some that I made 10+ years ago. I wash an dry them often, they last forever, it seems. When the company disolved I accumulated lots of these rolls of fabric in all colors. Over the years, I have given it away but still have a little left and I still make myself a rug once in a while. You cant go wrong making one of these. Angela

Serve Over Counter said...

Thanks so much, I was trying to remember how to make a rag rug, but totally forgot how to get started. Thanks for the tut. I am now going to have fun. Thanks again, Lois