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Rag Rugs

emme | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I recently saw a rag rug purse and rag rug childrens hats.  They were so cute and so expensive. Has anyone tried this technique? It looks like strips of fabric ,maybe crocheted?  I’d love to try this, of course with your help.


  1. katina | | #1

    The book "Rag Rugs" by Juju Vail is excellent on this subject. Available on Amazon.


  2. damascusannie | | #2

    I've crocheted rag rugs--they are fun. I never thought about make a bag. They'd be really cute! The cool thing about using the narrow strips is that really ugly fabrics often work best, so it's a way to use some of those "what was I thinking?!" fabrics.

    1. katina | | #3

      Me neither - thanks for the idea Annie. I see a large tote in my future!

    2. emme | | #4

      Thanks for your reply.  How wide do you cut or tear your fabric?  Do you single or double fold the fabric and what size crochet hook do you use?  I enjoyed your web site. I am a quilter and vintage and 1930's fabric is my favorite.  I appreciate your help.  Thanks so much.

      1. damascusannie | | #5

        Oh jeepers, I made my rugs years ago. I have no idea how wide I torn the strips or what size hook I used. I think I just winged it. I do know that I didn't fold them or anything and I just tied the strips together, but now I think I'd sew them.

        1. emme | | #6

          Thanks for  the info. Can't wait to start.

  3. Teaf5 | | #7

    To use up a lot of old cotton, I made a small rag rug for my daughter.  I tore about 1/2" strips, machined-stitched across the slightly overlapped ends, and rolled them into balls.  It takes a lot of strips to crochet anything, so I made a few balls, used them up, and then made some more.  I believe I used a metal size N hook, but do a sample and go with what works best for your hands and fabric.

    There is a lot of fraying, so keep a pair of scissors handy while rolling so that you can snip all the long the threads that will become horribly tangled if you don't keep at them.  Don't worry about folding the strips; that would take about ten times as long and is quite difficult to hold, but it doesn't improve the fabric.  The mixture of fabric, frayed edges, and twists on the surface add to the appeal and beauty of the piece.

    Crocheting rags is very different from using yarn because there is no stretch or give; my hands, usually strong, tired easily, so I needed to do just a half hour or so at a time.  The gauge changed with different fabrics, even though they were all woven cottons, so I had to be flexible with tension to keep the sides square and straight. (Perhaps that's why so many rag rugs are made in the round!)

    Overall, the crocheted rag rug was a very time-consuming but very rewarding project.  It came out soft, strong, and beautiful.  Plus, I significantly reduced my stash of remnants, and the rug has worn well for six years of heavy traffic.  Have fun!


  4. katina | | #8

    Emme, there's a different technique for rag rugs - it uses a latch hook to hook strips through the backing cloth. The book by Juju Vail I recommended uses this technique. This allows the maker to work patterns by using different colours on different areas. Here're some links I found:




  5. starzoe | | #9

    If the strips are cut on the bias they won't ravel. They would be easier to crochet or to knit with as well. There is a method of sewing fabric strips on the machine using (don't know the real name of it) a hairpin-like object that is about 1.5" wide and maybe 8 inches long. The strips are wound around the object and stitched down the middle. The ends can then be cut making a fluffy fabric. Great for cotton bathmats.

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