Sewing, Working with scraps!

More Stash Bustin! Making A Rug With All Those T-Shirts!

They just keep coming. Even though I give plenty of them away, the closets just keep getting stuffed with those t-shirts!
Here’s a whole bunch of them pulled right from the drawers.

Even though there’s still more to give away I’m tempted to see if I can’t make use of some of these and turn them into something else.

Let’s stick with something easy.  Let’s try a braided t-shirt rug!  From what I can tell from youtube and etsy it looks like it might be super duper easy!

This will be my very first attempt so I’ll try and post this how-to as I go…you’ll learn as I learn!

STEP 1: Make the T-Shirt Yarn.  Each t-shirt can make a continuous piece of yarn the is 2″ wide by 20 or more feet long!

Start by laying the t-shirt flat on a cutting mat.

Then cut off the hem at the bottom and score strips from one edge BUT NOT THROUGH the other edge 2″ apart.

Go all the way up the shirt until you can’t go anymore — usually just under the armpit.  Here you can see that I was able to score 7 strips.  Not bad!

Next, open up the un-cut side.  You’ll then start at one end and slice the beginning on a diagonal.

Then continue the diagonal cut to eventually yield one long continuous piece of 2″ wide material!

Now, here’s the cool part.  Start stretching!  Really stretch the fabric.  It will lengthen and curl the raw edge into itself!

Now braid some strands together and swirl them into a circle.

Stitch together the braids and you’ll have the start of a rug!

This is as far as I got yesterday.  So far this represents 4 t-shirts!  I have so many to cut up and can’t wait to see how this comes out!

Isn’t this cool?


35 thoughts on “More Stash Bustin! Making A Rug With All Those T-Shirts!”

  1. Interesting How big are you planning to make this? Will you be able to wash it? will it need a pad under it? Last what type of thread are you using.?

    1. Wow…so many questions…
      I want to see how big 10 t-shirts will be…but maybe I’ll do more. This is a “learn as I go project”. Probably won’t be able to wash it in the washing machine but sure you can wash it! I probably will put a pad under it if it goes on the wood floor that is slippery. I am using an old hand me down spool of carpet thread.

  2. I’ve just started reading through your old blog entries and I think it is really cool how you are machine stitching this. I love the two that you have made. I have a cousin that send me a load of tshirt fabric and I’m now considering making a rug out of it.

  3. Thanks for your great instructions on how to make this rug. I’m sewing mine together now and it is curling. I’m picking it apart now. Any tips to get it to stay flat?

    1. Are you hand sewing this or machine?

      Make sure your surface is flat. Use the palm of your hand to swirl the braid around in a circle. I think it is okay to be a little tight as once you wash it the t-shirts will shrink a little.


    1. It’s a little tricky. Try pinning and then place it on a table to see if it lies flat. Do a little at a time. You’ll get it!

  4. When making your braid, how do you join ends without raw edges showing? Do you avoid using the parts of t-shirts with iron-on graphics on them? I expect they won’t curl as well as plain t-shirts.

    1. I SEW the braid ends wrong side of t-shirt to wrong side of t-shirt (the wrong side of the t-shirt is on the outside…so it’s like saying right sides together…but really it’s the wrong sides together). No, I don’t avoid using the part of the t-shirt that has the printing. I use it all. You are right though, they don’t curl in those areas as nicely but for the rugs they work just fine.

    1. Hi Patty,

      No, I don’t do all my braiding (although you can if you want to) at once and then sew. I will braid until I get tired of braiding or have accumulated more than I care to keep in a basket and then sew. I stop and start sewing several times, but that is just how I do it and it certainly could all be done at once if you wanted to do that.

      I particularly like to stop and start because I can see if I want to change colors.


    1. Makenna,
      Are you hand sewing or machine sewing? If you are hand sewing like in this post it is just a whip stitch connecting the braid.

  5. You can also tie the new ends of the next strands together to avoid having to sew the ends together. Because your braiding the knots blend well and keeps the momentum going

  6. Oh my does your blog take me back many years – my grandmother made these beautiful rugs out of different materials that she had collected. I still have two rugs that she gave me. She passed away over 20 years ago at the age of 96. Thanks for bringing back some very fond memories 🙂

  7. Thanks for all the good info. I’ve been wanting to make one of these rugs for my bedroom. I like the way you answered every ones questions too. Love your blog. You’re awesome.

  8. I’m sorry, but this example is very confusing to me. So many details left out. Please give a better explanation.

  9. Hi,
    Love the idea!! Please let me know why do you make diagonal cuts when you can easily cut straight?

  10. Wow!! What fun. When I was little, my grandmother had a nursing home. One lady was blind and tore strips of fabric and rolled into balls. My grandmother had te most beautiful day rugs made. I still have one that is getting pretty bad. Any suggestions for repair? She’s been gone since 1974!! That was a well made rug!!

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