I have far to many scraps!

I wouldn’t exactly call myself a hoarder (other people might), but I do have two laundry bags full of scrap material, I just can’t part with it! It just sits there, in the corner of my sewing room hoping that one day some of it will be perfect for my next project. Realistically though, many of the pieces are far too small to make a whole garment, and I’ve made countless zip bags, and yet the laundry bags are still bulging at the seams. It’s just a waste to throw everything out. So instead I’m going challenge myself and try to use up all this material by the end of 2022.

I’m starting with a rag rug which, in theory, should use up loads of my scraps. The rug I made is just under one metre in diameter, I’ve left the ends unfinished, so I can add to it later and make it bigger and use up those scraps!!

All you need are scraps of fabric, a sewing machine, a basic sewing kit and a good box set to get stuck into whilst you braid your rags!

Leaving the ends unfinished, I can continue to add to the rug and make it even bigger!

To begin with you need to cut your scraps into long 1-2″ wide strips. The best way is to roll the fabric up and cut at 2″ intervals. You don’t have to be too accurate or tidy as its all going to be braided. Join all the strips together, by cutting a small hole in the end of one strip, and then tie the next one on, continue doing this until all the strips are used up, and roll into a ball. Move onto your next scrap. In total I made about 40 balls of varying lengths. Make as many balls of yarn as you want, keep them varied and try and use lots of different colours!

Cut strips of fabric 2″ wide
Join the strips by cutting a small hole…
…and tying the next piece on
Once all the strips are joined together, roll into a ball.
Time to get braiding!

Once you have your yarn prepared (and used up all your scraps) it’s time to get braiding! This is extremely time consuming but also kind of therapeutic, it’s the perfect thing to do in front of the TV when the weather isn’t so great outdoors!

Braid the yarn like you would braid plait of hair. Start by tying three of your yarns together, and then, just plait! When you finish a yarn, add the next yarn in the same way you joined the strips together, cut a small hole and then just tie it on!

Continue braiding until all your yarn is used up and you have a big ball of braided fabric like this:

Big ball of yarn
Use a zig zag stitch, catching both edges

It’s now time to sew it all together. This took me a whole afternoon, a lot longer than what I thought it would take. It also took a lot of thread, so make sure you have plenty of thread and lots of bobbins wound!

Make sure you have a fair bit of space next to your sewing machine, as the rug will slowly grow! Use the widest zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine and use a medium stitch width. Start by folding up about 1″ of the braided yarn and sew, so that the zig zag stitch catches both edges, continue to sew around and around, pushing the edges together.

Continue until all the yarn has been used up

To finish just tuck the end of the braid under the rug and sew over a couple of times. Or if you want to add to it later and make it bigger, just tie the ends together. If you find that it curls up a bit, try stretching it out, a bit of steam from the iron also helps!