Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Repairing a Rag Rug

Ideally, I would first show you how I make a rag rug before I show you how to repair one. However, sometimes life gets in the way of what would be ideal. That is what happened in this case. I really don't have a need for new rugs - so I haven't made any in a few years. I did have a need to repair one.

My guess is, if a rug gets damaged in a normal everyday household, it would get thrown out. Not so at my house! I just can't bring myself to waste the rug just because it has a bit of damage. My answer is to repair it. However, it is difficult to repair it if you didn't make it!

If you are interested in learning how to make a rug out of scraps of fabric, there are many good books available. You can also weave a rug from scraps of fabric. There are lots of books on how to do that too. You can see the books that I have here and here. I also found some free instructions on how to make a rug using yarn. You can see that here

While my rugs have color themes, it isn't necessary to buy extra fabric to make these. If you use scraps, just like you would for a quilt, you can make some really pretty rugs! In addition to fabric scraps, you can use old clothing, old sheets and pillowcases or even old curtains! The only thing you need to keep in mind is the weight of the fabric.  Combine like weights - don't use thick denim pieces with thin tee shirt pieces. 

Here is the rug that needs repair.

If you look in the upper left corner, you can see a piece that appears a bit bigger than the rest of the edging. That is because that is where the edging stitches broke. It broke when I decided to wash it. I was cleaning the bathroom that this rug is in and decided to remove the toilet seat and tank cover, as well as the fabric shower curtain. (I made those too.) So as an afterthought, I picked up the rug and washed all of them together. Everything came out great except the rug! The dark green/red fabric I used on the edging ripped. I apologize that I didn't take a good picture here so you can clearly see it.

The first step to the repair is to remove the stitches to the point where they broke.  For the record, the strips of fabric are about 1 inch wide.

I also could have just hand stitched the two torn ends together and not bothered to remove all the stitching. However, the fabric actually ripped in two spots right next to each other so that is why I decided to rip out the stitches and repair it. 

Now, reconnect the pieces of fabric. The fabric is not sewn together. The two pieces are connected in a unique way. First, cut a tiny slit in each piece of fabric. Then, line up the two cuts you just made. Put one piece of fabric on top of the other. The two ends should be opposite each other so the strip of fabric runs continuously.

Feed the opposite end of the new strip of fabric through both cuts you just made. Pull until the end. This is what you will get.

The new piece of fabric is now connected to the old piece! You can continue to crochet. I made a scalloped finished edge on this rug. To make the scalloped edge, crochet one single stitch, then, crochet three double stitches in the next stitch. Skip a stitch, and repeat.

 Notice the size of the crochet hook? It really is quite large. About 3/4 of an inch thick. Unfortunately, I have had this hook for many, many years and I do not remember the size. It also isn't marked anywhere on the hook. I am sure if you look in one of the craft books you will see some recommended sizes based on the effect you want to achieve.

It took about 20 minutes for me to rework the scalloped edge. Here is the final product that will go back into the bathroom.

I really don't have many commercially made rugs in my house. I made them all myself. Some are crocheted and some are braided twine. Here is a picture of another crocheted one that lives in another bathroom.

Just imagine, in a couple of nights you can make something functional and pretty with scraps of fabric you would have thrown out instead! How frugal is that!

If you don't know how to crochet, I strongly encourage you to learn. It is super easy! Once you start, you will wonder why you waited so long to learn!


  1. I have a crochet rug that is damaged on the inside. Help!

    1. It can be repaired!

      If you don't know how to crochet, take it to a local craft shop (not the big box store) and ask if they know someone who could repair it for you. Pick out some new yarn or fabric to coordinate the color and you will be on your way!

  2. I am making a rag rug and have realized after working on it for 2 weeks that it is quite frumpy and not laying flat on the ground. How can I repair this without losing all the time I've already invested in it?

    1. Assuming you are following the pattern directions, then the reason it isn't laying flat is because of the tension in your yarn. (This is a common problem for new crocheters.)

      Unfortunately, you are going to have to unravel the stitches until it is laying flat and start over from that point. Concentrate on holding the yarn (in the hand without the hook) with consistent tension. Don't hold it too tight, and don't hold it too loose. Then, be sure to pull the stitches (with the hook) with the same consistency and tension. When your stitches all have the same tension, they will lay flat.

      If you are new to crocheting, did you make a practice piece first? Making a practice piece will allow you to 'check' your tension and adjust it before you start on a new project. Most project books suggest you make a practice piece to check your tension before you start.

      I am sorry you must unravel most (or all) of your rug! Believe me, every person who knits or crochets has been in your shoes! You are not alone!

      Good luck with your project!

  3. Thank you so much! I couldnt figure out how to scallop the edge of my rug im working on, and this helped me figure it out!! Thanks!


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