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How to Make a Cheap Shag Rug From Recycled Clothes

written by: Cyndee•edited by: Donna Cosmato•updated: 7/5/2011

Recycling old clothes to make cheap rugs is what people have been doing for years. Just like quilts, our ancestors created rugs from old clothes and textiles that the family no longer needed. No fabric goes to waste, this recycled shag rug can use even the smallest bit of scrap.

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    Cheap Shag Rug Supplies:

    Sturdy recycled denim clothing, for the foundation

    Measuring tape



    Straight pins

    Sewing machine

    Marking pen


    Assorted recycled clothing, for the shag

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    Steps for Sewing a Cheap Shag Rug:

    Step 1

    Cut a 25 inch wide by 37 inch long rectangle from sturdy recycled fabric for the foundation of your rug. An old denim jumper dress or denim prairie skirt works well for this, or sew together cloth from outgrown blue jeans.

    Lay the rectangle wrong side up on your ironing surface. Fold over each edge to the back 1 inch and press. Pin the pressed folds and topstitch to secure.

    Step 2

    Turn the foundation fabric right side up. Starting a 1/2 inch from one short end of the foundation fabric, draw a line across it's width using a marking pen and a yardstick for a straight edge. Draw additional lines across the width, 1 inch apart, for the entire length of the foundation fabric. These will be your sewing lines.

    Step 3

    Cut multiple 2 inch wide by 3 inch long rectangles from old recycled clothing. These rectangles will be the shag of your cheap fabric rug. The amount of shag pieces you will need will depend on the thickness of the fabric used and how close together you sew them.

    Step 4

    Position the foundation fabric under your sewing machine's presser foot, at the beginning of the first drawn sewing line. Lay one shag rectangle on your work surface with the right side up. Pinch together the center width of the piece to resemble a small bow tie. Place the pinched center under the presser foot with the right side up and sew across it to hold. Pinch another shag rectangle and place it on the line right next to the first and sew across it.

    Continue with additional shag rectangles along the entire length of the sewing line. When you have reached the end of the line, turn the foundation fabric around and sew over the entire line of shag once again to secure.

    Step 5

    Position the next sewing line under your presser foot and fold the previous row of shag out of the way. Sew shag rectangles along the line in the same way as the first row. Repeat with additional rows along the length of the rug. Eventually the bulk will become to fat to fit on the deck of your sewing machine.

    When you have sewn halfway down the length of the rug, turn the rug around and sew a beginning row on the other end of the rug. Repeat with additional rows until all the sewing lines have been filled.