Do you have a lot of old pairs of jeans you’ll never wear again? Are they too tattered that nobody would want them, so you won’t even donate them to Good Will? I have jeans like that. A lot of them. One thing I hate, is throwing things away when I feel like they could serve another purpose, and so, I took what was left of these old jeans, and made a denim rag rug.
We’ve all seen rag rugs before. They’re great at front doors for wiping feet off, or just as a designated place to set shoes. I’ve also seen some denim rugs before, but they’re all woven and look like they’ve taken a million hours. I wanted something that was quick and easy, and could be finished in a night, so I came up with this idea.
What you need:
About three or four pairs of old jeans, any color
A pair of very sharp fabric scissors
A sewing machine and thread (you could probably hand sew this but it would take ages)
First, cut two of the legs off of your jeans. How much you cut off will depend on how large you want your rug. I chose typical rag rug size, so I cut just above the knee of a pair that didn’t have holes in it. You could mix and match these from two different pairs if necessary, as long as they’re roughly the same length. Then, along one of the seams, cut each leg open.
This piece will act as your base. Because of the preexisting hems, you don’t have a whole lot of work to do to finish the base. First, line up the pieces so your bottom hems meet and your other hems are facing the outside. Match up the two middle non-hemmed sides and sew them together. Now you only have one end that is not hemmed. Do a basic double fold hem, and you’re good to go.
Next, the most time consuming part. You will need to cut strips of denim. These can be any length (the longer the better, but if you want to use as much as possible with little waste, you will have some shorter segments. I made mine about two inches wide. You can eyeball this, just try to be consistent with your widths. You will need A LOT of these.
When you are done cutting strips, it is time to sew them to the rug. I’ve seen rugs that sew individual one inch segments by one inch segments. That is insanely time consuming. Instead, my way is to sew strips one. This saves time and sanity. Start with your first strip and sew it down the hemline of one of your long sides. Sew the line right in the middle of the strip, so when you fold it over the strip hangs off the side of the hem. An iron might come in handy here to iron these strips flat after you sew them. Next, take another strip and line it up next to the first strip, about a quarter of an inch away from the stitch. Sew this strip on too, straight down the middle. If your strips are not long enough (they probably won’t be) just apply another and sew it in line with the first until you reach the end. Cut off and save any excess for future strips. You will end up with something that looks like the picture below.
Continue to sew the strips on in this way until you get about halfway done. Then, turn it around and start on the other side so you’ll meet in the middle. This makes it easier to be sure you are consistent with spacing and such. The beauty of this rug, though, is it DOES NOT HAVE TO BE PERFECT. I am someone who can barely sew a straight line, so the fact that none of these lines have to be exact and I can go pretty fast make this easy. Your mistakes will be covered up later. Mine got pretty messy towards the middle, but that is perfectly fine.
The next step is to take your rug, and begin cutting the strips. Take each one individually, and make snips in each about half an inch apart, and a few millimeters from the stitch line. See the picture below for a reference. Do this to the entire rug. It is messy, and you’ll probably start to have little frayed edges fall everywhere. That is okay.
Finally, toss it in a washing machine and then in the dryer. This will help fray all of the edges, and get rid of any little pieces you don’t want getting all over your floor. Afterwards, you’ll have a super soft, ripped denim rug that looks a bit like this: