Tag Archives: Tutorial

Tutorial: Rag Rug Place Mats

Hi, Sophia here. I thought that for my first post I’d like to do a quick tutorial. It’s a very simple idea and great for using up those awkward bits of fabric that are too big to throw away but too wonky to be useful. It is also very cheap to make and reasonably speedy. I give you the rag rug place mat.

A black and multi-coloured striped ragrug placemat.

My first attempt at a rag rug place mat.

You will need:

  • Fabric scraps (I used one leg of an old pair of linen trousers for the base colour and a handful of left over scraps for the stripes).
  • Fine cord for the warp. I used linen twine but you just need something that is reasonably strong and not too thin.
  • A piece of cardboard slightly bigger than the size you want the placemat to be.
  • Scissors – one pair for fabric, one normal pair.
Piece of cardboard with slits cut into opposite edges=low cost loom

Piece of cardboard with slits cut into opposite edges=low cost loom

First, you need to cut your fabric into strips about 1.5cm wide. Snip into the fabric along the grain of the fabric and rip it until one centimetre to the edge. Then, a few centimetresalong, make another slit 1.5cm in the other direction and repeat (the fabric will end up in a sort of zig zag).

Then, you need to prepare your loom. Cut short slits in the cardboard every 2.5cm along two opposite ends. If you really want you can cut out every other strip so that it looks like the crenellations on a castle, but it isn’t necessary. You then wind your warp threads around the ‘finger’ on the end, bring the thread down through the slit, across the cardboard to the opposite edge, around the finger and back up to the original edge and so on and so on.

shuttle

Cardboard shuttle in use.

Use an excess piece of cardboard to make yourself a rudimentary shuttle. You basically want to cut a giant needle out of stiff cardboard. It’ll be a couple of centimetres wide at its widest point and you’ll need a hole big enough to put your strip of fabric through. Thread a length of fabric onto your shuttle and start weaving over and under the warp threads. When you reach the end of one strip of fabric tie on the next using a figure-of-eight knot.

As you go, use your fingers to push the weft threads down so that they bunch up a little.Keep weaving until the loom is full. Then tie off the warp and weft threads securely. Finally, slip the whole thing off the loom, give the thing a little shake to even out the threads, and admire.