Upcycling Fabric Scraps – DIY Rag Rug


We all have a collection remnant fabric scraps, don’t we, but who saves the small off-cuts? They are useless, right? WRONG….

There are a number of useful ways to create something quite unique, out of very small fabric scraps, and one way is to make a durable floor mat/rug that is soft on our feet.

Perfect for the kitchen, bathroom or laundry, it is time to think of keeping our toes warm, now that winter is approaching. Rag mats first originated  in the depression years, when every single item had to be used and re-used. Whilst there is no need for us to be so frugal today, why throw away something that could be turned into a functional and pretty item? It is free and uses no pre-purchased materials, apart from a small piece of hessian, which most crafters would have sitting in their stash, anyways.

In years gone by, many families purchased their potatoes, flour, sugar or salt  in hessian bags, and once the contents were eaten, gave the sacks second lives, around the home.

You will need:

  • 1 piece of hessian or burlap, cut and hemmed to the size of the mat you desire. The hemming will stop the hessian from fraying.
  •  A selection of fabric scraps, cut into strips -1cm w x 12 cm long and upwards.

You don’t have to be especially neat with this, but I do prefer to use pinking shears to cut a zig zag edge, otherwise the  scraps do tend to fray.

Now you are ready…. this technique does take some time, so be patient, or do this whilst watching TV, a little each night.

Using an old crochet hook, or knitting needle, lay a fabric strip on the hessian and push one end of the cut strip through to the other side of the hessian.

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Do the same on the underside, so that there are two ends showing through on the right side of the hessian mat.

Tie a simple “criss cross and under” overhand knot. No need to double the knot.

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Repeat with more and more fabric strips.

Continue in this fashion until the mat is covered to the desired thickness and fullness with fabric off-cuts.

If you have a limited amount of one colour of fabric, I like to distribute it evenly over the mat, rather than finishing with a conglomeration of colour, on one end.

Then I just fill in all the gaps…..


The look of the finished rug

Until, one day… hey presto, it is done. A cosy, environmentally friendly rug to keep your bare feet warm when the weather cools that has cost you nothing but time.

The under side of your hessian mat should look something like this:

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Once complete, the mat may be washed in very hot water to make the hessian shrink, and the holes in the base fabric contract, thereby locking the fabric strips/scraps into the hessian.

If you use this method, you probably don’t have to knot the ends of each fabric strip together, just poke them through to the other side.

How many scraps make a rug?

Definitely something I will NOT ponder about today.


38 thoughts on “Upcycling Fabric Scraps – DIY Rag Rug”

    1. That is incredible skill. I guess it is a matter of years of practice. I also admire those women who can crochet and knit while looking anywhere other than what they are knitting, and holding a conversation at the same time. Brain gym by another name!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. My great aunt fed for family by making proggy mats . This was in the 20’s and 30’s after WW1 when her husband was gassed and an invalid. There was a difference between proggy and hooky mats. The proggys were made with longer strips and pushed into the hessian sack backing with a sharpened wooden peg.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this. I have not heard that term, but it is unsurprising that this technique was popular and useful in the depression. How was the Hooky mat made?


  2. That’s a very clever idea if you have the patience for it. I definitely do not. I use my scraps as starters and testers when I am sewing. Since my fabrics are all cotton, they can be composted to some degree. I do love finding ways to use scraps.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve seen these mats in cultural museums (the sort where they have replicas of old houses or furnished rooms) but I hadn’t come across anyone making them nowadays. With a shift towards trying to recycle more and throw less away I guess they could make a come-back! Very clever 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Apparently, Ally, it is just one of the ways. I am learning that there are a multitude of ways to make them. This is one of the easiest. It is amazing that previous generations learnt all this stuff and it would have been lost without museums and certain individuals preserving and documenting the old ways.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this and the idea of using things instead of throwing them out. My grandmother taught me to crochet and quilt. Back in the day she would use just about anything to make those quilt tops. They sure came in handy in the winter when my mama would bring out extra ones and put on the beds.


      1. Hi Amanda – the rug looks durable and like it has some shock absorbing qualities for comfort

        Things here are well.
        Took a blog break and it is not totally back to normal yet as I am finishing up some projects
        And speaking of my priests list- I am going to post that interview with you sometime in June – likely a Sunday – how does that sound?
        I don’t ha e any questions right now regarding it – but will follow up once I get it set up.
        And is it okay if I grab a few photos from your blog if I need them for the post?
        And thanks again for doing the mini interview with me – it had been a desire of my heart to do more interviews since 2015 and I am finally getting to then last year and this year!!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Glad to hear things are well. It is totally okay to grab the photos from my blog, Yvette. No dramas. Let me know if you need anything else. Thanks for running the interviews. Things take time to coalesce. I have WordPress drafts from five years ago.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. well that made me feel “lighter” – so thanks for sharing – and those drafts of yours sound like they have been simmering – hope they have some nice flavor when (if) their time comes – hahaha

            Liked by 1 person

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