{How to} Rag Rug Wreath

wreath featured image TEXT

We need to thank the early 1900s for this nifty, thrifty craft! The best fabrics to use are woollen or jersey weight fabrics but you can use whatever you like, just keep in mind that the thicker your fabric the tuftier your rug.

A quick note about fancy pants crafting gadgets that you dont really need. You dont need a rugging tool, also (and brilliantly) known as a bodger, to make a rag rug. You can use a crochet hook, and if you don’t have one of those you could use a chopstick to push the strip through the hessian. What? Not even a chopstick? Try the end of a thinnish pencil. You dont need a rotary cutter and metal ruler to cut your strips of cloth, scissors work just fine, but gadgets make these jobs much quicker. If you like the look of rugging and think you might like to do more then you can invest in a bodger if you wish. Ok, enough with the gadgets, moving on…

red wreath strips

You will need:

  • Two identical cardboard rings (the size you want your wreath to be)
  • Pen
  • Fabric scraps, plus an extra piece to cover the back of your wreath
  • Hessian
  • Scissors
  • Rotary cutter (optional)
  • Ruler
  • Crochect hook/ rugging tool
  • glue
  • string or ribbon for hanging

Step one. Cut strips of fabric 1 inch wide and 4 inches long from your fabric.

Step two. Draw around your cardboard rings onto you hessian but don’t cut them out yet!

draw around template

Step three. You can start anywhere you like inside the rings you have drawn on your hessian. Crochet hook users – Push your crochet hook into a space in the weave, fold a strip of fabric in half, grab the middle of the loop with your hook and draw it back through the fabric, then pull HALF of the strip through so it looks like the red tufts in the photo below. Bodger botherers – The same technique really but you dont need to fold your strip you can just grab the end with your bodger and pull the strip through instead.Tuft one done! Skip 3 of 4 threads, push your hook through and repeat. Keep going until your wreath has reached your ideal festively fluffy fullness.

Step four. Leaving a wide margin of at least an inch, more if the size of your cardboard backing will allow, cut around the outer circle of the ring you drew on your hessian. Cut tabs around the outside edge. For the hole in the middle of the wreath, cut tabs (like the segments of a chocolate orange) from the middle of the hole back to the inner edge of the wreath.

tabs red wreath

Step five. Apply fabric glue to the back of the hessian and one of the cardboard rings and allow it to become tacky before carfeully sticking your newly tufted wreath to the cardboard backing making sure that you’ve lined up the edges as best you can. Fold the tabs to the back of the cardboard ring.

hanging loop

Step six. Cut a piece of fabric at least an inch wider than your remaining cardboard ring. Cut tabs into this piece of fabric in the same way you did to your hessain. Glue the fabric to the second ring, folding the tabs over to the back to create a clean edge.

Once both halves have dried, glue a loop of ribbon to one of the rings so that you can hang your finished wreath. I also added a string of red sequins to my green wreath at this stage to add a splash of colour and sparkle.

Finally stick the two rings together, hang you wreath up, stand back and admire your handy work!

These wreaths are so easy to make and have a neat, professional looking finish, and because they are so easy to personalise they make fantastic gifts too.

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{How To} Turn an old shirt into a cushion cover.

{How to} Upcycle a shirt into a cushion cover 2

This simple twist on the classic envelope cover is a great way to give new life to an old shirt; 4 straight lines of sewing and someone has already done all the fastenings for you. Here’s how you do it…

You will need:

{How to} turn a shirt into a cushion cover, sewing, handmade

 

  • 1 shirt
  • 1 cushion inner – I bought mine but you could make your own.
  • measuring tape/ ruler
  • chalk/ pen/ pencil to mark out your pattern
  • pins (in the altoids tin!)
  • scissors
  • thread

 

 

I made my cover on a sewing machine but you could easily make this by hand.

You will not necessarily need to make your owl tape measure look like it is flying a kite, but it does help.

1. Find/ steal a shirt from unsuspecting partner/ housemate/ father/ brother. Mens’ shirts are probably best because they are bigger and tend not to be fitted. I got this one fair and square by helpfully offering to put it in the recycling box and secretly snaffling it away into the fabric stash.

appropriated shirt

2. Measure your cushion inner, mine is 45 cm (18 inches) square. To make your cover you need to add on 2 cm (1 inch) to the height and width for seam allowance.

Iron your shirt before marking out your pattern. Yes I know it is a pain but do it anyway, you will thank me when you have a beautiful square cushion cover.

3. Measure and mark out a square on the front and back of the shirt. For my inner this will be a 47 cm sided square.

front and back

This is where you get to choose. If you are lucky this will fit perfectly within the sleeves of your shirt. If not the choice is yours. You can:

a.) Just ignore the sleeve seams and cut right on through ( I think this adds to the upcycled-shirtiness effect)

OR

b.) You can just re-adjust your pattern making it slightly smaller to sit within the seams of the shirt. Cushion inners are squishy and forgiving to this kind of behavior.

4.) Decide that despite having gone out and bought an inner specially that your shirt would look much better as a bolster cushion than square and grab a cushion off the sofa to use instead. (Optional)

5.) Pin the front and back pieces together, right sides facing each other and sew the four sides together. I have allowed for 1 cm (1/2 inch) seams in my pattern, you can leave more if you wish. I used a line of straight stitch and then a line of zigzag stitch running parallel just to keep the edges from fraying too wildly.

pin right sides together

Once you’ve finished sewing you can turn your cushion cover inside out and iron it flat. (Yes, iron it again, it DOES make a difference.)

All that is left to do is unbutton the shirt, slip your inner inside and sit back and relax on your latest sewing triumph. Shirts will never be safe in your house again.

finished productIt doesn’t need to stop at shirts either. I made an old cardigan into a cover to fit the square inner, before finding yet another old shirt and now have more covers than cushions! They are so simple to make that all three of these covers only took me an afternoon.

 

The pockets are a handy extra too. You need never loose the remote control again…

Chandni Chowk shirt

 

 

{How To} Upcycle an old jumper into a bag.

Every so often a friend of my Mum’s brings me a huge bag of hand-me-downs. It’s such a treat. After her last visit I plunged my hand into a bag, rummaged around and pulled out a huge knitted jumper. It was a chunky, grey wool knitted in loose, wide stitches. The body of the jumper was a T shape, two large squares for the body and four smaller squares for the arms. I loved it, it looked dreadful on me.

Tools of the trade

But did I give up and throw it to one side? Oh no, I wasn’t letting this one go to the charity shop. So here is what I decided to do with my new jumper instead…

1) First I cut both arms off the jumper leaving me with a vaguely square bag shape. When you cut into a knitted fabric you have to stitch along the edges you are about to cut otherwise when you snip through the stitches your jumper will unravel. For smaller knits you can do this on your sewing machine using a zigzag stitch. I used a tapestry needle and a strand of the wool I was using for my edging to catch in the stitches around the arm holes.

Single crochet edge2) Next for a nice chunky edging. Using three strands of double knit yarn together I single crocheted all the way around two sides and the bottom of the bag, closing all the openings as I went.

 

CAT BAG 01

 

Hmmm, not so much plain as blank don’t you agree? I decided to stuff new bag with squashy balls of yarn for some wooly inspiration. Once the bag was full there was really only one way to go…

3) I cut eyes, nose and whiskers out of some pre made felt and I had all the best intentions of stitching them on, but ended up sticking them to the front of the bag with fabric glue. (They will fall off eventually, there wasn’t much surface to stick them to but when they do I will actually take the time to hand stitch them on, promise!).

Yarn Bag

From misfit jumper to the cat’s whiskers of a yarn bag in an hour and a half, and I had everything I needed in the house already. Purrrfect.