Fabric Twine Spiral Mat

Scrapbusting: Make a mat from handmade twine Mypoppet.com.au
The response to my Scrap Fabric Twine tutorial a few weeks ago was overwhelming. It seems to have captured everyone’s imagination. I think the beauty of twine making is that it requires no special tools, although some commenters were very keen to try it using spinning wheels or electric drills to speed up the process.

So many people asked me what the twine can be used for. Well I suppose what ever you use yarn or rope for is a good answer. Some suggestions were basket making, crochet, weaving, macrame, cording for garments…the list is endless, but I was drawn to my sewing machine (as usual) and wanted to see how it sewed together.
I started sewing circular disks as an experiment really, I didn’t have anything particular in mind, but as the circles grew, the idea for a spiral mat was born. This technique can be used for a mat of any size, you can even keep the circles small and make place mats or coasters.
Read on for instructions…

Handmade fabric twine on old wooden spool

You will need:

Scrap fabric twine, lots and lots of it!
Sewing machine and thread
Anti-slip rug underlay (I used STOPP underlay from IKEA)
Scissors
Hot Glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
General sewing supplies
Marker pen

How to:

twisting rope diy
1. Make your scrap fabric twine, find the full instructions with a video here. You can make it all before your start or do it in stages as you go along. The more twine you have the bigger your rug will be.
Sew twine into a spiral to make a mat
2. With your sewing machine stitches set to a wide zig zag, start sewing the twine into a flat spiral shape, making sure you catch both sides with the zig zag stitch. Try to keep the shape as flat as possible, it will have a tendency to curl up if you pull too tight. This is a similar technique to what I used for my Braided T-shirt Rug.
Zig zag stitch with fabric twine close up
Hint: Starting is the trickiest, you can sew a little cross shape over the center to make it more secure. Don’t worry if its not perfect, a bit of wonkiness adds to the over all scrappy look. I had a few skipped stitches as I used an old sewing machine needle.
mat-circles-finished
3. Make as many circles as you need for your mat. I’ve made a slightly larger central one and seven smaller surrounding ones. They are all slightly different sizes and it’s a good idea to lay them out as you go to check how the circles will fit together.

Hint: Don’t be limited to a circular design for your layout, you could easily make a long runner or a big square rug using the same method. Any design will work but the edges of the circles must touch each other when laying flat.
Lay out circles to design your scrap rug
4. Once you have decided how your circles will be laid out, pin or tape them together where they join.
mat joins
The tape on my mat marks where the joins will be sewn.
joining mat circles with zig zag stitch
5. Zig zag the circles together at the join, reversing over the stitching a couple of times for extra strength.
problem solving a buckled mat
You can see that the circles have some cupping at this stage, don’t worry because the next step will fix that right up as well as stop your rug from slipping!
Adding underlay to rag rug
6. Flip your rug over and lay the non-slip underlay on top (back side). Draw the shape of your circles onto the underlay just a little bit smaller than the fabric circle, 1cm (1/2″) should be enough.
marking shape on underlay
7. Cut out underlay circle shapes.
Glue underlay to rug
8. Use a hot glue gun to attach the underlay to the rug. Be careful the glue is hot so watch those fingers. I found it best to apply the glue to the rug and then press the underlay on top when it cooled slightly as the very hot glue melted the underlay material.

Hint: As you are gluing on the underlay make sure that the fabric circles are stretched nice an flat, this will help sort out your cupping issues.
DIY handmade fabric scrap rug from twisted twine mypoppet.com.au
All done!
It’s so pretty and adds a pop of colour to any space. I’m using it as a front door mat at the moment, it’s great because the pattern hides any dirt. You can just give it a vac or throw it in the washing machine if it gets really grubby.
Spiral rug DIY mypoppet.com.au
Oh and if you are curious about where I got my spotty track pants, I made them myself :)

I’ve run out of twine now but will have to start on another batch soon, it’s so handy! What have you been using your fabric twine for?

28 Comments

  • Tonja says:

    Love this IDEA! I saw the first twin episode and was thinking, what could I do with all that? NOW I KNOW what to do. I was just telling my husband the other day I needed a wonky rug. Too bad I used all of my strips in a scrap blanket! Oh well, I’ll be able to make more!

    Great job!

  • tracy says:

    Brilliant! This will be a project most desired by all! Great inspirational work!

  • Sarah Helene says:

    FAB & CLEVER IDEA sewing together fabric twine circles & forming 8 into a UNIQUE rug! Your 8-step directions and sharp photos “tell” it all with a larger circle in the center with varying sizes of 7 circles all ’round. Colorful indeed, so thanks for sharing. Sarah in Minneapolis

  • ive started this, i started making one before this tutorial and got many things “wrong!” but this is real good and i started over. i havent stitched with the machine yet. i have many WIP at the mo

  • Cathy M says:

    This is perfect for me! We have another set of ripped bed sheets and I was trying to work out what to do with them: this will be perfect!

  • Shar F says:

    I love them. I’m going to teach myself to make this twine when I get home from my retreat. I love it. I have so much scrap that I can’t use in quilts that would be great for this. Thanks for the idea.

  • mimi hanna says:

    I loved the look of them on spools so started making the twine with my scraps…right now I have the twine wrapped around spool…looks so cute and “scrappy”! I have made mats similar to your circles with rug hooking wool strips braided together…
    very similar …but different because of the earthy dyed wool…I will try making a single circle…could use it as hot pad…or whatever…Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Lindy says:

    Awesome! Thanks for the great idea!

  • This is truly fabulous! I’ve made several from crocheted rags, which I love since I can throw them into the washing machine…now I’ve got to try this! Would love to see you on Craft Schooling Sunday if you have a moment to drop by and share!

  • Michelle says:

    This is such a great idea! I love the colors. This would go great in my daughters dorm room. Thank you!

  • PJ says:

    I have seen people wind and sew twine before to make stuff, but I have never seen anyone use their sewing machine and a zig zag stitch before. That is genius.

  • Anne says:

    Gorgeous! I think I need to make a set of hot pads. I’ve got a Craft Gossip post that links to your tutorial:
    http://sewing.craftgossip.com/tutorial-scrap-fabric-twine-spiral-mats/2014/06/13/
    –Anne

  • Kay says:

    Fun! My grandma used to make plastic bread sack crocheted rugs to catch the dirt grandpa brought into the house. I think I’ll try the same idea with the twisted thread, big hood and looser stitches. Thanks for sharing this.

  • Jane Louis says:

    Love this idea! This could become quite addictive lol. Thank you for sharing :)

  • Frida says:

    I love it! So cute :)

    Hugs
    Frida
    Denmark

    http://www.fridaspeach.wordpress.com

  • Marie says:

    Cintia, My grandmother used to make trivets and pot holders similar to this. Granny didn’t have much and she would use her dresses and shifts that could no longer be patched. Though she had a treadle sewing machine; she would sit and sew these together by hand. We all had some of these as she would give them to us for holidays and birthdays. My collection is down to just two now and I treasure them. Granny has been gone for some twenty years now, but I can still visualize her sitting on her sofa sewing her trivets.
    Thanks for the memories, I guess now I should make some of my own to perhaps pass on.
    Marie

  • iHanna says:

    I watched the tutorial for how to make the twine before, and love how colorful yours is. And this, OMG, so cute! Lots of labor to make it, but a great project.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Louise says:

    Hi There,

    I have enjoyed watching your video on fabric twine, I think I need to do this as like most crafters I have oodles and oodles of left over fabric.

  • Eve says:

    Loved your tutorial, I made a big lollipop flower.

  • Linda says:

    I’ve started making the twine, having so many fabric strips left from a planned log cabin quilt. I made a fabric yo yo table topper that I love and I think the twine would be cute for that. Love the table runner idea too. I don’t think I could bear it being stepped on. Thanks for the great tutorial and ideas.

  • Mary Smith says:

    Love it! Ever knit a lap throw with it?

  • Helen says:

    Hi, what a great find your site is. Love the twine, as I cannot throw anything out either! I have even made fabric of my thread off cuts, now that’s thrift. Looking forward to more browsing on your blog. Cheers

  • Karen says:

    What a great idea! Can’t wait to see all your projects made with the twine. My Mom used to make rugs from her left over fabrics. They lasted forever it seems. Wonderful, colorful memories of them. Can’t wait to make some for myself—no shortage of fabric.

    Thanks for the tutorial!

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