Don’t relegate your fabric scraps to the rubbish bin, recycle them into fabric twine and make this colourful Twine Spiral Mat, Recycled Fabric Rug instead.
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.
Here are some craft projects that I’ve made using my recycled fabric twine:
- Recycled Fabric Twine Planter
- Fabric Twine Recycled Christmas Ornaments
- Woven Twine Chair Seat
- Candy Cane Fabric Twine for gift wrapping
How the idea to make a Fabric Twine Mat came about
For this upcycling project I was drawn to my sewing machine, and wanted to see how this recycled fabric twine 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.
As I don’t have carpet on my floors, rags rugs and mats are always welcome and practical decor items.
This spiral sewing technique can be used for a mat of any size.
You can even keep the circles small and make place mats or coasters.
You will need:
- Scrap fabric twine, lots and lots of it!
- Sewing machine and thread
- Heavy Duty Sewing Machine needles
- Anti-slip rug underlay (I used Ikea STOPP underlay )
- Hot Glue gun and plenty of glue sticks
- General sewing supplies
- Marker pen
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.
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.
Tip: I recommend using a heavy duty needle or denim needle for this project as the twine can be quite hard to sew through, resulting in needle breakage.
Try to keep the shape as flat as possible, it will have a tendency to cup up if you pull too tight on the twine as you sew. This is a similar technique to what I used for my Braided T-shirt Rug.
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.
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.
4. Once you have decided how your circles will be laid out, pin or tape them together where they join.
The tape on my mat marks where the joins will be sewn.
5. Zig zag the circles together at the join, reversing over the stitching a couple of times for extra strength.
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!
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.
7. Cut out underlay circle shapes.
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.
Spiral Fabric Rug Trouble shooting – Your questions answered
My spirals are cupping, how do I stop the edges curling up?
The spirals have a tendency to cup as you sew. This will happen if you aren’t feeding enough twine through the machine as you sew. Even a little bit of tension as you hold your twine will pull on the edges leading to cupping.
If the cupping is only slight, a good press with a steam iron should flatten it out.
The glued on underlay will also help hold the circles flat, and then as you start walking on your mat, the cupping will settle and flatten out with time.
Worst case scenario – turn your spiral circle into a basket!
Help! My needle keeps breaking. How do I avoid broken needles?
Fabric twine can be quite tough to sew through, especially if it’s very tightly twisted. I’d recommend sewing slowly and using a heavy duty or denim sewing machine needle.
This recycled fabric rug is 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.
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!