21 Pairs of Underwear Later…

… I have a rag rug.  Yup.  It’s a rag rug made out of old boxer shorts.  Why?  Well, it may be a long story, but here it goes.

The boyfriend and I are moving across town soon, but we’ve been planning this for about 6 months, so we started purging closets and junk piles a while ago.  During this process, I learned that the boyfriend has been rather reluctant to part with his old undershorts.  Why?  I’m really not sure.  Some of them had rips, others were worn so thin you could see through them.   Anyway, he wouldn’t throw them out, so I promised that if he would make me a stack of them (washed in hot water), I would find some use for them.  Moving day is approaching fast I didn’t want to move a stack of old undies, so I had to find a project, quick.  The answer: a rag rug.  I figured it can’t hurt to have another rug, especially one that can be used as a bath mat (kitty sometimes voices her displeasure with something by “going” on the bathmat so extras are helpful).  Anyway, what you see is the result.

How did I make it?  It’s pretty easy to find instructions for these online.  Making a rag rug is super simple.  Basically, you cut strips of fabric, braid them, then sew the braid together along the edge of the braid.  There are some things to make it easier though.  Here are some thoughts in no particular order:

  1. Use sturdy thread to sew the braid into the rug.  I started with “button thread” (that’s what the old spool of thread said it was), which is apparently thick maybe even waxed thread.  It seemed a lot like quilting thread to me.  It worked great.  Then I ran out of it, and used regular sewing thread doubled up.  That didn’t go so well… splits, fraying, fuzzing… might have to mend the outside layers of the rug more quickly than the inside.
  2. Keep a consistent thickness in your braid.  Thin fabric might need to be cut into thicker strips than more substantial fabric.
  3. Seams in the fabric make bulky spots so minimize these if possible.
  4. You don’t need to sew your strips together when you reach the end of a strip when you’re braiding.  I just overlapped the new strip on top of the old one and kept going.  I figured the sewing and the braid itself would keep it together and it does.
  5. Don’t stress about imperfections.  It’s a rag rug.  It’s gonna look rustic.  And honestly, even the problems that seemed big don’t even show in the finished product.
  6. If there’s a logic to what you do, it will look good.  I had a pile of different plaids.  I kept one red, one blue, and one strip with white of some sort at all times.
  7. Mix it up.  I didn’t want blocks of solid colors because I thought it might drive me crazy if they ended up uneven.  Three completely different patterns totally looks fine when braided together.

I can’t decide if the finished rug is going on the floor yet.  It ended up a somewhat awkward size – almost square even though I started with a rectangle – and it’s kind of too cool looking to walk on.  I might hang it on the wall as a conversation piece.  We’ll have to see when we get to the new house.

About micheletobias

I lead two lives - one as an artist and the other as a scientist. More and more I'm finding my two worlds colliding, and it's not the disaster you might expect. View all posts by micheletobias

One response to “21 Pairs of Underwear Later…

  • Veronika

    The title made me laugh, but the idea is actually a great one – I have a few things which I really wouldn’t donate but would hate to toss, so this may well be the fate of them in a few months.

    Something to do when the dark of winter comes, possibly!

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