Rugs from Tee Shirts

You’ve probably heard of this sort of thing – using old tee shirts to make something new, like shopping bags or quilts or, in my case recently, rugs.  I’d say braided rugs, because that’s what they look like, but actually they’re kind of crocheted…sort of.

Anyway, I don’t have enough how-to pictures – woefully unprepared am I – but I taught myself to finger crochet and I made simple little bracelets for Julia and her friends out of the bottom seams of old tee shirts.  I taught Julia how to do it, and she made seven bracelets in half an hour. 

Anyway, using this same technique of crochet without a hook, you can make long chains with strips of old tee shirts (nice to use because they’re stretchy) or other strips of fabric…denim…yarn, whatever.

So I’d salvaged and sliced up a lot of old tee shirts from this household, and I decided to make little rugs for the kids’ rooms.  More summery than the shag rugs they’ve got now.

I made two lonnnnnnng chains, one with Julia colors and one with Alex colors, and yesterday I started binding Julia’s rug.  Now, if I was REALLY crocheting, I suppose I could crochet the whole thing together using some sort of round and round stitching.  But that’s not happening.  So I just started spiraling the chain and stitching it together on the back side.  Here’s a picture I took not long after I started:


Very exciting, except you can probably tell the “rug” is curving more like a hat or a really large soft bowl.  At first I thought I could stretch it out and it would lie flat…but as I kept going (past the above point) the cupping just became more pronounced.  So I looked up stuff online about this sort of issue with braided/crocheted rugs, and learned I was stitching it all too tightly. 

And after a lot of heavy sighing and frowning, I ripped out all my stitches and started again, this time with a looser stitch and paying careful attention to potential buckling.

Here’s where I was at the end of my day yesterday:


I’d gotten about as far as that white section before, and it was definitely NOT flat.  This is much better. 

It’s currently 17.5” in diameter, and I’ve got a bunch more left of the chain to go.  Not sure how big this will get, but it really doesn’t matter.  Julia already likes it.

I like it because I know where all those different portions of fabric came from.  That little dark pink section near the top of the picture?  A very small pair of stretchy pants Julia had…dark pink with black polka dots and black lace at the ankles.  The section that looks white?  Actually it’s also got tiny pale rosebuds, and it came from maternity summer pajamas I had when I was nursing. 

One more – see the section that’s a blend of deal and dark purple?  More very worn stretchy pants I couldn’t completely part with:


That’s about it for now, but I just wanted to share what I’ve been up to.  There are other things, too, but they’ll have to wait.

What have you been doing lately? 

One thought on “Rugs from Tee Shirts

  1. Those are going to be so nice. I like the idea of finger crocheting a chain opposed to braiding. I crocheted a rug once and looking at this, I think I should have used this method. You’ll have to go over to my blog to see what I’ve been doing. Busy summer so far.

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