Step 2: Braid it

After you have prepared all of your t-shirts and made them into yarn, it's time to start your braid. I used a sewing machine to start the braid and for all of my transitions, but it was only because I was so pumped to have just gotten the sewing machine that I "had" to use it. You could totally hand-sew all of these or knot them for a more care-free look. 

I started by sewing the end of one yarn strip to the middle of a different colored strip to create a "T" shape. Those were the 3 pieces of the beginning of my braid and when I began to braid, it covered up the stitches (awesome!). Keep braiding until you need to sew on another color. I added a new color by sewing diagonally with the fabric placed right side to right side at a 90 degree angle, and trimming off the tiny corner. This way, when you stretch it out, the strand smoothly transitions from one color to the next. This kind of seam is used for binding in quilts also. 

Keep braiding until you have added all of your shirts. You can use an office clip or a chip clip to keep the braid from unraveling if you get tired and want to take a (2 week) break, like I did. It helps to keep the yarn all balled up while braiding so that it doesn't become a big, tangly mess.

<p>Can I buy this ? I'm not handy enough to make this on my own. </p>
I remember some time ago reading an adaptation of this concept that wasn't sewn but one of the braids was fed through the last row of the rug, incorporating the new row onto the rug... kind of a reverse french braid concept?<br>
op nevermind, i get what you're saying. I wonder if there's a way not to sew it at all... like thead it through
Could you please explain what you mean? I'd rather that than sew it.
<p>Can this be made using old sheets and/or curtains? Wanting to make this with my daughter and we have sheets and curtains that match her colors in her room that we cannot use anymore.</p>
<p>I need a seat cover for my pickup truck... this is giving me ideas... thanks.</p>
<p>Every time you describe a tricky bit of cutting or sewing, take a photo. Take several.</p>
<p>If you don't have the time and energy to try and flatten a rug--use it as a basket for scarves, toys, etc... I have one in the corner for magazines!</p>
<p>some folks in my church are doing the same with plastic bags to create &quot;rugs&quot; that will insulate from the cold for homeless people in our area. You lay it flat, cut off the top and end, then fold in half lengthwise and cut (2x). You end up with 4 loops which are then looped into each other to create a chain, and then single crochet to long, rectangular rug. I haven't actually made one yet, but wanted to share in case anyone else wants to do something like this in their own community. (you just can't use any that are torn, cuz they'll rip)</p>
<p>I used to cut my Dad's old socks in a spiral and crochet them into a rug. Good rainy day project when I was a kid.</p>
My Grandmother &amp; Aunts made these rugs all the time for over sixty years. They are awesome rugs. The only difference is they didn't use sewing machines &amp; they would put a backing on it. The rug does bubble in the center a bit, but once you walk on it regularly the rug flattens. The backing also seems to help. <br>
<p>BTW, you don't have to use a presser foot. Go slow and walk the fabric through and you can use a sewing machine. Or get a quilting/walking foot.</p>
<p>Hi, I was just wondering if you think it would be possible to use normal non stretchy material instead of a T-shirt? Or do you think it would not work because it would not stretch? Thanks :)</p>
<p>I hope Marishka doesn't mind that I am jumping in here (I've made several of denim). The non-stretchy material does work, sometimes even better. The effect of the &quot;bowl&quot; that many experience is because the material stretches... and while adding to the rug, it gets pulled too tightly. So, relax on the stretch!</p><p>And the denim ones are so cool, especially if you are able to get a lot of different hues of blue (or even colored denim - but I like mine all blue).</p>
<p>can u post a pic of yours? would like to see them. i guess the denim is heavy and that prevents the buckling</p>
<p>Thank You! I am now thinking of making the shaggy style rag rug now as I think it might work better for what I am after but I am now worried that it will fray!! Mattea</p>
<p>You know, there is some fraying, but if you cut the denim along the grain, it helps to reduce the amount of fraying (mostly during wash). I try to not wash it too often to help reduce that, but you will find that fraying is inevitable. I cut the frayed threads where it is too long, but I find the fraying gives the rug a little bit more authenticity - just like your old jeans!</p><p>Good luck!</p>
<p>I have tried making these several times. Round ones buckle up, Small flats start to curve. I think mabe a frame of some sort might work to keep shape. anyone have this problem? also, if the t-shirt is a blend, not 100% cotton the braids will strech more so i tried 100% cotton.</p>
<p>It was more fun just reading the instructions than thinking about doing it! Great narrative!</p>
<p>Oh, this one is fantastic ! </p>
<p>We made it and it doesn't lay flat! We used a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine. Other than that it's pretty cool.</p>
<p>It was probably pulled too tight. It is very pretty. Perhaps you can try undoing the stitches on the back and see if you can make it looser. </p>
<p>Great way to recycle old tshirts and clothes</p>
<p>Also, at one point while I was sewing the braid flipped, which meant the strands in the braid were going from the outside-in. All of suzelac's photos show the strands going from the inside-out, but I didn't realize that and ended up sewing a long section the wrong way. Eventually, the feet of the machine started catching the strands.</p><p>And here's what I've done so far. Thanks for the inspiration and great instructable!!</p>
<p>What kind of needle were you using on your rug? Did you also bottom stitch, or just use only a top stitch? Thanks.</p>
<p>Love, love, LOVE it!! I hope you have someone to help move that monster around under your feed dog!! What did you use for bobbin thread (the thread that will show on the otherside)? Maybe if a person used a plastic filament line, it wouldn't show? Or does it just not show anyway?</p>
<p>I love your rug!</p>
I've made it?? but as you said it's getting into a bowl??pls help..
when you add more strips, do you make each one you add in the &quot;T&quot; shape ? can you knot the strips to join them together ? I don't know if it's the wording or that I'm just not picturing it in my mind. How, exactly, do you join new strips together ? I am such a visual person. I learn very quickly by watching, but if there are written directions, it seems to take me forever.l please help !! I really want to do this. I have such a love for braided rugs. I guess it's from childhood memories. They are so expensive to purchase, so, now, here's my chance to have one or twelve. LOL thank you :)
<p>No....Right sides together,make an &quot;L&quot; shape~sew top left to bottom right~cut off the left bottom corner~Fold over the bottom &quot;L&quot; part.....to make the continuing color join the previous color</p>
Usually, the T shape is just where you start braiding. Two strands, usually different colors, joined end to end, with the third strand attached at the join to form the vertical section of the &quot;T&quot;. Then you just add to the strips as you run out of length to braid. <br>
That doesn't look like it would hold long. How have rag braid rugs been sewn before?
<p>You use a heavy thread and a blunt needle to go under one of the strips on your braid and across to go under one of the strips on the coil. It is done on the inside of the coil, alternating back and forth. This way, none of the sewing shows and the rug is reversible. Here's a link for a 4-strip method which doesn't use any sewing at all: http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/no-sew-braided-rug-handmade-zmaz79zsch.aspx#axzz32GtWcGKY</p>
<p>Thank you</p>
<p>It's called lacing. Much better result that sewing by hand. There are special needles for lacing, too.</p>
<p>Thanks so much; it took a few days (and a LOT of sewing) but it is done. About 1m (apprx. 40&quot;) across. I have another pile of dark T-shirts (black, brown, gray) ready to devote themselves to the next rug. :)</p>
<p>I made this with my mom and sister, but we used old blue jeans.(we still did not finish it)</p>
<p>I was just wondering if this did this work even though the material did not stretch? :)</p>
<p>and we made it a little difrent </p>
<p>I coiled too tightly and really did end up with a t-shirt bowl. It was super fun and easy, though, so I'm going to try again. </p>
You can also use old sheets!
<p>thank you so much for this tutorial! It is very well explained, and funny at times:) I def plan on trying it!</p>
I was just wondering this morning of how my mother and I used to make braided and crouched rugs from bread wrappers cut into strips. This is it! Thank you for this excellent instruction!
<p>You can also use this method with fabric strips and make coasters! </p>
<p>Thank you for these instructions, I will be cleaning my closet and making this with the results :-) </p>
<p>Great inspiration.. Thanks!<br>I was able to sew the braids together using my sewing machine but making it flat is a challenge.</p>
<p>Thankyou for this instructable, it was really helpful and I seriously enjoy your sense of humor! Thankyou!</p>
<p>love it</p>

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Bio: Recent "DIY" projects: Feather headbands (inspired by ones seen at Urban Outfitters) Permanently dying an old bridesmaid's dress black DIY feather hair extensions Cutting ... More »
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