Introduction: Denim Rug From Recycled Material

I like to use denim from old jeans to make different things. I have made bags, aprons and jackets so far and really like the durability and style of the fabric. I take the jeans completely apart and use almost every part including the distinctive gold thread. The only part I haven’t found a use for is the copper rivets, but give me time. I decided that my next project would be to make a small rug to use in or outside of the house as needed. I figured that since these jeans have gone through roofing, Jeep restoration, furniture refinishing largely intact they can finish out their life as a rug.


Old jeans
Thread - I use regular sewing thread and topstitching thread
Dryer Sheets or quilt batting
Sewing Machine

Step 1: Assemble Your Fabric

I have a lot of fabric left over from other projects, many are small odd pieces and I want to use them up. My plan is to make a rug about 24 x 30 inches in a rectangular shape. Your rug of course will be whatever size or shape you choose.

Step 2: Lay Out Your Pieces

I have chosen the pieces I want to use and cut them in even sided shapes and assembled them into the basic shape I want. The rough measurement is near the 24 x 30 inch size I wanted. Now I will sew them together.

Step 3: Insides

I want there to be some loft within the rug so I need some type of batting to insert between the front I have just made and the back which I will be making. Since I am a recycler (see previous step) I will be using used dryer sheets. For all you purists who line dry and have no dryer sheets you can use quilt batting. I sew 5 layers of dryer sheets together to make one batt then sew each of those together to make a solid sheet big enough for my rug. You can make it as thick as you want but it has to be able to be sewn to the front of the rug so test what your machine can do.

Step 4: Sewing

I recycle and reuse a lot so the thread I am using is not new. Check out the picture, 29 cents for the spool, wow, where did that come from? I am using a zig zag stitch and lapping the edges of the fabric over one another. I am not looking for a clean edge of a seam, I think it would add too much bulk. I’m also keeping any and all imperfections as it will add interest to the final product. After sewing the front I turn the piece over and sew again to make sure I caught the edge and also to ensure the seam is strong. When all pieces are sewn measure to make sure it’s near the size you want. Truing it up will be a later step.

Step 5: Sewing the Batt and Front Together

Now that I have my batting prepared and measured to approximate the rug size, I am going to sew them together with a quilting style stitch pattern. Since I am not a quilter this pattern won’t be Double Wedding Ring, Log Cabin or Storm at Sea, rather it will be my own idea. I am pinning the batt and the top together at the corners so I can keep them together while I sew. I am going to use topstitching thread which is heavier and will stand out better.

Step 6: Backing

I need to add a back to keep my batting from wearing away. You can use anything you want from fabric to waterproof, rubberized material. I am going to go with denim (again) and will use big pieces that require minimal piecing. I also am looking for the least worn of my denim pieces as this will be on the bottom and get a lot of wear. I will use the same technique of lapping the edges and zig zag sewing the pieces together. Again I will sew the front, turn it over and re sew the edge for added strength. When finished I will match it to the front and trim both to fit each other. This is also when you can true up the edges or cut into a new shape. Now I will sew back to front, wrong sides together using a straight stitch. For a final bit of strength I will do a few top stitched rows down the middle of the rug to make sure the bottom and the top stay together.

Step 7: Finishing the Edge

I want to finish the raw edge of the rug to keep it from raveling and to make it look pretty. For this I am using the selvage edge at the inside leg of the jeans. I will cut it so that there is about 1/2 inch of denim before the gold stitching. That will give me enough to sew the denim part to back and wrap the decorative stitching around to the front. This will cover the raw edge and make a pretty finish. You can serge or zig zag the raw edge for added strength and to ensure it doesn’t ravel. Sew the raw edge to the back first. When you go all the way around the back, fold the stitched edge over and sew it in place to the front.

Step 8: All Finished!

My rug is finished and ready for use.
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