How to cut your fabric and the “No Sew” join method

Fabric Cutting

Here are a few secrets to cut material for rug making Before most of us started making rugs, we usually bought a kit with everything in it the right size and length. Then all we had to do was just read some directions, hopefully they were directions that we could follow easily, and we would just get busy and finish our piece of rug art. If you are like me, I wanted things in my own choice of colors and I must say that 99 percent of the time kits do not offer color combinations that I like. Please don’t think that I am against kits, I highly recommend them to help you get started and they are also a great way to test the waters for a method of rug making. The upside to purchasing material by the pound is the price, the more you purchase the less the price is. The downside is that when you do purchase mill ends or by the pound you do have to cut it up to the right size for your rug making needs. Once you get started I am sure that you will certainly develop your own style and method of cutting it down to size but I wanted to share some of my methods that may help you to either decide how you will do it or it will give you ideas on creating your own way to do it. First we have scissors which can be electric or hand powered. I recommend investing in a good pair and keep them sharpened. You can use them to cut everything if you want to but I use mine mostly to cut material into workable chunks. A cloth slitter is also very convenient for cutting several strips at once and is adjustable for up to 2 inch wide strips. Next we have the rotary cutter and mat, great for smaller projects or for a small amount of material. The mat itself is a huge life saver for me because it does have the measurements right on it. This method works great for yardage material. If you have decided that you will be doing a lot of rug hooking or braiding, a good cutter such as Fraser or Bliss, Rigby would be a wise investment. They both come with a selection of different size cutting heads and they do make it so much easier to cut down the material. This is where your scissors come in handy to cut chunks out of your mill ends so that you can easily put it through your cutter. To cut mill end fabric on rolls, use an electric knife. I use masking tape and place it around the complete roll the width that I need, then cut around with the electric knife. If you are handy with tools, use a saw zal to cut a slice off of the roll, use the masking tape to mark off the width and cut. I’m positive that there are more ways to get the cutting done and I look forward to hearing from all of you about your method of cutting it down. Confused on how to rip your fabric ? Not sure how to do the no sew join ? Prepare your fabric: ***Please be very careful about ripping fabric, it creates sort of dust or fuzzies so if possible do it outside.*** Using a single thickness of 1 yard of fabric, get a ruler and scissors, cut a 3 inch slit in fabric every 2 inches (you can mark 1,1 1/2, 2, 3 inches whatever you want remember not a lot of rules 1 inch makes a thin rug/placemat, 2 inches makes a thicker one, etc.), now pick up every other slit in left hand (#1, 3, & 5) hold to the left, then pick up the ones you left behind (#2, 4, &6) with the right hand make sure they are in opposite directions and rip, that’s it. See diagram below ** get a buddy to help you, kids love to hold on and pull!! Remember you don’t want the strips overly long, try to keep them about the length from the tip of your nose to your extended arm. Some people pre-wash the fabric (I don’t), and wrap the strips into a ball (I don’t ). If I am stripping fabric, after I am done I put it into a plastic bag and just reach in and grab a strip as I go along but Please do what is most comfortable to you.

The “No Sew” join, honest, really, it’s true, NO SEWING. You will eventually have to add fabric but don’t panic, you can do it. With scissors make a slit approx 1/2 from edge big enough for your finger to fit through on each end. Lay A2 on top of B1 match holes best as you can, now bring A1 under and push the fabric strip through B1 and A2, pull snug. There will be a small bump or knot where you have joined the strips. Some people slit both ends at the same time but for me it depends on how long my fabric strips are. If I am using short ones, I do snip both ends but the longer strips I wait until I need it. Either way is very acceptable.

See that wasn’t so hard was it !! Some advice on what you can or should use for rug making The number one question that I get asked frequently is always about what type of material to use. Now I am sure that everyone will certainly have their own opinion about this but mine is you can use almost anything to create a rug, if you can cut it then you can use it. I have used several different types of material in one rug. Of course you do have to take a little time to consider exactly how and where the rug you want to create will be used before you decide what material you will create it with. Before you start any type of rug, answer these questions first: 1. Who is the rug for ? You don’t really want to make a hard to care for rug especially if you plan on selling it. Who want s to buy a rug that you can step on ever, try to keep this in mind. Of course if you get a request for a certain size or type of rug, make sure they know what is in store for that type of rug (meaning it may be hard to clean or require a professional cleaning frequently) 2. Where is the rug going ? If the rug will be in a high traffic area, you want to make sure to use a durable material such as wool that is known for its durability qualities or a nice cotton fabric. 3. What method are you using to make the rug ? This is such a huge subject but it does make a difference. For example you would not want to use one strand of rug wool to crochet or knit a rug. That would take you years but of course you could use 4 or more strands at once to create a nice rug and you could decide to full or felt it after you finished. You can use wool, raw fleece, cotton thread, cotton fabric, polyester fabric, upholstery fabric, wool rug yarn, leather (I have not used leather but it is possible), roving, and even flannel. One great way to recycle is to visit your Second hand or Thrift shops in your area and look for bed sheets, wool coats, suits, skirts, even old wool blankets that you can cut up for various rug making. If you are a beginner, don’t worry about color selection yet, just use the inexpensive material to learn with. You will soon realize that whatever method of rug making you choose; the material can be found usually right in your own area. One of the hazards of owning beautiful rugs Ever since I started making rugs, I have wanted nothing but bare floors. Actually I would really love all wood flooring but until I win the lottery I currently have vinyl. One of the problems, no matter what type of flooring you have, with rugs is the slipping. Please be very careful giving rugs to anyone, especially the elderly, who can easily loose their balance. This can lead to various “twister” positions and can also be very dangerous. There are ways to help keep your rugs in place. Currently on the market you can find several types of “Rug Grip” at just about any store. They vary from thick to thin. One product I found at Walmart comes in a sheet and you place it under your rug and it does help keep it in place. Another type come in strips and you place the strip , which sort of reminds me of packing tape, on each end of your rug. Both of these seem to be readily available and I have even seen some of this at a grocery store so you should have no problem finding some. Quite by mistake, I found that if you buy the roll of the non slip kitchen cabinet liner, this not only works just as good but it also feels good on your wallet and we can all use a little savings on something, right. For me, this is the best and the cheapest because you will still be able to use both sides of your rugs. If you are really in a bind and you just can get to the store another trick is to use the fabric paint. A word of caution if you do this, you will not have a double sided rug. Following the fabric paint directions, turn the rug to the bottom side, squeeze small dots of the fabric paint, let dry. This creates a great grip but make sure to let it dry thoroughly and read directions carefully about washing. Before I ship any rugs, I give it my own test by throwing it on my floor to see how slippery it us. Surprisingly not all rugs need to have rug gripper. Again, you yourself can give it the ultimate test but do it fast because as most of us rug makers know, the animals love to test them too!!

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