Monday, October 1, 2007

Upholstery fabric sample rug

I made a rug for our front door (the inside). It's for wiping feet and covering the boring almond/cream-colored ceramic tile that sits all over the entry (and the hallway and the bathroom and the kitchen, too). It isn't pretty, I'll warn you. But it's easy to make and useful to have.

A few weekends ago, Kevin and I went to the Honolulu Recycling Fair. Among the many booths educating us on how to recycle lots of things was the craft section, which I gravitated to like a paperclip to a magnet. They had lots of books and upholstery samples and things that companies had donated, I assume, and visitors to the fair were to take home and use or make something out of them. I picked up a book of soft upholstery fabrics. I got about 64 large swatches.

Upholstery samples

I separated them out by color and then chose the ones I liked the least to start my first project with. These were mostly browns and grays and other gross colors that make you wonder why anyone would choose to decorate their home or office furniture with them. I set them up in a nice design, as two short ends next to one another equaled about the same measurement of a long side. I had one square-ish piece that I used in this project, too, that at least in the beginning, fit well in the puzzle-like arrangement.

Of course, once I trimmed off the glue-ish stuff that had held the fabric samples together and to the cardboard book structure, the pieces didn't fit perfectly anyone. But I sewed them together anyway, with a zigzag stitch. I didn't care what the color was, so when I ran out of bobbin thread, I just threw on whatever I could find. The result is very multicolored, but it's a rug, not a wall hanging, and it helps the drab colors that I picked for it, anyway.

Upholstery Fabric Sample Rug

I did have trouble with the fabrics unraveling too much. I had to go over several seams a few times. I just laid them next to each other, slightly overlapping, and pushed them through the machine. In retrospect, maybe sewing them together right-sides facing and then pressing it open would have been easier. Anyway, after I sewed it all together, I trimmed the outside edges so it would be an even rectangle. I considered leaving it uneven, as it gave it a nice staggered effect, but I went traditional. I zigzagged the edges to help stop unravelling, and it was done!

It does slide a lot, though, so I'm going to try to find that rubber stuff that sits underneath rugs to keep them from slipping. It's also thin, but it's easily washed and dried, too. The only thing now is that it's unattractive, so I hope that doesn't mean I'll end up throwing it out someday, in a fit of exasperated need for style in my entryway (which would defeat its purpose as a recycled item). But it's a floor mat for the front door, so of course it will get dirty and is supposed to. Only since it's brown of all shades, maybe the dirt won't really show up very much.


Jamie said...

I've found that using something like a clear fingernail polish on fraying edges help to hold the fabric together. You can then let it dry and sew it up, and it shouldn't fray as much. I'm sure some other stuff would work as well. I like the rug though. It serves it's purpose. I did something similar once where I used left over scraps of white yarn and crocheted narrow strips, then wove them together to make a bath mat. It wasn't the MOST beautiful thing that I had ever seen, but it worked...haha. Well keep crafting away. :)

Bee said...

That's a good idea! I've done that with pantyhose and tights, but I didn't think of it for fraying fabrics so much. I'm going to use the rest of the colorful fabric samples to make a big rug (at least that's the plan right now), so I'll have to try that.
Do you have a picture of your bath mat? That sounds cool!

Jamie said...

No...I sadly don't have a photo. I would just go snap one, but I threw it out a while back. The next time I make a rug, I think I'll make one with a little more staying power...or just super thick yarn...or maybe I'll just buy one...haha.