Used Jean Rag Rug

Hi everyone.  I've started a warp for a jean rag rug.  I have tons of old used jeans.  I have them in strips that are about 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches wide.  I saw something at one time about making slits and joining them and my memory is......well not what it used to be.....I've tried working with 2 strips with slits, but don't come up with the magic solution.  It was not my plan to sew them all together, but I guess I could if I had to.  Looking for ideas......Please take a moment and tell me what you have experienced or completed.  Thanks............Peggy in Utah


Posted on Thu, 04/29/2010 - 17:48

Hi Peggy,

From my experience using denim, you might experience difficulty packing 2 inch strips of denim. I usually cut mine less about 1/2 inch. It's really hard to pack much thicker. People splice in many fashions. I prefer the sew method, others think i'm nuts for doing it. i like the end result. some just layer the spliced ends together, some slit and join. i know people that glue the strips together! Before you make too much work out of all the jeans, my suggestion would be to warp your loom, try weaving the 2 inch strips, see how you like it, then try the different methods of joining.

Joanna Erickson has an excellent book on Rag Weaving (good for non rag weavers too!) One of my favorite weaving books.

Good luck and let us know what you decided!


Posted on Thu, 04/29/2010 - 03:53

You might be right Mary, about making too much work.  I was going to originally braid the rugs and I have those cone shaped things that curl the fabric in on itself. One of my thoughts was to use that concept and have all finished edges.  It would take it down to about 1/2 inch wide.......I think, just playing with the fabric kind of shows me that.  So if you cut your strip at 1/2 inch you don't do anything to keep the edges from fraying?  How does that work out.  Is your washing machine a mess if and when you have to clean it.  That book looks really interesting, I may have to request it for a Birthday or Christmas present. 

Ridinteacher, first, that is one big horse, I have 5 of the beasties myself. My mare is a 17 year old Quar/Ab, that I love dearly. But, why do people sew them on the diagonal.  I've seen this before but I don't understand the why behind it.  I would think that  the diagonal sewing would give it stretch.  

Thanks Ladies, It's making me think anyway.  Peggy

Posted on Thu, 04/29/2010 - 04:11

Hi Peg,  actually that "big" horse is my smallest.  She is a quarter horse but is a twin and is almost pony sized... must be the photo angle!  I also have 5.

*I make my strips 1 inch because I can pack them down to about the size of a pencil.  Easy way to determine the size before getting it in the warp is to twist it by hand to see what size it is.

*Fraying.... I like the look of the little white frayed edges in my rugs, you usually end up with some on the ends of the strips anyway.  I think it adds some texture and another color dimension to my rugs.

*sewing on the diagonal-- the strips are ripped with the grain, and I sew the seams diagonally so that there is not one big lump where they are joined.  The seam is 'spread out'  instead of being all in one place.  Makes for a smoother transition from one strip to the next.   No stretch that I can detect.

*washing - I've never noticed much for lint when I wash my denim rugs the first time.  If there is any, a good shake gets rid of it

I make bunches of denim rugs.  They are my best sellers.  

Posted on Thu, 04/29/2010 - 15:28

Hi Peggy,

I also cut the strips about 1/2-5/8 inch, not being really very picky about consistency.  But I wove the rug in twill with double strips.  Two strips pack in easier than one that is cut twice as wide.

Another thing I tried with the denim is cutting in a spiral.  Since denim jeans do not give very long strips, I used my
Frasier cutter and cut around and around until all I had left of each pant leg was a small curved rectangle.  That gives me very long strips which I don't have to sew together.  And it also gives me parts of the strip cut on the bias, which also is easier to beat into the shed.   I did not have to beat very hard to get a tight rug.  I think the warp was about 5 or 6 per inch.   I alternated the denim stripes with stripes of more brightly colored cotton and it is a nice rug.


Posted on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 17:48

No Way.......she looks huge.  A twin....that's very rare and my understanding is that twin horses don't usually survive.  Glad you were lucky.  My 5 are mostly muts as far as horses go.  Bred my original Palomino Quarter  to a Arab and got my sweet Grulla Buckskin mare.  Then bred her to a homozygous Quarter paint and got a Palomino Paint.  Bred her to a Sorrel Peruvian Paso Fino and have a pretty little Palomino mare who has a wonderful gait that could be trained into the full Paso Fino gait.  I also have her half brother who is a Red Dune with 4 perfectly marked socks who is very naturally gaited.  Tucker is very flashy.  My gentle 17 year old gelding came from another original Bay mare and he is identical to his mother.  Wished I had kept her.  They would have made a matched team.  Sorry this is OT......but I had to ramble a bit.

So you sell your rugs, and the best sellers are the demin rugs?  That's great to know.  What warp do you use.  I have used some old warp that was laying around and needed to get used up.  I want to try some of that seine?  I believe I have spelled that properly.  

I just reread your response and it finally dawned on me what you said about the diagonal seam.  That makes sense now and yes it would reduce the bulkiness of the transition from one strip to another.  I may have to try that on the next rug.  I also want to try braiding a denim rug and I can see how that would make it easier to go through those cones that curl the fabric.  Good Thoughts.......Thanks so much for taking the time to respond.



Posted on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 17:55

Hi Joanne:

I would love to see more about the spiral cutting of the fabric.  It sounds really interesting.  I'm going to hunt for a Frasier cutter and put it on a wish list.  Do you use any kind of measuring device, or are you eyes that good.  I assume you put it on one of those plastic cutting boards. Do you start from the outside and cut inward?   I like this idea.  Longer strips sound pretty good to me.  Do you attach the strips after that or do you just overlap them?

I like this idea.............Thank you as well for taking the time to respond.

Posted on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 18:23

I use poly/cotton warp that I get from Great Northern Weaving company.  I've never used the seine stuff either.... 

OT - yeah, I got 1/2 lucky.  Other twin did not survive.  Unfortunately I was not home when she foaled and the stupid ex stood and watched her instead of calling the vet as soon as she even looked like she was doing something like I told him to do.  I had suspected twins (or a monster huge foal)  because of the size of the mare.  I had twins myself so I thought I recognized some of the signs :)

Have fun with the denim... be prepared for lots of blue dust bunnies!

Posted on Fri, 04/30/2010 - 22:56

The Fraser cutter does not require a cutting board.  You feed the fabric in like on a sewing machine.  You turn the handle to cut the fabric.   The spiral cutting is diagramed in the Rag Rug Handbook, by Meany Pfaff.  It may be in other books as well.  Since the lengths of fabric are then very long, one does not sew them together, just overlap.


Posted on Sun, 05/02/2010 - 17:08

Well, I wanted to show you what little progress I have made on my rug.  I did cut the strips down in width to about that 1/2 to 5/8 inch mark.  It's snowing here......again.....and I'm just so disgusted with it all.  The only saving grace is that if it is snowing......well then I don't have a lot calling me from outside.  I need to shear animals, ride horses, and clean up the yards.....but if it is snowing........I get to stay inside and weave and do laundry and clean house.  I had to put the picture on my blog because I have a slow mooooo..... computer connection at home.

Happy Day Everyone!

Posted on Sun, 05/02/2010 - 22:03

No, my loom is a Kromski Harp (32").  I have a wooden fork so I don't have to beat the weft in. Liked the 3 color combination?  I didn't have enough of one of them to make much of anything, and I don't know how old they are.  They came to me through another loom that I had purchased.  I wanted to use them up so I could justify replacing them.....hehehehehe.  Makes good sense to me, so I used all 3.  I had enough of the grey left over to do a beginning and ending header, (for lack of what to call it), on the rug of 50 rows.  If I don't like how it turns out, I'll just turn it over and sew it to the back of the rug.

Thanks for looking.

Posted on Tue, 05/04/2010 - 05:36

Mary you have made some beautiful rugs.  I need to bow to your superiority.  I loved the 3 day weaving class.  I can't produce that much that fast.  Dang that work, it just continues to get in the way of my progress on weaving, knitting, and just everything else.  I hope to be half as productive as you have been in thrice the amount of time.  

On the jean rugs you have woven a header/footer edging.  What did you use for that?  I assume you used the same warp and maybe different material.  I like the look of that edging. Mine will be the same concept, not as creative.

I did end up putting my ends together with the slit.  I don't like working those joins into the rug though.  I think I am going to have to dig the sewing machine out and try that join.  I think I will like it better, it will lay better.  Your swift idea with the jean strips was good for me to see to.  However, how do you get it onto your weft stick without creating a break?  Do you just overlap your joins?  Weaving has brought me a lot of learning experiences that continue to make my brain clunk away, but I have enjoyed them all.  You have a beautiful website. Enjoyed that as well.  Best be off to bed......must work.

Posted on Wed, 05/05/2010 - 01:31

Hi Peg, i just use warp in single thickness for my hem. I weave them 3 inches, and then press it closed, twice. then hand stich it closed with warp thread again.

when i pull to a shuttle and join a new end, i simply overlap that piece.

your rugs are beautiful. keep it up!


Posted on Tue, 05/11/2010 - 18:34

Thanks Mary for the nice compliment.  I too used a single weft of the warp string as the hem.  I hoped that would work out.  The wet finishing should allow it to puff up a bit.  I'm not sure now how wide it is. I had just over 100 loops on a stick heddle about the same width as the rug.  So I wove 50 for the first end and will weave the other 50 for the last end and then use what ever is left over to close.  Any left overs will go to the birds.  My daughter-in-law came over and claimed the rug, and it's twin, as hers.  She may get this one, but I'm not so sure about the twin.  I am getting close to the end.  I hope to have it finished by this weekend.  I'll have to post pictures when it is complete.

Thanks again,


Posted on Tue, 05/11/2010 - 18:42


Will you post your projects here in your project folders for all to see?  Lots of Weavolution users check out the projects every day and never bother to read the forums.  I would love to see all the details, especially on a rh loom, for everyone to see.


Posted on Sat, 06/26/2010 - 04:20

I just finished a blue jean rug:


Details on project page.  I found instead of beating the weft hard it worked well to use a big comb and PULL the warp tight after each pick. 

Posted on Wed, 01/24/2018 - 02:05

Weavers at Waevstuga in Shelburn Falls, MA. join strips with a glue stick. I suppose the glue washes out, so the overlap has to be sufficient, not to separate during washing and use. I have not tested this method.