From Rags to Richness

My favourite Sheridan percale cotton, fitted sheet has finally worn thin.  After nearly 12 years of faithful, consistent use it is no longer fit for its purpose.

Now you know I don’t like to waste things.  Time to repurpose.

I returned to a craft that I haven’t used in a long time – Ragging – which involves ripping fabric, braiding it and then sewing it into a shape that you require.



  • Fabric of your choice
  • Tape measure or Ruler
  • Sewing Needle
  • Thread
  • Stable Table  [ optional ]

Step One:

Lay your chosen fabric flat.  The fabric can be anything from old sheets, a favourite shirt, dress, denim jeans or towel – anything absorbent.  I have previously used laddered, old nylon pantyhose.

Measure* your preferred width and snip the fabric.  You will be tearing the fabric so no need to cut the fabric all the way down.

*    the width of the strips depends on the outcome you want:

  • If you want a rustic mat with frayed edges, tear the strips 2-2.5cm (3/4 to 1 inch) wide
  • If you want a neat edge, tear the strips a minimum of 3cm [ just over 1 inch ] and then fold the frayed edges over and inwards as you braid


Step Two:

Gather three strips of fabric one on top of the other and sew across the short edge to keep them together.

If you want a quick start you can hold them together with a safety pin until you get around to sewing it together.


Step Three:

Have someone hold the sewn end, or hold it down with your own foot and start braiding according to the outcome required  [ neat or rustic ]

You don’t need to braid the whole strip in one go.  You can stop and start as you need by putting a safety pin in place, and to keep your braiding taut while you sew your preferred shape.

By trial and error, I worked out that if you flat roll each strip and secure it with a peg, you will reduce the amount of fraying, with less tangling and it will be a little easier to manoeuvre when braiding.  Unroll a little at a time as required.

I used the threads that had frayed off to join the next strip so you couldn’t see an obvious join.


Step Four:

Sew your braided fabric into the shape you prefer on the side that will lay face to the floor  [ i.e. the side no one will see ].   I hand sewed mine because I don’t own a sewing machine.

I did my sewing on top of a beige coloured Stable Table as I formed my shape, which provided a good contrast to thread the sewing needle and made it easier to sew when watching TV.

The sewing thread bobbin fits nicely into the Stable Table’s grooved edge, which is also handy for resting your sewing needle so you don’t lose it.

Photo source:  Ebay

Stable Table photo source: ebay


Saving you:    Time and Money going to the shops to purchase a new bathmat

And think of the landfill you have saved


I believe I have now worked out the psychology behind Mothers & Fathers braiding their children’s hair

Not because it looks good, but because the repetitiveness of braiding calms the mind

A great way to destress

Give this a go and send me your photos

You may also want to read How workwear shorts can Organise your Life

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Posted in bathroom, crafts & home, gift ideas, Repurpose
2 comments on “From Rags to Richness
  1. […] Your may also be interested in From Rags to Richness […]


  2. […] You may also enjoy repurposing old fabric into a rag mat […]


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