EKRA | Emily Kircher Recycling Artist
How to make rugs: Cutting Fabric

Alright, time to answer a question I get a lot, “How do you cut your fabric?”  Here we go…


These are my fabric cutting tools: a rotary cutter (45mm blade), scissors, a cutting mat (I really need to buy a new one, I have just about cut right through this one), and very important, a cutting guide.  I wish I could find another one like the one shown here, it has a guard that you can hide your hand behind which is great because rotary blades are SHARP! I tried cutting fabric without the guard once and I’ll never do it again.  I cut my finger deep! So, use something that you can run the blade along and keep your hand far away!

To start, I lay out my fabric.

Then bring the bottom edge up to the top,

and then fold the new bottom edge up about halfway.  Important:  the edges of the fabric are at the top.

I like to clean up the edge of the fabric first by cutting the ragged edges off.

Now, start cutting strips.  This fabric is thin, so I’m cutting it about 2 inches wide.  Thicker fabric I cut thinner, but this is really something you need to determine for yourself – we can talk more about how wide to cut strips another time.  Cut past the fold, but not all the way to the end, leave about an inch or so intact.

Slide the guard down the fabric and cut every two inches.

When I’m finished, I have a piece of fabric that is in ribbons across the center, but attached at both ends.  Time to cut it into one long piece.

I start at one end and cut every other intact piece with my scissors.

Now I go to the other side and cut every other  intact side over there.  Now here is where I really need to pay attention.  I want one long piece, so see how I’m holding that end of fabric yarn? I need to follow that up to the top, and not cut that space.  I can go ahead and cut the next one, and every other one after that.

If I did it correctly, I end up with one long piece of fabric yarn.  If not, I end up with lots of loops of fabric (more on how to deal with that another time.)  I roll the fabric up around my hand to start a ball.  Trust me, this takes a little time, but you’ll be so happy you have balls of fabric rather than a big tangled mess of fabric yarn later when you are trying to crochet.

Viola!  A ball of fabric yarn!  Next, I set it aside and start cutting some more, it is going to take a lot more than that little ball to make a rug!



  • estina

    thanks for the instructions. When you come to the end of the yarn do you tie a knot or sew it together?

    • emily

      I either tie it in a knot or slip knot them together (I’ll do a post on that later.)