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31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 25: Fancy Pants Rug

Today’s project has been a long time coming.

Before BB was born, we ripped out all the carpet and tile in our house and replaced almost everything with wood – bathrooms and kitchen got new tile. (Well, not WE, Husband and one of my brothers did the work – I was pregnant at the time. I played job supervisor and was in charge of keeping the freezer stocked with ice cream. True story.)

The moment the floors were finished, we put furniture pads on EVERY piece of furniture in the house and anything that might touch the floors. (BB even got toys for his first Christmas that year that got furniture pads attached.)

The hardest piece to keep from scratching the floors was the rocking chair. It has a big, swiveling base, and if you rock with any force (i.e. – a child climbing in it), the back section of the chair digs into the wood. Not good. For awhile, we improvised with a large piece of fabric from my stash, but it was hard to keep in place. After that, we moved on to a dark towel – more surface coverage, VERY unattractive:

(When I started this project yesterday, Husband said, “Hey, the towel works great. I’m happy with the towel. You can quote me on that on your blog if you want.” Um, yeah, not keeping a towel under a chair.)

So, I’ve played around with a few ideas in my head. Then one day, Husband was throwing out some old dress pants that I had repaired one too many times. I love the fabric on these pants – a nice weight wool in charcoal gray – and I thought, Hey, that might make a nice…SOMETHING…for under the chair. (At this point, I was starting to introduce some gray accents into the lime green bedroom.) So the next time I was at the thrift store, I picked up 4 more pairs of dress pants in varying shades of gray. (Hint – if you’re ever buying men’s pants for fabric for a sewing project, look for the more “husky” pairs. Bigger sizes mean more fabric. I know, I’m a math genius.)

Fast forward a few months later. The Thrift Project is in full swing, and I know it’s time to get to work. I start to by taking apart all the pants, using my seam ripper. I quickly realize that it will take FOREVER to carefully seam rip 5 pairs of pants.

So I get out my fabric scissors and tear into them. It still takes almost an entire nap time to cut them apart – imagine if I were tearing apart each thread. Good choice. I spend another entire nap time ironing the fabric pieces I’ve cut.

Next nap time, I start cutting the fabric into strips. I’m trying to maximize the amount of fabric from each leg, which varies from pair to pair. Most of the strips end up being around 8″ x 33″, give or take an inch. I don’t want them uniform – I’m going for a bit of a patchwork look.

After all the strips are cut, I start playing around with the design. I have to cut some pieces shorter, some skinnier, and fill in with smaller squares of fabric in order to create a rectangle and to allow for 1/2 seam allowance. At this point, I pin and sew each vertical strip, and then I pin and sew those strips together.

An important part of all of this is ironing. This might be the first time I’ve pressed all the seams of something I’ve sewn.

And there were many.

It’s starting to look a bit like a quilt.

But I knew I wanted the rug to be a circle. At this point, I was wishing I had one of those giant compasses our teachers used to draw circles on chalkboards. (Since no one teaches with chalkboards anymore, shouldn’t there be a lot of them around? I want one!)

So I used some Girl Scouts skills and rigged up my own with a push pin, a string, and my sewing chalk. I made the string radius 20″ so that the final rug would be around 40″ – the string method isn’t super precise, but it’s good enough for this.

I cut out the circle.

Instead of tracing another circle on the felt and cutting it out, I opted to sew the fabric down to the felt so it would stay better aligned. I pinned one section of the patchwork to the felt and sewed it down, leaving a space of 3/8″ from the seam. I continued pinning and sewing down sections until they were all sewn down. Then I cut out the felt along the outside line of the patchwork. I attempted to finish the edges with a zigzag stitch, but it made the ends curl, so I ripped those out and am leaving the edges raw for now. I also thought about going back in and “quilting” inside each section to make it a little more sturdy. However, it’s just going under a chair, it’s not going to get any foot traffic, so I don’t think it’s necessary. I’ll keep checking on it and let you know if I make any changes after it’s been in use for a few weeks

I made a rug! Or a floor cloth, or a floor quilt, or a glorified furniture pad. Whichever it is, I like it. It’s already under the chair, keeping those beautiful floors scratch free. (Pay no attention to the foot photo bomb above – the wind was blowing a bit on the back patio for this photo. Er, I mean, I used it for scale reference for the size of the rug. Yeah, that’s it.)

PS – Have I mentioned the road work that’s been going on at our house? Since early September? That we haven’t been able to drive on the street for 7 weeks? The asphalt truck came today. Hallelujah!


  • This post is part of a 31 Day series. Find all the posts in this series here.
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6 thoughts on “31 Days: The Thrift Project – Day 25: Fancy Pants Rug

  1. Nicole, this is fantastic.I cant believe with a home , 2 beautiful children that you have the time to do all this. You are so good at it , who knows what you will do next.I did not mention a handsome husband too.


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