Gathered-Strips Rag Rug Make this fun, rag rug to coordinate with your bath or bedroom. It’s soft on bare feet and can be washed and dried easily. Choose soft flannel fabrics in one color or up to six different shades to create the cheerful striped design shown here. NECESSARY SUPPLIES: 3/4 yard of heavy, cotton twill fabric 1-3/8 yards of five or six different colors or patterns of cotton flannel (5 to 6 total yards of solid color flannel) Universal, size 80 and size 90 needles Rotary mat and cutter Clear plastic ruler with a 90 degree angle mark Three spools of coordinating allpurpose sewing thread Fabric marking pen White Quilter’s Star 1780 sewing machine with Gathering Foot and Piecing Foot DIRECTIONS: Cutting and Preparation1. Using the rotary cutter and mat, cut the cotton twill into an 18” x 26” rectangle. Mark, fold and press a 1” hem to the right side on all four sides. Using a zigzag stitch with a width of 1.5 to 2mm and a length of 1.5 to 2mm and a size 80 needle, stitch the hems in place. 2. On the right side of the cotton twill, draw a line at a 90 degree angle to one long side to establish the first diagonal stitching line. Then draw lines 3/8” apart across the entire rug. Be very accurate as these are your actual sewing lines. 3. Cut the flannel into 2”-wide bias strips. The strips must be cut on the bias so they will not ravel but softly fringe when the rug is washed. Construction1. Attach the Gathering Foot that came with your sewing machine. Set the machine for the maximum stitch length. Tightly gather down the center on each 2” bias strip. If you need to increase the amount of gathers try: a. Tightening the upper tension OR b. Place your finger on back of the presser foot as the fabric strip is being sewn. This keeps the weight of the fabric and foot from pulling out the gathers.(This is called the “ease-plus” method.) 2. Replace the Gathering Foot with the Piecing Foot and insert a Universal, size 90 needle. The larger needle will make it easier to stitch through the heavy cotton twill and the gathered flannel. Set your machine for a standard straight stitch. 3. Fold under the short edge of one strip 1/4” and then fold again creating a double-fold hem. On the right side of the rug and starting in the center, place a strip on one of the drawn lines at one hemmed edge. (NOTE: By beginning your stitching in the center of the rug, you will use your fabric more efficiently since by the time you reach the shorter lines on the corners, you will have short, leftover strips of gathered fabric to use. The rectangle rug will also have plenty of body so as not to stretch out of shape with all the stitching across the bias.) After stitching over the gathers, trim the strip to the correct length allowing for a double-fold hem at the end as you did at the beginning. 4. Continue to stitch the strips in place until the entire rug is covered. The Piecing Foot is perfect for this project. It should snug up against the previous row of stitching as you add strips keeping the rows straight. 5. Rinse the rug in cool water and then dry in the dryer. This will soften the edges and make the rows mesh together. Trim any loose threads or ends after washing. Additional ideas for making rag rugsMake your rug in other shapes - circular, oval, heart-shaped, or triangular. Stay stitch and clean-finish the edges to maintain the unique shape. The strips for this rug were sewn in a random order to make the stripes. Create a pattern with the fabric colors, use only one color, or draw a shape in the center of the rug and stitch following the design. Use lightweight denim or interlock knit for the strips to create very different styles of rugs.