A few weeks ago I started cutting strips from khaki pants for a first attempt at a braided rug. Yes, another rug project. We are in serious need here!
I will actually be plaiting, not braiding, which means that the worked strips will be very flat and wide. After some trial and error, I decided that using half-inch strips for plaiting would be manageable and look nice, and having each strip contain four layers of fabric would give enough body without being too heavy.
I start with pieces cut 1-7/8 inches wide, with the grain, and as long as possible. I put them through a Clover tapemaker (cutting a point on the end of the strip helps get the fabric into the tapemaker) and follow with the iron as I pull the tapemaker along. With the two raw edges nearly meeting and pressed flat, I fold the strip in half lengthwise and press again, so the raw edges are neatly encased, and the top and bottom surfaces are identical. I then open out the folds and piece lengths of strips together (a bias join, with the seam pressed open) to get a length a bit more than 6 feet. Then, I fold everything back up and sew near the edge.
I figure I'll need nine individual strips like the one on the right, above, to make a roughly 3-inch-wide plait. Here are the first strips, grouped by color and loosely knotted together, ready to be woven into 4-foot-long plaits! At the bottom of the photo are more strips ready to be folded and stitched.
This little rug project is going to eat up a lot of pants! I get at least five 6-foot-4-inch lengths from one pair. But that means nine pairs of pants will produce five finished 4-foot plaits. That's a rug only 15 inches wide and 4 feet long. Well, I've certainly got lots of these pants, and if I run out, there's always the Dig and Save.