I finished a jelly roll rug on Monday (21 fabrics, 42 strips), just in time for my post on Tuesday for The Winter Blues Blog Hop. I watched a single Jelly Roll Rug video on Youtube - there are a bunch of them - but I watched this one. I did not buy a pattern...I didn't need one. My rug ended up being 4 feet 4.5 inches by 3 feet 4.5 inches. I did use a jeans needle and a walking foot...made my life so much simpler!!
Once all the batting was in and the strip sewed shut, I created a ball with the strip, starting the ball with the end that I wanted on the outside of the rug
I kept it in a grocery sack to keep it contained while I was sewing it together. It worked really well!! I started by folding the single strip of dark fabric in half and put my needle down in the fold...the sewn sides are together (for the only time - after this, the sewn side is up against the finished side) to provide me with a smooth turn at the first corner. Looking at the picture below, I started sewing the rug together in the dark blue end that is closest to me. Watch the video, as she has shown you where to start, but note that I put the seams together, rather than following her directions of keeping the seam-side of the strip against the smooth side of the strip. I didn't like the way her first turn was twisted and looked lumpy to me. Make sure you always secure your threads when you start and stop.
It is important to have the "tail" coming into the sewing machine from the right side of the needle. If you have it coming from the left, your rug will grow into the throat of your sewing machine and you will definitely not be happy!! I used the zigzag stitch set at 7.0 for width and 2.5 for length on my Janome. Only once did I have to go back and re-sew because I didn't catch both sides in the stitch and I was lucky to have caught it when I only needed to go back about an inch.
Every three times around, secure the thread (I did the back and forth button as well as the "tie a knot" button) and press with steam (or spray with water) you need to do this to keep the rug flat. I went 4 times around once and I had to work way harder to press it flat. The ends will want to curl from going around the corner, so by pressing every three rounds and not putting any tension on the tail, you will have much better luck at keeping your rug flat.
Keep the edges "kissing" and you won't end up with holes. Because I wanted the smooth edge of the fabric to be on the outside of the rug, I started by folding the single dark strip in half, with the sewn edges together. This is contrary to what the Youtube video said to do, but it makes it much easier to make the first turn with no lumps. That is the only place the two sewn edges are together. Go slowly - I had my speed set on the 1/4 mark, close to the turtle!! With every stitch, you are asking your needle to go through 4 layers of batting and 4 layers of fabric...if you go too fast you will get needle deflection and you may break your needle or shred your thread.
As your rug grows, it needs to be supported. I have a Sew Steady extension table for my Janome (love it!), but when the rug outgrew it, I used books to create a larger, flat surface behind and to the left of my machine. You'll see those books later, as I used them to weigh down my rug to help it remember to lie flat.
I left about 1.5" at the end of my last strip unsewn and with no batting. I folded over the end to hide the selvage edge and then laid the empty fabric over the preceding row to finish off the end of the rug.
This keeps the rug reversible and cleanly ends the rug. I did back-stitch to really nail it down.
To make sure it was flat, before sewing on the last of the fabric, I laid it on the floor and found a good use for the encyclopedias my dad still has (I also used them, stacked 2 high, to support the rug beyond my Sew Steady). I pressed the finished rug on the floor and covered as much of the surface with books after I finished the rug and I left it that way for 24 hours. Press with steam or spritz with water! Hot forgets, cold remembers...so after each pressing, let the rug cool so it has the correct memory!!
If you decide to make a rug, I would love to see a picture of your handiwork!!
Love it! Congratulations, Jodi!
Nice that you posted so many pictures, I have always wanted to try one and this just might be what gets me going on it. Goodness know I have enough jelly rolls laying around!!
Thank you for sharing the details of this project. I got real excited reading your directions. I plan to watch the video and give this a whirl later this year. I already have a list of items I want to make in 2020.
The rug turned out so pretty, too nice to walk on! Thanks for the tutorial.
Hi Susan! Your rug turned out just great. You've shared some great tips - I love the grocery bag idea. Would you make another one? What did you think about cutting your own batting strips - was that difficult or would you purchase the precut one next time? Just curious about your thoughts. I just love how this turned out, and the fabrics you chose, and especially the nice generous size. ~smile~ Roseanne
Wow this is gorgeous! Thanks for walking us through what you did.
Awesome!! Thanks so much!!
Terrific tutorial! Thank you SO much for sharing!! I may come seeking your assistance through the process! :)
I absolutely love it and blue is my favourite colour. I will have a go at this one of these days but knowing my luck I will curl up into a ball and I won't get it to lie flat!!!!! I have always been fascinated by rag rugs too and often thought it might be a good idea to have a go at one with the off cuts left over from quilt making.
Thanks for sharing.
Hugs, Susie xx
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