My Mum’s Sari Silk Rag Rug

As many of you know, I was taught how to rag rug by my darling mum, Victoria. She still makes beautiful rag rugs (you can see another one of her other creations here) and is a colour-lover like myself. Below is her latest gorgeous creation and, as usual, she has outdone herself. If you like the rug, please do comment at the bottom of the post as she’ll be so pleased 🙂


For those of you who live outside the U.K, for us Brits, this Summer has been one of the hottest on record. My mum and I are avid rag ruggers, so very few things put us off, but this weather has definitely had us thinking twice about picking up our tools and submersing ourselves in fabric. Where rag rugs are super cosy and snuggly in Autumn, Winter and Spring, they’re not quite so fun when it’s over 30 degrees outside.

Well, my mum was determined to keep rag rugging, so decided to make a Summer-inspired rag rug in light materials with a bright and summery feel. Colour-wise, she was inspired by the water glasses below (sometimes inspiration comes from the weirdest of places) and she wanted to make a checked rag rug in bright, jewel shades.

Colourful jewel coloured water glasses in purple, blue, orange, green and pink

These were the water glasses that inspired the colour scheme of the rug.

Colourful water glasses in a row

The colours work really well together.

Although Victoria says that the glasses were her main inspiration, I suspect that the rug may have also been slightly inspired by her recent travels to India… there are just so many beautiful colours over there which I’m sure played a part 🙂

Victoria outside the Taj Mahal in India

Mum enjoying the sites and sounds of India…


The Design: 

Victoria used one of our Ragged Life standard 100 x 60cm Medium Sized Rug Hessian and sketched the patchwork design directly onto the hessian using a marker pen and long ruler. In the end, there were 144 squares in total, 16 rows of 9 squares. Checked rugs are quite satisfying to make as they’re easy to portion up. My mum decided that she would rag rug one row of 9 squares at a time and completed the rug in just over a month of casual rag rugging… Not too shabby!

The Technique:

Shaggy rag rugging is a gorgeous technique that creates rugs with a beautiful, thick plush feel. Unfortunately, however, due to the length of the fabric pieces used in shaggy rag rugging, patterns can become distorted and lose their definition. Victoria really wanted to make a checked rug in the shaggy technique, but she wanted the edges of the squares to remain relatively crisp and not blend into random blobs.

With that in mind, she decided to do the rug in the “short shaggy” technique of rag rugging… a technique that she actually made up, but has become a firm favourite amongst the Ragged Life team. It’s basically it’s a hybrid form of rag rugging that creates a shorter layer of shaggy rag rugging without pieces having to be individually cut shorter (which would be pretty slow and laborious). Hooray for innovation!

The Fabrics:

Inspired by the beautiful jewel colours of the glasses above, Victoria wanted rich, deep colours and sari silk ribbon fit the bill perfectly. For those of you who haven’t worked with it before, sari silk ribbon is made from recycled saris and generally comes in skeins of strips that vary in thickness. Although some parts of the ribbon were the perfect width, others had to be cut into two of three pieces lengthwise to fit properly through the hessian. Some of the strands of ribbon were so thin that they were easy to accidentally pull right through… oops… it happens to the best of us!

Although the majority of the materials in the rug were sari silk ribbon, Victoria also used other garments for variety (and to save on cost as sari silk can be expensive!). One item of clothing she used was a purple satin crazy patchwork top that was a nightmare to deconstruct, but was worth it in the end. She also used a bit of bedding inside… everything was recycled of course.

Sari Silk Ribbon Skeins for Rag Rugging

These were some of the fabrics that went into the rug…

Sari silk rag rug fabric storage in a wooden box

Once chopped up, Victoria stored them in a little box that she picked up from the charity shop. Apparently it’s originally from The Range.

Victoria weighed the finished rug and the original hessian to work out roughly how much fabric she used in the entire rug. Apparently it took approximately 943g of fabric in the short shaggy technique. That’s a lot less than your traditional shaggy rag rug. Sari silk is a particularly light fabric, so each sari silk ribbon square only took about 6 grams of fabric to fill.

So, that’s enough of a blurb on the actual rug itself, you probably want to see what it turned out like. I’ve included some work in progress photos, so you can see how the rag rug progressed too.


Sari silk checked rag rug with small squares

The sari silk rag rug in all its glory…

Handmade sari silk ribbon rag rug in oranges, pinks and hot colours

The bright Indian colours in it are just gorgeous.

Checked silk rag rug in bright colours in the short shaggy rag rug technique

Here you can see the colours a little closer up.

Kaffe Fassett inspired sari silk rag rug in recycled clothing and fabric

I think Kaffe Fassett would be very pleased with this colour scheme.

Beautiful handmade rag rug - great idea for reducing textile waste

What a gorgeous gorgeous rag rug 🙂


Check sari silk rag rug in bright modern colours made of upcycled saris

This was when the rug only had five rows complete. Only another eleven to go!

Sari Silk Checked Rag Rug in Jewel colours including pink, orange, yellow, blue

Mum’s rug was made using a Rag Rug Spring Tool and our super sharp Rag Rug Scissors.

Partially made modern rag rug made using sari silk and recycled fabric in bright colours

Here is a photo of the rag rug when it was nearly finished…

Rag rug on chair in garden in checked design with squares

Victoria even braved the scorching heat to work on it outside for a bit.


Well, I hope you enjoyed the rag rug photos and explanation. Do let us know what you think by commenting below or, if you’d like to be the first to see our latest rag rugs, why not join our Rag Rug Community on Facebook join our fortnightly newsletter here.






As always, happy rag rugging!

Elspeth x

14 thoughts

  1. Although I avidly read your newsletter I have yet to take the leap and start a rug. Your mother’s quilt could be the one that gets me started. It is absolutely beautiful, such gorgeous colours. Thank you.

  2. This is a beautiful rug, it has inspired me to be braver with fabrics and colours! And I’m excited about trying the short shaggy technique, it could be the answer to so many problems! Thanks for sharing this.

  3. Lovely vibrant colours. The simple block pattern works well. Brings to mind piles of spices, the ingredients of a lovely meal.

  4. Pingback: Ragged Life Blog | The Short Shaggy Rag Rug Technique - Ragged Life Blog

  5. I loved the colours in you mother’s rag rug they are so vivid and cheerful. Very inspirational. I must try the patchwork effect, a great way to combine lots of different colours.

  6. Wow…. simply…..WOW.
    This is a fabulous example of rag rugging- something that is bright and happy and easily adaptable to any location ( and for adventurous travellers a great memory of India).
    Inspirational x

  7. Wow its the vibrant colours that does it for me inspired by coloured drinking glasses! As I have found in my short journey so far . I get inspiration from just looking and observing from wherever I go.

  8. What a fabulous rug in beautiful colours which makes me smile. It’s like a ray of sunshine to brighten up the day. Shows the craft at its best and is a great inspiration for all.

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