I had seen and admired the beautiful and colorful pictures and wanted to try to make a jelly roll rug for myself!
A jelly roll rug is just that – a rug made from a jelly roll of fabrics! I don’t know about you, but I go to my local quilt shops and there is just something about the jelly rolls – all of the beautiful fabrics in a collection all together in a neat little roll. They seem to come home with me. If you are looking for an easy project to enjoy one that you’ve collected, make a rug. It’s not a hard project, it just takes some time.
I picked a bright collection of Jen Kingwell fabrics from her Beach Road line for Moda Fabrics. The colors are perfect for my home as well as fun for my first jelly roll rug. The finished size is about 30″ x 44″ – a great size for in front of your kitchen sink, bathroom or to make a bold statement at your front door! (Read our interview of Jen – so inspiring! Love her fabric line!)
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I did a little research on the best way to make a jelly roll rug, and found some great tips and tricks. To start, you can cut batting into 2-1/2″ strips, or can you buy precut batting in rolls ready for the project. I choose to buy the pre-cut batting. I’m glad I did a little quick math in the fabric shop on the total length of the jelly strips when they are sewn end to end and how much batting I’d need. It took almost two full precut batting rolls or about 50 yards of 2-1/2″ batting for the rug.
This post covers how to make a rug out of fabric:
- Jelly roll rug tutorial with step-by-step photos
- Making a rectangular jelly roll rug
- Frequently asked questions, including how to keep your jelly roll rug from curling and how to make placemats from a jelly roll
How to Make a Rectangle Rug from a Jelly Roll
It’s easy to make a rectangular shaped rug from a jelly roll or strips of 2-1/2″ cut fabrics. You can either sew all of the strips together as if making an oval shaped rug above, or make it about 45″ long by sewing the batting into each 2-1/2″ strip individually like Kathy did on this rug.
Here she is sewing each of the batting filled strips together with a wide zig-zag stitch. And note the lovely pile of filled strips in a bin, just waiting to become a part of Kathy’s project..
Just like the oval rug, you’ll want to try to keep the strips as flat as possible while sewing. Kathy used her sewing table with a large flat surface and held the strips flat while sewing. A little steam will iron out a little waviness, but keeping it really flat while sewing is the trick.
Here is the final rectangle rug. Kathy reserved two strips from the jelly roll to bind the two ends for a clean finish.
Browse through more of Kathy’s projects and inspiration on Create Whimsy.
You’ll find you won’t just make one! What will other color schemes look like?
What do you need to make a jelly roll rug?
One (1) jelly roll, batting, thread, sewing machine and time! Oh, and lots of bobbins! You can buy precut batting like I did, or cut your own batting.
How many jelly rolls does it take to make a rug?
Only one! That’s why it’s called a jelly roll rug!
How long does it take to make a jelly roll rug?
It depends on how fast you put your petal to the metal of your sewing machine foot! It took me two afternoons to make my jelly roll rug. The first day I made the long strip and the second day I sewed the strip into an oval. I’d say about 8 total hours of time to make the jelly roll rug.
What kind of batting do you use for a jelly roll rug?
I like the cotton batting or cotton blend batting. I wouldn’t use wool batting as it has so much loft it would be difficult to cut and work with.
What kind of thread to you use to make a rug?
Use a poly cotton blend thread to sew the rug in whatever shape you select. The poly cotton blend will hold up better than 100% cotton with time and wear of your rug.
How big is a finished jelly roll rug?
I used two rolls of precut batting strips along with one jelly roll. My finished rug is about 3′ x 4′. It is the perfect size rug for in front of my kitchen sink.
How long does it take to make a jelly roll rug?
I made the rug over a weekend. I covered the batting with fabric one afternoon and then sewed the rug the next day. Depending on how distracted you are, or how fast you sew, I’d say somewhere between 6 and 8 hours and you can have your very own rug!
What kind of batting should you use for a jelly roll rug?
I’d use cotton batting. I’m sure wool or polyester work, but they are both higher loft and would probably not give you the same nice flat rug that cotton batting provides you.
Are jelly roll rugs washable?
I have tossed mine in the washer so many times! I do lay it to dry instead of putting it in the dryer. It generally needs a little bit of pressing to make it flat again.
How do I keep the jelly roll rug flat?
Paying attention to your sewing technique is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your rug flat.
- When you begin the rug, take extra time as you round each corner to ease in as much of the fabric wrapped batting as you can so that the outside edge of the corner is laying perfectly flat. I know, I have a tendency to make sure the inside corner is fitting well, but this time it is important the outside edge is laying perfectly flat to keep the edges from cupping.
- As I was sewing round and round and round, I had a tendency to lift the heavy rug on the outside of my sewing machine a little bit – this will make it curl and not lie flat. Pay attention and when you start to see a little bit of a curl, just make sure everything is flat, flat, flat as you move on. If there is a large curl, I’d rip it out. Mine were all fairly small.
- When you are done, give your rug a good press with lots of steam and it should lay nice and flat.
Can I make placemats with this jelly roll technique? How many does it make?
Yes! This is a great technique for placemats! Go ahead and cover your batting with the fabric. Cut into about 7 yard strips. Make the first bend to curve the strips at about 8″ and keep going round-and-round until the placemat is complete.
Can I make a round rug? A rectangular rug?
Yes! To make a round jelly roll rug, start with a very tight circle instead of sewing two sides together in a strip. And just keep going round-and-round until your round jelly roll rug is done!
To make a rectangular jelly roll rug, cut strips the length you want your rug, and then stitch them together. You will want to finish the edges of the ends of the rug, since there will be uncovered batting on the cut edge. You can zig-zag or sew some tassel trim to the cut ends to finish them off.
Can I use the jelly roll rug method to make a bowl or basket?
Yes! Make your fabric wrapped batting and then use techniques similar to this fabric coil basket or bowl tutorial to build up the sides of the bowl.
Do you need to use a special thread to stitch the wrapped batting together to form the long fabric strip?
You could use a thicker upholstery weight thread if you’d like. I used a variegated quilting weight thread, and my rug has held up great.
If I cut my own batting to make a jelly roll rug, how much do I need?
You’ll need about 50 yards of 2-1/2″ wide batting strips. You can cut your left over batting from quilts into 2-1/2″ strips and then butt the ends together and stitch with a wide zig zag to have one continuous strip of batting to make the rug.
Can I use my own fabric instead of buying a jelly roll?
Of course! Just cut about 50 yards of 2-1/2″ strips, sew them together and follow the instructions above!
Check out all of our sewing projects on Create Whimsy!