How to Make a Jelly Roll Rug
I had seen and admired the beautiful and colorful pictures and wanted to try to make a jelly roll rug for myself!
I picked a bright jelly roll of Jen Kingwell fabrics, from her Beach Road line for Moda Fabrics. The colors are perfect for my home and 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!)
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 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.
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Preparing the jelly roll strips
To start, sew the jelly roll pieces end to end to make one long piece of fabric that is 2-1/2″ wide. I did press the seams open on each seam – because I like to. It helps keep them flat when you are sewing the fabric around the batting.
Make sure to have a seam allowance big enough that the selvedge doesn’t show. Here is my pile of pressed fabrics ready to cover the batting!
Sewing the batting inside the jelly roll strip
I wasn’t exactly sure how the fabric enclosed the batting, but found this terrific video on You Tube. It really helped!
Once you start, the fabric and batting fold nicely, making a great relaxing and mindless sewing project! I did turn in the upper edge of the fabric when I started to finish off the top edge. Just lay the fabric under the batting, fold in both edges and sew down the middle to catch the edges inside. If you miss a little, it’s okay, as you’ll be zigzagging the edges to make the rug.
I saw lots of pictures of people with their big balls of the new ‘yarn’ or fabric covered batting. As I was sewing, my covered batting just lined up perfectly on the floor behind my sewing machine! Here is a picture of it all done – isn’t it pretty?
I picked up my fabric covered batting and moved it to my dining room table. I needed more space to now make the rug. Since it was in the order it came off my sewing machine, it didn’t tangle at all and just fed the process as I started round and round to make the rug.
Sewing the strips together to make an oval rug
I started with about 15″ of the fabric covered batting and made a big ‘U’. You need to really curve the ends, and smush it down. Set your machine to a big zig zag stitch, and have plenty of bobbins ready. I used 8 bobbins of thread for putting the rug together. Zig zag the fabric covered batting together. When you get to the end, start wrapping the corner to make the rug.
At the beginning, make sure to ease in a lot of the outside fabric as you round the corners so that the rug will lay flat. If you pull it up, it will curl a bit. To do this, lay the fabric very flat on your sewing surface and ease in until the outside edge can lay flat without curling.
TIP: Use your sewing machine extension, or quilting extension table to make a flat bed. This will help keep the rug flat, and not curl.
TIP: Make sure that you are adding the next round from inside your sewing machine arm, not on the outside. As the rug gets big it makes it much easier!
Keep sewing round and round until all of your strips are sewn into a rug! Just make sure everything is lying flat, or your rug won’t lay flat. That is really the only thing you need to worry about!
TIP: If your rug starts to curl or be wavy, try really hard to make it very flat on your sewing machine bed when sewing. You’ll have a tendency to lift it, but don’t. A little bit of waviness can be pressed out with a good steam iron.
My new bright jelly roll rug!
Love the fabrics? Check out our interview with Jen Kingwell!
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 like making an oval shaped rug above, or make it about 45″ long by sewing the batting in each 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 like the oval jelly roll 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 jelly roll rug. Kathy kept two strips from the jelly roll to bind the two ends to finish it off cleanly.
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?
Frequently Asked Questions:
How big is the finished jelly roll rug?
I used two rolls of precut batting and one jelly roll. My finished rug is about 3′ x 4′. It is the perfect size rug for in front of my kitchen sink.
Is the rug washable?
I have tossed mine in the washer many times. I do lay it to dry. It generally needs a little bit of pressing to make it flat again.
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 fresh 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 jelly roll rug?
You could use a thicker upholstery weight thread if you’d like. I used a variegated quilting thread, and my rug has held up great.
Check out all of our sewing projects on Create Whimsy!