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By November 18, 2015 0 Comments Read More →

How to Make a Rag Work Christmas Wreath

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Main Pic Rag Work Christmas Wreath

Years ago, before telly, ipads and, yes, even electric lighting folk would sit in the evening cutting up strips of fabric from clothes that had seen better days and refashion them into rugs. These rag rugs, with their hessian or sack backing, required no sewing – a big bonus when lighting was an issue. What did take the time was cutting all the bits of fabric – and rag rugs take a lot of it! This project showing you how to make a Rag Work Christmas Wreath should be made in an evening – make sure you have elves cutting up the strips of material.

See Also:

Making a Natural Christmas Wreath
Making a Giant Bird Feeder Wreath
Grow Your Own Christmas Tree

But don’t be put off. Once you’ve got everything prepared making this rag work Christmas wreath is a doddle and an ideal solution for recycling all those old T-Shirts full of holes that you just don’t want to bin so start looking in the back of wardrobes now for festive coloured shirts, tea-towels or other fabric to upcycle into a festive door wreath.

You will need a few other bits and pieces too – This method uses an adapted, old-fashioned wooden dolly peg, and was worked from the back. It’s strangely therapeutic, very thrifty, and the final decoration is really effective in a shabby chic way


*           Old-fashioned wooden dolly peg
*           Stanley knife
*           Sandpaper
*           Hessian or sacking material
*           School-style compass
*           Felt-tip pen
*           Ruler
*           Scissors
*           Loads of scraps
*           Cardboard



1           To make your peg, cut one side off the dolly peg and sharpen the other side to a point using a Stanley knife. Smooth the point off with sandpaper so it doesn’t catch on the fabric.

pic 8

Your peg and strips of material at the ready.

2           To mark out your pattern (see above), draw a circle measuring 23cm in diameter using the compass and felt-tip pen. This should be done on the back of the work.

3           Measure out an inner circle 11cm in diameter, leaving a band (the wreath part) 12cm in width.

pic 10

Working from the back.

4           In the band, mark out 10 circles all equidistant from each other.

5           To prepare the hessian, sew zigzag stitch around the outer circle and the inner circle to stop the material from fraying.

6           To prepare your rags, cut your material into strips roughly 8cm in length and 2cm wide. This need not be precise! Cut the strips with a diagonal slant at each edge. It’s also always far more interesting to have materials of different textures and shades. As a rough guide, you will need at least 3–4 times the fabric of the space to be filled.

7           To get rag working, make a big hole in the fabric with the peg from the back, then take your strip of material and your peg and ‘stuff’ one end through the hole.

pic 9

Working from the back use the peg to make the hole. Then take your strip of fabric and push it through.

8           Make another hole 3 strands of hessian away, poke the other end through, then take another piece of fabric and do exactly the same to build up the picture. Turn the fabric over and just pull each end to make sure it’s tight.

9           Continue working the pattern until it’s complete.

10         To finish off once the material is fully ‘ragged’, cut the centre so that you can turn the hessian over onto the back, then do the same with the outer edge. You can then back it using cardboard for strength.



We’ve collected plenty of rag work ideas on our Pinterest site:



Go to, for instructions on how to make a completely natural Christmas wreath

Posted in: Seasonal Crafts

About the Author:

Ruth Tott is the publisher of Home Farmer Magazine, and together with her husband, Paul Melnyczuk, Editor,is founder of the company. But her background is far removed having specialised in Costume History with a Post-Grad diploma in Museum Studies to boot. A far cry from looking after chickens, growing veg and making bread!

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