Monday, August 3, 2009

How to make your Penny Rug lay flat? BACKING!

I received a really nice email last week from a lurker who asked me how I get my penny rugs to lay so nice and flat. She recently bought something from an Ebayer and can't get the puckers and bumps out of the top so that it will lay completely flat and wanted to know what to do.
It's all about the backing!
Chances are the backing that was attached was not the correct size ... either too small or too large so when trying to sew the backing onto the front, it's stretched to fit leaving the front with puckers.

So here's how I attach my backings. I'll use this Pumpkin Penny rug as an example.

BTW ....

I'm giving this away! If you wish to enter the drawing to win this penny rug, just go to this post and make a comment.

When I intitally started making this penny rug, I made a template of the exact size that I needed the black background wool to be. I use freezer paper for all my pattern templates because the waxy side can be ironed onto the fabric and then easily peeled off .
In this case, the measurement was 12" x 22" so I carefully measured, ironed the rough cut freezer paper template onto my wool, cut it out, and then finally peeled off the freezer paper, leaving me with a perfectly cut wool background. Later, when it's time to do the backing, I use that same measured freezer paper to cut out the backing. This way it's sure to be the EXACT same size as the background wool that I need to attach it to.
Here, I've ironed on the exact sized freezer paper onto my homespun cotton backing. I rough cut it out, leaving about 1/2" border/seam allowance all around the edges. That 1/2" border is then steam ironed down to fit around the freezer paper. See?! no measuring is needed!
If I'm using wool for the backing, there's no need to add extra seam allowance. The wool can be cut to the exact size of the template.

After the the seams are steam pressed, I remove the freezer paper and steam press it one more time just to make sure all the edges are laying completely flat.

Because it's cut using the same template as the front, it fits perfectly, so all I need to do is pin it on. Sometimes, if it's a really large penny rug, I'll pin and then baste it so that it dosesn't slide around too much. I tend to be rough when I'm sewing ... flipping the rug around quite a bit so I make sure it's anchored in there securely.

There it is, nice and smooth! If it lays nice and smooth on the back, then it's sure to lay nice and smooth on the front. You shouldn't ever have to stretch your fabric to make it fit.
I usually use #5 DMC cotton thread to blanket stitch outside edges. It's just my own preference and I think it gives the rug a nicer finished look.
In the case of the Ebay item with puckers, I'm afraid that there is nothing that can be done other than removing the backing and attaching it back on correctly.
Sometimes, if it's made with 100% wool and the puckers aren't too bad, it can be steamed down so that it shrinks to size, but if it's made with any wool felt, it can't be ironed. Most wool felt is only 20%-35% wool that is blended with Rayon. Ironing it will damage the texture of the felt.
In this case, the candle mat was mostly wool felt so it couldn't be of the big drawbacks to wool felt.
Busy week ahead for me. Rach will be coming home from working Volleyball camp on Wednesday to pack up her things to get ready to leave again on Sunday for Volleyball pre-season training at Cal. We won't see her back home again until Thanksgiving because her every last spare minute is spent with a volleyball.
We'll have lots of packing and last minute shopping to do before she leaves so I don't expect much time for blogging .... other than drawing the winning name for the giveway on Wednesday!
Happy Day, everyone!


carolyn@primitive~devotion said...

That's a great tip! I have yet to make a penny rug, but it's on my list of things to do. Now I know how to attach the backing the correct way! Thanks!

arlyce said...

I found this to be very helpful. thanks. I have been very iterested in your posts and beautiful work. arlyce

theolde stone house said...

Thanks so much for the tutorial on backing. You do such beautiful work. You have to look at the new Country Sampler. This same rug is on a coffee table in one of the articles. Of course yours is much better.


April said...

It will totally make your life easier if your rugs are just laying flat and not moving, since it will be totally vexing if you slipped on your own rug when walking by it. Also for me, it will be easier to get cleaned by the Tampa carpet cleaners if the rug is staying flat in one place.

Anonymous said...


My question is: how do you attached the tabs on each end?

Thanks, Sheree

Caths Pennies Designs said...

Sheree, I think this might answer your question ...

If that's not what you mean, then email me for help. :)

Angela said...

I am new to making rugs. My daughter wants a wool rug to avoid the chemicals often put in other rugs. I have thought about making her one. Your post was very helpful.

Rachat de credit said...

Thanks a lot it has been a good support, now to make our penny rug lay flat? backing! is simple and easy with your tips. Thank you

Anonymous said...

Hi, I have recently found the penny rug craft and enjoy reading and following your tutorials. I didn't know you could use a different material for the backing.