The internet is full of all sorts of ‘how to‘s and DIY guides, and yet I couldn’t find anything to help me with my latest making project. Well, I am about to fill that empty spot on the world wide interweb. Welcome to ‘Project Sheepskin rug’!
I love the bare, painted floorboards in my bedroom. In the Summer this was deliciously cool and calm. However, now that we are apparently on the cusp of a mega freezing Winter, I thought I should find a way of making things a bit warmer and cosier. The ideal solution is to find a deep pile rug, but being the fussy bugger that I am, I couldn’t find a single one that I loved that didn’t also require a re-mortgage. I’ve always liked the idea of a sheepskin rug to bury my morning tootsies into, but the 6 or 8 pelt versions are eye-wateringly expensive, plus the natural ivory looks very yellow against my white floorboards.
It was at this point that I hit up my local Ikea in search for some good old Swedish inspiration and the lovely LUDDE came to my rescue. The low pile, pearly grey sheepskin provided the perfect solution, but it only comes in singles. I did some quick mental arithmetic and realised that at £25 a pop, I could make my own multi-pelt rug for a very good price indeed. Now I just needed to work out how to join these beauties together.
I popped into both Liberty and John Lewis to ask the haberdashery department staff their advice (the team in both stores are incredibly knowledgeable and very helpful). I came home with an idea on how to approach this project, some heavy weight thread as well as leather needles for my machine and for handsewing. I’m going to try and give you a step by step guide so you can have a go at this project too without replicating my mistakes!
Using a sliver of sheepskin cut from one of the pelts, test out the sewing methods to see which works best. I started testing out the machine with various stitches and tensions. After breaking two needles I decided to set that option aside and have a go handsewing.
I laid the skins in pairs fleece to fleece, and tacked them together to keep them in place. The edges should be as well matched as possible.
Using the leather needles and heavier thread, I stitched the pelts together with a backstitch (around 1cm long stitches seemed to work well). I chose a stitch line at a right angle to the flat base of the pelt and marked this on in tailors chalk. This line was the closest to the edge as I could go and still create a straight line between pelts for as much of the length as possible.
Use a sharp craft blade to trim off the excess skin along the seamline. Trim as close as you dare for the neatest finish. The knife just cuts the skin and then pull the fleece apart. This is far quicker and easier than scissors.
I joined three pelts together in this way so I have two halves of the 6 pelt rug ready, with a continuous straight line along the bottom which will become the central joining line of the finished rug. This central line was the final seam to be stitched.
carefully trim off all excess fleece inside your seam allowances so that the rug will lay as flat as possible.
stand back with a cuppa and enjoy your gorgeous new rug!
This took me a matter of hours and saved me hundreds of pounds, and I have a sense of achievement and pride that simply buying a ready-made rug just wouldn’t have given me. With that in mind, I think that this project counts as one of our ‘Stylish Steals’ too.
A final note as we are very materials conscious, especially when using animal based products. The great news is that Ikea have high ethical standards and have a strong animal welfare policy in place. It is important to us at Blink London that the materials that we choose to work with can be used with peace of mind. Here is Ikea’s statement on the sheepskins that we have used: