First, you need several pairs of old blue jeans (I used 7). They can be well worn and loved. Cut away all the seams, hems, and pockets so that you just have jean fabric. I saved the pockets for a children’s quilt that I want to make.
If there are holes, use a sewing machine to sew the holes together. This is important if the knees are worn through, because it will take a long time to finish if you are using small scraps.
Now, starting at one end, cut a 3/4″ strip until you reach 1/2″ from the opposite end. Now turn your fabric 180 degrees, leave another 3/4″ and start cutting down along parallel. The idea is to create one long strip from each panel of jeans. You don’t need to be exact, where the fabric is wider, I cut wider to use up as much material as I could. Because the panel is a funny shape, there will be some odd pieces left over that you can’t make use of.
Wind the strips into skeins as you go, or else you will be stuck with a big tangled mess.
Now, it is time to learn to crochet, and for that you are going to have to look elsewhere. I suggest trying here. I would try to teach you, but as this is my first time crocheting, I really do think that you would be better off with someone a bit more experienced.
I started off making a chain of 18 stitches (using the largest crochet hook you can find, mine was K+), and then used a single crochet stitch to go around and around. How many stitches you start off with depends on what dimensions you want the finished product to be. My rug is approximately 41″ by 31″ and the original chain was about 12″. This means that if you do a chain that is 20″ then you will end up with an oval that is aproximately 20″ longer in one direction than the other. I am currently contemplating making another rug for my hallway, and that one I think would need a much longer starting chain.
When you get to the end of one strip of fabric, just make a half inch slit about 3 inches in into both the end of the fabric and the beginning of the next. Pull the ends through the opposite hole to keep them stable and just crochet them in, it won’t be noticeable in the end product.
I didn’t use a pattern, and just added increases as I went along, as needed. If you want a bit more instruction, Vintage Chica has a good outline as well.
I know that all of this seems like a lot of work, but it is easier than it looks, and it goes by quite quickly once you get the hang of it. The nice thing about crochet instead of braiding is that there is no sewing involved and you get to see the finished product as you go along, which for me is key. I really need the sense of satisfaction that I just added 5 inches to my rug to keep me going.