Tag Archives: tutorial

Crochet rag rug tutorial…

16 May

I have made these rugs on and off over the years..

They are simple and a great way to use fabric scraps and do sitting work. ¬†For example when you stub your toe in the sewing room and need to put it up a bit ūüôā

This is a rug I’m making to go in front of my cutting table approximate finished size to be 26-30″ long and however wide.

You can do all sizes. ¬†You can do table rugs…

Victoria made this for me for my birthday last year it is approximately16″ long by 12″ wide.

They work well in keeping tables from getting scratched by lamps etc.

They also protect with house hold plants.

We have also made hot pad rounds and ovals and coasters!

So, on to the tutorial..

You will need for floor rugs…

size K crochet hook.

1 inch wide fabric strips


No sewing necessary!

You can choose a color scheme or just go with a crazy rug.

Orderly, colors chosen and ordered in a sequence.

Semi- orderly colors match and are in a little “freer” sequence.

Colors all from the same family, semi crazy, no order, except color family order.

I don’t have and example of a true crazy where I just used fabric strips regardless of their color. ¬†This would be a very pretty rug I am sure!


Pick your fabric and cut 1 inch strips.

Take them to where you are going to crochet and have your hook and a pair of scissors with you.

organize your fabric how you want it to be in your rug. ¬†I don’t ¬†have a specific amount of strips to tell you. ¬†Usually, I just cut what I think I’ll get to that day.

If you want to just cut up your fabric and store the strips by color, that is good too.

These strips are linked together in our color flow choice..

Here is how we link them with out sewing…first cut the ends in about 45 degree angles…

Then point the angles at each other and over lay one over the other with right sides of fabric facing up.

Then fold the over laid sections in half and make about a 1/2 inch cut. ¬†Be sure you have at least 1/2 inch between your cut and the end of your fabric strip or the hole may rip through in one of the next steps ūüôā

Open the fold back up and you have a 3/4 to 1 inch hole

Now take the take the other end of the strip that you laid on top and bring that end under and up through the hole you just cut.

Pull tightly and your strips begin to make a longer strand of strips

Now you are ready to crochet!  I use a half double crochet for this rug.  I start with one straight chain, and just eye how long I will need it and how fast I want the rug to grow wide in proportion to length.

Just for guage information a 1/2 double with a k hook and 1 inch strips… 1 stitch is approximately 1 inch tall and 1/2 inch wide.

I used 3/4 inch satin ribbon in this rug too. ¬†I was grasping for strips to get it done ūüôā ¬†I thought the ribbon worked well. ¬†Definitely not as much friction in the crocheting as the fabric.

This is our finished rug.  I used solids, prints, cotton and synthetic mediums.  The half double crochet also gives you a little more of a cushy rug.

 For table rugs I use 1/2 to 5/8 inch strips, an I hook, and single crochet.

For coasters and round hot pads…I chain 4, slip stitch together then do 2 single crochet’s into each of those 4 chains then I just keep going around ¬†increasing stitches as needed to keep disk flat making a circle. ¬†For variety sometimes I do the front porch technique. ¬†Both of these are front porch technique, and the lighter one even has a homey coffee stain on it ūüôā

Sewing a shirt sleeve placket..tutorial..

2 Feb

Finally we did this placket and finished the linen shirts!  Life is full!

I want to start by saying I purchased Fiona Bell’s book “Sewn With Love”. This book has classic patterns for children’s clothing. ¬†The patterns are on a cd and you print them off for your use.

The sewing instructions are in the book with some pictures but scanty. ¬†I have been sewing for 34 years and had never done a man’s shirt, or boy’s shirt with the button cuff and placket. ¬†This appealed to me and some of the other styles in the book also, piqued my curiosity so I purchased it.

I have 8 boys and my husband and thought a shirt would be a good thing to know how to make.

I practiced on a little flannel shirt for my 3-year-old.  Then Victoria and I made my 15-year-old a John Deere print cotton shirt, and my 8-year-old a different John Deere print cotton shirt.

My dream was to be able to make cool 100% linen “church” or dress shirts.

Again, I started with my baby boys, smaller, less fabric to mess up and waste, right?

After 5 shirts, the plackets are getting easier, but the instructions in the book are not descriptive and helpful enough for an advanced beginner to understand.  Victoria, my 19-year-old, fresh brained daughter and I decided to do this tutorial together.

If you ever want to tackle a button sleeve placket we hope this helps you!!!

1. ¬†Line up sleeve and placket piece …wrong¬†side of sleeve fabric to right side of placket piece..

Notice the placket rectangle piece is cut at approximately the 1/3 point.

We’ll use thin side and fat side for our terminology ūüôā
So sorry this linen is hard to tell right side from wrong side. ¬†This pattern didn’t advise cutting your placket first, but this way worked best for us.

Now sew placket and sleeve together around cut making a u seam with 1/4″ seam allowance.

Then snip at angles up to corners of ¬†“u” seam to make a good cornered turn…

Now you are ready to do the thin side of your placket..

First you invert your placket to the right side of your sleeve..

You will fold the outer edge of the thin side 1/4″ and press…Then fold in again and press, thus covering your thin side of your “u” seam with an approximate 3/8″ folded seam and raw edge “cover”

Now I make a little dot with my handy water soluble marker a tiny bit above my thin side “u” seam corner. ¬†You can see it if you look closely

This little dot is where we are going to sew up to.  You can pin if you like.

Now you take the sleeve to your machine and sew a nice top stitch very close to the edge of your fold up to the pin or marking we just made.

After stitching up to the marking you snip off the excess 3/8″ folded fabric approximately 1/2″ above your “u” seam and in a perpendicular cut to your 3/8″ fold. ¬†Now turn your scissors and continue cutting the excess fabric off the placket piece in a parallel ¬†cut, removing the end of the 3/8″ fold on the thin side.

Now we are ready for the fat side, the side you see when you look at a shirt.

First we fold the fat side of the placket piece into thirds.  Press the first third, then fold over and press the second third, right side of placket fabric ending up on the out side.

Now we are ready to make the 45 degree angle folds for the pointed professional look.

First 45, then tuck under and pin the next 45 for your triangle top finish

You can press to help hold your shape and then you’re ready to stitch..

Stitch up outside of folded fat side just covering your “u” seam on the fat side of your sleeve..continue up and around the point and down to 1/4″ past your original placket cut..then stitch across the newly sewn placket parallel to the point…

I put this finished picture in to show we top stitching is on the side of placket on the sleeve not toward the opening.

Now you are ready to attach your cuff!

If you got this far the cuff is easy!! And your pattern instructions should be explanatory for that step!


Here are my guys wearing these linen shirts..

You can kind of see the cuffs ūüôā

Hope this is helpful to someone! Thank you to Victoria for all her help on this tutorial! I couldn’t have done it without her!

Make your own fitted crib sheets…

19 Oct

A friend who is a grandma used to make these for all her grandbabies and she showed me how..

So I’m happy to share…

You will need:

tape measure


1/4 or 3/8 inch elastic



sewing machine

First you measure your crib mattress, length, width and thickness or depth.

Add the length to the thickness times 2.  This will be how long you cut your fabric.

Add the width to the thickness times 2. This will be how wide you cut your fabric.

Our mattresses (we have two) are 50″ long and 27″ wide. ¬†One is 5″ deep and one is 4″ deep. ¬†All crib mattresses are not the same ūüôā

So You cut the fabric to the needed length and width.

Then at each corner you cut out a square to equal the thickness or depth of your mattress.

I split the difference between both the mattresses.  More is probably better.

Now you are ready to sew.

First you make mitres at the corners by sewing these two ends together along the box angles.


Then you hem the sheet, I serge for a hem. ¬†I should mention if you don’t have a serger, you will need to give yourself 1 more inch all around your rectangle when you first cut it out to make allowance for a hem. ¬†You would need to turn 1/4 inch under and then another and stitch for your hem.

Now you are ready to add elastic

I just cut the elastic 27 ” and then I start on the long side of the sheet about 12 inches from the corner turning to the short side. ¬†You apply the elastic at the hemline..

 Secure the elastic with a back stitch or elastic zig zag stitch.  Then I pull and stretch elastic and sew it on with a straight stitch.  I hold the starting end with my guide hand, which is my left hand and I pull with my right hand.

 A piece of elastic at both ends and you have a fitted crib sheet!   These sheets I made yesterday were flannel, very nice for the upcoming cold months!

Covering a footstool…

19 Oct

I also covered the footstool/magazine holder my husband made years ago.

This was really worn out! This was the third time I have had to cover it.

The top is very easy like the chair seat.

You will need:



stapler, or hammer and tacks

Sewing machine

Remove the top from the base. ¬†Lay it flat on the wrong side of the fabric and cut out your fabric leaving about 2″ around the circumfrence for folding over on the back. ¬†Before…

With the top off…

Fabric about 2″ bigger than lid.

Rectangles and squares are easier than odd shaped chair seats.

Then the bottom with the skirt is a little more complicated. ¬†You need to measure from the floor to the top of your stool for skirt length. ¬†Then add 2″ for attaching skirt and 1/2″ for hemming the skirt.

You decide which type of skirt you would like, straight, pleated, gathered…

First you need to hem the skirt, you can serge and hem if you have a serger, or just turn the fabric twice to have a finished edge.

Then I measured around the stool and doubled that for the pleats, you can add 1/2 of perimeter again for gathering, or double, the thicker the fabric 1/2 may be all you can do or it will just be too bulky.

I chose pleated.  I put a pleat at each corner and a pleat in the center of each side.

Now to attach the skirt to the stool. ¬†I made a pleat on each side of the same size, mine were about 3″ this is where there are no hard fast rules…do what you want, do what looks pleasing to your eye.

As long as the pleats are equal in length, I am happy..

Then you take strips of cardboard, or the best thing is boning from your local fabric store. ¬†Cardboard is what I had and it works. ¬†You cut your strips approximately 1/2″ wide and you need enough to go around the perimeter of your base. ¬†The strips keep your skirt even at the top holding your fabric in a straight line…

you put the right side of your skirt fabric to the stool base…the hem of the skirt is pointed toward the top of the stool. This will enable you to staple the raw edge of ¬†the skirt with the cardboard strips then the skirt will fold back over the strip to give you a straight finished edge.


This is a time when you need another pair of hands. ¬†Holding fabric at a good tension and keeping the cardboard in place and stapling…

Hope this is helpful…

Covering a chair seat…

19 Oct

I found this chair on the side of the road a long way back.  We have had it in our living room with a stool my husband made.  The stool especially needed recovering so  I covered them both.

Here is how you can cover a chair seat.

Under most strait back chairs there are 4 corner braces, these have drilled holes in them and in the holes are screws which are holding the chair seat in place.

Determine whether the screws are flat head or phillips head screws and then loosen them with your screwdriver.  Your seat platform will come free and you are ready to cover it.

Lay the seat upside down on the wrong side of your fabric and cut out the basic shape of the seat.

Round your corners, it makes it easier to get a nice finish.

 Choose an end to start, I usually choose the back.  Turn your fabric under so the raw edges are not visible.  Then using a stapler, or tacks and a hammer or in my case, my husband has a pneumatic stapler, very nice and fast.  Place your fasteners about 2.5 to 3 inches apart.

Go to the opposite side from the side you start on and with some pulling pressure to make fabric taught, but not stretched, again fold your fabric under and fasten.

Make sure when you are fastening your fabric in the area of your screw holes that you keep the holes open, do not cover them with the fabric.

There will be some bunching at the corners, a mitre is the best way to navigate a corner, just be sure to fold over in the same direction on each corner.  Another option is to pull the fabric to the back from both sides of the corner and it gives it a gathered look.

An affordable way to spruce up your decor!

Make your own ironing board cover…

4 Oct

I have done this many times. ¬†I really don’t like dirty, scuzzy ironing board covers!

My last one was in good shape but one of my dear children slit it with something?  And so it was time for a new one.

This is so simple.

Flip your ironing board over on the wrong side of a piece of fabric.

I choose decorator fabric for it’s durability.

Trace your ironing board right on to the fabric. ¬†Trace a little big, not tight to the shape, in order to give yourself ¬†about 1/4″ seam allowance.

Cut out your shape.

Then cut out 2 1/2″ strips of fabric, enough to make it around your ironing board perimeter and a little extra for hemming the openings.

Sew the strips together. ¬†Serge along one long ¬†side or finish edge by making 1/4 inch hem. ¬†Then make a casing by turning the fabric up about 3/8″.

Now you are ready to sew onto ironing board shape. ¬†I start at the back of the ironing board in the center of the back. First ¬†I turn one of the short ends of the strip under and serge and hem. ¬†Then using a 1/4″ seam allowance I sew the strip, which will turn out to be the band, ¬†good side of fabric together.

When you get all the way around to the back corner before the flat back, stop and adjust what is left of the strip so that it meets in the back with where you started.  Measure how much is needed to turn and hem the end of the strip so that it meets up with where you started.  You are just meeting up, not sewing together.  Then cut or fold under accordingly and hem.  Then go back and sew that last little bit around the corner and meet where you started.

Now you will need to run cording through your casing, I use a safety pin, you can also use a bodkin if you have one. ¬†You just fish the cording through like elastic for a waist band. ¬†I use slippery cording, you can get it at most fabric stores. ¬†Hobby Lobby carries quite a selection in their ribbons and trims section. ¬† My cording is 3 or 4 years old, I just keep re-using it, It doesn’t really match the fabric I used this time, but, it does its job!

Now you are ready to put on your cover, ideally the shape of your ironing board was traced so well that it fits like a glove over your old cover, the seam of the casing strip trims the edges, notice I said ideally ūüôā

The nose is the most important thing to fit properly.  place the nose and if some one is available have them hold it.  Then go to the back, cross the cording strings over each other and begin to tighten.  This will bring the casing strip under the ironing board lip, which is what will keep the cover tight and firm.

This is my daughter’s first attempt at a cover, she was a little big on the ironing board shape tracing. ¬†It could have been fixed by a bigger seam allowance but, I didn’t see it until she had it on the ironing board. ¬†It works fine, just a little less fitted than I like. ¬†Good for her first time!

Bright!  Our cousin gave us this fabric, cheery is nice for an ironing board cover.

I see my sleeve board  on the side there needs recovered too:-)

Hope this is helpful.

Scrappy Tiered skirt tutorial…

26 Jul

¬†We make two kinds of tiered skirts. ¬†The simple tiered skirt and the “scrappy” tiered skirt. ¬†So named because you can gather any of your fabric scraps, put them together in color families and then make a skirt. ¬†Your length may vary, but you can usually get them close to your desired length.

Please note, we got some scraps from our son’s quilting, piano teacher. ¬†I mean a lot of scraps, they were of many colors and widths. ¬†The example pictures are taken on different skirts in different stages. ¬†We had a skirt making spree last Friday and Saturday.

We begin by selecting scraps that are in the same color family.  We measure our hips, because with an elastic waistband the skirt has to go over our hips!

Then we cut strips of even height, not always the same. ¬†The top tier in the above picture is about 5″ tall, the second on this one is approximately 7″ tall, the third is 4″ tall, the ¬†5th is 3″ and the bottom is about 5″. ¬†We just used what we had. ¬†Then we go from the top and just make each “layer” of strips approximately 3 to 5″ wider than the layer above it. ¬†This just gives a little gather to each tier and the skirt lays nice. It can take a lot of fabric to do a tiered skirt. ¬† Sometimes there isn’t enough to make a whole tier layer of one color so you can put two or three together to get the length across that you need. ¬†It is kind of an adventure to see how it will turn out. ¬†Gathering really helps to bring the colors together!

Now, we are ready to sew!

You start by making each layer of strips into tubes by sewing the sides of them together.  I do this on the serger.   Sewing the fabric right sides together.  If you do not have a serger you can sew a straight stitch and do an over cast or, do French seams if you know how.

Next, I serge to finish the very bottom layer, where I am going to hem, and the very top layer where I am going to put my elastic waistband. ¬† Note: ¬†If your print on your fabric has an “up” ¬†check for that before serging.

Next I hem the bottom, and make the elastic casing on the top. ¬†This is great to do at the beginning. ¬† Normally, because it is a scrappy skirt there is not a lot of hem allowance so I just do a 1/4″ hem.

Then I turn the fabric on the top tier down and make my elastic casing. ¬†I let my elastic supply determine what size of casing I make. ¬†Also, if the skirt is light weight or heavy weight like denim, I would use 3/4 to 1″ elastic, but these light weight calico’s we used 1/2″ elastic. ¬†So, my casing was made at approximately 3/4″. ¬†You can use your seam gauge and press this amount in which makes for easier sewing. ¬†And pin if needed. ¬†Start stitching after the side seam and stop stitching ¬†about 3/4″ to 1″ ¬†from the starting stitch. ¬†DO back stitch!

Then I run “gathering” stitches. ¬†You just set your machine to 4 or 4.5 stitch length, on straight stitch setting and sew 1/4″ from the top of each of your tier “tubes”. ¬† Start just after a side seam and sew completely around the tube, then as you come completely around, by pass on the under side of your stitch, instead of stitching up to it. ¬†By pass about 3″ worth of stitching then ¬†cut your thread. ¬†DO NOT ¬†back stitch. ¬†The stitches need to be free to gather.

Pick either the needle stitch or the bobbin stitch and begin to pull the thread, you will see the fabric start to bunch.  With your other hand you can run the bunches along the taught thread.  You continue this process until the top of your tier tube is the length of the bottom of the tube you want to attach it to.

Now you are ready to put the tiers together.  I start at the top and work down.  With right sides together, line the bottom of the top tier up to the top of the second tier.  Sliding the top tube, which will be turned inside out, over the second tube.

Now, you may pin.  I line up side seams or pick where I want the sides to be if I have more than two fabrics.  Then I always put the gathered piece up on my machine and the flat bottom of the next tier to the bobbin  section of my machine.

As shown here… ¬†I don’t pin, so that I can adjust the gathers as I go, if they got too ¬†bunched up or not bunched up enough. ¬†You can also do this with pinning, you just sew slowly and remove pins as you come up to them and stop if you need to make adjustments.

After you do the top two tiers you can lay out your skirt again and better adjust your subsequent gather stitches and fine tune, where you want your different fabric tubes to come around to the front.  Then just work your way down.  You are close to done!

This skirt is done except  finishing the seams.  It is very important to finish seams on a tiered skirt, because in the gathering of each tier, the fabric begins raveling with the motion of running the fabric along the  taught thread.

Again, I use the serger, and carefully finish each seam. ¬†Careful not to stitch too far over and flattening the seam as I go so I don’t grab some of the next tier that I don’t want to grab. ¬†This can also be done with your sewing machine’s over cast stitch.

Now, it is time to run your elastic through.   Find the opening you made when sewing your top tier elastic casing in.

You can take the elastic around your ¬†waist and cut it about 1″ shorter than your waist. ¬†Then ¬†take a safety pin and pin to one end of the elastic. ¬†Take the other end of the elastic and pin it to the seam next to your casing opening.

This will ensure that you don’t pull it into the casing. ¬†Then fish your pin through the casing tube. ¬†Use your right hand, or left if you are left handed and push the pin attached to the elastic. ¬†Then with your other hand hold the pin and push the casing fabric down the elastic toward the other end. ¬† When you get to the opening again. ¬†Run your hand along and be sure there are no twists in the elastic.

You are ready to close your elastic. ¬†Lay it flat on top of itself, so you don’t have a big bulge and overlap about 1/2 to 3/4″.

Then stitch up and down with an elastic zig zag stitch 2 times for strength. ¬†I stitch where the raw edges are to cut down on the bunching too! ¬†Then you pull the skirt top and the elastic pops in and you are ready to close up your little opening that you used to put the elastic in. ¬†Clip all your hanging threads and you’re all done!

Hope this has been helpful!