Crochet T-Shirt Rag Rug

I’m on a rug roll. Our hardwood floors are cold (it’s in the teens outside) and it makes me want to cover them all with soft comfy rugs. I’ve certainly got enough material.

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I made this rug for one of Grace’s Christmas presents, making it officially my first rag rug (although I’ve blogged the flannel one before). This is a simple crocheted oval made out of t-shirt yarn. I used single crochet all around and just did increases where I felt it needed it – super informal. There’s a few bubbles because I wasn’t very precise with my increases. That’s really ok though.

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This rug took 7 t-shirts cut into 1.5″ strips. I worked on it for a week or so. Crochet isn’t my first choice of handwork but Shaune hadn’t built my loom yet and I was impatient to make a rug. Grace moves it around her room as she pleases – it is her rug after all. It technically lives by the book shelf, but just sometimes, it makes a lovely monster:

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Flannel Rag Rug

Flannel Rag Rug, or, “Why on earth do we own so many pajama pants?”

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Flannel Rag Rug

This is my first rag rug on the beautiful loom my husband made me. It took just under a week of very distracted work – here a minute, there a minute, pull a bunch out because I messed it up, and another half hour there. Our son has decided he isn’t a particular fan of sleeping so a lot of my rug twining time involved catching the ends out of the hands of a delighted little man. He’s like a cat.

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Just before removing it from the loom

I made this with scrap flannel. Right after Christmas, I was sorting clothes for the family and discovered we own a silly amount of pajama pants, or “fuzzy pants” as we call them. I’m talking easily 20+ pairs between the 3 of us old enough to wear them. It’s a cultural tradition to give new pjs for Christmas and we have whole-heartedly bought into it. I used 8 different flannels in this rug ranging from 6-year-old mostly worn out to brand new scraps from this year’s pair. The varied thicknesses caused the curving you see in the photo above; some of it smoothed out when I removed it from the frame and some will always remain. I’m calling it “character”.

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A bobby pin as a needle makes the last row easier

If you’ve never made a rag rug, the process is fairly simple. It’s the basic over-under-over-under you learned in kindergarten with strips of paper, with a twist – literally. You work with two fabric strips at a time. One goes under while the other goes over, then you twist them before the next warp. As long as you remember to twist the same way every time you end up with a pretty braided effect and a very sturdy woven fabric.

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The edge of the rug – the warp pulls in and hides

The warp for this rug was another scrap from my stash – a cotton printed panel project. Do you know those? You buy the panel which has pattern pieces printed on it, such as a holiday vest. I had a friend bless me with a stack of them. I will never use the projects as designed, but the cotton makes excellent rug warp. I twined the first few rows of the rug out of a coordinating flannel. Once I took the rug off the loom the warp slipped inside and is barely visible. You probably can’t even see it in the photo above.

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Left overs will become warp for the next rug

The left over strips will become the warp for my next rug. There is still so much flannel here…

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All done and in use!

And, done!

Rag Rug Loom

My hubby is awesome.

No, wait, that isn’t the entire post, although it could be! Lately I’ve been obsessed with the idea of making rugs. Specifically, rag rugs. Too much Little House on the Prairie and various other pioneer literature around here lately – makes me want to be all rustic. And as we’re preparing to move cross country, I’m sorting through piles of clothes and my fabric stash to narrow down what will actually be coming with us.

It makes me cringe to throw fabric away. I just can’t.

Enter rag rug making – the perfect way to take unusable fabric and make it usable again. And it uses up lots of it, which I have, thus saving giant heaping piles of clothing from the trash (most of it is too worn out for resale shops).

Last week we drove to Georgia to visit relatives and the entire way my husband and I discussed various loom options. We watched youtube videos at the hotels at night and chatted about what features I wanted. Then we got home and he built it for me using scraps we had around from a shelving project. Total cost? Less than $10 for some oak dowels and the hooks to hold them. And I have fabric for who knows how many rugs.

And here it is! Because nothing is better on a cold winter day than weaving at a sunny window.

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Let me show you some of the beautiful details. This loom isn’t taken from any one set of plans, but rather is a hodgepodge of various looms we saw online combined to our own liking.

The frame is a basic 2.5′ b y 3.5′. The top and bottom are the same so it can be flipped. It’s made of 1×2″ doubled on the vertical so it’s thick enough to insert hooks:

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The base is 1×4″ cut 20″ long with more 1×2″ scraps. The frame slips right into it snuggly. He’s going to add a latch to hold the frame in so I can carry it easier, but for now this works.

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There are 4 sets of hooks on the vertical supports. 5/8″ oak dowels slide in to hold the warp. With this set up I can make a rug any width up to 29″ wide and 3 lengths: 18″, 27″, and 36″ (roughly). For my first rug I’m using the middle (27″) length.

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Dowels are held in place by a super fancy rubber band.

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I’m silly excited about this. In the winter, we watch a lot more tv in the evenings. It gets dark here between 4-5pm and it’s really cold. I don’t like just sitting there; this gives me something productive to do that is essentially mindless once I get the pattern going. And look! I’ve already begun. I’ll post more details on this rug as it shapes up. It’s going to be a hug for our feet, all made up of scrap flannel.

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Any one else rag rug? I’d love to geek out with you in the comments if you do!

Fireworks Fourth Dress

Posting only 2 weeks after the holiday! Our life has just been too busy lately. With what? If you’re interested, you can visit our family blog here.

I’ve never been a big one for holiday clothing. I like looking at it, I just don’t tend to make things for one specific day.

Except when my sweet 3 year old begs me and I happen to have all the supplies already in the house and 3 free hours before we have to be at a party. Then I’ll make an exception!

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It’s a fireworks dress! This is PERFECT for the fourth! Which is good, because it was completely NOT perfect for what it used to be – a shirtwaist dress for me that I’d tried and tried and tried to make perfect but just couldn’t make work. In the words of Project Runway, it looked “tortured.” It was technically finished except for buttons but it was never going to be worn anyway so I saved myself the trouble and made something for Grace.

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As soon as I saw this little flutter sleeve sundress pop up during 30 Days of Sundresses, I knew I would be making it. Probably a dozen times! It’s a simple peasant style dress with elastic at the waist. I added lace on the sleeves and hem to at a little detail. The red bow is safety pinned in place so I can remove it for washing.

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She’s a little ambivalent on this dress, mostly because it doesn’t have butterflies OR flowers on it. That’s basically a crime in her universe. This girl… she has an opinion! She’s currently in a 4T so I was able to use the PDF pattern available in the post instead of drafting a pattern myself (adding 3″ of length). Next time I’ll need to lower the armhole a little; she was tugging at it telling me “it BOTHERS!”

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This isn’t a look of pain, I promise! She’s singing some song and twirling in a circle, which is how she spends most days lately. It’s the best way to spend summer ❤

Details

Pattern: Girl’s flutter sleeve sundress from It’s Always Autumn

Fabric: navy print quilter’s cotton from Joann’s (in 2009); white cotton lace trim from Fabric.com

Me Made May Days 1-5 {With new clothes!}

It’s Me Made May, where seamstresses commit to wearing clothing they’ve made throughout the month. My pledge and more information are here. I’m going to do summary posts every handful of days through out the month. I’m excited to post days 1-5! I love this opportunity to be creative with my wardrobe, finding the right outfit combinations to use each of the pieces I’ve spent time and effort making over the past couple years.

May 1

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Lady Skater maxi modification, originally blogged here

Not super interesting, but definitely comfortable! I paired it with a cardigan and a wide belt for a busy day at class and babysitting.

May 2

metro tWomen’s Metro T-Shirt from Liesl + Co (with purchased jeans and sweater)

I’ve been wanting to make my own tees for a while. Most of the ones I can find in stores are too short, too tight, too not right for me. As a result, I don’t have many. When this pattern released a few weeks ago I knew it would only be a matter of time before I owned it. The time is now! I sewed this top on the 1st – it pulled together super quickly. I made 2 shirts from start to finish (including taping the pattern together!) between when my daughter went to bed and when I did. This version is made with zero modifications using a 95% cotton 5% lycra knit available here. I could tweak the fit ever so slightly but honestly? I probably won’t – this is the most comfortable tee I’ve ever worn. We spent all day on the 2nd in the car driving. This was after 10 hours going from central Illinois to eastern Tennessee and I look a little rumpled but the shirt didn’t stretch out funny at all (like some do… cough, old navy, cough…)

May 3

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Skirt – self drafted circle skirt with elastic waist. Top – Women’s Metro T-Shirt, modified

Today was wedding day for my dear cousin Erika and her new husband Ken. And it’s a double Me-Made day for me! The ceremony was just beautiful, out on my aunt and uncle’s farm. We had lots of walking to do through the beautiful Smoky Mountains to get to the various parts of the day with a grand finale of swing dancing in the barn. I needed something both beautiful and simple; the right balance between fancy and casual; easy to wear and fun for dancing!

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What could be better for swing dancing than a chiffon circle skirt? NOTHING, in my opinion! Light weight and swingy and pretty much perfect. And it moves in such a way that you can’t tell the hem is so not straight. I hemmed each layer before attaching them together. Major no-no on a circle skirt but my time was seriously limited. Will I go back and fix it? Probably not. LOL! Top layer is a floral print chiffon lined with a super light weight polyester.

The top is the Metro tee pattern again, the 2nd shirt I sewed up on May 1st. This time I was using a remnant of fabric I’d picked up somewhere along the way. It’s actually a woven, but it has a fair bit of stretch in it due to the crinkle texture, so I used it anyway. I modified the neckline to be a pretty scoop and slightly shortened the sleeves and hem so that all the pieces would fit on my slightly less than a yard of fabric. I used a favorite shirt of mine to free hand cut the new neckline. The pictures don’t show it well but up close, the white tee is semi sheer and has a lot of texture, so this plain white t-shirt really isn’t!

May 4

I wore all purchased clothes today, because we were making the return trip which for some reason took even longer than the trip down. Must be because we were all so tired from dancing all night.

May 5

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Skirt: Upcycled. Everything else is purchased

This hardly counts as Me-Made, but I’m using it anyway! This khaki skirt was a thrift store find several years ago. It sat around in my closet for ages. I liked the idea of the skirt, but when I first bought it, it was such an awkward length. I’m not sure where it was designed to hit, but on me it was about as unflattering as a skirt could be. So a few months ago I hacked several inches off the bottom and hemmed it to be just above knee length. It gets worn all the time now. Here’s a before shot from earlier in the winter:

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Be sure to check out the Flickr group to find more inspiration of clothing people have made and actually wear! I think that’s my favorite part about this whole challenge – seeing how other seamstresses integrate their creations into their wardrobes. I love the blend of home made / modified and purchased garments. It inspires me and motivates me to keep sewing!

Kid’s Clothes Week: Monday

Have you heard of Kid’s Clothes Week? It’s an event in the blog community that happens 4 times a year – once each quarter of the year. The challenge is to spend one hour each day for one week sewing clothes for your kid (or kids). There is a host blog (Kid’s Clothes Week) where projects from the Community site are featured and give-aways happen. Within the Community site, you can post photos and pattern reviews, plus get to know some other cool people who sew 🙂 This is my first KCW but I can’t see it being my last.

I spent most of Monday getting ready: organizing patterns, deciding which fabric will be used where, and tracing off my new Oliver + S pattern.

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I decided to spend my sewing time wrapping up a couple of projects left from before. Nothing like clearing up unfinished business. Both of these were already finished except for hems and trims.

Re-purposed Overall Dress

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These started as a too short pair of Old Navy Baby overalls. Overalls just don’t make sense in our life – Grace has potty trained and she can’t get them up and down without help, but… “I DO IT MYSELF!” The end result is accidents. Turning them into a overall dress is much more our style. I cut the legs off a few inches below those cute pockets, then slit the curved part of the crotch seam and stitched it flat. Hemming with pink ribbon trim (from my stash, leftover from a different project) was a quick and easy finish – much easier than trying to turn up a hem on this thick denim. Maybe an hour of work turned this unworn hand-me-down into something Grace begged to put on as soon as she saw it. I did photograph the steps of this project – if time allows I’ll post a quick tutorial.

Striped Grand Slam Tee

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This is my first sew of the Grand Slam Tee by Peek A Boo patterns. I love it – everything matched up perfectly, which is a must when working with stripes. The fabric is a weird sweater knit remnant I found in the bin at Joann’s. It’s kind of weird, but I kind of love it. From the pattern, I made a size 4 with the 3/4 sleeves and Skinny fit. I’m hoping to make a little khaki skirt to pair with this.

My model only had one outfit’s worth of cooperation in her this morning, so we’re back to taped on the wall. You do what works, right?

KCW is just in time for me. I just had to retire 5 MORE dresses from Grace’s wardrobe for being far too short and getting tight. This is in addition to the several I’ve had to pull over the past couple weeks. My girl hit a serious growth spurt between Thanksgiving and Christmas – after not growing much in a year, she put on 2″ and 1lb in a little over a month. It’s left me scrambling for clothes – we’ve done lots of leggings under too short dresses these past few weeks. I’m glad she won’t wear pants because I don’t have any ` that cover her tummy. So for the rest of KCW, my goal is to bust out a pile of quick to sew, easy to wear dresses to keep my little miss covered. Life is never boring!

What’s Mine is Yours (PR&P Upcycle challenge)

I live with a 2 year old. It has been months since I’ve had my own glass of water, or cookie, or bowl of popcorn, or pretty much anything else (at least while she’s awake!). Shoes taken off by the door are considered community property – I’m kind of impressed how well she can pull of my heels. And sitting down is seen as an invitation to share personal space. It was only logical to share one more thing: my clothes! (as an aside, some of this is an exaggeration. But teaching toddlers is a long process)

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These two shirts migrated to my scrap bin a couple years ago. Most of the problem is the color – neons look awful on me. The blue graphic tee was an impulse buy; the green one was from a college club I felt the need to support. They’ve been waiting for a good purpose – the Upcycle Challenge for Project Run and Play! This dress was 100% free by using the 2 tees and a button from my stash. See how well I did using most of the fabric?!

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The pattern is the Go – To Signature dress which for some reason I’ve been procrastinating making. Maybe it was the 20+ pages to trim and tape together. No matter – I did it now, and will be using this pattern like CRAZY! It’s really everything everyone says it is. I made a straight 4T with long sleeves, inseam pockets, and no waist elastic. I estimated the blue cap sleeves to best use the originals. I also added a keyhole at the neckline to compensate for using regular knit instead of ribbing. (I didn’t think until long after to trim the ribbing from the original green neckline). My strip was a little wide to lay nicely but that’s ok. I also need to switch the button loop – currently elastic thread – to something a little less stretchy.

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Did you notice the first picture? I’ve joined the garment-taped-to-the-wall photographers. It was a matter of necessity – Grace won an award for “Least Cooperative Model Ever” when we tried to shoot this yesterday at a nearby book store. But I actually kind of like it! I may try that again, especially since Miss is 2.5 and I thoroughly expect more awful photo shoots in our future. I’ll show you modeled pictures, but seriously… Least. Cooperative. Ever.

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Nice big pockets. They’re cut from the lime green for contrast.

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Yes, those shoes are definitely on the wrong feet. But they’re sparkly!tiled

And a collage of non-cooperation.

But let me tell you… she loves this dress, even if she wouldn’t pose in it. I made it a few weeks back and if it’s clean, she’s wearing it. In my book, a free dress which becomes an instant favorite is a complete win! I’ll be using the Go-To dress patter again this upcoming week for Kid’s Clothes Week, so come back each day if you’re curious what I’m creating. And don’t forget to see the other entries for the Upcyle Challenge at Project Run and Play!

Details

Dress: Go – To Signature Dress size 4T. Upcycled from 2 woman’s tees

Leggings and all accessories: Purchased