Upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

How’s that for a title? ” Upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial” doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it? Nonetheless, it is an accurate description!

Recently, my friend Amos introduced me to this method of no-sew rag rug making that I am completely hooked on (get it? crochet? hook? funny). Today I want to share it with you!

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

All you need is a few t-shirts (depending on how big you want it), a pair of sharp scissors, and your fingers.

Start by cutting a slit up the side of your t-shirt (I went up about 2″, but make you can make the strips any width). Then start cutting (make sure you are only catching one side of the shirt), as evenly as you can. When you get back around to where you began, curve around and continue. You will have to snip off the outer corner.

When you get up near the armpits, slit the sleeves open at the inside seam, and lay them out flat. Continue to cut around, keeping it all one strip.

Don’t forget to trim off the outer corners here, like you did on the bottom.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Keep going around, until you can’t go anymore. I always cut the neckline out and save it in one piece for future upcycling projects.

Repeat for as many t-shirts as you want to use.

You will want to join the strips together (if you are using multiple t-shirts). Place one end on top of the other (both facing the same way). Don’t worry if they aren’t exactly the same width. This is a forgiving craft for sure.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Fold them both over about 2″ from the top. Make a snip in the center. Then place one on top of the other (going in opposite directions), aligning the holes. Take the end of the one on top, and put it through the holes from underneath.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Pull tight! Now you are ready to begin. Have you ever tied a necktie? It is going to be a slip knot like that.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Lay one end out like the above photo.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Flip the tail across over the loop.

 

Bring the tail around the back of the loop, then through the loop and down throught the knot.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Basically you are going to make loops go through loops. Take the loop you made, and make a loop with the long end. Now pull that new loop through the old one. You now have the begining of a chain…of loops.

How many times do you think I will write the word “loop” in this tutorial? Ha!

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

When your chain becomes long enough, you need to start your spiral.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Take the small tail (on the very end of that first loop) and weave it through the begining of your spiral, and knot, to hold it together.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Take your long end and put through a bump in the spiral before pulling through the loop. To keep it flat, I alternate between just putting it through the loop, and putting it through the bump then the loop.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag rug tutorial

Keep going around and around until you have the size you want! This one is trivet size, but my friend often makes them into rugs. I have the Trashion show coming up, so I used this techinique to make a hat to go with the outfit I made!

  upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag hat

Instead of alternating between “stitches”, in the places I wanted the hat to curve in, I just put the new loop through the bump and then the old loop, every time, and pulled them tighter.

upcycled t-shirt finger crochet no-sew rag hat

I hope you try this out. Once you do, if you are anything like me, you won’t want to stop!

Rivage Raglan Pajamas

Lately, I have been doing a lot of sewing for my Falafel. For one, it takes a lot less fabric to sew for her, than anyone else in our family. The Bee, though has noticed this, and made a request that I sew her up some pajamas. How could I refuse my almost adult daughter?!Especially when I really love sewing for her too.

In the Blank Slate Patterns Facebook group, I saw a photo of Melissa wearing a shirt made from her Rivage Raglan pattern *affliate link*, and I knew it was perfect for this project!

Rivage Raglan Pattern review: Making Pajamas

This is one of the most straightforward, easiest patterns EVER! Like all Blank Slate patterns, this one was spot on with sizing. I didn’t even muslin.

Rivage Raglan Pattern review: Making Pajamas

After seeing the cozy fleece jammies I made for Falafel, my Bee wanted some of her own. It was no problem at all to work with the fleece. I did embellish the pattern just slightly by adding rib knit cuffs (there are only cuffs on the short sleeves option), and because these are pajamas, and I wanted the neckline a little higher,  I sewed on the rib knit neckline a little different. I folded the tube in half width wise and sewed the raw edges to the neckline. Done.

Rivage Raglan pattern review: Making Pajamas

For the pants portion, I just took a pair of knit pants that fit her, and used them as a pattern.

Rivage Raglan Pattern review: Making Pajamas

The fleece doesn’t fray, so no hemming required!

Rivage Raglan Pattern review: Making Pajamas

This was the perfect quick project that allowed me to sew something practical for my 17 year old,  while not breaking the bank.

Rivage Raglan pattern review: Making Pajamas

The best part is, she LOVES these. Especially the shirt. She wore it to bed atfer we photographed it, and then to her Archery tournament the next day. She asked me to make her another. THAT right there, is proof it’s a winner.

*Even though I received this pattern for free, as always, all opinions are mine, mine, mine. I love sharing wonderful things I find with you.*

Ginseng Dress made with Cali Fabrics

Ginseng Dress sewn by Falafel and the Bee for Cali Fabrics

Today I am Guest Posting over at the Cali & co blog, sharing the amazing new Holiday dress I made for The Bee.

Ginseng Dress sewn by Falafel and the Bee for Cali Fabrics

I used the Ginseng Dress Pattern by Sew Chic Pattern Company (which she generously supplied for this post). I had seen one that Laura made on her FB page, and fell instantly in love. This dress has a classic vinatge-50’s housewife-cocktail party vibe to it, which fits my (almost) 17 year old daughter’s personality and style. That pattern paired with fabric from Cali Fabrics make my heart swoon.

Ginseng Dress made by Falafel and the Bee using Cali Fabrics

On to the details.

Firstly, all the Sew Chic patterns are paper patterns (opposed to PDF patterns you print yourself), so they mail them right to you. It comes with a handy booklet of instructions, and all the pattern pieces. The sizes go from 2 up to 18, and there are two different views you can sew. I chose “view A” with a collar. It has a side zipper, which gives it such a neat look.

Ginseng Dress made by Falafel and the Bee using Cali Fabrics

I picked out this amazingly buttery beautiful Gold on Gold Damask Stretch Twill for the main fabric, because it has nice drape, and enough structure to make the skirt portion of the dress flare. When hemming circle skirts, I find if the fabric has a little stretch it makes it much easier to get a neat and even hem. I asked Ron over at Cali Fabrics to help me chose the accent fabric, and he picked this Champagne Midweight Bridal Satin. It matches perfectly.

Ginseng Dress sewn by Falafel and the Bee with Cali Fabrics

My sewing machine was being tempermental, and not gathering the fabric as it was required, so the only change I made to this was folding the sash, accordian style. I do like the effect, though. Now that I have sewn it up once, I may make myself one! This pattern is so flattering and classic, especially in this fabric.

Ginseng Dress sewn by Falafel and the Bee with Cali Fabrics

If you would like to see more photos, click on over and check out my post on the Cali & Co blog.

 *Disclaimer: Although I was provided the pattern and the fabric for free, as always my opinions are mine mine mine. I enjoy showing you the brilliant products I discover.

DIY wooden buttons

About six years ago, I made my first DIY wooden buttons. It was rough and far from perfect and I forgot all about it, that is until this week, when I was reminded of this fun endeavor by a post over at the new Twig + Tale.

DIY wooden buttons

It was one of those projects that got stuck in my head, and would not leave until I actually completed it.

DIY wooden buttons

So yesterday, I went out to our shed, and found a dry branch (doesn’t everyone have dried branches in their sheds??!) and sliced it up with my single bevel compound miter saw. The branch I had was fairly large in diameter (approx. 3″), so these are giant buttons, which make them even more fun.

DIY wooden buttons

I drilled a couple of holes in each.

DIY wooden buttons

Then I sanded the heck out of them. This is the part that took the longest out of the whole process.

  DIY wooden buttons

After they were silky smooth, I rubbed some beeswax into them. This is the first time I used any kind of wax to finish wood. Not sure if I like the tacky finish, opposed to the smooth one of the varnish I usually use. I am hoping the beeswax will be absorbed enough so that the surface will dry a little more.

DIY wooden buttons

Aaaaand done.

DIY wooden buttons

Overall, a quick and satisfying project. I was thinking these would make such a great gift for someone who sews! Picture them wrapped up with some embroidery floss, and a huge embroidery needle (like the one in the photo above). Super cute.

DIY wooden buttons

Have you made buttons before? How do you finish them?

Sewing for my Teen: Bringing home Marbella

A month ago, I shared this Marbella dress I made for The Bee over at Melly Sews as a Blank Slate Patterns Team member. Today I get to bring it home! I absolutely adore sewing for my teen.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Oh my goodness we had fun with this one. When she put it on, she and I agreed that we needed to do a 1940’s-esque photo session. We got some great looks from passerbys in the ferry terminal and in the center of town, for sure.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

Believe it or not, this pattern is a fairly quick sew! The Marbella uses knit fabric, and has a collar and front placket. Instead of buttons, I used snaps, because I thought they looked cleaner. Well, that AND I really dislike sewing button holes and buttons. Ha!

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

 A really cool feature is the side seam pockets. I took this opportunity to use a fun light blue woven map fabric. It is just a little pop of color that peeks out when she bends.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

I folded the hem up, on the sleeves, and topstitched on the right side of the fabric, so that it would have a cuffed appearance. I left the bottom of the dress unhemmed. This knit fabric will not fray, and I didn’t want any bulk down there.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

My girl is all over the sizing chart. Literally. Her measurements spanned across size 4- 10. And not in top-to-bottom fashion, which would be easy to grade out. Over bust is a 10, Bust is a 4, Waist is an 8, and Hips are a 4! So I took her bust measurement which was a size 4, and even though her waist is an 8, there is enough ease to fit her there. All I did was decrease the seam allowance a bit, and it fit beautifully.

Marbella pattern by Blank Slate Patterns sewn by Falafel and the Bee

She has already asked me to sew up another Marbella for her (just in time for school to start), which is a sure sign this pattern is a big hit!

This officially is my last post as a Blank Slate Team member. A big Thank You to Melissa for choosing me to be on the team this past year. It was wonderful to sew up your fabulous patterns. I know I will continue to use them for many years to come!

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

 This past week, I celebrated turning 44! Every year I have a themed birthday party to ring in another fabulous year, surrounded by good friends, all dressed up. I love it. Truly, it is the most fun way to age. To prepare, I ususally make myself something to wear (see 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2015). For this year’s theme, I was inspired by Bollywood. The colors, the music, the fashion. I turned to Pinterest for some design inspiration, since I knew I didn’t want to make a sari (although it was tempting! Knowing me, it would untuck in the middle of the party, and the whole thing would fall to the ground, and NO ONE wants to see that.). The party would be more of a nod to the genre, and culture. This particluar pin caught my eye. So began my Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I turned to a pattern I have used before in the book Sew Many Dresses (affiliate link). The bodice has princess seams, and made a good base. First, I started by taping the front and side panels of my paper pattern together, and then cutting the center piece out. This was done by holding it up where it would roughly sit on my chest, and drawing a line around the place I wanted it. The center panel was created by freehanding a sweatheart neckline, and marking where it would be, once it was connected to the (now cut) front and side panels.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

I did muslin this first, and that was a  very good thing. There was a bit of tweaking to be done, because the fit wasn’t quite right, and I ended up with a gap near the armscyes. Of course, I turned to the fabulous ladies over at the Capsule Wardrobe Sewalong FB group for help. And they did! They are some good peeps (I don’t really think I can pull off using that word, but I have made it my goal to work it into my daily vernacular, much to my family’s embarassment). I ended up adding a dart on the side panels near the armscyes and it fixed the problem.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

That skirt was self-drafted. It was just as challenging as the bodice to figure out. I could not think of a way to get the side pieces to look good in the back, so I cut them into two seperate free-hanging panels, and let them cup my sides. I love the effect.

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

The outer fabric is brocade from Cali Fabrics, and the gold is silk from the huge rummage sale I attend every year. It is a bit stained, but you can barely see it because of the way I placed the fabric. I hand stamped the pattern on my shawl, with acrylic paint (which you can’t really see from these photos).

Bollywood Inspired Pattern Hack

A realization hit me when I was about to tackle this project. About 75% of my creative process is in my head. I think about sewing something for weeks before I even touch a pattern. I go to sleep thinking about how to tackle any problems, and how I would alter existing patterns to fit my design. I think about it when doing household chores, while driving, and showering. Borderline obsession, really. Then one day, it has gestated enough to the point that it is time for labor, so to speak. I have no idea if this is unique to me, or if others work this way too, but find that if I have enough time to let it marinate (as my chef husband would say), the final result is closest to my vision.

Bollywood Birthday Party

photo credit for above photo: Dawn Weber

Bollywood Birthday Party

The party was a lot of fun, but seriously the strangest weather we have had so far.

Bollywood Birthday Party

It rained, then the sun came out, then it poured, then it stopped. All the guests were very good sports about the whole thing.

Bollywood Birthday Party

YUM.

Bollywood Birthday party

You may recognize this outfit from here.

Bollywood party

My husband wins the year with this outfit, in my book. He is wearing our daughter’s (the Bee’s) pants!

Bollywood party

Another notch in the old aging belt, done with style.

I would love to hear from you…what is YOUR creative process?

Inspired by The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

This post contains affiliate links

My Bee decided to make herself a dress inspired by the one the Little Mermaid wore when she became human. She had been thinking a lot about this, and even worked out where we would photgraph it.

mermaid

She came up with this:

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

(Inspired by) The Little Mermaid Sail Dress

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I am so impressed (and I don’t impress easily)! She draped the entire thing, which I have never done. My girl did say she would teach me, though. It is so cool! The best part is she used an old curtain (more comfortable than a sail, I would think). You know how I feel about upcycling (just look at the category above if you don’t).

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Here it is without the belt. It isn’t a super complicated dress, but I think, well exectued. She was, at first, unsure about the piece that comes to a point in the front instead of the back, but we both agreed that it works.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

The sun was in the most inconvenient spot (and I have not figured out how to move it), and we only had 30 minutes to photograph this between activities. It resulted in some artful photography.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Instead of rope, she used a belt in her closet, for a more modern look .

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Her friend made her that seashell necklace a while ago. Perfect for this!

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Do you recognize this dock? That time I didn’t photograph a mermaid that turned human, though.

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

Inspired by the Little Mermaid Sail Dress, made with an old curtain, sewn by my teen

I love when my girls are inspired to create something solely on their own, especially when it consists of using materials we already have! I am completely ecstatic to support them any way I can when they do this. Whoohoo! Way to go, my girl.

What have YOU upcycled today??

Sewing Rope Baskets

Remember the change purses I made for teacher gifts? I never had the chance to show you the rope baskets I made for the end of the year teacher gifts. Now that things have quieted down, I can finally do that.

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Baskets

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

Sewing Rope Bowls

I absolutely adore making these. It is incredibly cathartic. You can see more of these here, here, and here. They make great gifts and you can create any size you want. I think my favorite kind, though, are made with found or recycled rope. Especially if they are stained. It adds such a cool look. So for this batch, I purposely spray painted them with watered down acrylic paint (like I used in my spray paint tutorial). For some of the baskets, I even used blue thread. Ultimately, I think I prefer the white thread, though.

I think for the next batch, I would like to try to make really large ones. Doesn’t that sound like fun?!

What is your most fun sewing project?

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

Recovered Case using the old case as a pattern

I wish I took a photo of the original cover. It was pretty thrashed. Lots of tears, and the fabric was brittle. Honestly, I wasn’t sure I could do this. You’ll have to use your imagination.  A friend of mine runs a non-profit music program for kids, regardless of income. It is pretty wonderful. She has a few of these cases that are extremely worn, and she gave me one to play with. I wanted to see if I could recover it, and you know what? I can!

It is far from perfect, being the first one I ever did, but it totally works, and it looks a heck of a lot better than it did. I completely seam ripped (carefully) the old cover off, and removed all the hardware, and then used the old case as a pattern, adding a half inch seam allowance all around. The best part is, I managed to save the zipper and the straps, and reuse them. It is difficult to find a 52″ zipper, so I am thrilled to be able to use the old one.

One case saved from the landfill! I can’t wait to do more.

Stuff of Happiness

A while back, apparently, I made my Mom a coupon holder. I have no recollection of this, so it must have been a loooooong time ago. She said 10 years.

Anyway, she LOVES this thing so much! I really had no idea. But she sent me a photo (and then it came flooding back) and asked if I would make another.

OF COURSE!

cartcoupon3m

It is pretty simple in design. The straps velcro on to the shopping cart handle.

cartcoupon2m

I used quilt batting to give it some stability. There are three different sized pockets (her request) to put coupons in, her cell phone, and bandaids.

cartcouponsm

This is the back.

It took me minutes to whip this up, and it will hopefully bring her at least 10 more years of joy.

I am mailing it with my Dad’s late Father’s day gift. He requested some rice packs.

I love sewing for my folks.