Garbage Garden – Week Three

My little garden is growing away. Continue reading


Getting Ready for Winter – crochet hats

One hat in the works.

One hat in the works. The beautiful yarn bowl was a gift from my very talented friend. More of her work can be found at her website.

Despite the warm, sun kissed days we have been experiencing, I know winter is on its way. As part of my winter preparations, I took a look at my winter clothing and realized that I do not have anything to keep my head warm while working outside or for wearing inside while waiting for the heat from the wood stove to fill our house. Even though I struggle with crocheting hats, I decided to try again and dug out my hook and went through my stash of yarn. I am making my hats out of wool because I find that wool keeps me warmer and last longer.

The green wool shown above was left over from a sweater I made for myself several years ago. That yarn was found in a house that my brother had purchased and cleared out.  I searched the local thrift stores, but 100% wool yarn is hard to find. I finally went to a local fiber store and bought a skein on sale for $2.00 of a very pretty blue wool from Ireland.

Most crocheters find that hats are not hard to make with a bit of practice.  Several patterns are available for free on the internet and most libraries will have books to lend. Many libraries and yarn stores host beginner knitting or crocheting classes for those interested in learning. These are the patterns I am going to try:

Grow Creative: Shell Stitch Crochet Hat- Free Pattern: A shell stitch hat made from the scrounged green wool.




Amazing Grace Free Hat Pattern

An Amazing Grace Hat using the blue, on sale wool.




51.1.redThis pattern would be an excellent way to use up bits and pieces of leftover yarn.



Simple Crochet Beanie Hat Plus Other Matching Crocheted Accessories - Photo © Michael Solovay

I’m thinking about using a variegated yarn in my stash to make this simple beanie.



Hats usually require only a skein of yarn.  While it’s true that good yarn is expensive, there are a few ways of obtaining good quality yarn for little money.  One is to put the word out to family and friends.  Many crafters have yarn they are willing to give away to whoever will use it. Thrift stores are another resource of not only skeins of yarn but also of sweaters that can be unravelled or “frogged” and the yarn reused.  I have done this several times and have ended up with several skeins of good quality fibre for very little money. An excellent tutorial of what to look for and how to frog a sweater can be found here.

Now I am ready to meet winter head on!

How about you? How are you getting ready for winter?

Saving money in the laundry – make your own lingerie bag

Laundry bags edited

One important frugal skill is the ability to take care of the items you already have. For example, bras are expensive but they will last longer if they are properly washed using a lingerie bag before they are hung to dry.


Score – I love our little thrift store.

I found a heavy, polyester, lace remnant on sale at our local thrift store that was perfect for this project.  An old lace curtain or tablecloth would also work. I seriously considered using the lace overlay from an old bridesmaid’s dress, because really, what else are you going to do with a puffy lace and satin number from the 1980s?


I made two different sized bags.  The larger bag will fit several bras and the smaller bag would work well for washing smaller things like doll clothes or baby socks. I used french seams on these bags to make them sturdier.


Ready to go!

I cut my fabric as follows:

Small Bag Large Bag
Lace 1 piece -20 ½ x 14 1 piece -34 ½ x 15
Printed cotton 1 piece -8 ½ x13 ½ 1 piece -8 ½ x17 ½
Finished size 10 x 13 14 x 17

You will also need something to use as a drawstring. I reused the drawstring from an old hoodie. A seam ripper and a safety pin were also used.

Fold the lace fabric in half the long way with the wrong sides together.  The fold will be the bottom of the bag.

Using a 1/4 seam allowance, sew the lace together along each side (wrong sides together).  Trim the seam allowance so that it is 1/8 of an inch. Turn the bag, so that the right sides are together.

You can press the seams, if you wish. Pressing will result in a neater, more professional finished product.  However, if you are using a nylon or polyester lace, be sure that your iron is set very low to avoid melting the fabric.

Stitch the seam again using a 1/4 seam allowance.  The raw edges of your seam will now be enclosed.

The raw edges of the seam are now safely enclosed.

The raw edges of the seam are now safely enclosed.

Pin the raw edges together.

Pin the raw edges together.

Take the strip of cotton fabric for the top and sew it together along the short edge to form a sleeve.  Fold the sleeve in half with the wrong sides together. Slide it over the lace bag so that the raw edges of the sleeve and the bag are aligned.  Pin all the way around.


Trimming the seam allowance.

Trimming the seam allowance.

Sew the top to the lace bag using a 1/4 seam allowance.  Trim the seam allowance.





Turn the bag, so that the right sides are together.  Tuck the sleeve down into the bag and sew another 1/4 seam.

Tuck the top down into the bag to keep it out of the way.

Tuck the top down into the bag to keep it out of the way.

I stitched down the french seam between the top and the lace bag because I have a thing about “floppy” seams.  This step is optional, but I think it results in a nicer finished product.

Stitching down the seam.

Stitching down the seam.

Turn your bag right side out.

Top stitch the cotton section 1 inch from the top of the bag.


Top stitch the top an inch from the top.

Add another row of stitches an inch down from the first row (2 inches from the top). This will form a channel for the drawstring.

Top stitch a second row 2 inches from the top.

Top stitch a second row 2 inches from the top.

Be careful!

Be careful!

Using a seam ripper, gently remove the stitching from the seam between the first and second row of top stitching.





Attach a safety pin to the end of a drawstring to make it easy to thread.

Attach a safety pin to the end of a drawstring to make it easy to thread.


Attach a safety pin to your drawstring and thread it through the prepared channel.





Tie a knot in each end of the drawstring to prevent it from pulling back through the channel.  You can thread a bead on the drawstring or use toggles like the kind they use on the drawstrings in the hood of you coat.  I think those would work very well.

You are done!  Time to go wash some clothes.

Fill your new lingerie bag full of delicate items in need of cleaning.  Pull the drawstring tight and ties it in a bow.


Here are a couple of article about to properly take care of your bras. One here and another one here.

Additional tutorials for sewing french seams can be found here and here.