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Crib Sheet Tutorial October 8, 2008

Filed under: free pattern,projects,thrifted — clothespin @ 9:21 am
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Rosie’s Crib Sheet Tutorial

by Jeannie

Finished crib sheet in Rosie's bed

After finding out that we were pregnant with our first baby, I began the long and fun process of collecting all of the things that a new human needs to survive. First on the list? A CRIB of course! Beyond the crib (which we found at a consignment sale, along with the crib mattress) a baby needs crib sheets. Happily, Rosie has a talented grandma who was more than happy to provide her with many of the essentials of baby survival – a quilt (with strict instructions to USE it), a few totally cute outfits and 4 crib sheets.

Rosie’s Grandma is a sewing kind of lady and back when I was a kid, money was tight and so, well, she sewed. Beyond making nearly all of our clothes that weren’t hand-me-downs, she also devised a pattern for a crib sheet. Back in the day, people actually made their own sheets for their big beds, too, and she adapted this pattern from one of those patterns.

The pattern is easy, suitable for a beginning sewer, and takes about 1 hour, or several days if you already have a baby who doesn’t like to sleep. Not that I know anything about that at all… What you will need for equipment is a basic sewing machine capable of doing zig-zag and straight stitches, an iron and ironing board and a few basic sewing things, like pins and scissors. For fabric, you can buy new fabric from any fabric store OR do the environmentally correct (and infinitely cheaper!) thing and repurpose an old grown up sized bed sheet. (Or even more fun, take one of your old childhood sheets and make your baby a sheet out of that!) Flannel sheets for a crib could be wonderful, too, especially for winter babies!

Fabric from the store generally runs anywhere from $2-8/yard… If you’re going to Hobby Lobby, Joanns or Michaels, make sure you use one of their nifty coupons to get 40% off the fabric price. Walmart has fabric too, but in general, it’s thinner and won’t make as nice of a sheet. Of course, the best thing to do if buying new fabric is to support locally owned fabric shops!

Used bed sheets, on the other hand, can be free (from your own closet) or about $1 per sheet. I find them at thrift stores and garage sales… One hint on thrifted sheets – If, like at my Salvation Army thrift store, they fold the sheets up and tape them shut with masking tape – un-tape them and check out the middle. I’ve found several sheets that looked nice and pretty folded up only to be pretty ookey in the middle. Check out the chart in the instructions to see about how many crib sheets you can get out of an adult sized sheet.

Either way, PLEASE be sure to pre-wash and dry your fabric before making this for your baby! Wash in hot water and dry on hot to make sure that it shrinks as much as it is going to and to eliminate any excess dyes or cooties that might harm the baby. Cooties especially from thrifted sheets because, well, you know what happens on sheets, just saying…


  • Fabric from store – 2 yards


thrifted sheet

  • 3 yards (1 package) of ¼ inch stretch elastic, part cotton part rubber

  • thread to match the fabric

  • cardboard to make pattern, about 12 inches square (an old pizza box works great!)

  • scissors, yard stick…


For Store bought fabric:

Fold fabric in half lengthwise. It doesn’t matter if the fabric is wrong or right sides together – either will work fine. Lay the fabric rectangle out flat on your cutting surface (in my case, my kitchen table). Make sure edges are aligned, the selvages should be on the long edges.

Cut the fabric on the end so that this edge is straight, forming a 90 degree angle with the long edge. I use my rotary cutter, ruler and mat, but you can also line it up with something you know is square, like the tiles on your kitchen floor, and cut it with regular fabric scissors.

Measure the fabric on the short side using a yard stick or tape measure and double this – this is the width of your fabric. Find the width of your fabric in the chart below and note the length given below it. This is how long you will cut your fabric.

* All measurements below are in inches!

width – of fabric





length – of fabric





square size





Measure the fabric to the length indicated and again, cut the fabric so that it is square. For example, if my fabric is 43 inches wide, I will cut my fabric to a length of 68 inches.

*** Using the chart, select the correct pattern size to cut out. To make the pattern, on your pizza box, draw a square of the appropriate size (8 inches for a 43 inch wide fabric), then add the triangles to the corners. The triangle should be 1.5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall. Refer to the picture below for reference.

Cut out the paper pattern and place it on one corner of your rectangle of fabric with the wings of the pattern along the edges of the fabric. The folded edge of the fabric should be at the top and the two open corners at the bottom. Use a pen that writes on fabric (any pen will do, even a sharpie) and trace around your pattern. Repeat this process at the other end of the fabric rectangle.

Cut out both layers of fabric following the traced lines. Save this scrap fabric for later craftiness.

Unfold your fabric – it should look like this with the four corners missing.


To maximize the number of crib sheets that you can get out of one adult sheet, you’re going to have to do a bit of layout vizualizing. I personally have made a large pattern using the back side of wrapping paper, but newspaper will work just as well. Then, I laid it out on the sheet before doing any actual cutting. To make a newspaper pattern, tape together sheets of paper and then meaure out a rectangle 43 by 68 inches. The 43 inch wide size is probably the better size as it allows for more fabric to fold under the crib mattress after the sheet is made, but if it doesn’t fit, try the 41 inches out, it works just as well.

Cut out the newspaper rectangles and place on your sheet (which is probably on the floor) and manuever around until you can maximize the number of crib sheets cut out. As sheets do vary a bit in size, it’s hard to give for sure estimate but… the chart below should give you an idea of how many crib sheets you might get out of an adult sheet (and this is an estimate, I havn’t tried all of the sheet sizes). Also, if there is any particular design that you want centered on the crib sheet (or stains that need to be avoided), now is the time to do so, just be sure to keep the edges all straight with the grain (edge) of the fabric. You can then pin the pattern to the sheet and cut out along the edge.

fitted – standard size

number of crib sheets from fitted

flat – standard size

number of crib sheets from flat


39 x 75


66 x 96


Twin XL

39 x 80


66 x 102



54 x 75


81 x 96



60 x 80


90 x 102



76 x 80


108 x 102


Cal King

72 x 84


102 x 110


* Fitted sheets are cut open at the corners and laid flat before cutting into crib sheets.

Once you have your sheet fabric rectangle cut out, fold it in half lengthwise and then follow the directions starting at *** for store bought fabric. Any leftover sheet fabric can be made into fab sheet shopping bags!


To turn this flat fabric into a sheet, first we have to make the corners. Take one corner of your fabric rectangle and fold WRONG SIDES together, matching the points of the triangle, A to A, B to B.

This is what it should look like folded after matching the points.

Using a straight stitch, sew a scant ¼ inch seam.

Repeat on the remaining 3 corners making sure that they are all wrong sides together.

Turn the corners inside out and iron with your steam iron.

Again, sew the same seam, this time with a full ¼ inch seam – the fabric will now be right sides together. There should now be a seam without any raw edges – so no fraying of the fabric!

You should now have what looks like a fitted sheet, just lacking the elastic.

Next, iron the edge of the sheet ¼ inch up all around.

Fold the fabric edge over again and sew with a straight stitch all around – again, resulting in no raw edges. At the corners, don’t worry if it looks a bit wonky – the elastic that will go here will cover it up and no one will ever see or notice (or care!).

Measure on the long side from each corner 15 inches and place a stick pin at this point. It doesn’t have to be exact, just a rough idea. You should have 4 pins in the sheet, two on each long side with a space in the middle.

Set your sewing machine to zigzag and have the stitch be wide and long (how to do this will depend on your machine, check the owners manual if you don’t know). Take the elastic, place it on the inside of the sheet at the top of the seam and zigzag it back and forth about ½ inch at the point of one pin, with the elastic going towards a corner (and not towards the middle of a long side). This will anchor the elastic to the fabric.

Pull the elastic fairly tight, hold it along the seam edge and zigzag sew the elastic onto the fabric. The fabric will scrunch up behind the stitching.

Sew around the corner and to the next pin. Sew back and forth a couple of times to anchor this end. Cut your thread and elastic and repeat at the other end.

Place your new sheet on a crib mattress to check for fit – this is a picture of my sheet upside down on the mattress.

Now, cross your fingers, wiggle your nose and hop three times on your right foot while singing a sweet lullaby and place your baby onto its new fab sheet – you just might get her to sleep!

Like this pattern? Download a PDF version of the pattern crib-sheet-tutorial!

Creative Commons License

Rosie’s Crib Sheet Tutorial by Jeannie Jessup is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.


Purple Grocery Bag February 28, 2008

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 10:36 pm

I love grocery bags.   OK, I love tote bags in general, but specifically, I love grocery bags.

Years ago, I made a bunch of canvas shopping bags, way before it was cool or trendy and when everyone thought you were a tree hugging hippie dippie for wanting to do something so strange as *not choose paper OR plastic*  (freak!).  Back in the day, I was a first year grad student and desperately poor, I made 5 bags per person and gave them to my family as Christmas presents.  My design?  I basically took a brown paper bag, opened it up flat, added a 1/2 inch seam allowance to it, and sewed the cut fabric into bags.  I even went so far as to double stitch the seams to make sure that they wouldn’t pull out.  They are sturdy – and ugly, and took a long time to make.  I still use them and they are far superior to the freebee canvas bags that I have gathered in other places.  Those tend to shrink into a useless size once they go through the wash (as if groceries don’t leak occasionally?) and are even uglier than my homemade ones.

Lately, there have been lots of trendy designs out in blog land and in the enviro land.  Google comes up with 139,000 hits when you put in “reusable shopping bag” – very few of which come from recycled or even sustainable products.  Some are very trendy and expensive, like the “I’m not a plastic bag”, others are ugly while others are cheap and promote a specific grocery store.


Ultimately, I’m rather cheap while at the same time I’m environmentally proactive.  Sometimes it makes for a difficult combination… And sometimes, I’m downright obtuse when it comes to a simple design.   So, recently, I chanced on this bag pattern from Wisdom of the Moon… Simple, recycled, and with a flat (and easy!) bottom!

In the end, I changed a few simple parts of her design… First, for my first bag, I didn’t use a sheet.  I had garage saled a piece of fun fabric for probably 25 cents – upon measuring it, it turned out to be the requisite 18 x 42 inch size.  This is also about the same size (for all ye other math brainiacs out there besides me) of a 1/2 yard of 45 inch fabric, just in case you, too, covet yard sale yardage.  Second change – I knew my fabric would ravel as it is 100% cotton and I’m lazy and didn’t want to hem the giant rectangle like she suggested.  My solution?  Go stash diving and come up with extra wide bias tape and sew that over the raw edges at the same time as sewing them together.  Easy breezy and added an extra degree of stability to the sides.  Plus, I had somehow missed the hemming part in her directions the first time I read them.  =)  Third change – instead of adding canvas in the seam at the top where the handles go, I cut a 1 1/2 inch width of pellon iron on fabric stabilizer (in the stash) and then ironed that a 1/4 inch or so from the top of the bag on the wrong side.  I ironed the 1/4 inch edge over the top of the pellon, then folded the entire edge over at the bottom of the pellon – so stable and no raw edges.  My handles are also garage saled canvas and I have to say, were easy to make and comfy!


 End result?  Hubby thinks that the bag is too girly for him to use… But I love it.  Way more fun than the beige canvas.  I have gone stash diving and found more fabric, some fun canvas even, that will become bags.



I also thrift stored some fun fabric for a quarter that I’m trying to convince myself to use for bags and not a curtain in the new house.  We’ll see what happens…


License Tag Bird Feeder February 26, 2008

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 10:53 am
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Hubby had a birthday recently. Being a born and raised Texan, I knew that he missed home a lot… And, as we had to get Alabama license tags for both of our vehicles, we had 4 Texas tags hanging out in the porch.

I had seen license tags on bird feeders before and decided that as part of his gift, I would try to make him one. Armed with a tag in hand, I marched off to a local big box home fix it store to see if a pre-made feeder would accommodate my tag. Happily, Lowes had one on the shelf, and for less than $10! This Cedar Bird Feeder has a roof that is the exact same width as my tag is… While wandering the store after finding the feeder, I stumbled upon two small wooden stars – like the Texas star – over by the screened door section of the store. I can’t seem to find them on line, but I’m sure that Hobby Lobby or other craft stores would have similar items.


So, I painted my stars red with indoor/outdoor paint and used Gorilla Glue and some clamps to attach them to the ends of the feeder. I put some waxed paper and then some folded paper towels between the painted surface and the clamp just to keep the paint looking nice. After those had dried for a day, I put more Gorilla Glue on the roof and clamped those down to dry for another day. One bit of caution – Gorilla Glue expands, so try to stay away from the bolt holes on the tag otherwise the glue might ooze out!

Texas Bird Feeder

The end product is cute and easy and total costs were less than $15. Part of a fun birthday package… Now, to put it to use in our new tree!


Dragonfly Cloth August 29, 2007

Filed under: Alabama,projects — clothespin @ 3:58 pm

Ah, Alabama. Yes indeed, I can profess great love of the state that claims heritage to both the first and third world. Much around Auburn has been a pleasant surprise. A lovely dog park, much lower traffic in the town, access to national forests a short drive away and a few other things that I can’t remember right now. These are the happy first world things.

The third world things though, well, they nearly take away all of the points earned by the first world. In fact, the drivers license folks very nearly take the cake for the most asinine system ever conceived in all of organized intelligent humanity. A process that in other states takes at most an hour, maybe two… took all day for me yesterday.

After arriving at 6:30am (yes, in the morning!) to get into line outside of the office, which, by the way, is no where near a government building and is in a strip mall of moldering outlet stores, I began knitting. I came prepared, knowing that I would be there a long time… a little project that would take my mind off of the long line and produce something I can use. Plus, it had a dragonfly on it…
After making it inside of the office at 8 am, the nice little girl at the desk said that hubby and I had mis-read the requirements and I would not be able to get a license with the papers that I had. Did I mention that I got up at 6am for this? So, loosing my place in line, I drive home, looked for the birth certificate still in a box, and decided that lines at neighboring counties couldn’t be as long. Right?

The neighboring county that had an office open yesterday said that indeed, their line was short, come on down. So, a 45 minute drive in the scenic Alabama hills later, I arrived at this tiny ratty mobile home in a huge lot behind something that resembled a government building. As soon as I entered, a lady in a blue uniform informed us that any new folks that had arrived (at 10am) would most likely not be seen today as there were too many other folks in line ahead of us. There were 6 people. It was 10am. So, I left.

I then went shopping and ate lunch, then went by hubby’s office to show him the pretty new purse that I had bought (still not sure about it) to replace my not as grown up purse… He then told me that the line at the place I started at in the morning was reportedly shrinking, so go back and see how it was.

I arrived, got my name on the list, and sat, knitting on the same cloth, for another 2 hours. Some of the folks in there had been there since 8am and were still there. There was no guarantee that I would get a new license that day, but my options were sit and hope or go home and get up again at 6 and sit for at least another 2 1/2 hours – AGAIN. So, I stayed and knit, and jokingly offered the dishcloth as a bribe to the cute girl at the desk… (though, I’m not sure that I was kidding…)


I did get the license and I still have my cloth. I found the pattern at the Purple Duckie. It’s made with hemp yarn, which made it a bit stiff to work up, but should hold up well to daily use. I like it pretty well, it was easy to make and didn’t take too long… I may even make another. Hmm… I wonder if my knitting needles fit into that new purse?


Spotted Dog Bed August 18, 2007

Filed under: Family & Critters,projects,thrifted — clothespin @ 4:15 pm

Delilah needed a bed for her crate. Every dog needs their own bed, so I decided to make hers multi-purpose. Plus, it needed to be girly enough for my first girl dog, kinda match who she is and be very functional. Dog beds in stores are expensive and in my experience, not very well made, so I opted for a not so quick but easy homemade version.


For the materials for the bed, I went thrift store shopping and found a blue bedspread in a nice heavy cotton blend for $1.50. Also at the store was an old comforter that had definitely seen better days, also $1.50. And, last weekend at a garage sale, a lady was parting with some fabric and I got four fat quarters of complimentary fabric for $1. So, for $4.00 I had the makings of a personalized doggie bed that didn’t require any new materials!


I started by measuring the crate and then adding an inch to the length and width for the seam allowances. Then, using the bedspread, I cut out one piece of that size and two others the same width and 3/4 of the length making sure to include the already finished edge for one short side. I calculated the distance around the edges and cut strips 6 inches wide to total that length (that’s the width of the rotary cutting ruler =). Then, I went to my kitchen and gathered random round objects of different sizes and traced those on the 4 fat quarters. A bit Wonder Under and then I cut them out and ironed them on to the largest part in a random pattern (and a couple along the edge covered up a tiny hole in the fabric that I didn’t notice until after I’d cut it out).


After sewing over the edges of the circles, I matched up the 3/4 length pieces, with the finished edges in the middle, to be the same size as the big piece so as to make an envelope pillow (basic intructions here, but in dog beds, I’ve found that the bigger the overlap of the edges, the less likely it is to gap open, so if you’re planning on making one, be sure to go with the 3/4 length) and then sewed the 6 inch strips around the edge. I repeated with the top with the circles. Flipped it inside out and I had a great dog bed cover!

Inside, I placed the folded up comforter to act as the stuffing. Everything is removable when it needs to be, easily washable, cheap and totally recycled. Plus, I think it’s fairly nice looking. After we get past the need for the crate (trust is an earned thing, especially for a dog who tends to want to chew on a few things) the bed will still look nice in a corner in the living room.


Home is where your bed is – and Delilah has her bed here with us.


Green to Craft July 25, 2007

Filed under: Alabama,house stuf,projects — clothespin @ 11:13 am

So, I’ve been in Alabama for a few weeks now… and been busy unpacking.  Things have finally settled down and  the unpacking is nearing an end.  The Monster dog has a fenced yard, I have a new washing machine and soon will put up a clothesline!


The other great thing was the addition of a queen sized bed to our lives… both hubby and I are tall people and have needed a bigger bed for years.  Sleep is so much better on this!


 My favorite part about this house has to be the kitchen.  Aren’t the curly bits above the window just great?  Why do remodeling shows always demolish this?  The cabinets go all the way to the ceiling and while you short folks out there may not appreciate this – us tall folks love the space!

It is true that the kitchen wall color is not the greatest.  Auburn University does have the orange school color going on… though maybe not this shade of orange.  I had temporarily thought of repainting it – it would look so much better in a color like light green… And the floor would be so CUTE in the old black and white square linoleum… But, this IS a rental and who knows how long we’ll be here?


 Plus, after hubby realized that these quaint old circuit breakers aren’t just remnants but truly do work (!) he decided that we’re definitely not staying here longer than our lease.


The other deciding factor in not painting the kitchen is that I have decided that I don’t like painting.  You see, I painted the craft room.  The only room in the house with real hard wood floors, it also has real fake wood paneling!  This room is definitely an add on – you can tell by the number of plug-ins in the walls… and is my favorite room.  It has windows on 3 sides!  Great light, away from the rest of the house and a cute little closet (not in the picture) to hide craft stuff.


As I am a child of the 70’s and my parents still have the paneling up on their walls… I tend to not like paneling much.  So – I got the brilliant idea of painting the walls!  The landlady lets us take the cost for improvements off of the rent, which is really great – and she gets free labor out of it.  I really like the color of the walls now and will soon be filling in the rest of the space with the rest of my crafty stuff.


For now, I just wanted to let you see what it all looks like before it’s all cluttered.

So far, hubby is working like a fiend but does like his job.  I’m starting to look for work which stresses me out – I so hate job hunting.  The area around here is pretty enough and we have met some great people.  Change is good… and I hope to be sharing more of our new home town soon!


Shirt Bag Teaser June 20, 2007

Filed under: projects — clothespin @ 6:00 am

original shirt


Turn this great shirt into…



shirt bag




SO – This is my most recent creative venture – my shirt bag. Made out of entirely recycled materials, all purchased at either garage sales or thrift stores, for a total price of maybe $4, this bag is a fun weekend project! It does require a few sewing skills and is a bit time consuming in its construction, but is loads of fun in the end!


As a functional piece of found object art, it makes the best use of easily had materials. And, most importantly, using found items like old clothes is an environmentally smart thing to do. Check out this link where there was a study done to show just how much energy is saved in the manufacturing and delivery of new verses used clothes! Just amazing! So, not only are used clothes cheaper to buy, but they’re lower on the energy food chain, too. Not to mention, garage sale clothes shopping can be loads of fun – I have many Gap shirts that I’ve bought for a $1 at sales… beats spending my pennies at the mall!


While out and about in the crafty world in my current town, a few local crafsters have approached me about this bag. They want the pattern! Who’d a guessed? Most recently, at our local stitchy club meeting last night, a random lady asked me if I’d made this bag and if there were directions to it. I originally thought that my friends had put you up to this, but now know that you are just that cool as to ask me all on your own!


So, yes, directions/tutorial are in the works, hopefully next week. (And, if you who asked about the bag at the stitchy club are reading this, and want to join our local stitchy group, please send me an email…) After the packing is over and I am stuck in an empty house with nary a piece of fabric to stitch, I will post the tutorial. Stay tuned!