Thursday, August 28, 2014

Brooch Necklace

Easy necklace tutorial

Brooch necklace
This is an older DIY idea. I have been doing this for a while now.

I'm sure the idea is not new, although I haven't seen any bloggers show it yet. Basically you can make yourself a red carpet worthy necklace with a brooch and a piece of chain.

The nice things with this is you can customise your necklace by using thicker or thinner chain. Maybe even a fancy chain such as twisted, herringbone or box style chain.

And of course you can use cheap bath chain or hardware chain or splash out of sterling silver chain. I guess the cost of your brooch will determine how much effort you want to put into your necklace.

You can use a fun plastic brooch or a swanky stone brooch. I spent a bit of money on this particular brooch. It's a cubic zirconia but I used a length of stainless steel chain. This necklace packs quite a bit of bling
Add clasp and O-Ring to chain
Works well with my Bling Ring. See that - here.

You need: -
pliers to cut and fit clasp

You do: -
Measure your chain around your neck to make sure you are happy with the length.

Make sure your brooch is shut securely so it won't fall off and then slip your chain through the brooch.

Add clasp to one end. Add O-Ring to the other end.

Voila! A new necklace.

At the top of the page are the Greenie Galleries with lots and lots of older DIYs and tutorials.

Will be back next week,


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kimono Jacket + FREE Sewing Pattern

How to make a Kimono style jacket + FREE sewing pattern
Kimono Jacket

I have been wanting to make a kimono style jacket for soooo long. It's a more time consuming than most of my projects. And not as easy.

My husband and I have done a fair amount of traveling this year so it just never worked out time wise. Read about our travels - here.

I LOVE this jacket. It's so easy to wear. No zips, collars or button holes. What's not to like? I made it out of left-over upholstery fabric which is heavy for a kimono.

                                                                                               I make
The fabric
almost all of the concepts or patterns on this blog myself. Admittedly I do take inspiration from other designs and designers.

I was worried this fabric was too heavy but it has turned out perfect. Only thing I would do differently is make it a touch longer. This jacket sits high on my hips.

As you can see from the first photo, I had a pile of left-over upholstery fabric pieces. That didn't worry me as you cut fabric into bits and pieces when you cut out a pattern. I was also pleased to be using up what would have been discarded fabric scraps. Hello - the point of this blog!
Kimono jacket pattern
Cut pattern pieces from fabric

You need: -
black marker pen
fabric for kimono
long thin piece of fabric for collar about 10 x 130 centimetres
matching thread
dressmaking scissors
sewing machine

Don't sew sleeves first as I did here - see instructions
You do: -
First make the pattern. I am a UK dress size 10 and this jacket is roomy so someone a bit bigger than me could wear it. If you are an extra big girl or an extra small girl, then make the pattern bigger or smaller.

Pin the paper pattern pieces together and fit to your body so you can see BEFORE you cut if this jacket will fit.
Sew shoulder first

Rather err on making it a touch bigger as you can always take in and cut away. Not so easy to add in fabric afterwards.

I allowed a 1.5 centimetre seam allowance for this kimono jacket.

Next cut your pattern pieces. I rushed to sew the sleeves first. Mistake! I should have sewn the shoulders first and then pinned
I had to set sleeves as I went and sewed them first
the sleeves. It still works but is a bit harder when you have to set sleeves. Bear this in mind when following the pictures.

Hem lower edge of jacket and sleeves

I had to zig-zag all the edges as this fabric frays easily. Once I had sewn shoulders, I set my sleeve and sewed it to jacket. Your jacket should be sewn together by now.

Pin and sew lapel

Next cut a strip approximately 10 centimetres wide to make the front lapel.

If you make your jacket longer
then your strip will need to be longer than mine.

Fold this strip in half length-wise and iron it. Iron the rest of the jacket so all your seams are open.

Pin the collar so it folds from the inside to the outside. Your strip must face exactly the same way as mine. See it in the pictures. It's important you get this right or you won't be able to see how you sew this lapel flat when you finish the collar.

Sew lapel to inner edge of jacket. Fold over and pin it to the front. Sew collar down.
Fold over collar and sew flat

Neaten bottom edge. You may want to unpick and hand-sew. Or fold and machine sew. Whatever is easiest for you.

One kimono jacket done!

In the spirit of recycling, I sewed the leftover pieces of fabric together and made my favourite slouchy bag. Look out for that in an up coming post.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the head of the page to find archives of older tutorials. More FREE sewing patterns, jewelry making ideas and even home decor.

I will be back with more next week.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Stone Drop Earrings

Semi precious stone and chain earrings

Teardrop stone earrings
I made these a long time ago. Back then there was a fabulous bead shop in Long Street that sold the most amazing semi-precious stone beads. I went berserk and made all sorts of things. (That shop is sadly long gone)

I love that stones have special qualities. Probably why I love Pamela Love's designs so much.

As you can see I made these earrings in clear quartz and snow quartz. I found two tear drop sort of shaped stones in similar
Bead caps - without hooks
sizes. My bead caps have mini hooks on them as these stones did not have a hole through them. The picture at right shows caps WITHOUT hooks. (I'm doing this post retro-actively) If you use them, then you have to fashion a hook with your silver wire.

You need: -
2 x matching stones
2 x bead caps with hooks
2 x earring hooks
2 x pieces of chain
silver wire
strong adhesive

Chain and earring hooks
You do: -
Fit your bead caps around your beads and place them ready to be glued to your stones. You can use a bit of Blu Tack or Press stick or whatever it's called where you are to hold the stones upright in place. You are about to work with glue so make sure your surface will not be damaged.

Mix your adhesive and using a toothpick, dab glue on your stone and your bead cap. Attach the two and allow to dry. Work fast as some glues dry quickly.

Cut a length of chain. My chain is 5 centimetres
Chain drop earrings
long. Using your wire, attach the chain to the bead cap. Cut any wire that sticks out and bend wire flat so it won't catch on a scarf or collar.

Attach chain to an earring hook.

That's it. You're done!

If you like this post, you may like some of my older tutorials which you will find in the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page.

See you next week.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

My Best Sewing Tips - Part 2

My 20 best sewing tips
Find out how to make a belt with Strapping in Greenie Galleries

Read tips 1 to 10 by clicking through to this post.

11. Never cut threads close to the end of seams. The seam will split open the minute you put the garment on.  Rather sew loose threads away. Takes a bit of time but well worth it.

12. Always match your fabric and thread. Nothing worse that obvious stitching on a garment.

Look for this net underskirt in the Greenie Galleries
13. Fit your garment as you go along to make sure it's not too loose or too tight, too long or too short. You can ALWAYS unpick and let out a little or take in a little as you go along. Once a garments is complete, it's a helluva job to undo pieces so you can go back and adjust.

14. Sometimes, when sewing two pieces together, you get a bit of puckering. It will look horrible on your finished garment and is so easy to rectify. You only need  unpick areas where puckering may have occurred and re-sew them. Not the whole seam. I find playing around with the line-up of the edges or pulling a bit at the seam before re-sewing again helps. Click - here - to see example.

15. Use the correct sewing needle. You want a denim needle when sewing heavy cotton or a ball-point needle for
The Greenie Galleries have a FREE pattern for this skirt
slippery fabrics or those with a lot of elasticity.

16. And use the correct stitch. Most sewing machines have a stretch-stitch for knit fabrics. Use slightly bigger stitches for heavier fabrics and slightly smaller stitches for fine fabrics.

17. Use the best quality thread you can get. Proper thread glides through your needle, sits nice and flat and doesn't shed loads of fluff. It won't change colour and is unlikely to snap. If your thread keeps snapping, it might not be your machine. Thread is not expensive to start with, so investing in good stuff is easily within reach.

The Greenie Galleries have instructions for this top
18. Learn to sew a French seam for sheer fabrics or pierced fabrics like Broderie Anglaise or eyelet cotton. It looks so much neater. Sew your seam. Iron seam flat. Trim away excess fabric close to stitching. Fold over. And make another seam so original seam and fabric edges are enclosed and invisible.

19. Always sew darts from the widest end to the narrowest. And don't suddenly stop at the narrow end. Taper it off gently. That way your dart won't have a sharp point at the end.

20. Some things are easy to make. Others a nightmare. My advice - leave the complicated stuff to experienced sewers and tailors. Commercial patterns almost always have a rating from easy to advanced. And with the exception of one or two, all my FREE sewing patterns and tutorials are dead easy. Rule of thumb - the more pattern pieces - the more work and the harder the garment is to make.

Think you can't sew a zipper? You can. See my zip tutorial - on this link.

Scroll back to the top of this page to find the Greenie Galleries which are full of tutorials and FREE patterns.

See you right here next week.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Best Sewing Tips - Part 1

Look in Greenie Galleries for this No Sew Scarf
My 10 best sewing tips

1. Zig-zagging or over-casting edges is not always necessary. You can tell if you need to finish your edges, gently pull at your fabric, if threads come loose easily, then zig-zag. Or fold over edges - and sew a flat seam. Satin for example, must be sewed or it will fray. Most cottons and stretch knits are fine without finishing the edges. The garment may even look good with raw edges.

2. Hand stitching or tacking before machine sewing is not always necessary. You can get away with pinning side seams and even hems. Zips must
Find this OBI belt in Greenie Galleries
be hand sewn in place before you machine sew them.

3. If you hand-sew or tack, make sure to use a bright coloured or high contrast colour thread. You will need to remove these stitches and it helps to be able to see them.

4. Always pre-wash fabric that might shrink or colour run. Cottons are the usual culprits. And to ensure a colour stays fast - add salt to your final rinse.

5. Iron as you go along. It's almost impossible to iron certain seams open after a garment has been completed. Smooth flat seams give a finished garment that extra polish.

Make greeting cards with sewing stitches. See Greenie Galleries
6. Beware of iron temperatures. I have burnt beautiful garments misjudging the correct heat. Rather press with a damp cloth. Safer and gives the best results.

7. Your choice of fabric is the biggest factor in the success of a garment. A scarf in heavy denim? Just thinking about it feels wrong. Jeans in fine silk? No need to explain.

8. Cut your pattern with the grain of the fabric in mind. Fabric has threads woven lengthwise (warp) and width wise (weft). Ideally, you want to cut your garment running neatly in line with the grain of the fabric or your garment will look off-centre. Draw a line down the centre of your pattern. (if it doesn't have a line) Place the top and bottom of your pattern along the grain of your fabric.

9. The diagonal of your fabric is known as the
The tutorial for this dress is in the Greenie Galleries
bias. Pull gently and you will see it has a small amount of give. Some garments need a bit of give to fit nicely. A camisole top or bias cut skirt for example. In that case, the line from the top to the bottom of your pattern piece must be placed diagonally.

10. Always start and end a seam with a few backwards and forwards stitches. This helps keep the seam from coming apart while you are constructing your garment.

For those who fear sewing a zip into a garment - this tutorial - shows how to set a zipper.

At the top of this page are the Greenie Galleries with 100s of tutorials for crafting and sewing your own clothing and accessories.

Find 10 more sewing tips - here.

Back next week.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Black Top

Black top + FREE sewing pattern
Black top

I wasn't sure about this top. What I had in mind when I started -and what turned out to be - were two completely different tops. I always say that fabric choice is the biggest factor in the success of a garment. You would think that I have learned this? But no. Clearly not.

And that proved to be the issue with this top. However, despite not ending up with what I wanted, I still like this top.
Pattern pieces

The plan was to have two slightly off square pieces for a back and front. And two rectangles for straight shoulder straps. The fabric was way too dense and didn't fall nicely. Add to that, the shoulder straps were too wide.

I ended up putting some darts into the main piece to help give it shape. And gathering the shoulder straps.

You need: -
sewing machine
matching thread

You do: -
Using the pattern (see image), take
Sew sides, hem arm area and pin darts
measurements and make a pattern.

So as you read earlier, I used a fairly heavy fabric.

Cut your pattern pieces. I had to zig-zag the edges of this fabric.

Sew the sides together leaving around 10 to 12 centimetres open for the arms at the top of your garment.

Next pin your darts. I haven't give a width or place for the darts. Play around with the width and place of your darts by pinning and fitting until you are happy. Now sew your darts to the front piece only.

Hem the side edges around the arms. Fold over the top ends of your top and hem them too.

Hem straps and top to top
Zig-zag the edges of your straps. Fold the sides over and hem them.

Next pin the straps to your top. Fit top again to make sure they are not too long or too short. Adjust if necessary. And sew in place.

To make the gathers, I used a needle and thread and sewed the top middle area of the straps.

I must try this top again in a jersey knit. Will keep you posted.

At the top of this page are the Greenie Galleries with heaps of older DIYs and tutorials and crafting and upcycling and and and . . . 

See you next week.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rolled Wire Ring

Rolled wire ring at top of stack

Wire ring tutorial

Last week's post was a bit of a recycle. Same with this week's post.

I made rolled wire bracelets a few weeks ago. While I was at it, I made smaller versions. Rings. Find the tutorial for the silver wire ring- by clicking here.

The black ring at the bottom is made from plastic coated wire. See how to make the black ring - here.

And the middle ring is made by stringing beads to elastic thread. Find that tutorial for the white ring - on this link.

At the top of this page are the Greenie Galleries with heaps of older tutorials, FREE sewing patterns and inspiration to help you DIY and not buy.

Back next week.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

Easy Maxi Skirt

Maxi skirt tutorial
Maxi Skirt

This week I'm recycling a previous post. Sort of. When I posted this - I styled it as a dress. I did say it would work as a skirt. And as you can see - it does.

My favourite skirt I ever made is the gathered midi skirt. See it - here. I love wearing it. But here's the lowdown.

I 'm not tall.
Or thin.
I can't walk in heels.
And I am a classic pear shape.

I love the drama of my favourite midi skirt, but the truth is, I look better in skirts that visually add height and skim over my hips.

This skirt does just that. Head to - this link - to get the full tutorial. This skirt not only looks good, it's versatile. Great for traveling.

Check out the Greenie Galleries at the top of the page for more sewing tutorials and re-creations.

See you next week for more ideas to DIY and not buy.