Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tank Top + Sewing Tutorial

Easy tank top

How to make a tank top

Most of my days are spent in leggings and some type of T-Shirt. In summer it's a tank top and in winter it's most likely a tank top and a long sleeved T-Shirt over it.

One thing I dislike about bought tank tops is the narrow
Trace pattern from a tank top
shoulder straps. They don't lend themselves to sports bras. And I don't like wearing overly tight or cropped tops to the gym. Which is why I made this tank top.

Cotton knit is so forgiving for novice sewers. You can get away with no
Pin pattern to fabric and cut
hems. A raw edge can actually look cool. This top had exactly four seams. Two side seams and two shoulder seams. I used a summer weight white cotton knight for this top.

I want to try make a  looser slouchy version. And I want to make another one with dropped arm holes. Will need to make a bandeau top to wear under a dropped armhole tank. How nice will that be for yoga? My list of things to make never ends.

Here's how to make this easy tank top.

You need: -
a cotton old tank top that fits you
black marker pen
stretch cotton knit
matching thread
sewing scissors
sewing machine

You do: -
Use your old tank top to make a pattern.

Trace the outline of your tank on the newspaper making sure - very important - you add on about 1.5
Cut front of neck lower than back
centimetres extra for your seam allowance.

Cut out your pattern in paper.

Pin your pattern to your fabric and cut 2 x pieces. A front and a back.

Trim front neck even more if required
Note, I cut the back neck of my tank top a bit shorter. You most likely will want to do the same.

The nice thing is you can trim the back and the front necklines  after you have made your tank top to get them exactly as you would like them to be. You may want a plunging neckline and narrow shoulder straps. Or a high neckline and wide shoulder straps.

Stitch sides and shoulders and you're done. No really! It's that simple.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page to see older DIYs. I've shared myriad fashion upgrades from FREE sewing patterns to tutorials for making jewelry from food packaging.
As always, I try to up-cycle or recycle.

I will be back with more next week,


Thursday, November 20, 2014

How to make an easy hairband

Hairband tutorial
Easy hairband

I have made hairbands before.

Click on these links to view them - DIY silver ribbon hairband - T-Shirt
hairband - and - pantyhose hairband.

They are so super easy to make and take no more than half an hour.

You need some kind of elastic

You need: -
about 10 centimetres of any kind of elastic
  • elastic band
  • hairband
  • thread elastic
  • knicker elastic
  • pantyhose
  • stretch jewlery making elastic
You need tape or ribbon

and about 50 to 60 centimetres of any kind of long thin band - it depends on the size of your head
  • a strip of fabric
  • tape
  • ribbon
  • rick rack
  • pleather
Cut ribbon on the diagonal to stop it fraying

You do: -
Measure around your head.

Work out how long your elasticised piece is going to be and deduct that from the circumference of your head. My elastic was 20 centimetres long.

Add about 1.5 to 2 centimetres which you will fold back on either side of your headband. My band was 52 centimtres long.

I always cut ribbon diagonally across so it
Pin band in place and fit to make sure it's not too loose or tight.
doesn't fray.

Fold the ends of your hairband over your elastic and pin.

Fit it taking care not to poke yourself. Adjust so it's a snug but not too tight fit.

Hand sew ends.
I pushed the knot of my elastic into the fold so it wasn't visible.

Hand sew - or you can glue - the ends in place.

I tied a piece of sewing thread around my elastic to make an 8 shape. See picture at top right.

And just like that you have a nice new headband. They are great for the gym, for a dressy occasion and for adding a seasonal print or colour to your wardrobe.

At the top of this page are three pages of Greenie Galleries with quick links to older posts as well as free sewing patterns.

See you here next week,


Thursday, November 13, 2014

DIY Sarong

How to make a beach wrap

I mentioned in a previous blog post that a kind friend gave me a big fat bag of fabric a good few months back. My purpose with this blog is primarily to re-use as much as I can. Some of the fabric had marks. She told me her cat used to sleep on the fabric when he was still in this world.

Tie around neck
This mauve piece of fabric came in two pieces. And had some stains. I first soaked them and washed them to see if the marks would come out. No luck, and worse, one piece had a hole. I cut away what couldn't be used and then sewed the two pieces together with a French seam. I used a decorative stitch on my sewing machine over the French seam so it wouldn't look too obviously sewed together.

I used poly-viscose
You need a piece of fabric 1.5 to 2.0 metres long and 1.0 to 1.5 metres wide. The wider you are, the longer your sarong needs to be. And the longer you want the sarong to sit, the wider it needs to be.
To wear this, wrap it around your body and take the two top ends in your hands in front of you. Wrap them around your neck and tie at the nape of your neck.
Stitching two pieces together with a decorative seam

This sarong is fabulous for hot balmy evenings at home, lounging in the garden or for a beach cover up. You could also wear it with bold sparkly earrings and sandals for a night out on a tropical holiday.
Sarong pattern

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page to see older DIYs. I've shared myriad fashion upgrades from FREE sewing patterns to tutorials for making jewelry from food packaging.
As always, I try to up-cycle or recycle.

I will be back with more next week,


Thursday, November 6, 2014

African Silver Bead and Pearl Earrings

How to make Pearl and African Silver Earrings

The finished earrings
Earrings are probably THE quickest and easiest item to make. In - this post - I have links to different kinds of earrings. I've been wanting to use these lovely silver African beads. They have a bohemian feel. I mixed them with pearls for a classic twist making them more versatile.

You can have fun with this style of earring and make just about anything. Different size clear crystals will give you sparkly chandelier style earrings? Multi coloured Moroccan beads pair well with kimono jackets for a boho feel.
Here's what you need plus pliers

Or go a single earring? Choose a really long piece of wire for a statement earring and wear it on only one ear. You are sure to be bang on trend. Just make sure you don't use heavy beads or wire. You don't want your ears to ache.

You need: -
earring hooks
Add beads to wire

You do: -
Roll out your wire and straighten any kinks with your pliers.

Play around with your beads laying them out as you wish them to fit on your piece of wire.

Now load your beads onto your wire and roll the end to make a tiny loop so your beads won't fall off.

Cut the other end of your wire allowing a bit extra so you can bend that end into your earring hook.
Make a loop at top and bottom then attach hooks

Make sure your loops are neat and cut away any excess wire.

Voila! New earrings.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page to see older DIYs. I've shared myriad fashion upgrades, FREE sewing patterns and tutorials for making jewelry from food packaging. As always, I try to up-cycle or recycle.

I will be back with more next week,


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Custom Fit Leggings

How to make leggings

You need: -
So Sew Easy leggings
stretch fabric
unbendable elastic
sewing machine
matching colour thread
sewing scissors

large piece of paper
tape measure
marker pen
paper scissors

Making the pattern

Most of my patterns are circles, semi circles, rectangles, squares or triangles. They work for a whole bunch of clothing, think skirts, kimono jackets, capes, dresses and more. But I ALWAYS use a proper pattern when making a fitted jacket and pants. Which is why I have not made leggings sooner. You need a proper pattern to make leggings

I used the FREE legging pattern and tutorial from So Sew Easy. Go to - - to find it. What's nice is it's a custom pattern. It fits YOU!

Deby has a video showing you exactly how to take your measurements. Very handy. And she has a spreadsheet that calculates measurements for your pattern.

                                                                                                                                                            Your pattern
should look something like the one I show at the right. To make your own pattern go to Free Patterns on the So Sew Easy website.
Sew curved front and back first

Deby talks about "ease" which is a term for the amount of stretch in your fabric and the kind of fit you are after. Once you have figured it out, fill in 90% to 100% into her downloadable spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will make the "ease" calculations for you. That said, I left the spreadsheet at the default "ease" setting.

I used an old newspaper stuck together with masking tape to make my pattern - I like to recycle. But do beware that ink from newspaper can transfer to your fabric.

My front rise measurement looked a bit low compared to Deby's so I added a few centimetres. You can always cut it away after - not so easy to add it back in. In the end I did have to cut it away and my pattern was right.

The basic pattern EXCLUDES seam allowances. You need to still add 1.5 centimetres to the sides. You also must add at least the width of your elastic to the waist at the top. Plus enough to put a hem in at the ankle.

Sew inner leg
I used a piece of navy blue one way jersey stretch knit left over from the - Maxi Skirt - and - Strapless Summer Dress - I made in previous posts. A stretchier fabric would have been much better but I happened to have this fabric. Also I wanted a winter weight legging. The more stretch, the better, to be honest. My pants didn't cling like leggings normally do. Deby talks about fabric choices in her post on these leggings.

You may might want to sew with a stretch or a ballpoint sewing machine needle. Luckily my fabric didn't need overlocking or zig-zagging.

You do: -
First you have to take your measurements and make your pattern.

Next pin your pattern to your fabric and cut TWO of your legging pattern. Pin together right sides facing in toward each other.

Sew front curved sections to each other. Do the same with the back curved sections.
Press seams flat

Open out so legs fold on to each other and pin the inner leg seams together. Line up the front and back crotch seam and sew from crotch down the one leg first. Then sew down the other leg. Why not sew in one go? I find that stretchy fabric moves and you could find the seams don't line up in the middle if you start and end at the bottom of each leg.

Turn your leggings right way out and fit them to make sure you are happy. If too loose, take in seams a bit. If too tight, let seams out. I had to take in a teeny bit around my knees. Pin the
Pin and sew waistband
hem for lower legs.

Now you need to iron your seams open so they lie flat.

Measure your unbendable elastic around your waist and cut. The elastic should be a bit smaller than your leggings.

There are two ways to fit the elastic at the waist. Deby has lovely clear photos that show exactly how to put these leggings together. Her
Greenie in her new leggings
way is to sew two ends of unbenable elastic together. Pin your elastic to the waist. And sew to waist.

Or you could sew a tube at the top of your leggings, slide the elastic through and stitch the two ends of the elastic together.

And that people, is all there is to these leggings. They are soooo easy to make. I want to re-use this pattern to make a pair of stretch denim jeggings.

Visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page to see other DIYs. I try to up-cycle or recycle first so you'll see food packaging earrings, pantyhose headbands and electric cable rings.

See you next week,