Thursday, October 23, 2014

How to Upcycle a Cloth Shopping Bag

What to do with a Free Cloth Shopping Bag

A person should never moan about their life on a blog. Having said that I'm a bit stressed. I've been
Upcycled cloth shopper bag
away for 9 weeks and a month before that I was away for 6 weeks. I try to schedule blog posts but a person needs to be in one place to make things. All the stuff that I've been neglecting at home has to be done now. I needed a extra ultra quick and easy DIY. This one ticks that box.

I cannot bear to waste anything. Ever! It's probably more of a hindrance in life than a help. I recycle old coffee jars into pretty storage containers for nuts, dried fruit and seeds. I've made a - ring - out of old piping and turned wire into - bracelets. I've recycled an old table cloth into a - kaftan, old curtains into a - top - and a - back pack. And made a - kimono jacket - from left over pieces of upholstery fabric. Find all those projects and more in my Greenie Galleries at the top of this page.
The bag before - I swirled the logo


I was given this cloth bag as a goodie bag with a bunch of freebies and samples at a health and wellness expo in 2013 in London. Wasn't sure about the logo. Nice of the sponsor to give it to me but I wasn't keen on promoting their life coaching thing. So I up-cycled it. First the bag needed a good wash. Then I made a side pocket with left
Hemming the top of the pocket
over fabric from old curtains.

Next I downloaded a cute rabbit silhouette from the Internet and cut it out of a piece of Shwe Shwe fabric. Sewed the rabbit to the pocket and sewed the pocket to the shopper bag. Easy as that.

And now I love this bag. I use these bags. All. The. Time. They're great for - yes - shopping, but I use them for the gym, carrying books and even an extra hand bag or packed
Checking the place and size of the pocket
lunch bag. If you have time to spare you could try sewing Dolce and Gabbana forest themed appliques to your cloth bag. Don't you love their winter look?

In the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page I've shared FREE sewing patterns and tutorials.

You would think I have enough to do without starting another blog. But I've gone and done it. I have just started a raw vegan blog - Green and Vegan - and I have my travel blog - Green Point Greenie. My husband thinks I need a new brain. He may be right.

I will be back with more next week,

Greenie.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Denim City Shorts

How to make denim cut off shorts

I am not going to wear denim cut-off shorts. The look fabulous on supermodels. I just don't want to
Denim shorts
wear them.
Admittedly I am a lot older than girls who look fabulous in them. And I'm not super slim, But even when I was younger or thinner, I never liked showing too much skin. These shorts are my compromise. Admittedly a big compromise on denim cut offs but I'm happy in them.

Now those brave and gorgeous girls who can and want to go shorter, just cut off more leg. Easy as that.
Before - boot cut jeans

My mother came to visit over the holidays with a suitcase full of clothes she picked up when a friend of a friend's daughter emigrated to Australia. This girl was small and none of the clothing would fit my mothers friends. I could barely fit into her clothes myself. My daughter did well out of that suitcase. I kept this pair of jeans.
Mark where to cut off the legs

I'm over boot cut jeans. It was a no brainer I would up-cycle these. I wanted a nice pair of shorts for our boat. Read about that - here.

Pin and sew hem. Or not if you prefer
This process is so super easy. No need for instructions. Fit jeans. Decide where you want hem. Cut making sure to leave enough fabric to make hem. Make hem. Wear. You may have to zig-zag or overlock the edges as denim is inclined to fray. Or leave the edges raw.

The point of this is that before you toss something, consider altering it into something you would wear. Someone with sewing skills could have sewed the lower leg pieces onto the legs and made a skirt? There are heaps of jean and denim refashions on the Internet for inspiration.

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, October 9, 2014

Macadamia Nut Necklace

How to make a fabric necklace

Macadamia nut necklace
These easy to make fabric necklaces are all over. Been seeing them in craft magazines for years. The only reason I never made one sooner is because I try to re-use items and fabric from my stash first. I needed big beads for this DIY and didn't want to go out and specifically buy beads.
You need similar sized nuts and fabric

My husband suggested I use macadamia nuts. Perfect! We were given a huge big bag of them by some kind friends. My better half has cracked 3/4 of them with his vice. But we still have a few left to crack. And eat.

The rest was easy. Sort of. I didn't realise quite how much fabric would be used up making the knots between each "bead". My advice is to use - at least double - fabric for the length necklace you require. If not more, to play it safe.

You need: -
beads or nuts or some spherical object
a long strip of fabric about 10 centimetres wide
matching colour thread
sewing machine

Make sure your nuts will fit into fabric tube


You do: -
Measure around your bead and make sure you allow enough fabric to fit the circumference AND enough to make a long seam.

Sew a long tube of fabric.

Turn it inside out.

Fold in half and pin exactly in the middle.

Drop a bead into the tube and make sure your first
Turn tube right side out
bead is exactly in the middle. You will have to move your pin slightly. And put another pin on the other side of your first bead.

Now make a knot on either side of your bead.

Drop in another bead and knot. Keep going until you have about 10 to 15 centimetres of fabric left which you will use to tie your necklace at the back of your neck.

Repeat on the other side.

And that's it! Necklace done.

Knot nuts or beads in place
I made a plain one and one in a patterned fabric. I want to buy some silver lame to make a glamorous necklace to go with my silver jewelry. Metallics are back on trend for winter so it will be well worn.

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,

Greenie.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Origami Dress + FREE Sewing Pattern

Folded Neckline Dress

The inspiration for this dress came from a black red ombre Diesel shift I saw in a fashion magazine.
Origami dress
Edun also do
a similar dress in a check print.
Origami Dress Pattern

I was wary to try and make my own pattern, but luckily it worked well.

The first thing I must mention is this will NOT work if your fabric is too soft or a knit. You will get a draped effect or a cowl neck and not the folded origami neckline.

Sew shoulders and sides
I used a light cotton. You could go for a heavier fabric but then know that the fold will become more pronounced. Which is kind of the point of this shift dress.

Fold and hem neck
The pattern is straight forward. A rectangular piece for the back. The same for the front, but the top is widened to allow the fabric to drop at the neckline.

I am a UK dress size 10. You could use my pattern, or make your own pattern bigger or smaller to fit your size.

Just remember when making a pattern to allow for seams. My pattern includes a 1.5 centimetre seam allowance.

You need: -
scissors
pins
sewing machine
fabric
matching colour thread
Sewing neck hem


You do: -

Cut your dress from your fabric. Lay the front piece on top of the back. Pin your sides and shoulders together.

Sew sides leaving space for your arms to slip through.

Fold arm area
Sew the shoulders leaving space for your head to slide out.

Fit your dress and check you are happy with the fit. You can always let out or take in seams at this point. I wanted this particular dress to be a bit roomy.

If the arms or neck are too tight, unpick a few stitches. Likewise if they are gaping, sew a bit more to get the right fit.

Fold over edges around arms and neck and press your dress with an iron taking care not to burn yourself or fabric.

Try on your dress again and check in a mirror where you want the hem line to be. Pin the hem in place and cut away any surplus fabric.

Hem armholes, neck and hemline.
Hem arms

Press dress again and you're done!

If you don't like the capped sleeve then fold over more fabric which will give you a smaller piece at the shoulder.

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,

Greenie.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tea Dying

Using natural dyes at home

Tea Dyed top
I've done quite a bit of tie dying. See - herehere -  and - here.

The reason I dyed this top was because it acquired a massive stain. Tea dying is so easy and a great way to save my top. Stain it all over!


You can use quite a few ordinary items to dye at home. All of which are non toxic. Turmeric gives a gorgeous yellow colour. Beetroot juice is a potent pigment. Try the juice from green leaves,
Place tea bags in a pot and bring to boil
flower petals, coffee . . .


Think of all the things that normally stain clothes. Staining is dyeing.

Add a mordant - vinegar or salt
The trick with making your colour penetrate is to use a bit of heat. Simmer your tea or for a few minutes. DO NOT boil or you may affect the colour. And add a mordant to make sure you "set" the colour. Vinegar or salt will do the trick.


Allow the garment to stand in your colour solution for at least 20 minutes. Shorter time or a quick dip will give a lighter colour. Allowing the garment to stand longer in the solution will make the colour darker.

The fun part is making designs. I used elastic bands.
Tie elastic bands around wet cloth
I randomly grabbed bits of fabric and tied the bands as tightly as I could so the dye mixture could not pass under the bands.

Depending on how you tie your bands you get different patterns. With bands it's mostly circular shapes or lines. You can also splash or drop colour onto the item you are dying. Or how about dipping one half of your garment in the colour solution?

And, you can use more than one colour. Do bear in mind that if you put two colours on top of each other, you get a mix of both of them.

In my
Immerse in a bucket
experience the resulting mix of colours is often brown. And one last but not so eco friendly technique is to reverse the colouring process and use bleach to lift colour.

A person can have loads of fun. Old sheets can become new fabric designs. You can make one of my easy shift dresses or a fun scarf with your fabric.



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,

Greenie.

Remove from bucket and rinse

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Print Patch Jeans

Printed fabric patch jeans tutorial
Print patch jeans

I love patch jeans. Junya Watanabe patch jeans look divine. How about the dusty pink Omeo jeans Isabel Marant has been doing? And check out the DIY blog Fripe Fabrique for more inspiration.

I'm not usually a boho queen but this is one look I can pull off.
I've done a patchwork jean in a past tutorial with off-cuts of dark and regular denim.
Lie jeans flat and cut patches
See that blog post - here.

I wanted a print patch this time around. The only horrible thing about this DIY - you very likely will have to hand-sew these patches on. It's not easily done on a sewing machine. A jean leg is narrow. Trying to twist and rotate a sewing machine around a patch is a schlep.

You could unpick the sides, sew your patches, and re-sew the sides again.

Hand sewing is not a lot easier I'm afraid to say. One hand is inside the leg of your jeans trying to hold it open. The other hand is trying to sew. Denim is a thick heavy fabric. If you are up cycling a pair of skinny leg jeans - as I did here - there is NOT a lot of room to work. Just saying.
Fold, iron and sew hem around edges

You need: -
jeans
fabric squares
sewing machine
pins
needle
matching colour thread

You do: -
Lie your jeans flat on a flat surface.

Select a few pieces of fabric. You are going to hem your patches onto your jeans so make sure your fabric pieces are bigger than your intended patch size.

Pin and sew patches
Cut your patches. Pin all around the edges. Press them with an iron.

Sew around the edges of your patches.

Pin them to your jeans.

Hand-sew in place.

That's it!

Scroll up to the top of this page to find more ideas to up-cycle or recycle. Find FREE sewing patterns and jewellery tutorials.

See you next week,

Greenie.






Thursday, September 11, 2014

Easy Earring Storage Ideas

Stud earring storage idea

How to store earrings

My collection of earrings is growing fast. I have shown a good few earring tutorials.
Have a look at some of them on these links: -

No wonder then, that I needed to store my earrings properly. In a way that I can actually see them. They were in a box in my drawer and the pairs were never together. It was driving me bonkers always having to scratch to find a matching pair.

I used poly vinyl and plain old cardboard
I'm sure you could use just about any substance. The only requirement is that you need to be able to pierce it to make holes for the earrings. And the substance must be fairly firm. I used a piece of poly vinyl (the blue one) for my stud earrings. I re-cycled a piece of cardboard box (the white one) for my hanging earrings.

You could use a flexi floor tile, a piece of cork board, or even a piece of felt. 

I let my earrings sit at the top of my jewelry box but you could attach your material to a coat hanger and hang it inside a cupboard door. Or tie a piece of ribbon to the top and hang it somewhere handy.

All you need do is cut a square or rectangle of
Measure and pierce holes
whatever substance you decide to use.

Work out how many pairs of earrings you have and how wide they are. Next measure out where you want to make holes for your earrings. Make a mark or a dot with a pencil. Then pierce the holes. I used a wool needle to make my holes.

One you have enough holes add your earrings and that's it! Problem solved.

I have heaps of older blog posts with sewing tutorials, jewelry making, sewing tips and FREE patterns in the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page.

See you next week,

Greenie.









Thursday, September 4, 2014

Back Pack Tutorial + FREE Sewing Pattern

How to make a backpack
Easy back pack

I've been wanting to make a small back pack for a while. Love, love the Alexander Wang version. I wanted to use natural rope as I had some textured curtain fabric left over from the Kimono top I made a while back. See that - on this link.


I should rather have used a nylon rope that would slide easily
through the fabric, something natural rope does not do. And I needed a slightly lighter fabric. The ex-curtains were a bit too thick. But hey, I will know that for next time. And you know that before you start.
Back pack pattern


There are heaps of back pack tutorials out there. I love the one on Martha Stewart's page and also the one on Purl Bee. Here is my version -


You need: -
fabric - see my pattern for amount
rope - I used about 1.7 metres
sewing machine
scissors
pins
matching colour thread

You do: -
Cut fabric.

Hem all around the edges.
Cut bag from fabric

Fold over the two tops of the bag. Approximately 4 centimetres. Your rope needs to be able to slide through these folds later.

Please look at my photos so you can see how the bag is assembled. It's important to get your folds and flaps working the
Sew all around edges
right way or you will have to unpick them and re-sew.

Sew your folded ends or flaps down making sure you do not sew the ends closed.
Fold over top ends

Now fold back pack in half. You want to sew the sides, but before you do that, you need to make sure there will be enough space for your rope to fit in at the bottom of each side.

Sew casing flat leaving ends open
Slide your rope into the bottom corners and pin where to start sewing. Remove rope.

Sew your side seams making sure you stop before you get to the folded over piece at the top of your bag.

Next, take your rope and slide it through the one fold. Only ONE piece of rope here.

Pull the rope through and make sure each end is the same length.

Now pull both ends of rope through the other fold so they cross past each other inside the flap. TWO pieces of rope here.
Allow space for rope at bottom edges. Sew sides

Next take the rope inside your bag and slide it through the two holes at the bottom end.

Slide single piece of rope through flap
Pull bag closed and fit to make sure your ropes is not too long or two short.
Fold each ends back through second flap

Knot the ends of the rope and either machine sew or hand sew the rope in place. The thinner the rope, the easier it will be to sew with a sewing machine.

Knot rope
Turn inside out. Press with an iron. And you're done!

You can add a pocket to the front of your bag. You do that before you sew the sides together.

Find older tutorials and FREE sewing patterns in the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page.

I will have more DIY fashion for you next week,

Greenie.



Sew knotted end in place