Thursday, May 21, 2015

DIY Running Armband

Arm pocket tutorial

I had one of these arm pockets and sometime during the building going on in our house, I packed it away in a safe place. So safe, I cannot find it anymore. It's such a handy thing as I put my house keys in the pocket, slide it onto my arm and go for a run. It's also great for those who run with a phone or use gels.
Running arm pocket
They look so simple and I was fairly certain I could make one. I went on-line to see if anyone else had made them so I could get a sense of how they're put together. Couldn't find much on them. 

Then I found a site called She's been sewing and putting out patterns for over a decade. She has heaps of patterns and tutorials. Quite diverse stuff too. has a FREE sewing pattern for what she referred to as a Y-Fumble. Don't recall ever seeing them in South Africa.

I'm so pleased to find this pattern as it saved me having to figure out how to make this running armband. The pattern has all the info on it including where to make your folds. And you get a PDF explaining how to assemble this. I printed the pattern onto 4 x A4 sheets of paper from our home printer. Doesn't get easier than that.

This arm pocket needs super stretchy fabric. It's the s-t-r-e-t-c-h that makes it stay on your arm and stops your stuff falling out. I used black lycra.

You need: -
FREE sewing pattern from
stretchy fabric
matching coloured thread
sewing machine with stretch stitch
ball point sewing needles

You do: -
Cut the pattern from your fabric.
Cut pattern from your fabric
Make sure you replace your regular sewing needle with a ball point sewing needle. (Discovered my sewing machine needle cases are disintegrating! Bit annoying that - how else will I store them?)
Top left is the correct sewing needle
Next set your sewing machine to stretch stitch. If your machine does not have a stretch stitch, you could try pulling the fabric slightly when you sew. Can't promise it will work but will go some way to ensuring the stitches have a bit of give so they don't snap when you pull on the arm pocket.
Hem and fold top of pocket
Make a hem at each end of the pocket piece and fold top over to create the flap for your pocket. 
Hem and fold bottom of pocket
Fold bottom to create pocket.
Sew ends of non-pocket leaving a space open in the middle
Sew each end of the non-pocket piece leaving a bit open in the middle.
Slide pocket (left) into non-pocket (right). Stitch sides
Now this is the bit I missed and had to unpick and redo. The instructions are clear on the accompanying PDF. You slide the pocket piece INSIDE the non-pocket piece.

And sew the sides.
Pull pocket through open piece
You pull the pocket through the piece you left open on the non-pocket piece. And your running arm pocket comes together. Like magic.
Sew open piece closed.
You can either hand sew or machine sew the open piece closed to finish.

If you find the Greenie Galleries there are heaps of older posts and ideas to make and upcycle clothes and accessories. I've also loaded pics of upcoming tutorials and FREE sewing patterns on the Greenie Dresses for Less facebook page.

Have a great week.


P.S. A few have asked what size the pattern pieces are. The pattern comes different sizes so best to measure and fit to YOUR arm, but my pattern pieces are 16 cm wide and 41 cm long for pocket piece. And 16 cm wide and 38 cm long for non-pocket piece. Includes seam allowances.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Easy Shift Dress + FREE Sewing Pattern

FREE shift dress sewing pattern + tutorial

This dress is - hands down - the number one visited post on my blog. I get more letters about this dress than any of the others. What pleases me most is hearing that people are happy with their final result. It's not always easy to explain some of the steps in making a garment, so great to know people understand how to make it.

Why am I re-posting it? My photos aren't that good. I desperately need a new camera. Also I've learned a lot since I took the original pic. Not that my photos are going to win any wards but I wanted to try and show this dress in a better light.

Am going to send you straight to the original blog post. Click - here - for a link to the FREE sewing pattern and tutorial.

And I feel I should also mention that not only is this easy to make, it's a pleasure to wear. It's a loose hence comfy, but also a flattering shift dress. I have made this in a few colours. Have only used a light, but crisp cotton. Fabric is EVERYTHING in making a garment. But I would like to be brave and maybe make it in a print for a more boho fun feel.

There are plenty more FREE sewing patterns if you can find the Greenie Galleries on this blog. And lots of ideas to upcycle and recycle just about anything.

I've just make a choker and bracelet set with black electric cord. I can't believe how well they turned out. And I made yet another kimono jacket from old curtains. You can find pics of what's to come on the Greenie Dresses for Less Facebook page.

And just to remind us all why we want to DIY and not buy, watch this - John Oliver digs into the low cost child labor hypocrisy in the fashion industry. It's 17 minutes long and he does rather take the Mickey in this skit, but it's got a lot of uncomfortable facts. We need to know this stuff.

Back next week with more.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Rope and Toggle Bracelet

Up-cycled rope bracelet

Bit of a theme going on in this blog. Recycling one thing into another rather than toss in the bin. I up-cycled the cord tie from a parka into a bracelet. So I was about to tie the cord from my parka and whoops, it came loose. I wasn't about to try and unpick and re-sew it back into the jacket. Decided to rather live without it. Then I thought I would see if it would make a bracelet. And it does!
DIY rope bracelet

This is more of a fun thing than a statement piece. I guess you could use sexier coloured cord and a sparkly crystal or pearl button for a prettier bracelet. A finer silk cord or a waxed cord would look good. Also thought about using fabric off-cuts. I made the hairband in the link below from fine fabric strips.

Here are some links to similar items in older blog posts -
I'm not going to give laborious instructions for this as there really isn't much to it.
Cord from my parka

In a nutshell I made a crochet chain from the end that had the toggle. I made the chain long enough to make a bracelet.

I left the loop and fed the excess cord back through the chain.
Make a chain long enough for a bracelet

You can use a lighter - if your cord is plastic (careful please) - or a drop of strong glue - to make sure the loop at the end doesn't come loose.

If you navigate your way to the Gallery pages on this blog there are heaps more ideas to DIY as well as FREE knitting and sewing patterns.

More next week.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Easy Summer Dress + FREE Sewing Pattern

Summer dress tutorial

This dress came out particularly well. Amazing how a different fabric can completely change the look of a dress? See the exact same dress pattern in black cotton - on this link.
Summer sundress

My photos aren't all that. I'm still using an Instamatic camera. Duh! And the look of this blog could do with a professional touch too. But the point of this blog always was - and still is - to show how easy it is to make clothes.

To share what I've made, so other people will hopefully be inspired to DIY and not buy. When you make your own clothes you know for sure they don't come out of a sweat shop. Last week Friday was Fashion Revolution Day. Go to (fashionrevolution followed by org) to read more.

This dress was made from a sheet I was no longer using. And some lace I happened to have. Not only is this dress light on my conscience, it was light on my purse. Total cost = 0.

You need: -
matching colour thread
long ruler or tape measure
sewing scissors

You do: -
Cut dress from fabric
 Cut dress from your fabric. Cut straps from fabric.

Hem armhole areas
Sew side seams leaving space at top ends for arms to fit.
Press seams flat with an iron and hem the armhole area.
Make straps
Make straps as if you are making jumbo sized bias binding just not on the bias of the fabric.
Fold over top allowing space for straps to slide through and sew flat. Make a hem at bottom of dress.

Sew lace to bottom of dress
Sew lace to bottom of dress.
Slide straps through top of dress
Press straps flat with an iron and slide through top of dress.

And just like that, this easy summer sundress is done.

Scroll back to the Greenie Galleries to find lots more FREE sewing patterns and DIY inspiration.

See you soon,


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Sixty Second Scarf Bag

Make a bag in a minute

Got a scarf? Plus two hoops? And one minute? Then you have what it takes to make this bag. And here's the best bit. When you're done for the day, you can change the scarf to make another bag with your same hoops.
One minute scarf bag

I saw something similar to this on Ari Seth Cohen's blog - Advanced Style. He has a model - her name is - Tziporah Salamon. In a few shots of her, she has bags not unlike this one. I wish she would show how she makes them. I managed to come up with this version.

You need a scarf and two hoops
You need: -
  • A reasonable sized scarf - so not a neck scarf. Ideally the fabric shouldn't be too thin - it's going to hold all your possessions. But it also mustn't be too thick or you won't be able to tie the knots. You can also use a pretty piece of fabric to make this bag.
  • Two hoops. Or squares or any other shape for that matter.

You do: -
Spread your scarf out on a  table.
Tie a knot at each corner
Tie a single knot at each corner making sure you have about 10 to 15 centimetres of scarf to tie more knots.
Half tie two corners together and add hoop
Now half tie tie two corners together. Add your hoop to the knot.
Complete knot over hoop

Complete the knot over the hoop. Make a few more knots to secure.

Simple as that.

Scroll back up to the beginning of this blog and find the Galleries where there are 100's of older posts. There is a diverse mix of FREE sewing patterns and tutorials to wire and bead jewellery. The focus of this blog is to DIY before being tempted to buy.

See you next week.