Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fabric Strip Bracelets

Using fabric scraps to make jewellery

Fabric strip bracelet
I've said before that I'm not particularly creative. I see things. I like them. I try to make them. Mainly because to DIY is better than to buy, buy, buy. This bracelet is excellent for using up even the smallest fabric left overs.

The original bracelet that I saw had a button instead of a knot. My mother came up with the idea of a knot while she was staying with us
You need a long narrow strip of fabric
recently and helping me with a few projects. A knot works perfectly. Thanks Mom.

My finished bracelet is about 1.5 centimetres wide but by using a narrower strip of fabric you can make yours smaller. Might even look nicer? And maybe tie or sew a pretty button instead of making a knot? Here's how to make these bracelets.

You need: -
fabric off-cuts 55 x 7 centimetres
matching thread
sewing machine
iron and ironing board

You do: -
Cut your fabric strips.
Fold fabric and iron flat

Fold them in half length ways and iron flat. Fold the edges in like bias binding and iron again. And fold in edges yet again and iron flat again.
Fold the edges in yet again and iron flat

Now sew your long thin strip so it holds together.
Sew so that it holds together

Fold your long band in half and pin the sides together making sure to leave a loop at the end for your knot to slide through.
Pin together leaving a loop at the end

Set your sewing machine to zig-zag and sew the two pieces together. Sew away the ends.
Zig zag together

Tie a big fat knot at the end. If your fabric is fine you may have to tie the fabric around twice to get a big enough knot.
Make a knot at the opposite end

And just like that - you have a new fun bracelet - which cost almost nothing.
Wear lot of these bracelets stacked together

I made some bracelets from plain narrow strips of fabric in an older post. See them - here.

And you can see other things I have made in the Greenie Galleries which are at the top of this page.

More next week,


Thursday, January 15, 2015

DIY Black Tank with Vertical Beads

How to sew a tank top
Dressy tank top

This top came about as I was wanting to experiment with a dressier version of the tank tops that I have made in the past. 

To see how to make those tank tops and get the patterns/tutorials click on these links -

I used a one way stretch jersey knit to make this. The stretch went horizontally or sideways on this top so I could slip it over my head easy - but it wouldn't hang or gape downwards. Truth is, this top needed a BIT more stretch than this fabric allowed. It's a snug fit.

Cut top from fabric

So to make a similar top, you need to cut a pattern and sew your top. The first tutorial above is for stretchy fabric and the last tutorial above is for non-stretch fabric. I think this top would look fabulous is a metallic material.
Cut neck or sleeves if too small

I didn't hem this top anywhere. I sewed the shoulder and side seams. End of story. I had to go back and cut my neckline a bit more as it was sitting too high. It's always better to cut your neckline too high and be able to trim it afterwards that cut too much too soon.

You do need to cut carefully so you don't get ragged edges. I had to go back and trim off a few raggedy bits.
Neaten raggedy bits

I also cut the corners off my seams so the edges didn't show.

Snip corners off seams

Next you need to mark where to sew your beads or sequins or whatever you use to embellish this top. I folded the front of my top in half and used a piece of dry soap and a ruler to mark a line down the centre front. A Gothic cross would look cool. A heart shape would also look lovely. If you are super creative you could take various colour beads and make an owl or a flower.

Mark where to sew decorations with old dry soap

Next you sew your decorations to your top. I used up what I happened to have - large green flat decoration things. Don't know what they are called. (See how I made stud earrings from them - here) And silver coloured coins. (I made a necklace from them - see that here.)

And just like that you have a new party top.

If you are tempted to be resourceful and inclined to recycle then why not visit the Greenie Galleries at the top of this page. You will find all sorts of ways to make your own and re-cycle or up cycle anything from food packaging to old curtains-

All the best for 2015. See you right here next week.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

DIY Single Long Earring

Long single earring

How to make a long single earring

This blog post is a few days late. Sincerest apologies. Things have been a bit busy.

I originally wanted to show a fabric wrap bracelet that I saw a good few weeks back but trying to recreate it has not been as easy as I thought. Hopefully I will have it figured out in the next few weeks.

While I was catching up on some of the fashion newsletters
You need chain, earring hook and O-Ring
I saw the statement item of the season a few times - a long single earring. Love. Love. Love.

And so easy to make.
Cut chain 10 to 12 centimetres long

Fortunately I always have a big fat stash of DIY equipment and so had an earring hook, chain and a large O-Ring. I used these O-Rings to make - finger tip rings - in an older post.

Here's how you make this statement earring.

You need: -
earring hook - any type will do

You do: -
Cut your piece of chain to the length that works for you. My chain is 12 centimetres long but that might be a bit too long for you.

The only slight problem with such a long chain is that it may hook and catch on collars or scarves.

Attach your earring hook at one end.
Add earring hook and O-Ring at each end

Attach the large O-Ring at the other end.

Voila! One new - bang on trend - earring.

Scroll up to the top of this page to find older DIYs and ideas in the Greenie Galleries.

More next week.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Kimono Jacket + FREE Sewing Pattern

How to sew a Kimono
Summer Kimono jacket

I'm in love with these gorgeous Kimono jackets. They are light and cool, but provide cover from the sun. Most of them have almost no sleeves or at best a half sleeve. Right now in Cape Town we have clear blue skies and temperatures in the mid thirties. It's hot.


I wanted a kimono that would cover my arms but also be loose and cool. My folks are staying with us for the holidays and my mother brought this lovely lightweight paisley print cotton for me.

We measured up the pattern from a kimono I bought while in Europe earlier this year. This is a basic
Making pattern using mixing bowl for curve under arm
pattern. Please make this jacket as YOU would
want it. If you prefer shorter sleeves or even no sleeves - shorten this pattern at the arm. If you want your kimono higher on your hip - don't make it as long. If you're not keen on the overlap at the front of this jacket - then don't
The back is to the left and front pieces to the right
add it and cut your jacket straight.

You can even fold a cuff at the end of your sleeve if you wish. Or add a contrasting cuff with another fabric. I added a flat collar when I made - this kimono jacket. How about adding braid at the neck and sleeves to give it even more of a bohemian feel.

I am a dress size 10 and this jacket is probably too big for me. But that's how I wanted it. It should fit most people. If it comes out too big for you, can always add a seam at the centre back to take it in. This pattern includes a 1.5
Sew sides and shoulders together
centimetre seam allowance.

First you need to make your pattern. I used newspaper as that's all I had that is big enough. The ink can transfer to your fabric if you're not careful and plain paper is best. My mother and I used a large mixing bowl to create the curve under the arm. (See photos) Then we cut the back piece of the fold. And a left and a right piece with the extra overlap added on the pattern.

Cutting excess fabric from seams

My mother sewed this for me. (Lucky me.) She sewed the side and underarm areas together. Then she sewed the top or shoulders together.
Sewing a flat hem all around the edges

Next I fitted the jacket. Here is the part where you get a perfect fit. If it's too big anywhere take a bigger or wider seam. If it's too tight, let out a seam.

Snipping at neck to allow fabric to lie flat

My mom likes to cut away the fabric away from her seams for a better fit. I don't do that. She also didn't over-lock or edge-stitch the raw edges as cotton is highly unlikely to fray or unravel. I only bother with zig-sagging edges if I know they will fray.

Fold over and make a second hem all around the edges
Then my mother folded over all around the edges of the jacket and made a flat hem. So think ends of sleeves, lower edge and fronts.

I pressed the jacket with an iron and my mom folded the flat seam over a second time and hemmed all around the edges a second time. That conceals any raw edges. My mother likes to snip any curved areas so they fold over nicely. So that would be the neck area on this jacket.
Fold a second time and hem

The jacket needed one last ironing and that was it! I styled it with the shiny big black bead necklace I made last week and a black Tigers Eye necklace my mother gave me.

At the top of this page are the Greenie Galleries with hundreds of older blog posts. You will find more free patterns and inspiration to hopefully help you DIY and not buy.

I will be back with more next week.