Thursday, April 16, 2015

Summer Longsleeve Kimono Jacket + FREE Sewing Pattern

FREE Kimono sewing pattern

This is my third version of the same kimono jacket. It doesn't look as good in the pic as it does when I wear it. Might be because my model has a completely different body to mine. You can see the first one my mother made - here. I made a second version and used much bigger seems. It fits just that bit sungglier. See that kimono jacket - here.
Kimono jacket

These kimono jackets have been great for summer. They are cool and light but keep the sun off. I used a black cotton blend fabric with a teeny tiny white dot. The print goes all weird in these photos!

I'm not going to go crazy with instruction as they are all in the links above. As is the FREE sewing pattern. But I will show pics with all the steps.

First you need to make your sewing pattern.
Cutting back piece of pattern
Next cut out your jacket.
Two back pieces and two front pieces
You should have two back pieces and two front pieces.
Pin and sew centre backs together
Pin and sew the centre backs together.
Sew sides and shoulders
Pin and sew the shoulder and the sides together.
Snip curved areas
Cut snips in the curved sections so the seams splay open nicely.
Hem sleeves
Fit your jacket and pin and sew a hem at the end of the sleeves.
Hem all around jacket
Sew a small hem along the bottom edge of your jacket.
Sew front and neck area
Now sew a small hem around the front and neck area. You can fold this small hem over and sew it again to conceal the raw edges.

Voila! Your jacket is complete.

If you would like more free sewing patterns or DIY inspiration scroll to the Gallery pages. You can also see how I made the necklace - here.

I will be back with more next week.

Bye for now.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Easy Scarf

How to make a statement scarf

This week is another super fast DIY. Can you tell that I have had another hectic week? I'm trying to squeeze in too much. Xhosa lessons, jewellery lessons, my job, training for a race and trying to facilitate a potentially amazing project involving students and Public Open Spaces with local residents and our City Council. Early days but I'm sooo excited.

Green scarf

The jewellery design thing happened by mistake. I was at a breakfast birthday and a friend of a friend was wearing - The - Most - Amazing - Faceted rose quartz and rose gold ring. Before I knew what happened I had the details of the studio and signed up. I will post some of my pieces in time but no way could I make stuff like that at home. A person needs a proper bench, tools, precious and semi-precious stones and metals. And lots and lots of skill. Our teacher does MOST of the work for me right now. I have quite some way to go. But it's so much fun.

This week I'm reverting the easiest DIY ever. It's a piece of fabric, which is essentially a scarf. NO sewing required. Fabric options - limitless. Well almost. Denim and canvas. Nope. But think soft drapey type fabrics. Patterns can be fun too.
Laser cut florals

I used a laser cut cotton knit in apple green. As you can see I got a nice big square-ish piece. I like big bold scarves. Love, love that nomad vibe. I feel a bit cheated with a wimpy scarf, unless I'm wearing it as a skinny scarf or a neck-tie.

This scarf is great for summer to keep the sun off my neck and shoulders. Heard of a turkey neck? Equally warm in winter. If the edges are inclined to fray on your piece of fabric, then you may have to tease them a bit to create a fringe. No more than that required for a fun new scarf.

See older scarf DIYs - here - and - here.

And if you head back to the top of this page and find the Galleries, you will find 100's of older ideas, FREE sewing patterns and all sorts of fun fashion things to make.

More next week,


Thursday, April 2, 2015

Restyle a Shopper Bag

Kale shopper bag

You may have seen me restyle a shopper bag in - this post. Not meaning to be ungrateful for freebie cloth shopper bags but they are usually emblazoned with the generous companies logo and or product. I prefer to be a little low key on that score.
Kale shopper bag

Since I am 99% vegan. And yoga loving. A Kale shopper bag would be just perfect for me. Not so easy to find. This sturdy hemp shopper was ideal for a Kale makeover. You have to create a side pocket - or one on each side - which only makes it even handier. Space for shopping lists, mobile phone, pens, business card holder or scooter keys.

You could make a Love bag or a Time Out bag. Pick any word/s that you resonate with or want to embrace. Just know less is more. You have to sew them on.

You need: -
1 x shopper bag
similar coloured fabric for side pockets
contrast coloured fabric for letters - I used Shweshwe
matching coloured thread for pockets and letters
sewing scissors
sewing machine
paper scissors

You do: -
You need letters, shopper bag, fabric for pocket, contrast colour fabric for letters
Find craft letters on the Internet. Print them. Cut them out. I didn't cut the middle out my A because it was easier not to.
Cut letters from contrast coloured fabric
Pin the letters to your contrast coloured fabric and cut them out.
Cut pocket and pin letters
Now cut out your pocket. It needs to fit on the side of your bag with enough space all around for a hem on top and a seam allowance on the bottom and sides.

Zig-zag letters to pocket
Pin and sew letters to pocket. I used a zig-zag stitch all round. It's a bit tricky when there are sharp corners or turns.
Pin pocket to side of shopper bag
Now hem straight across the top of your pocket. Then turn ends in all around and pin the pocket to your bag.
Sew pocket to side of shopper bag
Sew pocket to your bag. And just like that your super cool Kale shopper bag is done! Head to your local farmers market and fill with organic goodies.

P.S, Google+ and GMail are marvelous. I get comments and feedback from people on the other side of the planet with suggestions and shortcomings. Those of you who have asked for updates, I will get to them soon. Promise. I know my Gallery is not great on smaller devices and desperately needs to be sorted. I have to get the hang of Bootstrap.

Meanwhile for those who are at a desktop or laptop, my three Galleries have pics of DIYs going back three years. Hopefully you will find something to inspire you to DIY and not buy.

More next week,


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Scandinavian Heart Decoration Tutorial

Not sure why, but I love, love, love Nordic decor. I come from the southernmost tip of Africa. It's a hot spot. Our temperatures can get above 40'C. South Africa the polar opposite to Scandinavia.
Heart decoration

The Scandinavians make hearts from fabric to decorate their Christmas trees. But these hearts also seem to fit in with country decor and I've seen them on door handles or keys.

I made a basic template for my heart using two glasses. See how in the picture. The template may look big but remember that you will be sewing a seam around the outside which will shrink it substantially. Traditionally these hearts are made from a plain red or white fabric. However gingham and a sweet floral print will look good. I used Shweshwe fabric for an African take on this.

You can recycle fabric off-cuts to create stuffing but stick to white or light colours as darker colours may show through. also cut off-cuts as finely as you can or the stuffing will be lumpy. I used left over ceiling insulation. It's similar in texture to batting used in quilting.

You need: -
a pattern - use a glass, A4 sheet of paper, pencil and a ruler
matching coloured thread
hand sewing needle
sewing machine

You do: -
First make your pattern as per the picture using a glass, paper, pencil and a ruler.
Make your pattern

Pin your pattern to your fabric and cut out your hearts.
Pin pattern to fabric

Cut a piece of ribbon about 15 centimetres long and slip it into your heart as per the picture.
Cut out heart from fabric
Place fabric right sides facing and slip ribbon between heart pieces

Place them right sides facing inward or facing toward each other and pin around the edges.
Sew around edge leaving open a space. trim away excess fabric

Sew around the edges leaving a space to turn the heart inside out.

Trim away the surplus fabric.
Turn inside out and fill with stuffing

Place the stuffing inside the heart.
Hand sew closed

Hand sew the opening closed.

Voila! A heart for your door handle, cupboard door, keys or a Christmas decoration.

Find heaps more ideas in the Greenie Galleries if you scroll back to the beginning.

See you next week.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easy Shrug + FREE Sewing Pattern

How to sew a shrug

I have a big fat list going on in my head of things I want to make. As I've said before, there are things I am never going to make. Shoes and hats. Nada. But some things are so super easy that I can't NOT make them. Shrugs are bang on trend. They lend themselves to a light summer cover but I've seen heavier woolen winter ones too. It's an alternative to a kimono jacket and even easier to make. The trick is to get the proportions right.
I saw one in a shop and went straight to the fitting room to try it on. I measured it along my body so I could get a sense of the proportions. Came home, measured against my body and wrote the dimensions down on a piece of paper. And promptly threw the paper away without thinking. Duh!
Pin and sew sides leaving space for arms
So I tried to cut it from my head - which was a flop. If I have learned anything about sewing. The proportions have to be right. And fabric choice is EVERYTHING.

My top 10 sewing tips are - here. I got carried away and dished out 10 more tips which you can find - on this link.
Make a hem around the arms
A polycotton, cotton knit or soft drape light weight fabric will work for this top. But a warm jersey should also work well for cooler weather. I'm a size medium or UK dress size 10. This is a loose top so likely fit a few sizes either way.

You need: -
matching colour thread
sewing scissors
sewing pins
Hem around arms and press with an iron
You do: -
Cut the shrug from your fabric using the dimensions from the pattern above. Or make a pattern first and cut from the pattern. I allowed a generous 2 centimetres seam and hem allowance which is included in the above dimensions.
Pin darts and fit shrug to check the fit
Pin the sides leaving open about 17 centimetres on each side for your arms to fit through. Sew and press with an iron.
Press darts
The darts are to create a slight curve on the shoulders. They are not necessary and can be omitted. I placed two darts - one on each side of the centre point of the shrug. My darts are about 8 centimetres long and just over 1 centimetre wide when folded over. You can make your darts wider to create more of a curve. Or add more darts. My suggestion is to pin them first, fit the shrug and see how it fits and then sew them. You always sew darts from the widest part to the narrowest.
Make ties
You can finish by making a hem around the outside - or - and this is another optional bit - you can make ties. Since this is a loose garment I felt it needed ties to hold it closed in front. Cut two long thin strips - about 50 centimetres long and 4 centimetres wide. Fold the strips in half lengthways and press with an iron. Fold the outer bits in like you are making bias binding and press again. Sew flat.
Pin ties in place
Fit your shrug and pin the ties around the bust area. Sew them in place.
Hem the outside of your shrug
Now fold over the outer area and sew a hem. Finish by pressing with an iron. And just like that you have a shrug.