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
You do: -
Most of my patterns are circles, semi circles, rectangles, squares or triangles. They work for a whole bunch of clothing - 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.

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 enbendable 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 benable 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,


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,


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,


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: -
sewing machine
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,