October 29, 2014

DIY Lux Organza Sleeve T-Shirt

I’m writing today all the way from sunny Florida! So I’m not sticking around for long. The lovely Hannah from Sinbad & Sailor has put together this tutorial for you guys so I have more time to enjoy the sun. Here she is:

Hello FFDIYers! Welcome to my take-over of this fab and inspiring blog, I’m Hannah and I run sewing pattern company Sinbad & Sailor (www.sinbadandsailor.com). Our aim is to make patterns for clothes taking inspiration from shapes or styles you might see on the high street or catwalk so rather than go shopping you can be creating your own clothes.

As a maker I’m always inspired by what I see and so often I look at clothes on the high street and think – “I could totally make that, that shape is so simple!” Even from the comfort of my sofa I’ll be browsing on the ASOS site, picking up inspiration especially from the smaller designers they stock. One staple I don’t have is a white t shirt (I know that seems so ridiculous!) and when I saw this Pippa Lynn (http://www.pippalynn.com) lux boxy t-shirt it really set my sewing fingers itching!


Recreating a simple shape like this is also a great chance to explore zero waste pattern cutting which (as you might have guessed from it’s name) is where you endeavour to cut out a garment without wasting any fabric. So taking my starting point from a zero waste t shirt pattern by talented pattern cutter Franki Campbell

I’ve put together this tutorial to inspire you to create your own boxy t-shirt with sheer panels. //// Please note – This tutorial is a guide which combined with your creativity and individuality will create you an awesome unique top – you’ll have to decide on exact lengths and sizes of the pieces specific to your size and style preferences. If you’re a novice sewers don’t be daunted – this is exactly the kind of project which is a great starting point to help develop your sewing skills! ///


You’ll need a few bits to get going with this but it’s minimal and a lil tip – if you are choosing a natural fabric like cotton pre shrink it first to ensure it won’t shrink once you’ve made it up!

1) Main body fabric – approximately 70cm length (for a size 10/12 bust) in a medium to lightweight fabric which has a width of 115cm or wider (the wider it is the longer your top can be).

2) Sheer contrast panel fabric – approximately 25cm of an organza or chiffon fabric with a width no narrower that of your main fabric.

3) Spool of thread to match your fabric.

4) Bias binding 1.5m in a colour to match your main body fabric (this may be slightly more than you need but better to have too much than slightly too little!)

Got it all? Then it’s time to rock’n’rolllllllllllll!

Step 1 – Measure Up

Grab a tape measure and measure your bust, divide this measurement in half then add 10cm – this will be the width of the front and back pieces and the rest of the fabric will become sleeves.

Step 2 – Mark + Cut Out Fabric

Measuring from the raw edge of your main body fabric downwards mark the measurement you just calculated. Mark across your fabric and cut along the line.

Then cut this piece in half down the width and voilà – there’s your front and back pieces!

Step 3 – Cut Out Sleeves

Cut the left over piece in half also and now you’ve got the start of your sleeves. So it’s time for some decisions – Think about how long you want – the top sleeve, sheer panel and lower sleeve pieces to be. It can help to have a friend on hand to pin the bodice pieces then you can play around with the lengths – if you are being precise with lengths don’t forget you’ll need to add seam allowances to the pieces before you cut them out.

For reference on my top I used these measurements –

top sleeve 9.5cm + 3cm for seam allowance

sheer panel – 13.5cm + 3cm seam allowance

lower sleeve – 5cm + 3cm seam allowance

Once you’re confident with your measurements cut out all 6 pieces.

You should now have to a pair of sleeves which look (something) like this when pinned together ready to sew..

Before you sew the sleeves together consider how you’d like to finish the raw edges. One nifty way is to do a flat-felled seam, it gives you a nice sporty look and encloses all the raw edges. If you’re new to this both of these Collette tutorials can guide you through the process so you’ll be a pro in no time!

Mock Flat-Fell Seam Tutorial – http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/mock-flat-fell-seams

Flat-Felled Seam Tutorial – http://www.coletterie.com/tutorials-tips-tricks/standard-flat-felled-seam

Sew up your sleeves and if you are keeping them simple just ensure you press the seam allowance away from the sheer panel so it won’t be seen when you’re wearing the top.

Here’s my sleeves all sewn up using flat-fell seams –

Step 4 – Neckline

If you’re sticking with the round neck style of the top we’re copying then I’d grab a t shirt or top which you can comfortably get your head through the hole without stretching. Marking the centre front point trace the neckline outline from the shoulder to the centre.

Top tip – if you want an even quicker make choose to make your neckline on the raw edge rather than the selvedge so then that can be used as a ready finished hem!

Transfer this onto your front piece by marking the centre front on your front t shirt piece, tracing round your neckline template and then cutting this shape out. Repeat for the back neckline.

At this point if you are considering overlocking the raw edges go for it – otherwise zig zagging or pinking the raw edges once you’ve sewn your seams will be a good alternative so you have a longer lasting garment.

Step 5 – Sew Shoulder Seams

Match your bodice pieces right sides together at the shoulder seams, the seam allowance isn’t set in stone as the top is loose fitting but I wouldn’t suggest doing any more than a 1.5cm seam allowance otherwise it’ll be bulky. Press the seam open.

Step 6 – Sew Sleeves to Body

Fold each sleeve in half and mark the centre point at the top of the sleeve. Lay the bodice opened out with the right side facing up, place sleeves on top of the bodice matching the centre point of the sleeve with the shoulder seam. Sew sleeves and bodice together using a seam allowance of no more than 1cm. Press the seam towards the sleeve.

Step 7 – Sew Underarm Seam and Side Seam

Arrange your top so that the right sides are together with the underarm of the sleeves and side seams matched. Pin together and sew starting at the hem going upwards and pivoting at the corner then continuing to sew the underarm. Don’t forget to use the same width seam allowance as you did when sewing the sleeves onto the body.

Once you’ve sewn these seams carefully snip into the hem at the right angle (don’t cut into your stitching).

Press seams open and turn the garment the right way round.

Step 8 – Hem Sleeves

Press seam allowance up by your preferred amount and sew.

Step 9 – Finish Neckline

Open up your bias binding and starting at the back of the neckline slightly off centre leaving a 5 cm tail, pin the bias binding to the neckline right sides together all the way around. When you finish leave a 5 cm tail.

Starting 2.5cm from the first pinned point stitch along the first point all the way around finishing 2.5cm from the end point. Pin together the two ends where they complete the neckline to the correct size, stitch together and press seam open. Sew this small section to the join your first lines of stitching.

Taking care not to stretch your bias binding iron it towards the inside of the garment.

Step 10 – Hem

Try on your top and check that you are happy with the length, if you are and have used the selvedge as the hem them you’re all good to go! Otherwise adjust and pin the hem to the desired length, press to form clean edge then sew.

And that’s it – you’ve made a (nearly) zero waste t shirt so give yourself a big green high five

Here’s my finished version – it looks more boxy than the original – that’s due to a slightly heavier fabric but otherwise I think it’s a resounding success!


















October 25, 2014

How to Build your Blog Following on Pinterest

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog Following on Pinterest

Last week I finally managed to join in with my first #Blogtacular Twitter chat. It’s been a long time coming. Every week I do my best to remember and fail miserably, but I luckily stumbled upon the chat in the early stages and went all in! I’ve learnt a lot from Twitter chats in the past and as this particular Blogtacular chat was aimed at advice for new bloggers so it was a chance for me to give a little bit of what I’ve learnt back and try to help those people who feel exactly as I did when I first started. Excited, nervous and let’s face it, sometimes just a bit lost.

As with any newbie blogging chat the subject very quickly (and understandably) turned to traffic sources and how to drive it to your blog. (I know a lot of more established bloggers will tell you numbers don’t matter but I disagree. To stay motivated to blog and continuously improve you need to feel someone is listening. My readers are my biggest blogging motivation and I think it’s important for each blogger to find their audience. They’re out there, you just need to connect!) My biggest traffic source is Pinterest and so I proceeded to try and explain my own Pinterest practices in around 100 characters at a time… not so easy. Some very confused Twitter followers later I realised it might be time to start sharing my social media strategies in larger chunks and since I’ve just passed the 50,000 follower mark on Pinterest (thanks to you amazing bunch of pin obsessed maniacs) I thought I’d start there.

How to build a blog following on Pinterest

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog following on Pinterest 1 Targetting

1. Targeting

Ok, guys, don’t hate me. I’m about to do that annoying blogger thing and tell you when it comes to followers quality means more than quantity… (argh I know how ridiculous that is to read) but hear me out. You want to be targeting the people who are more likely to click on your links back to your blog right? So think about what your readers like? Try to create a resource that is both visually interesting and comprehensively covers these topics. If a Pin is useful people will follow your whole board and look forward to the new Pins you add. If there’s something you want to Pin for later but doesn’t look fantastic or fit well with the theme of a board create a private board! I have as many private boards as I have public ones. They’re full of little bits that I want to come back to another time, places to share ideas with some of my freelancing partners and articles I want to read before sharing (to make sure they are actually useful/factual/interesting). Also try to vary your Pins. If a follower pops onto Pinterest for 5 minutes in their break and all they see is 100 Halloween pins from your new board they’re likely to unfollow you. Keep the content diverse. If you want to Pin a LOT of items in a certain niche use a private board and then make it public once you’ve pinned many of them.

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog following on Pinterest 2 First Impressions

2. First Impressions

Get ready to do a general overhaul. Look at your profile page and boards. Do you have a cohesive theme running through? Are they attractive to look at? Do your board names effectively describe the types of pins on the board? First of all you want to give your boards an attractive cover that fits with your blog aesthetic and branding. This makes it easier for other Pinners to understand the type of Pins they will see from you. Pick clear images that are the best example of what’s on the board and give the boards names that people may search for. The search in Pinterest is a big deal with it fast becoming the place for image based searches, yet it is all based on the titles and descriptions of Pins and Boards. On that note always write a description!! Just a short sentence on the Pin making it available to people searching for it.

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog following on Pinterest 3 Scheduling

3. Scheduling

Join a Pin scheduling service like Ahology. If you’re a content creator you can schedule you Pins to a time when they will make the most impact. This is my secret weapon! Living in the UK many of my followers are Pinning whilst I am sound asleep and (hopefully) not dreaming of Pinterest… The Ahology app lets me schedule my content and the content of their other users throughout the night to a lot of followers and potential followers who might not have seen it otherwise. It’s a relatively new service and is always coming up with new ways to improve engagement working with bloggers and brands together. Definitely one to keep an eye on!

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog following on Pinterest 4 Group Boards

4. Group boards.

I was asked in the Blogtacular chat how to get invited to group boards and I was stumped. I’m part of a couple of group boards with different companies I work with but I’ve never joined a group board without having some kind of relationship with the owner or contributor. I imagine the best way to do this is to start the conversation. Where else are they online? Chat on Twitter or comment on Instagram. But it’s still no guarantee of getting an invite. I’m an impatient person. I don’t have the perseverance to wait for others to invite me so I started a group board with the bloggers I have worked with and/or have a relationship with. Now I’m so proud of our group board and the Pinners on it who all joined when I had a much smaller following. That means a lot to me because it was done for community rather than the promise of followers and glitter of personal gain. Because of this I want to keep it small including only bloggers I trust and so I don’t invite many on. That might be the way other Pinners feel as well. You have to earn it. So my advice is to start your own. When I started DIY Bloggers Unite (Yep cheesy) there were maybe 2000 followers. We now have over 40,000. It takes time and you need to work together with people you can rely on, but it’s really easy to do (you can invite anyone you are following and is following you back to a board to make it a group board) and you’ll make some fantastic friends at the same time!

Fall For DIY How to Build your Blog following on Pinterest 1 Pin all the live ling day

5. Pin all the live long day.

This is literally the first thing I do in the morning and last at night. I Pin in my breaks, when I need a minute to think, on the bus, in the pub with friends (not proud of that one), watching television. Just get a variety of Pins in at a variety of times. The people at Pinterest love to tell you that you can never have enough Pins or boards so go for it! Every now and then take a look at what’s popular (just go to all you pins on your profile page and see how many repins they’re getting) and use that information to Pin more of one type of Pin and less of others. Remember if you want people to follow you, you have to give them a reason. Pinterest can be a useful resource for your own personal use and to drive traffic You can easily use it for both.

I could go on and talk about Pinable images, connecting Pinterest with your blog, analytics, rich pins and promoting on other social media platforms but I think I need to save all our hard working brains and write more about that another time. Perhaps at the 100,000 mark? I’ll be writing a … post twice a month from now on so if there’s anything you’d like to know more about leave me a little comment or tweet me @fallfordiy and I’ll do my best to help!

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October 21, 2014

DIY Dalmatian Spotted Horseshoe Necklace

Fall For DIY Dalmatian Spotted Horseshoe Necklace tutorials

It’s been a while since my last jewellery DIY post. Recently I’ve been making a lot of interior accessories rather than the wearable kind. Maybe it’s the weather. It brings out the nesting instinct inside of me. I want my home to be full of wonderful, shiny things because I’m not leaving again until spring… (well, if I had my way anyway). I’ve also been blogging for a couple of interior design focussed blogs (Design*Sponge and Homedit for anyone who missed the memo) and so a lot of my research has been focussed on this area. This tutorial actually came from a little left over clay I had working on a different project (you’ll have to wait for next week to see that) and after I made this I thought it was so cute I just had to share it with you! Some of my favourite ever DIY’s are the unplanned, impromptu, I just had to share this kind so I hope you like it as much as I do!

Fall For DIY Dalmatian Spot Horseshoe Necklace DIY


  • Polymer/Air Dry Clay
  • Beading Awl/Skewer
  • Black nail varnish
  • Cotton Cord
  • Cord Ends
  • Jump Rings
  • Clasp


1. Roll out a thin sausage of clay. Make sure the outer sides are smooth and wrinkle free.

2. Use the awl/skewer to poke through a hole at each end of the clay.

3. Roll over so that the holes are horizontal and curve into a horseshoe shape.

Fall For DIY Dalmatian Spotted Horseshoe Necklace

4. Either bake (on a low heat for about half an hour) or leave the clay to air dry. Once cool/hard paint irregular black spots all over the horseshoe.

Mix up the spots painting bigger and smaller spots randomly over the clay.

5. Cut the cotton cord into two equal sized pieces that are both the length required for the necklace. (Check this by wrapping the cord around your neck and testing the length.)

6. Thread each piece through one of the holes and bring both ends together.

7. Close the cord ends over each double cord and attach a clasp using jump rings (check out our ecourse Beads & Baubles to learn more about these techniques)

Fall For DIY Dalmatian Spot Horseshoe Necklace tutorialFall For DIY Dalmatian Spot Horseshoe NecklaceDalmatian Spotted Horseshoe Necklace Fall For DIYDalmatian Spot Horseshoe Necklace tutorial Fall For DIY

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October 20, 2014

All in the Details | DIY Waste Basket Lampshade

Fall For DIY and Homedit Basket Lampshade tutorial

I might have mentioned this before but I have a little obsession with lampshades. So much so it took a surprising amount of time to make this DIY waste paper basket lampshade. They’re one of the things that immediately grabs my attention and done right can make even the simplest decor look amazing. This is especially important when you’re trying to make an impact on a budget or can’t make any drastic changes to you home. It’s so much a part of how I judge a new bar or local restaurant refurbishment that Al will often ask what I think of the lampshades (rather than the food, drinks, atmosphere) and gage my thoughts on my response. Yes, this is fickle and yes, I do go to places where the lampshades are not my personal favourites, but I always remember how much I dislike them… every time.

When you place this much emphasis on lampshades in places you only spend an hour or so a week (at most) it’s really hard to choose the right one for somewhere you spend half your life. My home office has gone shadeless for almost a year now. I could have changed it 12 times over but instead the pressure to pick the right shade overwhelmed me and I ended up with nothing… ridiculous! So I finally gave myself a little kick and decided to make this shade made from a waste paper basket. And guess what? I love it!

Fall For DIY don't overthink motivation

These are words I’ve been trying to live by for this past year. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this. I’ve spent hours thinking(/eating/staring aimlessly into space) whilst preparing for (many) a project. I’ve found that 9 times out of 10 it’s better just to get started and deal with the hurdles as they come. This project is a classic example of this theory. If there’s something you’re putting off just start. Cut it down into steps and get the first one done, then the second. You’ll more than likely find it was much easier than you were expecting and you might even be surprised by the outcome!

But before you do that make sure you pop over to Homedit to see the whole tutorial to make your own waste paper basket lampshade!

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