My fave running top for winter? It rapidly became the Surf to Summit top, Fehr Trade’s latest pattern. I was actually a pattern tester before Christmas but what with Christmas and the laptop malfunction it’s taken me all this time to blog & retrieve photos. And all the meanwhile I have been regularly pulling this top off the drying rack to use as soon as it is ready. The red is my absolute fave & I shall now tell you why.
Have you seen the surf to summit pattern yet? It is another clever design from Melissa as we all come to expect, Melissa adds practical styling & very clever piecing. This is a princess seamed, raglan sleeved, long or short sleeved top with options for fold-over hand warming mitts (long sleeve only of course hahaha), turtle neck, half zip neck, back shaped hem for cyclists, elasticated back pocket. So far I have made a turtle neck out of some slinky smooth sports lycra from UKFabrics online (not sure if there is any of this left now) then I made the half zip version out of some apparently thermal wicking fabric I scored off eBay yonks ago. (It’s rather fluffy, perfect ski base layer potentially, and so sorry I do not have any links to share)
Now I was a tester & whipped these two tops up pretty quickly – they are a breeze to make with the raglan sleeves particularly. Note the versions I am wearing are tester versions and since then Melissa has tweaked the pattern slightly to make the turtle neck facing behave better, she’s also altered the half zip facings, but I did not have any noticeable issues when I made it.
As it was such a long time ago that I made these tops I am trying to remember how it was, apart from being swift. The half zip top clearly takes longer to make, but there are some clever facings to make the zip insertion nice & straight forward. This is one of the first times I’ve done this kind of zip, so at each step I was enjoying learning a new process. I am sure my zip insertion can be improved!
I had some strange quirk of a fit adjustment that was so easy – I found the armholes needed more of a scoop as they were a bit high under my ‘pits. Accommodating deeper more scooped armholes was easy with raglan sleeves – no unpicking required. Melissa advised me to stick the sleeve back inside the body, so that I could get at the seam that joins the sleeve all the way around, & take some extra off in a nice smooth curve from say mid chest around to mid upper back. I eeked little bits at a time until I was happy with my armhole scoop. If only all fit adjustments with an overlocker could be so pleasant!!
What else did I learn making these tops? Oh yes, the facings are top stitched in the ditch to keep them in place. Being a raglan top there are four seams that can be used for this purpose. I was concerned about sewing with a normal straight stitch on an area that could potentially be stretched so much- but no, the straight stitches have not ever given me cause for worry, they do not appear to give any rigidity to an area of stretch, have no fear & be brave!
The process for sewing the mitts is almost as genius as the wearing of them! There are no awkward sewing manoevres required, honest. And wearing – folded one way they are just part of your sleeve, fold the other way & they form a neat hand pocket. Oh I love them! I might feel a bit like I am in a morph suit, but they are a good thing to have on hand in case of emergency cold fingers. At the moment I am beyond handwarming long arm mitts, I have to say. At the moment I am wearing a pair of running gloves plus fleecy mittens, but come the spring, I know I shall be leaving mittens behind safe in the knowledge that my extremities will be protected by sleeve mitts- which can be folded back again when I warm up. No future incidents of glove-falling from pockets & getting waylaid with these sleeves.
The reason I am constantly wearing these tops is because it is cold, yes. The fit is so comfy though, I never thought I’d enjoy wearing a turtle neck – I am funny about things around my neck you see, & would not normally choose it. But in the winter, it’s ideal for giving a bit more coverage & keeping the draughts at bay. I love the way the red fabric feels against my skin too. I think it is 4 way stretch and silky so I could have used it for leggings, but as a long sleeved top, it feels luxurious. Whilst I like the half zip, I prefer the no zip variety, just because it is less fussy to wear around my neck. If I hadn’t been so busy with Christmas gift sewing, I would have made more, and I have a few fabrics “waiting” by my sewing machines for that opportune moment.