When Karen announced the “Sporty Summer Sewathon” I had already an outfit in mind – the concept was perfect, the timing was perfect. Don’t you love it when a plan comes together? (I think that’s someone else’s catch phrase)
Yes, I may have mentioned that I was planning to sew me up a cheerleader outfit for my friend’s 4th July American themed birthday party. I had made some early investigations & had captured some inspiration on my Cheerleader chic Pinterest board.
My colours were to be red & white.
What I hadn’t revealed was that my cheerleader outfit was not going to be purely for fancy dress: I wanted to make it out of running-appropriate fabrics so that I could re-use it. I have made quite a few things out of sporty wicking fabric from UKFabricsonline, (and yes, I am thrilled that they are one of my sponsors now, but I have been a long standing customer of theirs and would say this regardless). My plan was to use wicking fabric to make a vest top and a running skirt with shorts a la cheerleader. Now in the past I have used the mock eyelet to make plenty of tops with (eg here and here) – this is not suitable for leggings, as it doesn’t have enough stretch.
So when UKFabricsonline started to stock this high quality stretchy lycra I snapped some up. It is really the most gorgeous quality- slinky & reasonably light weight – but suitable for leggings as well as tops too. I bought red, white & aqua….just a metre of each – wish I could afford more at the time as it is the kind of fabric you just want to have available for any spontaneous running makes! This is the fabric that I used for the skort. And after spotting that a few of these fabrics are out of stock I had a small correspondence with UKFabrics Online & it seems that they are trying to source another supplier, so snap them up while they have them is my advice. BUT folks – check out the animal print. You know you want to. A small digression….
Anyways. Gosh I feel I can really rabbit on sometimes, can’t I? So the design for my outfit. Inspired by my Pinterest Board I started with the top. The easier option. I used Maria Denmark’s “Just a Tank” pattern, comparing it to a well fitting running vest I already have just for best fit & added a contrast yoke to it & changed the hemline slightly to match with my running top (it’s a bit shorter & has a slightly longer curved back hem). The yoke was intended to be more of a “V” shape, but I didn’t draft the “V” sharp enough so with sewing it appears more as a gentle curve. If I hadn’t mentioned that, you wouldn’t have even noticed would you?
I used red & white mock eyelet for this. I also cut some strips of the white & with the long raw edges folded in created binding to embellish the yoke shape with a couple of stripes. I attached them using my regular machine using a zig zag stitch, attaching them before then sewing the top as per instructions.
Then onto the skirt. I wanted to make it with integral shorts so used the inner shorts from Jalie skort pattern (2796) & cut them out of the quality stretch lycra in white. The skirt in my mind just had to be made up with four box pleats of contrasting white amongst a sea of red gorgeousness. I had started to design my own skirt pattern with box pleats, but due to the negative ease at the top of the skirt & what it did to the fall & lay of the box pleats I would have had to really play around with the drafting in the particular skirt shape I had started with. So I remembered Peneloping’s Lady Skater pattern hack for her Lady Peggy dress. I took the skirt pattern from the Lady Skater dress & shortened it considerably. I then roughly followed Peneloping’s measurements for additional box pleats- I think my white insertions were about 6″. Oh yes, the fabric I used was the super lovely quality lycra mentioned above, not the mock eyelet – I don’t know if that would have enough stretch at the waistband. And then I sewed it as a skort, adding a waistband too.
Now the intention is to wear this skort running but it is rather bright, isn’t it? It might evolve into a race day skort I am thinking, with my next run being the Great North Run in September. And the vest? That can be paired with other things in my me made running wardrobe, even though I am not usually a fan of go faster stripes.
But what about the experience of being a cheerleader for a night? Well. My friends it was the best! I made me some pom poms, rehearsed a few crap moves, worked out that I could get away with chanting, “Hey Beccy, you’re so fine, you’re so fine you blow my mind, hey Beccy”. The travel to the party was a bit warm to say the least, feeling the need to hide my glory under mac & hat as I walked into town….I may appear to be a bit of an exhibitionist, but only in the right circles and amongst friends!
But when I was at the party it was just right! Wicking fabric must have helped when I came all of a glow under the disco ball. And I cannot recommend dancing with pom poms enough. They are the ultimate disco essential & bring out such great moves on the dancefloor (well I thought so anyway!). They are fun to share too- check out how other people adapt their dancing to pom poms. Oh yeah. And dancing with pumps on? The best. Why do we dance with heels & hard shoes?!!!
Now whilst I felt my outfit was pretty cool, having made it all myself there were others who had put in a tremendous effort. From the spaceman (female) complete with papier mache helmet & jet pack to the couple who came as the Boston Tea Party – one as a human tea bag (I kid you not) with the other as a human tea cup. I could not imagine the car journey – but I am pretty sure they would not have walked into town & certainly could not have hid under a mac & hat!! There were some amazing outfits & quite a few red, white & blue concoctions which looked brilliant together. Fancy dress parties are brilliant for group dances – Marilyn, Minnie Mouse, Obama, “Fat” Barbie & Danny Zuko as we formed lines to dance the macarena (improved with the addition of pom poms). It’s certainly party season & I’m loving it!
So to conclude. This outfit has already been trialled as a dance outfit & was a complete success. Next stop seeing how it performs (as separates) for running.
Anyone else joining in the Sporty Summer Sewathon? How’s it going?