Category Archives: Adventures in Overlocking

cheerleader

Sporty Summer Sewathon: Give me an “oooh”!

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.

cheerleader

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.

cheerleader

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….

cheerleader

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?

cheerleader top

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.

cheerleader skirt

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.

cheerleader 5

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.

cheerleader 4

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!

Disguise

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?!!!

Cheerleader collage

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?

VNA top

The VNA top by Fehr Trade

Folks I was mega excited to be asked to test another of Melissa’s patterns. Her patterns are never “run of the mill”. They always feature clever design features & interesting processes to achieve a unique workout garment at the end.

VNA (3)

The VNA is no exception. You have probably seen from the launch that it has been named in reference to a 1930s Vionnet evening gown  –  due to its interesting angles & lines.

VNA (5)

It is a sleeveless top that is made in 3 pieces (plus added bindings). The back is in one piece with a semi cut-away racer back feel around your shoulder blades. The upper front has a v neck & then there is a lower front that curves under the bust & sweeps around the side to come together at the back in a clever coming together of three pointy ends. Arm edgings & neck edgings are completed using self made bindings & joining at right angles, then sewing around them at right angles. A good chance to learn some precision sewing if you haven’t done this before. Nice & technical! Many opportunities for colour blocking & playing with fabrics. I made three versions in my testing:

-          To get even better at sewing the right angled bindings at centre front neckline as well as at the shoulders;

-          To understand how different stretch fabrics behave using the same pattern;

-          Because I loved it & knew it would be very useful as we come into summer running!!

VNA

My three versions then used fabrics of different qualities:

-          A slightly thicker lycra (non wicking) with hologram dots all over it- yellow & pink colour blocking (above – fabric was clearance in the Abakhan shop)

-          The drapiest lycra using slinkier crazy lady lycra with some wicking fabric of similar weights; (I have yet to take pics of this one- soz!)

-          Some wicking “mock eyelet” lycra – mid drape out of the three, less stretch, think some kinds of sports tee-shirts.

VNA (2)

I had no issue with fit- it seemed to work well for me three times, although if anything, the fabric with less drape shows that maybe there is a bit extra room in the arm area & upper chest/ neck edge – maybe? The other two versions fit just fine for me though.

VNA (6)(I didn’t realise the binding on the left had tucked itself inside)

The instructions were very clear & I am always amazed how technical illustrations can be made to look so clear! The trickiest bit is sewing the right angles & Melissa advises sewing them first separately to fix them in place, then attaching the rest of the binding. I used my straight stitch machine to get in there to make a nice accurate finish. I can’t say I hit the mark every time. That was one of the reasons for making more than one – I was determined to get a better right angle finish!

VNA (7)

Constructing this top was a delight- again. I am so loving Melissa’s patterns- they are like jigsaw puzzles & the first time you make it you are wondering just what happens next! I used my overlocker for most of it – using my straight stitch machine for setting/ machine basting. My coverstitch & I fell out big time while sewing one of the hems so I reverted to twin needling ….

VNA (9)

The design, as I said, inspires customisation big time, & as well as colour blocking, I also made a single colour VNA top, but a lot of binding out of the yellow hologram lycra & used some of it as faux piping along the lower front. I have to say this feels the most sporty bit of clothing I’ve ever made!

VNA (8)

And I’ve worn two out of the three tops so far – the crazy lady version (sorry to tease you, but I will take pics soon – promise!) & the blue piped version. Both are functional & comfortable as well as “just a little bit different”!  I haven’t worn the (almost headache inducing) orange/ yellow version as the fabric to me feels a bit warm for our current heatwave!  It’ll be brought out though….

And Melissa is offering a 10% discount until June 30th using this code -  LASEREYES

Available here for download.

xyt Fehr Trade

My Aqua XYT Top (Fehr Trade)

Let’s get away from posh frocks & formal wear for a moment shall we.  (Well, I am still sewing my velvet skirt so I am not completely out of the woods yet, and feel almost “poshed out” on the sewing front!  Just hem to do now though ;-)  And still the marabou to hand stitch.  I feel a massive hand sewing session approaching this evening! )

XYT(Sorry post-workout hair – bouffant factor 40%)

OK, I’m going to revisit the XYT top by Fehr Trade.  Remember I was a pattern tester & actually took a few tests to get a version I was happy with?  I had never sewn anything so close fitting as this  (with an inner lining) so it was all learning for me.  But I ended up with  *The* leopard print X back that I wear such a lot.  Well, having made it I felt confident that I could make many others now that I had sussed my own specific adjustments.

xyt top

Not the case.  I am learning such a lot about knits sewing exercise wear.  I think that due to its close fitting negative ease (a lot of the patterns seem to have a 90% finished size ) more fitting is needed {Doh}  And what I am learning the hard way is that fabric is all different & behaves differently- consequently fit varies!

xyt top

But I learnt that after I sewed this “T” back version up almost to completion.  Tried it on & I had a devastating sight of pools of excess fabric around the neckline & armholes.  The inner lining fit perfectly – nice & tight to keep the small girls in place, but it was the outer vest that looked a dog’s dinner.  I had sewn a top with ease.  Not negative ease!  Yikes.

xyt top

I’d used FOE to bind it with a triple step zig zag.  (Sorry I didn’t keep the photos- I know – bad move as they would maybe help explain better what went wrong).   If you have ever tried unpicking FOE with a triple zig zag you know it is up there high in the league of most unpleasant time-consuming stitch finishes to unpick.  And I haven’t kept the photos…sorry!

What I discovered, basically, is that this fabric, a wicking lycra from the Sewing Chest, is just a bit thicker than my ultra shiny slippy, drapey non wicking leopard lycra.  And it resulted in a much bigger fit – somehow.  Now whilst I cannot rationalise it, I have to accept that it just did.  There was just too much fabric in the front.  I needed to reduce the size considerably at side seams & around the neck.   And I did that by fitting the lycra to the lining/ my body.  Somehow!

xyt comparison

Consequently the straps & the neckline are quite a bit smaller & lower than the original design (shown above comparing with my trusty leopard XYT Top).  In the photos of me wearing it, you can see it’s almost cleavage-ville (if I had one – although the lining does squash ‘em together & cause some weird kind of definition ;-)  )

xyt inside

But it finally fits.  It is decent to run in – promise!  I still have enough support (& coverage ) when running even though the straps are thinner.  But I don’t think I will be wearing it to the gym & doing planks & press ups (badly) in it!!

So my lessons learned with this one.  I need to sew the vest first to check the fit before even thinking of attaching the lining.  I need to etch that onto my memory, because it is such a useful top to have – remember no sports bra- that is such a bonus!!!  And when it’s hot it is so fab to be running with your shoulders out.  Love it.

Julia cardigan

The already much worn Julia Cardigan

I know I’ve been challenged by the impoverished style and nature of my me made warmers for Me Made May, my cardigan surrogates. In truth my RTW cardigans are also rather threadbare, since I’d bought most of them second hand. So yes, this month I made myself a couple of additions to my cardigan / warmer clothing, but it wasn’t just for me made May, this is for life in general.

Julia

Seeing Katie’s me made week I spied the most awesome cardigan she’d made- the Julia cardigan by mousehousecreations. Available here on Etsy. No idea where I have been to miss such an incredible design, but I shamelessly hopped over to buy it, and within 48 hours I think I’d made my own.

It’s a clever design with sleeve length options- a capped sleeve, a three quarter sleeve and a long sleeve. I was going for warmth.

Julia

It is made up with curves around its front and hem edges to form a shawl like collar and slight flared hem, whilst the bodice is nicely shaped. The collar and hem are stitched together to make a massive loop which then you attach to the edges of your cardi.

Julia (9)
You can hem these edges or you can double up all the pieces of this loop, sewing them right sides together, then turning before attaching to the cardigan edges with no hems needed.

Julia

Clever. I overlocked all of mine. I made it out of some wool mix jersey from my stash ( I am guessing it’s got wool in it based on how it smelt when I ironed it!!). It’s got some fluffy fibres in it and is just so cosy.

Julia cardigan

Being red, it is also supremely useful, because, you know, red is one of my basic colours.

Julia

Boy am I pleased with it. In this kind of weather it is almost a light weight jacket too.

Julia cardigan

I am going to make this up for my mum as I think it’s just her kind of style, especially the capped sleeves.

Julia

I’m also going to make it up in my precious black wool jersey that I have been saving for *that special make*. It seems that the *special make* has now been revealed to me at last. I will liberate it from my stash. Soon.

Victoria medley

By Hand Victoria Blazer – {gasp} unlined and made in a knit!

This was a desperation make. I had recognised the inadequacy of my me made cardigan portfolio and had a bit of a do to go to. I really did not want to compromise my me made may pledge, yet I was going to be wearing my Happy Ever After dress to Tilly’s book launch and wanted to look decent, not like I’d raided the dressing up box.

Victoria Blazer

The night before I applied myself to whip up a jacket. After cogitating upon the options over my tea, my decision was made: another Victoria blazer in some navy blue Morgan crepe I’d bought from Minerva Crafts for my Coco stash when Coco was released. I’d made the Victoria blazer out of morgan crepe before, and whilst the faux fur collar is awesome, it limits its usefulness (hey, guess what?  I’ve never worn it to work!). It is however pretty cool in a knit, even though the knit doesn’t behave itself as well as a woven would when it comes to wearing – the collar doesn’t like sitting flat. Anyway, This navy blazer was going to be uber plain, no frills or whistles. And it had to be made in a single night. The heat was on!

victoria blazer

Good job then I’d chosen the Victoria. I’d remembered that it’s a very straightforward make and I was even going to make this without any form of lining, relying on most of the seams being overlocked to neaten seams as if it were a cardigan.

victoria blazer

There is just one seam that I didn’t overlock and that was the neck seam from each front dart around the back of the neck to the other front dart.   But being a knit, I don’t think it matters.  Apart from that I overlocked.

victoria blazer (4)And I made it in a night. That even included unpicking some ill advised edge stitching that I’d made to the neck edge in the hope that it would help the collar to stay in the right place. Word of warning- in a knit this just results in a highly fluted and stretched out of shape neckline.

Victoria blazer - dont do this

Not nice. I did however use a straight stitch for the hem- that worked out ok. When I got to the end of the instructions I read my notes that reminded me last time I’d shortened this jacket. I’d forgotten that, and now have a longer line jacket than I’d perhaps planned, but that’s ok, it is like a cardigan.

And the Morgan Crepe is a perfect weight & such good value for this kind of jacket.  Be warned though, in this knit & my other version, the collar does not sit well on its own, hence the use of brooches to make it behave.

And I wore it the next day.
With my Happy Ever After dress. And lots more times since, as you will see in my Me Made May round ups.  Hoorah!

Manchester 10k

We sweat and we sew! And that makes us easier to spot in races!

So Melissa at Fehr Trade launched the Spring Race challenge.  This is for all of us who make workout gear (or who want to make workout gear) to nominate a specific event/ race to actually put our handmade workout gear to the test (not necessarily Fehr Trade patterns – whatever you use).  I whooped with glee.  Great idea!!  For so many reasons that may become apparent as you read on.

Spring Race Challenge
I didn’t have as many races planned this year, but I did have the Bupa Great Manchester 10k booked up & as it also takes place in May (Me Made May) it was a collision of the fates.

Manchester 10k

I do have a slight problem however with my me made workout gear.  The problem being that none of it (or hardly any of it) has been designed/ styled/ coordinated as an outfit.  I have jumped from one fun make to the next fun make with very little that coordinates, let alone that is in the same colour palette.

My me made workoutsAs evidenced above.  When trying to pull together total me made outfits I am limited, or else I venture out in even more un-Nike-like looks than normal (not that that is a problem mind you).  I seem to have a few red-based bottom halves and orange/ pink/ neon tops.   Magenta & red anyone?  (See Me Made week 2, May 9th for proof).

I have rectified this to a small degree as I wanted to make more MD  Olivia oversized tees & have made yet another in white now (colour choice informed by the analysis above!)  I also had been stifling the urge to make a pair of Duathlon shorts that were not quite booty length, but were mini shorts – nearer boy shorts.  And come the week before the race, was sure enough of the weather that it was time to crack that urge right open.

Manchester 10k 2014

I made a pair of Duathlon shorts out of some grey supplex & some scraps of blue left over from my MD Olivia 3/4 length top.  I unscientifically cut the length in between booty length & biker length & then finalised the hem when I tried them on.  They’ve ended up with a 6″ inside leg.

Mini duathlons

The way it turned out I have got a small triangle at the bottom side edge – this would look cute as a contrast!

Mini duathlons

The pockets are fully functional whatever length you make these babies up in.  I used mine for keeping my iphone stashed & didn’t need the safety pin I’d brought as extra security to pin the opening closed – this pocket is so snug around your iphone that it’s definitely not going anywhere!

The race was great.  I do love Bupa Great Runs – incredible organisation & a great atmosphere in the starting area.

Manchester 10k OK, downside is the cost – they are expensive, but you get an awesome medal (as above), a nice quality cotton tee as well as a well stocked goodie bag – if you are interested in what’s left over from the run itself (apart from your pride ;-) ).  I love the route though – being a huge adorer of Manchester city centre, the route then goes out past Old Trafford and over to the Imperial War Museum on the return.   Most of it is on dual carriageway so generally enough space- but with 40k runners you can expect some clogging at narrower parts especially near the beginning.  And then you return back into Deansgate for the finish.

Manchester 10k 2014 Great bands were playing (I was cheered by live cover versions of my latest two top running tracks – Pharrel Williams – “Happy” & Daft Punk  – “Get Lucky-”  awesome!) and then of course there is a Manchester music theme that pervades with Stone Roses, “This is the One” for example, being pumped out before the start.

Guys it was too hot for me though- even with the in-race “shower” that I keenly looked forward to at about 7km.  I am a terrible runner in hot temps & I have not yet acclimatised to running in heat – 20 degrees was scorchio!  I did not get a PB, but hey, never mind.  I was not expecting to get one this time.  But I did enjoy wearing my Fehr Trade XYT top in leopard print & my new Fehr Trade Duathlons.  Oh yes, & the eagle eyed among you will also notice obligatory running bows & my me made hairband.  But here’s something else.  I was soooo hot that I would have actually been better wearing my booty shorts – that’s how much I heated up.  Get that!

Thanks Melissa for hosting such a great challenge (& clearly for designing such fabulous workout patterns!!)  So folks, if you are running in a race this Spring (Northern) or Fall (Southern) I’d recommend making your own kit – then your superfans & groupies have a much better chance of spotting you amongst the obligatory Nike-wearing running crowds!  Because I tell you, hearing your loved ones hollering out when you feel like crumbling, is just the tonic for an extra spurt of adrenaline.

And now Karen at Didyoumakethat has launched the Sporty Summer Sewathon & I just know what I will be making for that! And it’s going to be cheeky [wink wink!]

Olivia Tee

At last: Maria Denmark Olivia tee

Hey chickens.  I am about to show you some makes that have been fully put to use over the last couple of months, only I have been a bit behind posting them …I’m going to review a pattern I downloaded as soon as it was released- the Olivia oversized tshirt by Maria Denmark.  It’s nothing new for me to say that I love Maria Denmark patterns and have not only made plenty of casual wear out of them,  ( Laura lounge trousers, birgitte tee, day to night drape top, it’s just a tank, kristen kimono tee – free) but I have also used some of them as sportswear, using technical fabrics to make up as running tops.  But by far my favorite to date for running in has to be Olivia ….let me show you …


Olivia is my perfect run top ( except in hot weather when I’ll wear a vest like the XYT top by Fehr Trade). I have now made up a 3/4 length sleeved version and a short sleeved version out of technical wicking fabric (bought from the Sewing Chest) and what a success!!

Olivia Tee

I’m would like to think they make me  run with more speed  ( if only!)!  But in actual fact I love them for running because they are reasonably long line and have a nice hip hugging hip band that doesn’t ride up when running.

Olivia

Being dolman sleeved there is also loads of breathing space around the under arms for air to flow and keep you cool.  And you know you need that.

Olivia tee

And this top is a quick make- I can make two in a couple of hours. You see with dolman sleeves there is no sleeve insertion – just cuffs.  I made it all on my overlocker, and as always, the instructions are crystal clear, no nonsense, with photos to guide you through.  I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Olivia

I’ve also made a non running version – recognise the fabric? The drape suits the Olivia is tee perfectly. It’s a good top for work with a pencil skirt, or also over skinnies.  The Olivia tee really suits fabulously drapey jersey.  I feel I am hooked as I also have two more cut out for when I have completed this weekend’s “sewing plan”.  I know that Shanni over at Shanni Loves also seems to have an addiction – many of hers are in beautiful thick stripes

And, just in case you need to catch up on what’s happening -  It’s Sewing indie month  – with 21 Indie Sewing designers!  (I just want to queue up some music for that, don’t you? ..)

YouTube Preview Image

and Maria Denmark is one of the 21 indie pattern designers taking part. Click here to find out more about Sewing indie  month, what’s happening when,  the challenges, the tips, inspiration and no doubt temptation!  There is already so much sewing indie sharing going on – I’m loving it!    And Maria Denmark is offering the Audrey knit dress at 25% off to celebrate.  And I have to tell you I am wearing my Audrey dress as I type….get on over there!

 

Nautical Coco

Nautical Coco

Doh!  I did it again!  I made another Coco!  This time I made the Coco dress up in some lovely nautical stripe, ponte from Plush Addict.

Now this is lovely ponte, it’s a little softer than the spotted ponte I made my last Coco out of with an underside that has the faintest wisp of a trace of fluffiness – but not quite what you could describe as fluffy, more “brushed”.

Nautical Coco

You will now see quite a few pictures – hope you don’t mind- due to the luxury of having a photographer there were far few technical duds & evidence that even in company I can’t take myself seriously, try as I might.  They were taken somewhere gorgeous – truly- a “secret” cove in Cornwall.  At times there was only us on the beach.

Cove

And it was the most serene morning, with blue skies & beautiful light.  I was out walking my dog nieces with my bro & his lady,  who very kindly became the renowned photographer “Muppet Cookson”for my faux Seasalt/ Boden photo shoot.  So how did it go?

Nautical Coco Thing is, it’s hard not pulling silly faces!

Nautical Coco

So you can see I made the dress with 3/4 length sleeves.  I’ve some awesome anchor ribbon sent ages ago to me by the lovely Sonja (Ginger Makes) that I am using to embellish anything I make that falls within my “nautical wardrobe”.  In this case I sewed on an anchor to the upper arm, & one on one of the pocket corners.

Nautical Coco “What pockets” I hear you say!  Good job there’s an anchor on one of them!  I’d planned to make them with the stripes going vertically, but the pocket would have needed lining to stop the underneath stripes showing, & I wasn’t going to do that.

Nautical Coco Here I am, channeling *Boden* – “My life is beautiful” – well it pretty much was at the time this was taken – who would want to be anywhere else?

Nautical Coco Aww, my four legged furry ladies.  “Hello girls”!  Showing the versatility & practicality of this stylish design.

Nautical Coco Karate Kid.  (“Kid” being the salient word).  Say no more.

I’d only made the funnel neck version before, & so anticipated I needed to make my usual adjustment to the pattern (because it would be more evident without the funnel neck collar): taking a thin wedge out of centre front & centre back before cutting out & I think I got the fit just right.

Nautical Coco I used an approach that Maria Denmark’s Day to Night Drape top uses for the neckline – I zig zagged clear elastic around the opening- to the wrong side, within the seam allowance.  Then I turned the seam allowance in, to the inside & used my Coverstitch to finish the neck edge.  The elastic gave it more stability & I’ve got a really neat finish.   (You can see in the picture nearer the beginning)

Nautical Coco I love this photo!  There’s something a bit threatening about the dog there, don’t you think?!  I’ve worn this dress without leggings, & it looks fab, but just couldn’t bring myself to go bare legged in April, at the seaside.  And tights at the beach are a definite no-no!  (If you have ever done that, you’ll know.  Tights back on after paddling in the sea & walking on sand?   Uuurgh!)

Nautical Coco How about these buttons though?  I’ve sewn on two each shoulder.  They have been drilled with 6 holes so that you sew lil anchors onto them.  Thanks Zoe, who sent them to me all those months ago.  They are from Textile Garden – whilst having a quick roam amongst some stunners, I came across some anchor-readys, there may be more if you look harder… .

And a collection to show that I wasn’t the only one having fun during Muppet Cookson’s photo session.

Nautical CocoDo you think Boden models ever look this inelegant?  Would they use step ladders to reach on high?  I think I’ll just have to accept that the location & even the dress would not look out of place in a Boden catalogue, but the model certainly would.  Sigh.  No career change for me then.

 

 

duathlon (10)

Summer runners: Duathlon shorts

It’s about time I posted my latest runners – the Duathlon shorts by Fehr Trade.  Yes, Melissa is nothing but full of unique designs for crafting your own running/ workout kit- the ideas keep coming!  Hot on the heels of the PB Jam leggings and XYT top here are some more togs for sweating in.  I was lucky enough to be a tester and these shorts/ leggings were once again right up my street.

duathlon capri

Have you seen them yet?  I’m sure you have.  Leggings/ shorts for your running or cycling legs.  Or the gym.  They come in three lengths & I went for the extremes: the capri length (in time for spring) & the woo hoo!  booty shorts for an experiment!  There is also an above the knee length.  Their clever piecing together creates two phone (or gel & key ) sized pockets in the contrast side panels.

duathlon capri pocket

The simplest of designs, which allows some fab use of left over fabric to pack a punch plus a brilliant pocket construction that’s easy to sew.

duathlon (8)As a bonus- if you cycle & want to avoid saddle sores, Melissa has designed in a padded piece specially shaped for a comfortable yet ultimate workout.  Now, I don’t do the cycling thang, so I avoided the padded crotch, but what a brilliant option to be able to sew your own padded cycle shorts – technical genius.  Of course there is lots of advice for fabric choice & construction included in the pattern.

duathlon So I’ve raved about the sewing & design. These leggings are a very simple make & incredibly wearable.  I used my overlocker for practically all of the construction, except the hems which my coverstitch machine is now much better at (thanks a lot again to Melissa who gave me a couple of steers for the basics that make all the difference!)   I made the capri length first in some left over random non-sports bottle green lycra, sneaking in yet more of my leopard lycra to add a dash of the wild side.

duathlon

I wish it was “Meow” I’m saying here, but I took authentic post run photos & was still recovering!  I have worn these leggings many times now.  The length is spot on, the fit – well there’s probably room in their for me to take some more in, if I wanted to look as if I had been poured into them, but in my mind they are ideal.  I’ve used the pockets for keys & my phone once (plenty big enough & it doesn’t feel in danger of popping out unexpectedly).  They are a total hit & I would not hesitate in making more.

duathlon booty

So much so that I gave the booty shorts a trial.  I am rubbish at seeing a pattern for shorts (any shorts -not just lycra shorts!) & picturing where the legs finish on me – always in fear of “too short shorts” I usually end up erring on the side of caution & needing to take a massive hem to the “bermudas” I’ve almost created.  It seems I can get it wrong both ways – I was never going to be any good at merely eyeballing the cutting line for these booties – I had to make them.  I thought that in the summer it is great to have a shorter pair of shorts – do they call them boy short length?  Now boy short length is probably a bit longer than booty (why didn’t I just stop & consider the name!) shorts.  They hug your buns babies!

duathlon booty shorts

I love them, really, but at the moment I am not sure how brave I would be to go out in public with them this short…but in the hot summer ( am I wishing for the impossible?) …maybe I would change my mind.

I made them using some wicking lycra with a strip of burgundy – which I’ve also used to make a top – I will show you soon, once pics are taken.

duathlon booty shorts(Worn with my XYT top -  I wear this soooo much it’s untrue and my running bows)

Tell you something though – I would make them just a couple of inches longer & then they would become what I have in mind as “boy shorts”.  Now making them that length & wearing in public is a distinct certainty.  But even if you are as unbrave as me, the booty shorts can be worn under skirts for your cycle commute – they are an ideal modesty saver.

All in all a great pattern.  You can get the download  here - & once again I should say that  Melissa’s instructions lead you through the construction excellently.  If anything, these leggings are easier to make than the PB Jams, just because the piecing is all in straight lines.  What do you think?  Are you convinced yet?

And while we are on it, have you been inspired by marathon season?  I’d like to congratulate Melissa here too – she got such an amazing time for her London marathon – decode this!

(Or visit Melissa’s site for the answers & post race photo)  The very next day I entered the Bath Half 2015- that means I’ve got the Manchester 10k in May (when I shall be running in me made running kit for Me Made May as well as it being the race that I join in with the  Spring Race Challenge

I’m in taking part in…

Spring Race ChallengeAfter May’s 10k I have the summer to train for the Great North Run, and the winter to train for the Bath Half.  Sorted?  For me, it’s good to have races to be aiming for & to keep running as I still find it the easiest thing in the world to never leave my home/ garden, so happy am I and so busy can I be within badger burrows (set really) .  Running is a good way to get upright, active & out in the fresh air.  Plus I love how it makes me feel when I am exercising & covering distances.

And what other incentive to run & to just get out there, than making new running kit?  Love it.

Loco for Coco

Let’s start on a high – me & Mama Coco herself – the inspirational Tilly.

Coco and tilly(I have not cropped this picture – I mean the turquoise wall has its own fame, right?!)   So -  Stripes & spots looking good together- (no not “goof” as my typing is trying malevolently to force me to write)   I am hoping that this marks the Coco highpoint because you see I need to come down from the Coco high or is it more an affliction I’ve got?  Is it contagious?

Tell me people- when you are fabric shopping do you assess fabric against the “could this be a Coco top” criteria?  Do you also have a developing “Coco stash”.

(Introducing evidence reference A1)

coco stashIt is not without cause that Coco has become the panacea to losing one’s sewing mojo.  Not that that has been a problem for me.  However, Coco tempts me with its style & simplicity of construction for “those times when I want a relaxing stylish sew”.  I tell you it is a most reassuring thought to know that I have *a number* of suitable lengths of fabric should I feel the urge and the odd free hour to make it.  My first Coco top has been a stalwart outfit addition for my weekends,and  Merino rocks the Coco.  But where could I go next but with a ponte?

So enter Coco #2.  I made this using some ponte from Plushaddict.  Sucker that I am I saw it on Twitter when my Coco mania was reaching peak purchase potential.  I also bought the black/ cream double knit  (for a nautical dress oh yes.  It is destined for a seaside photo shoot when it is made & the time comes).  But I digress, blame it on fou-de-Coco.  Onto the Coco in hand … still in absolute first throes of love with the funnel neck I just had to make another version.

Coco

I made up as designed, but felt something was missing – in an artistic kind of artist/  gardeners’ smockette- a pocket kanga would want to jump into.  So I cut one freehand & sewed it on, with my trying- ever-so-hard-to-please-me coverstitch machine (our relationship is improving thanks to an intervention from Melissa when she came to stay.  But coverstitch & me – we have a way to go before we are best buds)

kangaroo pockt coco

The kangaroo pocket settled almost nicely (coverstitching needed a bit of rescuing & a fair amount of bar tacking by my regular trusty dependable-knight-in-shining-armour machine at key stress points).  However, I may have located the pocket a bit high & darned if I was going to take it all off.  A bit of playing around in the mirror later & the design decision was taken to shorten Coco to become hip length.  It works.  But now you know the truth.  Some of my design decisions are reactive due to not thinking things through….and there you were thinking that everything was part of the plan …

inside coco

So it’s been a wonderful weekend & evening staple- lounging in style.  So come the Coco party *for real* when I was in such fantastic company for the final of the Great British Sewing Bee, it was the obvious choice.

How many Cocos in this sewing selfie?

It was such a lovely evening watching the final with Coco-wearing sewing blogging pals ( me, Katie, Rachel, Janene, Tilly, Jane, Alana) .  Katie has written up the evening (plus two amazing Cocos), capturing the atmosphere if you are interested in even more.   I was thrilled to get a picture for this blog post with Tilly  – against *the” turquoise wall.

coco tilly and me

So, while we were there we were lucky enough to have a preview of Tilly’s book: Love at First Stitch & if you pop along to Tilly’s blog you will see that she has shared one of the projects from her blog- the sweet Brigitte scarf- for a book launch blogosphere -party on Thursday 8th May.  I’m in, are you?