Tag Archives: Jungle January

Jungle January: the dash of the rusty leopard

I can’t believe this is the third year of Jungle Januaries!  Annie at Pretty Grievances cracks me up with her fabulous& witty  herding of jungle printed makers.    I couldn’t let it pass by unnoticed, could I?  Especially when I had some animal print (I call it rusty leopard, hence the title) fromUKFabrics Online that I’d ordered a while ago (it’s still in stock) thinking that leopard legs would make me faster.  I will never know as I have made it into a top.

high top hoodie

But I am not going to tell you much about this top as it is an as yet unreleased top by Kitschy Koo, the High Top Hoodie.  I was a pattern tester (yay!)  & will save my review of it for when you can lay our hands on your own version to sew yourselves.

High top hoodie

As part of my testing I decided that a sports version would make eminently good sense.  You see it has lots of warm devices – extra long sleeves with thumb holes, a nice covered neck & what hoodie would be complete without said hoodie to keep the draughts at bay.  And winter running  needs must be met.  The fabric incidentally is wicking & silky stretchy polyester – it would make wonderful leggings too.

High top hoodie

I wore it here at the beach, really running (not just posing).  It was a tad chill, hence the woolly hat.  I am wearing it with my Ooh La La running leggings.   It was such hard going that I almost wished I did have leopard legs because would they have made it easier?  They might have?  It was blimmin hard work anyway.

high top hoodie


And just as I decided to goof around, a fellow goofer (my dog niece) decided to give me a whopper on my chops….

high top hoodie


And I loved it.

high top hoodie

And so did she.

high top hoodie

Thank you Muppet Cookson for taking the photos.  Thank you Bramble for cleaning your teeth.


Fehr Trade sportswear: XYTing! (A Jungle January make)

So come on, who’s excited about the new sewing patterns for workouts  ( for me read running ) from our very own Melissa of Fehr Trade who also writes a most inspiring & informative running blog, River Runner?  And if I use the word ‘proud’ it’s because I can’t think of a better one to use, but it’s not quite right to describe how AWESOME it feels that one of my blogging gurus has taken her eye for style and her sewing skills in general but particularly being the goddess of working with knits, pattern drafting and design to follow a new path, becoming an inde sewing pattern designer.!!!  And for sportswear no less!! (Sorry that was rather a long gush, take a breath !) Three cheers !!

xyt top As this make was such new territory for me, I make no apologies for the number of photos so that you can get an idea of the technical gymnastics that must have been involved in designing this.  More awe.

xyt top Anyway, when I was asked to be a pattern tester of course I said yes. But my attempts were not without challenge, but part of the testing process. Anyway. What you need to know is that after a few test tops, I have an ‘x’ back XYT top to show you ready for Jungle January, because people, I’ve fallen for leopard print Lycra!!  Meeeoooow!

xyt top Oh I love it!! The back is divine. The shape of the top all round is flattering and comfortable. And I am in love with the powermesh lining which means that I never ever have to buy another sports bra.

xyt top I’m thrilled. Yep, it’s been road tested a few times now and even in the longer runs I’m jiggle free. ( not much to jiggle mind you!) And in this current winter weather, whilst I haven’t been able to show it to the world it’s the perfect base layer under a long sleeved top.  And then just a few more degrees & it can be released, my inner cheetah, gliding atop of my running shoes.  (Yeah, right!  More like a cheetah with all four legs in plaster 😉  )

xyt topSo onto The XYT top pattern. It is called XYT because there are three variations in the back: ‘x’ style, ‘Y’ back and a slinky ‘T’ back. Exciting, no?

The top can be made with the powermesh (or powernet) lining or not. I got mine from the Sewing Chest & talk about a quick turnaround, I was really impressed.  The instructions give plenty of guidance for sorting out the lining, identifying its stretch if necessary to adjust the sizing, however, I suspect that the stretch of most powermesh is standard to Melissa’s standard pattern size.

xyt top I learnt a lot of techniques through sewing this top and Melissa provides all the instructions you need, with great diagrams. And something that I love, she also gives the lengths of elastic for each piece, which I like as, left to my own judgement, I never know if I am giving it enough stretch as I insert it around armholes, necklines etc.

xyt top Melissa also gives different instructions for using a coverstitch machine with a binder, but I’m still getting to grips with my coverstitch machine, so have not thought it worth investing time and money in that attachment (it’s a whopping £70 odd quid, & I’m still too rubbish with my coverstitch to embark on something else even more complicated !).

xyt top (4)
If not using a coverstitch, the armholes and neck edges are kept neat and trim with elastic. Just normal elastic. I made a few of my test tops with elastic following this approach, however I took a leap of faith and used fold over elastic for my jungle January number in cerise, oh yeah. And I think I will use FOE every time now. My local haberdashery ( in the Guildhall market, 2 mins from my office!!) has started to stock all of the FOE colours they can get their hands on. Nice one.  And I seem to get better results using a three step zig zag to attach it, & that’s what I used this time.

xyt top I’ve got a bit more work to do on the fit – there is a bit of extra at the side seams that needs to come out, but it’s totally wearable & I understand what’s needed next time, which is good.  So, that’s the XYTing story, the first chapter in what will be many of these tops to come ( I have to make all the different backs up!! Lots of times ?!) It’s a winner people and you can download it here– in a whole range of sizes.  Serious hats off to Melissa, she’s also designed the PB Jam leggings which also feature clever piecing – certainly not taking the easy design route.  So, my PB Jam leggings are to come….Can’t wait to see what else Melissa comes up with.  GOOD LUCK Melissa.

Jungle January Charlotte Skirt

At last, I am able to reveal my new fave skirt.  This is my second iteration of the adorable Charlotte Skirt, By Hand London.  Here is my first (very wearable & multi-occasional ).  This latest version was conceived way back in October when the Charlotte pattern was first released & Suzy & I met at the Birmingham Rag Market meet up.  Suzy was kind enough to give me this fabric which was left over after her awesome “Rock Chick Clovers” & the seed was sown….It is a velvet-like needle cord & has a stretchy element to it.  Lovely!  Nice & warm for the winter & should see me into Spring too.

It was “Jungle January”, the  challenge instigated by Annie at Pretty Grievances that willingly pushed this make higher up my list.  The aim, to cloak the interweb in animal print me-mades during January.  Here is mine….

jungle jan

See it?  No?  OK, I’ll come out a bit more…

jungle jan

Are you sure it’s safe to come out?  Ok, I’ll lose the disguise as well & show you a few looks for this skirt.  First of all, earlier this week, it frolicked with the other snow leopards & my fleece Renfrew  & Ooh La La Leggings

Charlotte snow-005

But then it melted & it was time to party- the downhill ice rink has retreated!!

I’m flinging pics at you because I haven’t much to add about the making.  It is a great pattern, I’ve told you before.  i love it.  I used the dental floss gathering method again, summarised in this lil collage below

2013_01_27 Jungle January Charlotte SkirtThat floss is as tough as you need it to be to get all that length of gathering done, & with fabric as thick as velvet-cord it needs to be heavy duty.  It’s really easy – just use a slightly wider zig zag than normal.


Here we are from behind- I didn’t use a concealed zipper again, purely because I didn’t have one …

JJ Charlotte 1

So I’m pleased with it – & it’s comfy as well as smart.  I still couldn’t bring myself to break the formula that I love & chose the hem not the peplum.  I’m sorry, just couldn’t do it!!