Tag Archives: spoonflower

Luxury running top McCalls 7261

I have not posted anything for a while about running have I?  That itself could be a post of its own, reflective perhaps that my running has taken a bit of a back seat to the other stuff going on.  Maybe I will find time to write about that sometime.  Maybe.

mccalls 7261 (3)

But this is something I have made for running.  Hurrah!  And it has been worn on quite a few runs already!  Double hurrah!  This is McCalls 7261  M7261 which has long sleeved tops with collar & hood options & cuffs with thumbholes (gotta love those thumbholes for a winter running top 😉  ).  This pattern also has colour blocked leggings which I haven’t looked into.  So quite an interesting pattern!  Almost a winter running capsule wardrobe!

mccalls 7261

The top has princess seams & raglan sleeves.  I went for the version with the two-piece cowlish neck.  It’s like a built in mini Buff.

mccalls 7261 (6)

I also wanted to make the version with the thumbholes – I mean this would be a full on winter running top.

Thumbholes

Thumbholes

But what about the fabric?  It’s from Spoonflower (2m bought  on one of the free postage days last year ) – Birds & Bees in butter yellow – using the Performance Knit – this is the lesser stretch active wear fabric (NB not suitable for leggings which need high stretch,  the Sport Lycra is best for leggings)  This though feels so silky to the skin & performs great when you’re running & get a bit warm.  It also has amazing drape which means that the collar on this top is absolutely glorious & cascades beautifully.  I love sewing with this fabric & I love wearing it.  Truly it feels luxurious.  And the design is so cute & unusual.  But also quite understated.  I love it.  The birds are so cuuuute & singing to me as I run!

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position...

Sorry about the apparent strain! Just my arm position…

I have not that much to say about the sewing except that it all came together really nicely.  I used my overlocker (of course)!  except for hems & using a narrow zig zag to understitch the seam allowance at the collar.

mccalls 7261 (2)

I did also machine baste the collar to the neckline with my regular machine using a long straight stitch before sewing with my overlocker- just as a precaution & much easier to sew trickier seams on your overlocker when there are no pins in the way!

mccalls 7261 (5)Here are some more photos of the back …

mccalls 7261 (7)mccalls 7261 (8)

I’m not modelling it very well, twisting it a little out of shape.  But it shows it loves to slink.  I did make a size 12, as I prefer a loose fit.    I’ve enjoyed everything about McCalls 7261- so far.  There is finally more choice in the  activewear patterns being released by some of the big 4 & if this top is anything to go by, they are really interesting & wearable.  What do you think?

Pacific Leggings- floral leggings take 2

Happy Friday everyone!  For anyone who has been following me on Instagram – (thanks new phone 🙂 ) – you will have seen a few details of my floral leggings.   These are the Pacific Leggings by Sewaholic which I purchased a bit ago, intrigued by the added details from your standard leggings – a crotch piece (behave!) and a zipped back pocket in the waistband.  ooooh!

Floral leggings

Having sewn Sewaholic patterns before I have certain expectations of great pattern cutting, clear instructions and generally some nifty sewing detail.  I was not disappointed.  In fact I have been delighted & will proceed to explain why.

Floral leggings

But first, the fabric.  This is a Spoonflower Sport Lycra and in this design- baroque flowers.   Check out the specifications but this is a breathable activewear fabric with 4 way stretch.  Perfect for leggings.  (I have roadtested them & can assure you how comfortable they have turned out).  Spoonflower’s first activewear fabric is Performance Knit which I have used a few times – my marathon top and running skirt as well as my badger running top also.  BUT this fabric is 2 way stretch and I made the fatal error of making leggings out of some performance knit without taking into account lack of vertical stretch – something that you can allow for in the cutting out – adding more depth in the body & leg length- but I did not & had to learn the hard way.  I would say Performance Knit is much better suited to tops & skirts now that there is the Sport Lycra for leggings.   Want to do a spot the difference?

Version 1 – ‘Legs with nothing but flowers’

Yes, this is the same fabric design – I am heartbroken to have given up on the first pair but people they are at serious risk of ‘builder’s arse’ so short are they in the body.  (I allowed no one behind me when doing post run stretches).  They are also very tight around my legs as well – I think the fabric’s stretch was being pulled in all ways to capacity- I have worn these quite a lot, stubbornly refusing to admit my mistake, but when comparing these to the latest pair- I can let them go as a lesson learnt.

Floral leggings

So I bought a yard in a free shipping sale last year & I am sure I have managed to get a pair of leggings out of 1m of fabric in the past, and whilst there’s a small difference between metric & imperial I had to rethink my plans to get full leg leggings as there was no way this would fit & so I cut the cropped length – but to the length of the largest size.  There is no obvious pattern direction on this fabric (I am sorry if I have upset the designer here!) but I had to cut pieces different ways up.

Pattern pieces

Leggings generally fall into two pattern types- those with one-piece legs & therefore one leg seam – usually inside leg apart from Fehr Trade’s innovative Steeplechase leggings – & two-piece leggings with an outer & inner leg seam.

Pacific leggings fall into the latter category, however the outer leg seam has a nice upper curve to it so that it sweeps behind & over your hips to meet the bottom edge of the pocket.  You won’t really see it with these leggings as the fabric’s pattern is far too busy- but you can see it on the line drawings  & here below you can see the seamlines.

Pacific leggings

Now that pocket.  It is the business- really easy to sew – just remember to interface the folded zip edge before inserting the zip.  (All explained in the instructions).  The pocket fits nicely within the waistband – a fantastic deep waistband – so comfy & providing enough depth for even larger smartphones in that pocket at the back.  The waistband ‘s shape is kept from sagging / stretching too much by some thin elastic sewn into the seam allowance at the top edge.

Floral leggings

I am thrilled with these leggings, seriously.  No that is the zip, not a piercing.

I took them for a spin yesterday & they felt luxurious, well fitted (that crotch piece adds a certain something to the comfort factor) & easy to run in- the running itself may have been a struggle, but it wasn’t the leggings holding me back this time!

Surf to summit running top – a very personal edition

I don’t just sew clothes for running, despite a recent spate, but since I have some new photos to share, here is the running top that was always meant to be.  For me, that is.  And you’ve already see why 🙂

Last year I invested in some Spoonflower fabric when there was a free shipping deal.  Along with the floral leggings of nothing but flowers, I also bought some badger fabric in performance knit.  When I went back to Spoonflower to link to the fabric I had used, I am sure there are now more badger prints than there were when I made my choice,   Are badgers actually cool to anyone else but me?

surf to summit badger

 

Anyway, this was always going to be a top, but just which top to make?  It was not clear until the Surf to Summit top pattern came out from Fehr Trade.  I have made a few of these and love the high neckline & long sleeves (with mitts) & general slim-but-not-too-slim fit for winter running.

With just a metre of badger fabric I needed to add some contrast & had some cream wicking lycra that matched the badger fabric well enough. That’s another  good thing about the Surf to Summit top- plenty of pieces for playing around with colour blocking (or eeking out fabric!)  Actually if it was 100% badger, maybe that would have been too much?

Surf to summit badger (2)

But it’s Spring!  Yes, I know.  The chances of me getting much wear out of this top this side of the year dramatically reduced as soon as the clocks changed, but you know, there could still be a frost half way into May according to the gardeners I know.  An evening run in some inclement weather may require the badger to be brought forth!  Otherwise it can have some summer hibernation, far away from any horrible busy roads! ( And there is an option to make a short sleeved surf to summit top but I wanted it to be for winter running you see.)

Surf to summit badger (3)

So you know I have already reviewed this top pattern here & another example here.  I am still not quite there with perfecting my fit, & luckily for me, I was able to discuss with my sewing guru (my Mum).  Nothing I can do for this particular top, which is OK as it is completely wearable.  But my next version will involve increasing the size to give more room in the top, bicep part of my sleeve, & probably a bit more scooping under the arm too.  I think I must have flabby armpits (NICE!  The things we share in the interest of sewing learning!).

Surf to summit badger (4)

Mitts folded back on one hand, in operation on the other.

 

You can see in the pic above that if you are using a fabric with a right & wrong side, that you need to decide which version of the mitts gets the right side.  For me, and the way the pattern instructs you, is to make the open cuff show the fabric’s best side & mitts deployed show the fabric’s wrong side.  This works out fine for this version especially with that cream contrast – almost looks like I designed it that way!

The other lucky thing was that my Dad, enjoyed being the man behind the camera as I larked around in the misconception that I needed to do something silly to entertain him.

surf to summit badger (6)

I didn’t stay still for long enough.  It must be the lycra.  And I didn’t come prepared with a whole running outfit to model.  Ultimate Trousers as jeans if you are interested. 🙂

Surf to summit badger (5)

I have some scraps of badger fabric left & have been inspired on Twitter by what to use it for.  Possibly a Steeplechase leggings yoke, an armband pocket for gel carrying, & / or some badger running bows.  So even though this will not be coming with me to London for the marathon, some scrap of badger will.  (And let’s hope it’ll be more than just a scrap of me left at the end 😉  )

Legs with nothing but flowers

If you want to get into my head & understand the joy that these floral leggings give me (despite their shortcomings which I will detail below) ,……

floral leggings

then you may want to listen to this while reading on …..

YouTube Preview Image

OK, are you set? Have you got beyond the intro?  OK, shimmy in your seat & dream of sunshine & colour…..smile away….these leggings you see make me want to party!  Or run.  The fabric is a Spoonflower performance knit that I ordered during a free shipping promotion.  The thought of blooms all over my pins could not be surpressed.  The darkish colour felt suitable for a long pair in the winter.   I used the Megan Neilson Virginia leggings pattern which I have executed satisfactorily a few times before, full length there in bamboo.  They have a separate waistband & are single piece leggings (ie just one inner leg seam).  I wanted a simple design.

floral leggings

So they should have been a simple sew, & they were.  I was stingy & ordered just a metre, which was a scrape to get the full length, but bearing in mind my red bamboo leggings are long enough to gather around my ankles, I felt I could get away with losing a bit off the length.

floral leggings

I added a mini inner pocket & what’s that?  OK, a canny keyring sewn in to keep my doorkey safe whilst out without pockets.

floral leggings

So what’s the deal?  Well, I made a terrific mistake.  The most terrific mistake you can make with stretch fabrics.  I did not take into account the percentage stretch needed.  Nor the direction of stretch.  I did not even test my fabric before cutting out.   This fabric has limited (25% )  two way  (weft) stretch.   Not enough for cutting a normal pair of leggings that requires ?40-50% stretch would you say?  So I could have overcome that by cutting a larger size, but with no vertical stretch either, I should also have cut longer legs & a longer length at the rise too & maybe, just maybe, I would have got away with it ….

floral leggings

What happens now is that all the limited stretch goes outwards, making the length even shorter.   And at certain pressure points when being worn  the floral print is stretched to the point at which the print is at its limit eg (lower leg) You wouldn’t believe these were designed as full length leggings would you, but hipster capris?  They pass! (Just beware who is standing behind you when you do your stretches after your run!)

floral leggings

I have been wearing them to run in though.  How could I not?  But I have to hoik them up so that there is enough spare fabric around my joints – knees & hips – to move.  They are probably not the most flattering fit as a result, but as you can probably tell, I don’t care.

floral leggings

I don’t think that people notice this creasing around knees & upper thigh because they are fundamentally jealous of my floral pins.  But, readers, take my story & be warned & hopefully when you choose such awesome fabric you are more cautious & prepared than I was.

Perfect combo with my Surf to summit top.