Tag Archives: XYT top

Snakeskin leggings!

And torso too!

The fabric people, is the star! This is some pink/purple snakeskin effect lycra from the Fabric Godmother & it totally rocks! (And you can take that whatever way you want, even if you want to bring out that inner rock chick….) But don’t let me go away without mentioning the gold sheen that makes this fabric shine. There is definitely something of the wild side in this print!  And I never thought I would have snakeskin leggings, but I think for running in, I can kind of get away with it.

snakey legs

Josie asked me if I would like to test it for running in, & I was unable to resist. It has recently starred on her blog.  There are three snakeskin lycras currently stocked- this one, a neon explosion (even I thought there was a bit too much dazzle for me!) & black. Now I try to avoid making anything for running out of black, but snakeskin – that could persuade me!


I used the Virginia leggings pattern by Megan Nielson as I wanted as little interference as possible with seams, & the Virginias have just one seam. I made them capri length & added some little cuffs to them, as I had recently made the Seamwork Manila leggings & was interested in taking that detail on to capris to see how that worked. (And the answer?  It’s a nice detail but I didn’t get the sizing quite right & it’s a bit flappy)

3 (2)

So the fabric. The lycra feels lovely to wear. A good weight with no danger of any translucency. However, this is not breathable or wicking fabric, but as long as you are aware of this & choose to wear when you’re not going to overheat, then the fabric works great. I wore them for the first time at a “Glow Run” – a 5km fun run – we were all decorated with neon face paint & glow sticks. Photos show my leggings shining in the light with an eerie glow!

glow run

I have also worn them on some fresh spring runs, of about an hour, & once again, nothing but fun wearing them.   As the weather has warmed I reserve them for non cardio vascular exercise – weight training last week – & they were fine, but a tad on the warm side power walking uphill in the full sun afterwards.  They will really come into their own again in the autumn &  in the winter I can forsee this fabric being quite the way to fox up some country runs!!!

But Josie in her blog talks about using it for swimwear.  It’s certainly a nice light weight & I could imagine that working well.  Now if I have enough spare maybe I could eek out a bikini, but I am not sure if I have because I also made an XYT top out of it.

I think it looks cool?

snakey xyt


Forgive me for not showing you the back, as you can tell this is a spontaneous modelling shot & I’m wearing the wrong underwear- the back looked atrocious with the bra showing….

Now, are you wondering whether I will have the gall to wear them both together?  Do you doubt my taste that much?  I am not even going there!  No!  Not even in the interest of science.  We all know it would look , just, creepy.  All-over-body-suit-snakeskin?  No thank you!!  But apart, they are, like I said foxy.  If foxy is an apt adjective when referring to reptile effect fabric.

And right now I am imagining one of those one-piece costumes with holes cut out of the side.  Not on me though!  My skin tans far too easily to go for such shapes!  But this fabric (in black or purple) would look pretty awesome on the Cote D’Azur, wouldn’t you say?

Now tell me, who would wear the top & leggings together?  I would love to know …..
(The fabric was provided by Fabric Godmother for me to review.  )

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.

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.