Buckle up, because the story of this jacket starts four years when I received a remnant of Dashing Tweeds “Urban Shadow” tartan coating from a friend for Christmas. Now, if you’re not familiar with Dashing Tweeds, they’re a really cool company who’ve revived old tartan and twill patterns and modernised them with great colours and even some reflective threads woven in. The remnant I received was one of these “Lumatwill” designs, and has reflective threads running along all the horizontal yellow lines in the design.
I had the pleasure recently to be invited as a guest on the That Sewing Blab show! Well, technically Dawn asked me if I could be a guest on one of their live shows a few years ago, but with the time zones it would’ve been a really late night for me in the UK. I often get asked how I have the energy to do everything I do, and the answer is that I get a LOT of sleep – I’m nodding off at like 10:30 every night, so I knew I would be a horrible guest if it was past midnight!
I was instantly drawn to the lantern sleeves on the Closet Case Patterns Cielo Top when they released it as part of their Rome Collection earlier this year, and specifically to the top as I tend to wear separates a lot more often than dresses. But I wasn’t really that into the samples they made using drapey fabrics – as soon as I saw the tech drawing I knew I wanted to make it in a more structured fabric to really draw attention to those sleeves and let them stand up on their own rather than have a more 70s bell-sleeve vibe.
The problem with taking so long to develop each sewing pattern is that I end up making so many lovely versions that I can’t show you until months after I’ve made them! But it does mean that after a pattern is released, you get a glut of finished makes from me…
Today I want to show you three different versions of the Rouleur Leggings that I made for myself. I made TONS more to test the seaming, and fit, and how they performed on the bike and out on runs, but usually the bulk of these were made from cheap, stretchy fabric and I inevitably ended up drawing all over them in marker pen to annotate what changes I wanted to make. But these three were sewn more as samples than muslins, so I’m happy to share them with the world!
You’ve heard all about the bright, recycled version of the Rouleur Leggings View B that our athlete model Jenni was wearing, so let’s talk about the version of View A that I modelled for this pattern! As I mentioned earlier, I actually started work on developing this pattern way back in May, and that’s actually when I bought the fabric for both the Rouleur Leggings seen here and the Tessellate Tee I’m wearing with it.
Since I was making our athlete model, Jenni, a full cycling set to her own measurements, I thought it only fitting that I also ask what sort of colours or prints she’s into, and I was delighted when she came back with a bunch of animal prints from Funkifabrics’ selection. A girl after my own crazy-prints-for-activewear heart!!
I narrowed it down to this pink, purple, black, and turquoise animal print (mostly because a lot of others had subtle stripes and I didn’t want to stripe-match!) which I had printed onto their new Life Recycled polyester base fabric. This was my first experience using this recycled base fabric and I’d definitely use it again – it had a similar in weight and feel to their standard Flexcite base but with the knowledge that it’s less harmful to the planet than standard, virgin polyester.
One of my favourite parts about the entire pattern development process is working with our athlete models. I decided early on in the life of FehrTrade Patterns that a) I didn’t want it to just be me modelling our patterns all the time, and b) I didn’t want to use traditional models, as I’d seen way too many covers of Runners World with the same waif blonde doing that awful “fake running” pose! I know so many incredibly inspiring women and men in the fitness world that it’s only right to share them all with you, too.
Yes, after SIX months in the making, our latest pattern is finally here! Please welcome the Rouleur Leggings!
In case you missed it on social media, another of our most popular sewing patterns is now available as a layered pdf!
I’ve made a handful of swimsuits in my time – most recently the Seamwork bikini in 2015, which I wear pretty much every time I go to a spa or holiday pool/seaside. But I certainly wouldn’t consider that a suit that’s, err, suitable for Serious Swimming, and recently I’ve decided to take up swimming lessons with my running coach (who’s actually a triathlon coach so it’s not totally weird!).
I had swimming lessons when I was a kid at the local municipal pool, so it’s not like I’m going to drown or anything, but my strokes are seriously sloppy, and it’s been embarrassing me recently. I’m certainly not efficient at getting from A to B, and I hate the front crawl, and I tire quickly. And now that I’ve done London Marathon (four times!) and Ride London 100 this year, I’m eligible for the enormous London Classics medal if I also complete the 2 mile Swim Serpentine. So I’m starting lessons with the goal to do this open water swim next September, which seems like good motivation (signups are in February if you want to join me – I’m assembling a girl gang!).