Blog

FREE Arm Sleeves pattern!

When I made myself a pair of these ahead of RideLondon 100 a few weeks ago, I was amazed by how many people said they’d love to make their own! But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, because they’re so freaking useful for transitional Fall or Spring weather, and they’re super simple to whip up in an hour or two.

Advanced beginner sewing skills are required for this pattern – some experience sewing is expected, but would be a great first stretch fabric project. Five sizes are provided to accommodate a range of arm sizes, too, with different bicep and wrist measurements so you can get a perfect fit without them falling down as you move!

A three-piece rainbow RideLondon 100 cycling set

Strap in, because this is an epic post for three finished garments and a 100 mile cycle ride!

When I bought the recycled sunburst print activewear fabric from Sew Dynamic back in May, I knew I wanted to make an outfit for RideLondon 100 using it. It’s a brilliant activewear fabric made from recycled plastic bottles that’s got great stretch and recovery, totally opaque when stretched, and with a really vibrant colour pop. But the digitally printed colour bursts run down the length of the fabric – not quite a border print as they’re placed about a third of the width in, but certainly something that I’d need to really pay attention to when cutting out my fabric.

A mustard Saraste shirtdress

I’ve been wanting to make the Saraste shirtdress from the Named book, “Breaking the Pattern” ever since I first saw it at their UK launch party. It comes in three different views in the book: as a princess-seam blouse with ruffles, a button-down shirt with shoulder cutouts, and as a shirtdress with ruffled collar. I ended up making the shirtdress, but added in the shoulder cutouts for some extra interest, too.

All things sportswear in Berlin + signed books shipping NOW!

It was all a bit last-minute that I was going to be in Berlin last week at all, let alone doing an event, so I have to thank everyone who came out to talk all things activewear! Special thanks go out to the incredibly lovely staff at extremtextil who hosted the event, made their shop so welcoming, and opened up especially for us on a Tuesday evening. It’s so wonderful to see an independent speciality fabric shop run by people who are so passionate and educated on every aspect of outdoor and sportswear sewing!

FREE Berlin activewear workshop!

Hallo there all my Berlin sewing friends! What’s better than a workshop all about sewing activewear? A FREE one!! 😝

On Tuesday 9 July Melissa will be talking about all things activewear at a very special event – she’ll discuss how to adjust for your sport’s movements and stance, how to pick the right fabrics then what to do with them once you’ve got them (including the opportunity to fondle all of extremtextil‘s AMAZING activewear fabrics!), and finally, get personalised advice on your dream activewear wardrobe.

A steel grey Zadie jumpsuit

I’ll admit it – I thought jumpsuits were going to be a passing fad when I started seeing them popping up a few years ago (Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim was definitely at the forefront of this!). But it’s been several years and they don’t show any sign of stopping, and I even made myself one a few years back. I didn’t wear it much, though – not for being a jumpsuit, but for having an overly long crotch that irritated my thighs – and it’s since gone into the great charity shop bag in the sky.

I share all this only to illustrate that I’ve got a checkered personal history when it comes to sewing jumpsuits. But when the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit pattern was released, I knew I wasn’t done with jumpsuits just yet. It had all the right details – a flattering wrap-style bodice that made it easy to get in and out of, big pockets, and a casual-yet-dressy vibe that I just couldn’t shake. And that my girl Sanchia was the model for it was just the cherry on top!!

So I bought it, followed quickly by some fabric earmarked for it – this heathered rayon/viscose twill from Mood Fabrics, which I brought back in my suitcase from the States last month. In total this fabric cost me $50 (about £40), which seems reasonable considering the final garment and the wears it’s gotten already.

A double gauze day dress

A while back I’d heard of a fabric called “double gauze” that was supposedly perfect for hot weather, but at the time it was really only available imported from Japanese shops and really expensive at that! Fast forward a few years and it’s now much more readily available locally, so when I was in Brighton last August I bought some of their muted teal double gauze fabric (also available in a bunch of other colours), keen to try it out. Double gauze is two layers of cotton gauze/muslin fabric joined together with stitches in a grid pattern which creates a sort of seeersucker or quilted texture. It also means the two layers may not be 100% on grain to each other, and it really likes to shrink in the wash so be sure to pre-wash it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it though until I saw the perfect day dress in the May 2019 edition of KnipMode magazine (#11, though #12 is a longer version with longer sleeves). The pattern is available to buy online, too, though be aware the instructions are in Dutch.

Sewing fun in Virginia and Baltimore

We’ve just come back from 10 days in America visiting my family spread across three states. My parents moved down from where I grew up in Pennsylvania to be closer to my brother and his family in Norfolk, Virginia a few years ago, so our first stop was down there to visit my immediate family.

I absolutely took the opportunity to order a few fabrics online to be shipped to their house before we arrived, since I knew the in-person fabric opportunities weren’t great down there. I have a limited space for my fabric stash (on purpose!) and that space is pretty full so I made a conscious effort to only buy a few fabrics that I had specific projects tied to.