A Room Of One Sewn

After a bit of hard labour with some power tools and brute force, I was able to clear three of the little hotel rooms on our boat two weekends ago. One became a walk-in wardrobe, one will very shortly become James’s office, and the third blossomed into my (temporary) sewing room (all the little hotel room walls will be ripped out to make way for our living room, two bedrooms, and two en-suites. The fate of a sewing room in the new plans is still unclear!).

But let’s move on to a tour of my sewing room, since this is probably the tidiest it’ll ever be…

Here’s the overview shot of the whole room. It’s about the size of two single beds side-by-side, with light coming from two halogen lamps and the porthole (which puts out a surprising amount of light during the day).

A tour of my new sewing room!

I know I’ve been talking about my new sewing room for ages (and believe me, it feels like even longer to me!) but I’m finally moved in and so chuffed to finally share it with you!

My new sewing room is very small, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in cool points – who else has a sewing room on a boat, concealed behind a hidden bookcase door, eh??

This is the bit everyone loves – a modified Hemnes bookcase from Ikea, with reinforcements, casters (wheels), and a hidden pull latch to keep it closed. Our joiner is a genius and we’re so lucky to have found him!! The greatest thing about this is that my sewing room is at the very end of the corridor, and the way the various deck heights work means there’s a porthole just above the bookcase. So it really does look convincing, like there’s no boat beyond it!!

Once inside, I’ve put a corkboard on the inside of the door as a place to pin all my magazine clippings, sketches of designs past and present, and general mood-boardy stuff. You can also see how small the room is here – it’s only a little under 2m (6 feet) long by 2m wide at its widest point.

Also take note of the smoked oak parquet floor that I painstakingly cut, laid, sanded, and hand oiled myself. Loooouuuurve my floor! It was expensive, both in cost and effort, but so worth it.

When you enter the room, immediately on your left you’ll find Susan, my dressform (seen here wearing my Laurie King fabric collaboration VNA Top pattern), and my pattern rack, which I’ve had for quite a few years but came from the garment industry supply shop, Morplan. As you can see from the number of patterns on it, I find it unbelievably useful! Also note the cute sewing machine clock my mom sent over to me!

A Mountain of Your Makes (Part One)

I am long, long overdue at showing off all your incredible, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns, and I’ve accumulated so many over the past 6 months or so (shocking, I know!) that it’s enough to fill not one, not two, but three posts! These are only in rough date order from when I collected them, so if you don’t see your more recent make included, hold on, as it may be in Parts Two or Three (all of the Surf to Summit Tops are yet to come!).

Devon and her “Rainbow Sparkle Pants of Awesome” PB Jams


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Winnie’s third(!) art-print VNA


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Ms McCall’s spotty Duathlons


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Kat’s new XYT Workout Top


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Ms McCall’s Threshold Shorts


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Maria’s Funki Fabrics “dyesplosion” XYT Top & Duathlon Shorts


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Patrones spring coat – hood and more…

On Saturday I went shopping for supplies with Johanna Lu while she was holidaying in town, yay! We hit up Goldhawk Road and MacColluch & Wallis so I was able to get the rest of the supplies I needed for the spring coat, as well as stock up on a few things I knew would be difficult to get online for the rest of the year, like quality interfacings (I knows it when I feels it, okay?). She had the forethought to bring a camera along shopping, so you’ll have to stalk her blog for the next few days to see us giddy in fabric mecca!

I was very disciplined on Goldhawk Road and only bought three fabrics (at the end of the list there) – grey corduroy, since I adore the cords at one particular shop there and I don’t think I’ll be able to go back before Fall, a red & white cotton poplin with stylised flowers that’s already earmarked for two projects, and my one impulse buy – a very cool lycra jersey with tons of overlapping stripes going every which way. Oh, and the lining for my Spring coat.

Speaking of that Patrones spring coat:

The “Sew Your Own Activewear” Cycling Top

What’s an activewear book without some cycling kit? Not much of an activewear book, if you ask me, so I knew that I absolutely wanted to include some cycle-specific gear when I was developing the designs for my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book. I’d already developed a great cycling top (as well as all-around winter exercise and rashguard!) when I’d made my Surf to Summit Top pattern (also available for men!), so I wanted to take some learnings from that and make the book design different enough that cyclists would want to make both!

A digitally printed Active Jacket

So you might be thinking “Wait – haven’t I seen this jacket before?” and if you follow me on Instagram then you’d be right. Or if you follow this blog on RSS or by email, then you may also be right, as I’d taken these photos last fall but wanted to save the post until the book came out, and then accidentally made my draft post live when I added some tags to it (I do love Wordpress but it is WAY too easy to do that – on my old blog platform it was almost impossible to set something live accidentally!).

But in either of those circumstances, you didn’t really get to see or hear very much about this jacket, but I am SO happy with it and bursting to share!

Happy 2018! (My Year in Review)

Happy fresh and new baby year, everyone! I always like to celebrate the first of the year with a look back at the year that’s just completed – this gives me a chance to reflect at the things I’ve accomplished, the garments I’ve made, and challenges conquered. As is traditional, I find myself starting 2018 with lots of great stuff on the horizon but unable to talk about it (this time last year my two big secrets were my Threads article and my book deal, so you’d better believe 2018’s secret project is a good’un!) so you’ll just have to trust me that the outlook for 2018 is rosy indeed!

On location with my athlete models

My sewing activewear book won’t be out til early 2018, but due to lead times in the publishing world, the words are already written, illustrations drawn, patterns drafted, and samples sewn. Some of you may think I’m just being a cruel tease by not showing you all 13 designs right now but honestly, it’s better this way – if I revealed all now, not only would you still have to wait til next year to sew them up anyway, but they’d also be tired and old in your mind – “Didn’t I already see this design somewhere before…?”. So at least this way you may have to wait a while to see everything, but you’ll be able to start sewing them without too much of a gap. When I do have bits I can share, however, I’m happy to do so as I know so many of you are as excited as I am to see its arrival, which is awesome!

One big advantage of working with a major international publisher is that they know how to best shoot and show off the designs I’ve created. From the very first meeting I requested to bring my own athlete models, as I wanted to showcase real women who workout – not just models doing a fake run for the cameras. For the 13 designs we’d need 3 athlete models, and since some of the shots would be in a studio, it made sense for the publisher to source an athlete closer to their base in Devon – and Jade is every bit as strong and lovely as the ladies who’ve modelled for FehrTrade Patterns over the years!