Announcing the Spring Race Challenge!

Everybody could use a bit more motivation to exercise, right? In my opinion, spring time is the absolute best time to start exercising if you haven’t been doing as much as you’d like, and what better way to motivate yourself than with some pretty new exercise gear that fits you perfectly?

The Spring Race Challenge is simple – sew up some exercise gear, and sign up to a race.

Sewing:

It doesn’t matter whether the sewing is self-drafted, from one of my patterns, or from another pattern company. The important bit is that you’ve sewn it yourself!

Racing:

It doesn’t matter what sport you’re into – running, cycling, swimming, karate, gymnastic, cross fit, whatever! You do not have to be speedy. This isn’t about beating your competition, or getting a new PB, or signing up to some lofty challenge – this is all about picking a goal and motivating yourself to work towards it. If running is your thing, I highly recommend checking out your local Parkrun – they’re free, timed 5km runs every Saturday around the world.

How to take part!

Step 1: Place the Spring Race Challenge badge somewhere on your blog (if you have one – if not, tell a friend or tweet it with #SweatAndSew or post it to Facebook!).

The Spring Race Challenge podium

The Spring Race Challenge officially came to a close this week, but that’s no reason you should stop sewing your own exercise gear, or challenging yourself! But I had to draw a line somewhere so I could stop and draw a winner from the enormous (and sweaty!) pile of entrants, and I don’t think we can carry on calling this “spring” much longer, or the Aussies really will be into spring!

Everyone made such an effort in their sporty makes, and many of you said that you wouldn’t have pushed yourself to either a) sew exercise clothing nor b) sign up to a race if it wasn’t for this challenge, which is such a boost! Because seeing others exercise is such a big motivation, I want to show you all the entrants so you can see how great me-made exercisewear can be. And that it’s not just bonkers-me doing it!

(Though if you would like to know more about lil-ol-bonkers me, Karen from “Did You Make That?” interviewed me for her own Sporty Summer Sewathon and she asked some great questions!!)

The Sweaty Sewists (in order of submission)

The Spring Race Challenge – prizes!

Hands up if you’ve been motivated by the Spring Race Challenge to sew up some lycra and go out and be active… ooh yes, that’s rather a lot of you!

Well, I’m pleased to report that there’s now another reason to be motivated to enter before 7 July, and that’s because I can finally announce the prizes, which will go to one lucky entrant, chosen by random draw.

Sewing Chest has very kindly supplied a special activewear kit full of goodies to sew at least one workout garment (and likely two, if you’re clever with your cutting)! It contains:

  • 1.5m x 170cm wide black wicking supplex
  • 40cm x 160cm wide pinky-red wicking supplex (not as hot pink as it appears in my photo, honest!)
  • 50cm x 150cm of lightweight black powernet
  • 1.5m of 2cm wide black elastic, perfect for waistbands or under bra XYT bands
  • 5m of black FOE

It should be enough for you to sew, say, a pair of PB Jam leggings in black with red contrasts, plus a black XYT Workout Top with a red upper back and FOE edges… or a pair of black Duathlon Shorts with red sides and a black VNA Top with red lower front and bindings… Or any other combo you choose, really!

These activewear kits will soon be available to buy from Sewing Chest, too, which should make it super easy to buy all the bits for coordinating sportswear in one go!

I’ll also be throwing in a bumper prize pack of all four of my sewing patterns (if you haven’t got them already!) to the lucky winner so she can have some new patterns to go with the new fabric, too.

Dozens of Duathlons!

I’m not entirely sure where the time went since my birthday and the release of my latest Duathlon shorts pattern (oh yeah, I ran that marathon thing…), but the internet has simply exploded with amazing finished versions of the Duathlon Shorts and capris in only a few short weeks.

If you’re looking for inspiration to sew up your own activewear or join in the Spring Race Challenge (open through 4th July weekend now!), then settle on in…

Kathy’s capris

Kathy’s one of my pattern testers so she had a bit of a head start on the rest of you, but she liked the pattern so much she went on to make two versions of the capris, both with really nice contrasting fabric choices:

Kathy also shows how to alter the pattern to increase the back crotch length, which can be really useful if you’re a visual learner like me! One thing to note though is that Kathy’s showing the test version of the pattern – in the final version the little bump is smoothed out and I’ve added 2cm to the upper back to account for the seated posture of cyclists. Otherwise the fit should be exactly the same as my PB Jam Leggings, so if you made fit alterations to those, you can confidently do the same to these!

Kathy also turned a mistake into a great design feature – if you flip the upper side panel to the inside, you can have a pocket that opens against your body for extra security! She has one opening out for easy access, and one opening in for stuff like keys and ID.

Katherine’s bikers & gathered-side swimmers

Katherine’s another one of my pattern testers, so her first biker shorts pair are pretty much straight off the pattern to test for me (though I really like having the top side panel be the only contrast!), but then for her second pair, she’s gone and done one of the most exciting adaptations ever!!

She’s taken the booty short length, but shortened the side panel and gathered the front and back to match – making the panel stand out just by the texture change! She’s also completely lined these and made them in chlorine-resistant lycra so she can swim in them. Omg, do I now have to change the name to Triathlon Shorts??

Sandra’s sunny capris

I love that by total coincidence, Sandra has made the inverse of Katherine’s colourblocking on her capris! You can really see how the whole look changes when you change the colours of the three main sections.

Sandra makes some great points about the pocket in her post, too – when I was designing these I tried to adopt a “cycle first” mentality, and the pocket illustrates this perfectly. Instead of placing the pocket anywhere along the side seam, I sat down, saw where the crease of my leg was, and made sure the pocket didn’t cover this area – if it had, the contents would dig into your legs every time you pedaled! So it may feel a little low if you’re not cycling, but it’ll make sense when you sit down.

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I run the London Marathon.

(Actually, I’m way more excited than that sounds. Add in a “Weeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!”)

I will be running in my newest Duathlon shorts, so I’ll be sure to share some photos of myself in them for the Spring Race Challenge! Remember that if you’re entering the prize draw, you need to link to your photo in the comments of that post – I’ve seen some great photos already but they need to be added there so I don’t lose any.

If you’d like to track me during the race tomorrow (it starts at 10am BST), I’ve detailed three different ways you can do so over on my Riverrunner site. I’ll especially need comments after 2.5 hours in, so that’s about 12:30ish local time (or 7:30 EDT).

Duathlon Shorts sewing pattern – on sale now!

It’s been several months in the making, but I’m pleased to report that my third sewing pattern is on sale now! Please welcome the Duathlon shorts!


buy!

This is a pattern for close-fitting capris or shorts in three lengths with contrast side panels. There’s an integrated pocket at each hip, perfect for gels, keys, or your phone plus an optional padding piece for cyclists wanting some extra comfort on their ride. An elasticated, high-rise waistband means they won’t shift around as you move, either!


Read more details in the Shop section…

If you’re not familiar with the term, a Duathlon is a competition where you run, bike, and then run again, and I designed this pattern to be both runner and cyclist friendly (and dance, and yoga, and hiking, and skating!). The draft is very similar to my PB Jam Leggings but with a slightly higher back rise to accommodate the seated, cycling position, and with the pockets placed lower on the hips so your leg crease doesn’t get in the way when you’re sitting down. Lots of people asked for a leggings pattern that could be easier to make fit alterations on, and this is it!

Like my other patterns, these are designed to use up fun scraps leftover from other projects, and I’ve even got a thrifty tip coming up if you haven’t got enough length for the long Upper Side piece, too!