My Fun Sewing Weekend was going so well after I made my galaxy sweatshirt and black travel skirt that I decided to tweak the fit on my Kwik Sew one-piece leggings pattern and test it out on some unsuspecting cheetah-print nylon lycra from UK Fabrics (well, they call it leopard, but I say cheetah!).
I’d made this pattern a few times for myself and many times in classes, but I noticed when I made my crazy cat lady leggings recently that the fit was a bit too loose in places. I totally blame this on my training firming me up further, since the leggings were loose around the hips, upper thighs, and ankles. And perfectly fine at my runner’s calves and quads!
So I shaved off a good centimeter from the front & back crotch curves (meaning 4cm overall), another 1.5cm wedge from the inner thigh on both sides, and then a hefty 3cm wedge from both sides at the ankles. I have tiny, bird-like ankles, and the standard ankle width was just flapping in the breeze… So now my pattern is something like Size Small/XS in the waist and hips & upper thigh, Medium in the lower thigh/knee/calf, and XSish in the ankles. Hooray for custom fit!
These literally took me 20 minutes to cut out and sew together, and I wore them out on my Sunday run around Greenwich Park and back home along the river. These felt so much better for the little fitting tweaks – the cat leggings start to fall down after a few kilometers and pool around my quads (a sure sign they’re too loose above that point), but these stayed in place for the whole 20km run!
Phew! It’s been one heck of a few weeks! I’ve shown you all of the many different versions of the Surf to Summit Top pattern that I’ve made not only for myself, but also my athlete-models. So far you’ve seen versions for snowboarding and cycling, and surfing, but today’s versions are all for winter running.
One of the great things about this design are all the opportunities for colourblocking, and I wanted to play around on this version so you can really see the seamlines – plus I added an extra seam of my own on the shoulders! On the Front and Back, I used some forest green UA Cold Gear fabric (now long gone) from my stash. On the Side panels, I used some reflective fabric from The Rain Shed. A note about this fabric, though – I really like it, but it is not lycra as stated in the description – it’s much, much closer to the sort of textured fabric you find in technical race tees (like DriFit). For the sleeves I used some leopard-print lycra from UK Fabrics, but I didn’t have quite enough leftover from my leggings to fit the entire sleeve in, so I introduced a curved seamline and used some reflective fabric at the shoulder instead.
But let me introduce my athlete-model, Daniel. I’ve probably run more training miles with Daniel than anyone else on earth and he’s a great friend of mine, in additional to being a truly inspiring runner. Dan only started running a few years ago, and has truly embraced endurance running, going from running his ever first race (a 10k) to running his first 100km ultra this year, with a bunch of marathons thrown in for good measure. He’s even run the grueling Mont Blanc Marathon, and regularly passes runners half his age on Tuesday nights.
I made this men’s version of the Surf to Summit Top at the very end of the testing process, so it’s identical to the version you buy, and I especially like how this fits Dan in the waist and hips – this is exactly how I intended the men’s version to fit. It’s slim-fitting without being loose, but isn’t skin-tight, either. If you prefer your tops to fit differently, I’ve included instructions on how to alter the pattern to get the fit you want, as I discovered in testing that men are really polarised on how they like their exercise tops!
I’ve been a fan of FunkiFabrics for a long time (ie: before it was cool!), having made a sports bra, shorts, and leggings from their digital print lycra back in 2013. I’ve been meaning to get some more to use for myself, but it always felt like I was buying it on request for clients and students and never for me!
But recently I decided enough was enough ad I splurged on some luuuuuuuuuscious Funki Fabrics lycra in the “triathlon” print (bought with my own money). This fabric could not be more me – geometric print with turquoise and purples?! (It also comes in a red/orange/pink colourway).
I teamed it up with the basic, one-piece Kwik Sew leggings pattern that I’d recently altered in strange places to suit my runner’s legs, so I knew that the pattern would work well on the run and not bother me by shifting around! I’d made these with an eye to wear at the Three Molehills race, but the old adage “Nothing new on race day” lives deep within my psyche, so I took them out for a test run through Hampstead Heath (and the infamous Swains Lane) the weekend before:
It was only a short loop round the Heath, but long enough for me to tell they were going to be great (and that the mud washed out of them just fine on a cold sports wash!).
When I got home and put a sweatshirt on to warm up, I realised how well the print teamed with royal blue as well as purple! It’s a definite bonus for me when I can pair leggings with a number of tops in my running wardrobe…
So when the morning of the Three Molehills race arrived, I wasn’t even all that concerned that the forecast was for heavy downpours the entire day – at least I had fun leggings to wear round the super hilly, 16 mile
Photo credit: SussexSportPhotography.com
I try to show you all my finished garments in the order I make them, but I just can’t wait to show you my wildest running leggings yet! I only finished the hems on Monday night and stuffed them into my running bag to wear to Run dem Crew last night, and WOW, they got a glowing reception!
I made these with Funki Fabrics’ digitally printed lycra in “Tribal white on black”, plus fluorescent yellow lycra from Minerva Fabrics, inserted above the knee (and is WAY brighter than it appears in these photos!).
I liked the design lines of this McCalls leggings pattern, so I adapted my self-drafted leggings pattern to have similar sections above the knee, with angled thigh seams to be a bit more flattering (or, as flattering as you can get in neon yellow, ha!).
I had a friend take these photos after our run last night (a very fast 10km run with the Cheetah group around Victoria Park! Geeky stats here if you’re interested)
It’s that time again! I can barely keep up with all your amazing, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns these days, and before I know it, I’ve got an overflowing heap to share with you! I know how helpful many of you find these – it’s all well and good that I make nice versions of my patterns, but so much more helpful when you see how good they look on other bodies, too!
Be sure to click through to read the details and see more photos on each of these entries, too. With a long weekend coming up both here in the UK and in the US, there’s no excuse not to whip up something sporty!
Winnie’s Steeplechase Leggings with exterior rolled seams & zebra Surf to Summit
Karen’s 5(!) Steeplechase Capris for herself and her daughters
Maria’s three pairs of Steeplechase Capris, with great reflective accents
Sally’s wintry Surf to Summit for the ski slopes!
Maria’s “Hunger Games” inspired Duathlon leggings
mixtilli’s red Lacey Thong lingerie set
I’ve had a few people ask me, “When are you going to release a sports bra pattern?” And to be honest, the short answer is that I have no plans to. My aim has always been to create exercise patterns for designs that aren’t already available, and in my opinion, there’s already a great compression sports bra pattern* out there, Jalie 2563, hiding in the guise of a “Sports top”.
I recently found out that my favourite sports bra pattern is being discontinued (Moving Comfort’s “Phoebe”, boo!), so this was the push I needed to sew up a few more of my own, ready for the next few months of marathon training. I was already cutting into my lycra scraps to create Running armband pockets to fundraise for Argentina, so I cut out some sports bra pieces at the same time when I saw I could fit them in.
The result is two sports bras, one made with Funkifabrics Triathlon (Aqua) print lycra and UK Fabrics navy blue nylon lycra shoulder straps, and one made from UK Fabrics Leopard print nylon lycra topped with aqua nylon lycra (also from UK Fabrics but long sold out). You may remember these fabrics from a bunch of former projects – my triathlon print leggings, my ladies’ cycling Surf to Summit version, my cheetah print leggings, my men’s running Surf to Summit, and my aqua & yellow piping Surf to Summit. Never let it be said I don’t get my money’s worth!
These two were made assembly-line style, so as I sewed the seams on one, I’d do the other at the same time. Happily the colours are similar enough that I could do this without having to rethread all the time.