Friday goodies

Give yourself a big round of applause because… team, we made it through another week! I know, I once took this for granted, too, but it really does feel like an accomplishment these days, and this decidedly grey, damp, and cold February weather here in London certainly isn’t helping. So I thought I’d talk today about a bunch of little things that have come up recently that make me happy, so that possibly they’ll brighten your day a little bit, too.

First up is a bit of news from the world of press (did you see I’ve started compiling these sort of things over on a new and shiny Press page, btw?), where I’m featured in the latest issue of Women’s Running (UK) magazine! Seriously – you can’t miss me – as soon as you open the cover, there I am (with my mom!) on the contents page, plus a lovely two page spread inside, too.

The perfect day off – fabric shopping!

I hope you’re all enjoying the holiday season, whether you’re sewing gifts for family and friends, or taking time out for yourself, or as I’ve been doing – a bit of both! I had some excess holiday days to use up at my office job before the end of the year, so I just took some random days off here and there, earmarking the last one for a “stash replenishment” trip down to Ditto Fabrics in Brighton.

I know I’ve talked about Ditto quite a bit here but they probably are my favourite physical fabric shop on earth (with Kantje Boord coming in second!) – the owner, Gill, has an uncanny eye for fashion trends, picking up great bargains from the Italian design houses and it’s just one of those places where you know absolutely everything is high quality, but the prices are really reasonable, too.

I also really like the way the store is organised, too – rather than grouping the same fibre types together, or all the same colours together, or something like that, the fabrics are placed to encourage discovery and browsing, with complimentary colours and printed placed next to each other, which I love. This shelf featured muted, pale turquoises and yellows, and I, err, bought two fabrics off this one alone!

Since I knew which day I was going down, it happened that Claire was able to join me, too, which makes shopping SO much more fun!

It was a really leisurely shop, with a tea break in the middle, then deciding on our purchases, with some of my highlights being a wool Fair Isle-esque sweater knit, a muted turquoise french terry with bows & arrows, a watercolour print silk noile that is just heaven to touch, a matte sequin remnant, some of the robot print jersey I’ve been eyeing up online, and a muted turquoise lace that I’m sure will become a dress by springtime. And two lengths of denim, because Ditto do the best denim and I’m too spoiled by it to try anywhere else now!

Funkifabrics tech lycra is HERE! (And 20% discount)

Remember back in April when I helped Funkifabrics road-test some new technical lycra fabric bases? I had two bases to choose from (onto which they printed my choice of designs), so I went off on some intense runs in warm weather, and ultimately decided on one, which I then went and ran London marathon in!


Post London marathon in my experimental Funkifabric Steeplechase Leggings shorts!

Well, the same tech fabric I ran the marathon in is now available, and in a collection of twelve limited edition prints!

You can read more about their selection process (which involved feedback from their customers) as well as links to buy each pattern in their blog post here (and no, they’re not planning on offering the tech base in solids yet so ignore the sports bras).

They’ve also got a rare 20% off everything sale running until tomorrow night (midnight BST, 10 June) which includes these new bases! I’ve been buying Funki’s regular Flexcite lycra for nearly two years now and this is only the second time I’ve ever seen them do a sale, so if you’ve been waiting, I’d buy now!

More of your makes!

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


Read more…

Karen’s 5(!) Steeplechase Capris for herself and her daughters


Read more…

Maria’s three pairs of Steeplechase Capris, with great reflective accents


Read more…

Sally’s wintry Surf to Summit for the ski slopes!


Read more…

Maria’s “Hunger Games” inspired Duathlon leggings


Read more…

mixtilli’s red Lacey Thong lingerie set


Read more…

Little shoots of Spring

Like little green shoots poking through the earth as the warmth of Spring approaches, I feel like my sewing productivity and creativity is just pushing through from all angles at the moment. I’m so proud that so many of you love my Steeplechase Leggings pattern as much as I do (and I’ve got loads more to share!) but I wanted to share a bunch of smaller things I’ve been getting on with…

Have you ever heard of Sock Stop? It’s a bit like puffy paint we used in the 90s, but it’s intended to paint onto the bottoms of socks and slippers to prevent slips and falls. I bought
some from Guthrie & Ghani recently to see if it helps keep activewear hems in place without requiring silicone elastic (which can be a bit fiddly to sew on). I’ve tried it out on the hems of my Steeplechase capris (which you’ll see soon) and I want to test them out on my next cycle ride…

I can’t believe my birthday’s nearly here again – it seems like I only just made my galaxy-print sheath dress! I celebrated early with my BFF Pip, and she very kindly bought me this Secrets of Sewing Lingerie book and a metre of gorgeous silk chiffon from Dalston Mills! I’m super impressed by the variety and styles of panties, bras, camisoles, garter belts, and accessories in the book, but I want to try out a few patterns before I post a review.

In progress bits

Contrary to the amount of time I’ve been spending behind a computer recently, I actually have been finding some time here and there to sew, too. It’s just, well, most of it is for my next pattern, which is going well, but is still at least three weeks off going live (sorry!). It turns out that, even though I can reuse some parts of the pattern between the men’s and women’s versions, there still an awful lot of extra work involved in creating two versions!

You might reasonably expect that I’d have to make twice as many samples, but there’s other added time involved with “invisible tasks” like walking seam lines and measuring finished garments, for instance. While both are made considerably easier done digitally, and even moreso if you’ve organised yourself a nice little Excel spreadsheet to do the heavy calculating and imperial converting, there’s still an awful lot of measuring to be done. But it gives me a little thrill when I can see my finished garment measurements vs body measurements equating to ease, down to 1/100ths of a mm!


This is just a small portion of my spreadsheet – the other bits gave too much away!

If you want to be the first to hear details of my new pattern, then now is an excellent time to sign up for my FehrTrade patterns mailing list, which which you’ll find at the bottom of my Shop front page. If you ticked “Yes” to marketing emails when grabbing my free Running Armband Pocket pattern, then you’re already on it. And I absolutely promise you that the email volume will be really low volume and only important stuff, like sneak previews and special voucher codes.

So on top of getting my next pattern ready to send to my two teams of pattern testers, organising athlete-models, and sewing up more samples, I’ve been spending my office hours working on an upcoming sewing book (not mine!) for a publisher, too. So it’s good practice in double-checking instructions and illustrations, but it is rather brain-taxing to be doing all day!

I’ve managed to squeeze in a few “Fun Sewing” projects, though, including a pair of leggings made from some luuuuuuuuuscious Funki Fabrics lycra (bought with my own money).

A Week in a Day

I’ve been a bad blogger this week. I’ve been doing lots (as you’ll soon see), but working every weekend for the past three, plus the weeks in between, and some out-of-town trips have all really sapped my enthusiasm to write! So I’m taking the lazy option out and catching you all up with a little roundup – a week’s worth of posts in a day…

Like the Wind workshop

Cult running magazine Like the Wind approached me a few months ago to ask if I’d like to run a “sew your own leggings workshop” at the week-long popup they were throwing together at the end of October. I’d known one half of the husband-and-wife team that run the magazine, but I’d never met Julie before this. Once I found out that she not only owns her own overlocker, but bought it when she sewed her own wedding dress with it(!), I knew we’d get along just fine.

We had five runners who’d only done a small amount of sewing before, but had never touched an overlocker before, and certainly not a coverstitch either! They each picked their own fabric from FunkFabrics’ range, and walked home in some very stylish leggings at the end of the afternoon!

Georgina picked a “Gotham” print, so of course she just had to pose with the Batman art in the gallery!

And here’s the finished set! I saw quite a few little “omg I’m so happy in my leggings” dances at the end, which really reminds me why I love teaching so much. Lucy posted a great writeup of the street art tour and my class, too.

There may be another Like the Wind workshop in the new year if we can work out the logistics, but there will definitely be more up at the Thriftystitcher studio in January and February, to be announced very soon! The classes are very similar, so if you’re a runner you can come learn at Thriftystitcher, or non-runners vice-versa at Like the Wind.

But I was so jealous of all their finished leggings that I treated myself to some Funkifabrics lycra this week (it was difficult, but I settled on this geometric aqua number in the end, because it reminded me of a Lamb album cover!).

Random sweatshirt sewing

When I was pulling out supplies to bring along to the workshop, I came across pieces for this sweatshirt that I’d cut out in February when I was trying to deplete random bits of leftover sweatshirting that was taking up too much room in my little sewing cave. The lavender “sacrificial sweatshirt” came out of that same cull, but for some reason I never quite got around to sewing this blue one together at the time.

Free Running Armband Pocket pattern (and new Shop!)

I promised you earlier in the week that I had a free pattern on the way, and it’s here!

Please welcome the FREE Running Armband Pocket pattern, a super quick pouch to wear on your arm that takes way under an hour to sew (10-15min for most!) and uses scraps you’ve probably got lying around anyway.

This armband has a pocket on one side with a simple fold-over flap for keeping things like a phone, keys, travelcard, etc tight against your arm while you run. There are no closures – the band just slips over your arm and the stretchiness of the fabric holds it in place.

Now the astute amoungst you are probably thinking “Wait – didn’t she do a tutorial for this already?” and you’d be right. You’d also be correct if you tried to follow said tutorial and found it a little bit confusing! I know I sure did when I went back to it a few months later and struggled to follow what Previous Me was talking about…

Running arm band pocket (with tutorial!)

A few weeks ago, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind making two prizes for the RDC Mission Impossible event this Saturday, and I knew it’d be the perfect opportunity to try my hand at drafting some arm pouches while helping out my crew at the same time.

Essentially, I reverse-engineered a Y-Fumble I own to figure out how they constructed it (no Y-Fumbles were harmed – I just thought about it hard and made a prototype first!). The only problem is that they’re available in limited colours and the lycra feels quite flimsy to me, so if I can make my own I have a lot more freedom in the fabrics used.

It’s an arm band that has a pocket on one side, with a simple fold-over flap for keeping things like phones, keys, travelcard, etc nicely inside and tight against your arm while your run. There are no closures – the band just slips over your wrist and up your arm and the stretchiness of the fabric holds it in place. I wear mine on my forearm to hold gels for long runs, but you can also put them on your upper arm, too, if you’d rather. Even though the back doesn’t contain a pocket, it’s still double-sided so all the raw edges are nicely contained inside.

For these prize versions, I used leftover red bamboo jersey from my Donna Karan dress so they’re nice and soft, and should resist bad smells, too.

For those of you who are interested in my thought process, here’s the sketch I used when working out what pieces I’d need, and then how I’d construct it all together: