Pimp my Duathlon Shorts

For my first set of patterns, I was designer, pattern drafter, digitiser, and model, but for my latest Duathlon Shorts pattern, I wanted to bring in a few athlete friends to help model the different versions. You’ve already seen her legs modelling the “Booty Shorts” version on the pattern envelope, but my friend, training partner and sometimes-coach Claudia really helped me in the early testing stages to get the pattern suitable for cyclists.

She’s modelling the second version I made for her here, in size XXS using the “Booty Short” length. Even though these are short, you still get the integrated pockets on both sides and a nice place to use up contrast fabric. She specifically asked for dark fabric for the main shorts, as you can apparently get unattractive crotch sweat patches while cycling, even in wicking fabrics, and they’re apparently less noticeable in dark colours! Dark colours or bold patterns also help to disguise the topstitching used to attach the crotch padding as well…

The “Sew Your Own Activewear” Cycling Shorts

I can’t quite believe it, but this is our final week and 13th design from my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book! It feels like just yesterday it was the start of January and I finally got to tell you all about the first of the designs in the book. And here we are, 13 weeks later, and I’ve taken you in-depth on each one of them. I’ve saved one of the best for last, though, and I think you’ll find that the Cycling Shorts are a super stylish addition to your activewear wardrobe, even if you never climb onto a bike!

Angel's Duathlon Capris

You’ve already seen my first athlete-model, Claudia, rocking the Booty Short length, plus a ton of different versions from around the sew-o-sphere, but I wanted to show you a pair of my Duathlon Shorts pattern I made in the Capri length for my friend, hero, and inspiration, Angel Dee!

Angel’s not only a super fit runner (she just ran London marathon, too!), but she’s also finishing her personal trainer certification after years of dreaming and working office jobs. Sometimes it’s all too easy to assume that super-fit people have always been that way (I know I’m guilty of that, too), or just “have great genes” or something, but Angel works hard – not only is she a mum to a teenage boy(!), but she’s overcome her fair share of serious health problems, too, which makes her enviable abs even more laudable! (Seriously, check out the #AbsLikeAngel hashtag on Twitter!)

Friday snippets

Happy Friday everyone! Congratulations for making it to the end of a week, and in celebration, I’ve got a bunch of little updates and goodies to share. Regular readers by now will know that I do this sort of “potpourri” post full of stuff that is too good to miss, but not really big enough to warrant it’s own post…

Three gifted Lightspeed Leggings

I’ve still got lots of holiday sewing to tell you about and today I wanted to focus on three pairs of our Lightspeed Leggings I made for Christmas gifts!

A good friend of ours spent Christmas with us this year, and seeing as how he’d helped me with the early development of the Lightspeed Leggings pattern I’d promised him a finished pair of shorts. On one of his visits months ago he’d picked out the remains of the houndstooth lycra (as seen modeled by Jason on the pattern cover), but when I went to cut it, I discovered there wasn’t enough! Boo.

As is typical for me, working within restraints often results in better designs than if I’m given free creative reign – so I decided to “make it work” and still give my friend the houndstooth running shorts he wanted, but with a curved piece of rust-coloured supplex at the bottom of the leg to make up the correct length. Since there are no side seams I was able to make a nice, smooth curve around the leg and I think the finished shorts are even better for it! (And more importantly, so does he!)

Cycling 120 miles with bacon and ikat

The Dunwich Dynamo isn’t a race – it’s not even an organised event. It’s much more a rite-of passage – an annual 120 mile bike ride from London Fields in east London to Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast. It’s been going for over 20 years and the route is just “known”, and the date is the Saturday closest to the full moon in July. Riders set off sometime between 7 and 9pm, and generally don’t make it to the beach at Dunwich until sunrise, or some hours thereafter.

I’ve written a full report on my ride over at my RiverRunner site if you’d like to hear more about what it’s like to cycle for 9.5 hours on a heavy mountain bike having previously only ridden 30 miles. It was tough, and some parts were more enjoyable than others!

This post is more about what I sewed in the leadup to the race, both for James and myself. My copy of the latest Sewing Bee book arrived two weeks ago, and I knew I wanted to sew up the men’s cycling jersey, just to see how it compares to my Surf to Summit men’s top, if nothing else! I did a bit of work behind the scenes on the show and book this year, and I helped out a bit with the instructions for this one but never had the pattern to sew it up myself until my finished book arrived.

Burda magazine May 2015

Thanks so much for your congratulations on my London marathon race this weekend! My legs are amazingly feeling pretty much back to normal already, though I still need quite a bit of recovery time “under the hood”. In all the excitement (and a fair bit of “post-marathon brain”), I completely forgot to congratulate some other fierce and fantastic women who ran it, too!

With a fair amount of resting time ahead of me in the next two weeks (before I run a half marathon, then cycle our first sportive, then run a 10km on successive weekends. No joke!), I’m hoping to get some quality sewing time in. But I’m not seeing much to inspire me in the latest Burda edition…

I’m really getting tired of Burda’s recent ruffle fixation, but I actually don’t hate this ruffled coat, which is surprising. Maybe it’s that it reminds me of the Lolita Patterns Spearmint coat, or maybe it just seems a bit more well thought out than just randomly slapping ruffles onto an unsuspecting garment…

On first glance, this seems like a dress pattern we’ve seen a thousand times before, but the overall body shape is closer to a cocoon-shape than I’ve seen in a dress before. And the pleated neckline creates a bit of interest (and could conceal a big meal, hahah).

Where to buy exercise fabric – a global list

One of my most frequently asked questions is definitely “where can I buy fabric for yoga/running/exercise/etc?”, so I thought it’s high time I make an attempt at something like a global list.

In general, though, the word you should be searching for is “Supplex”. This is a brand name, though, like Lycra (whose generic term is “spandex”), but the generic alternative is something like “wicking spandex”, and generally isn’t used as often as “Supplex” in fabric stores, I’ve found.

If you can buy supplex at a decent price, buy it. It’s soft, has great recovery, wicks away moisture while you’re sweating, and stands up to washing without a ton of pilling. It can be hard to find though, and sometimes only comes in a limited amount of colours, but I wouldn’t hesitate to run a marathon in supplex – it’s great stuff.

If you’re running shorter distances, or in cooler weather, you can get away with exercising in any number of lycra/spandex jerseys, though. These won’t wick sweat away, but they come in a gazillion colours and prints, plus have a multitude of foil and sequin effects, and can be way cheaper, too. Ditto goes for swimsuit fabrics – you can certainly use them for shorter exercise sessions even though they’re not wicking. Personally, I wouldn’t mind running a half marathon on a cool day in lycra leggings, but your mileage may vary (pun intended!).