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Listen to me on two new podcasts!

For the record – I freaking love listening to podcasts. I listen while I sew, walk around London, and before I go to sleep some nights. I mean, my last job was even at a podcast company!

So I was super excited when two new UK sewing podcasts launched recently and even MORE excited when I was asked to join them for a chat! And then out of sheer coincidence, both episodes ended up going live this week so you all have got no excuse for not hearing my funny trans-Atlantic accent all weekend long! 😂

Behind the scenes on my “Serging Activewear” shoot

Thanks so much for all your enthusiasm on the launch of my Serging Activewear Craftsy class guys!! I wanted to talk a little today about what went into the making of this class because I know you all love hearing about this sort of thing, but also I found it fascinating to see how much work goes on in preparation, too!

As I mentioned earlier this week, I actually started working on the class prep back all the way back in December! The leadup isn’t usually quite this long, but we started the new year with a very intense few weeks of devising the script with my fantastic category editor, Elaine, over Skype. Basically, we had to work out what I was going to talk about, in what order, and what sort of samples I’d need to sew up ahead of time in addition to the ones I’d actually sew on camera.

Activewear Masterclass – new date added!

Wow, so many of you have booked my Activewear Masterclass in July that we’ve gone and added a second date! So if you wanted to attend the first one but couldn’t on that weekend, you can now book for Sunday 30 September as well!

Like the July date, this is a one-day masterclass held at New Craft House here in London, and you’ll learn how to sew strong and stretchy seams on a regular sewing machine, adapt patterns to your specific sports, plus sew up a pair of leggings and a workout top, ALL IN ONE DAY! Plus you’ll receive a signed copy of my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book, too!

How to add hand mitts or a turtleneck to the Winter Base Layer

I absolutely love the Winter Base Layer for cold weather exercising – I’ve both run and cycled in mine and I get so many compliments whenever I wear them! But with a few simple steps you can also change both the sleeves and neck to make it even more versatile.

Today I’ll be showing you how you can use the hand mitts from the Surf to Summit Top pattern instead of the included thumb cuffs, and also how to extend the neckline into a turtleneck (aka polo neck) if you’d prefer.

How to widen the Yoga Bottoms’ legs

Current fashions in activewear are pretty much exclusively for a narrow, close-fitting ankle on leggings, but this wasn’t always the case. Just as in the wider fashion world, activewear follows current trends and what goes up must come down and wider legs will surely come back around again! When I started running in the early 2000s, my first few pairs of running trousers were all bootcut, and I know there are people out there who prefer a wider ankle opening on their activewear, too. After all, do we not sew in order to have our clothing exactly the way we want it?

Luckily, altering the Yoga Bottoms in order to have a straight leg or bootcut is really simple. As this design doesn’t change much from the block below the knee, you can actually make this alteration at any stage before cutting the fabric, but if you’d like to do the same to, say, the Active Leggings, you’ll want to widen the lower legs of you block before following the pattern change instructions from the book.

Let’s talk about gussets

Let’s all take a moment to talk about gussets – crotch gussets in particular, and what they can and can’t do, because there is just so much misinformation floating around about them. A gusset is a separate piece of fabric sewn into a seam, most commonly seen on underarms (especially in vintage styles) and on the crotch of trousers.

The purpose of a gusset is to increase the range of motion of the limbs nearby – so in the case of the vintage blouse, its because a dolman sleeve doesn’t really allow the arm to raise naturally due to the shape of the bodice/sleeve piece and the limitations on the non-stretch fabric. So a small gusset is added to the underarm will allow the wearer to raise her arms. The same principle applies to crotch gussets – the purpose of a crotch gusset is to increase the range of motion of the legs.

Sewing Activewear Without a Serger

One of the biggest misconceptions about sewing your own activewear seems to be that you need to have a serger/overlocker to do so. Even people who don’t sew end up asking me about this immediately after they find out what I do, and it’s just not true! You really can make sturdy and functional activewear even if you just have a regular sewing machine, and there’s no better time to get started than right now!

On my stall at the Great British Sewing Bee Live show last September I had a list of about ten different activewear techniques I was ready to demonstrate to visitors. I showed a fair few how to do the basic three elastic edge finishes, but I pretty just spent all my time showing people how easy to is to sew basic activewear seams using a regular sewing machine – over and over again!

Elastic edges three ways

Today I’d like to show you how you can change up the look of your “Sew Your Own Activewear” Vest Top by simply changing the way you finish off the neckline and armhole edges. Elastic edges are super important in activewear as they hold the fabric close to the body, reducing the risk of chafing, but also making it less likely to get caught on things (a real safety risk when climbing!), or exposing yourself accidentally (hello downward dog!), and also to keep contents from falling out of your pockets, too.

These methods are great ones to have in your sewing skillset as you can also use them on the Crop Top (which we’ll be looking at more next week!) as well as my XYT Workout Top pattern. All three of these methods can be done on your basic sewing machine, and once you get the hang of them, you’ll find all sorts of uses!