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A Mountain of Your Makes (Part One)

I am long, long overdue at showing off all your incredible, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns, and I’ve accumulated so many over the past 6 months or so (shocking, I know!) that it’s enough to fill not one, not two, but three posts! These are only in rough date order from when I collected them, so if you don’t see your more recent make included, hold on, as it may be in Parts Two or Three (all of the Surf to Summit Tops are yet to come!).

Devon and her “Rainbow Sparkle Pants of Awesome” PB Jams


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Winnie’s third(!) art-print VNA


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Ms McCall’s spotty Duathlons


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Kat’s new XYT Workout Top


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Ms McCall’s Threshold Shorts


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Maria’s Funki Fabrics “dyesplosion” XYT Top & Duathlon Shorts


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Fehr Trade x Laurie King fabric – first samples

Thank you all so, so much for your enthusiasm and compliments on the launch of our fabric designs last week! I’ve been swamped with work (which is great!) but managed to squeeze in some time to sew up the first two samples – a VNA Top and Duathlon Shorts (booty length) in the coordinating “Maps” citrine & black colourway.

So if you buy one yard of the “Maps” citrine/black VNA fabric and one yard of the “Maps” citrine/black Duathlon fabric, this is what you get! Cool, eh? There’s more photos of me modelling at the end, but I know loads of you were waiting to see finished versions first before taking the plunge!

Having cut out and sewn both, I took some photos throughout the process, and have a few tips as well. The previous post shows you how to lay out your pieces onto the different zones, but in real life, I know my makeshift cutting table (err, desk!) isn’t big enough to hold the full yardage.

So the first thing I recommend is to cut the fabric apart along the different zones and trim the white borders.

This makes it a lot easier to match up the edges so you can fold the zones in half and cut on the fold (or in the case of the Duathlon shorts, cut two layers at once). It also means I can fit the fabric onto my cutting table!

A speedy weekend

Wow, thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and support for the new fabric designs – I’m so glad you all are as excited by the idea as I am!!

Unfortunately, however, I didn’t get a chance to sew them up into samples over the weekend because I was up north in Bolton competing in the British Transplant Games! On Saturday and Sunday I raced in the 3km “mini marathon”, 1500m, 800m, 400m, and 200m (my planned mixed relay race was cancelled due to poor weather).

The bulk of my races were on Sunday (in the sideways rain!), and I’m proud to say that I competed in my own designs – a VNA Top and a pair of Duathlon Shorts, booty length. I must say, this particular combo makes me feel so speedy and confident that I just loved racing in it. Also, if you haven’t tried the booty length, adding silicon “gripper” elastic to the hems makes a world of difference – they don’t budge at all, and were comfortable enough to wear under my team tracksuit all day.

Introducing… FehrTrade x Laurie King fabric designs!

By far the single biggest question I get with my exercise sewing patterns is “Where do I buy good fabric?”. Despite compiling a list of global stockists of exercise fabric, I totally get your frustration – it’s getting a lot easier to buy nice colours and quality wicking lycra, but prints are still difficult to get a hold of, and when you can, it’s often costly and difficult to match colours.

But what if you could buy just one yard of fabric and be able to sew up one garment with coordinating colours and stylish prints, and mix and match to make outfits that coordinate together, too?

I’m super pleased to announce that this is exactly what I and illustrator Laurie King have made happen! Laurie is an avid cyclist and dad to two small boys, and I’ve been a massive fan of his hand-drawn style since before he made that amazing couch on ITV’s The Cycle Show!

I’ve had this idea brewing for about 6 months now, but it took a design session with Laurie before the idea really came to life. Since I know the exact size and shape of all the pieces for my sewing patterns, I’ve created “zones” of print and colour on one yard of fabric using two of his prints in three different colourways. These prints are exclusively for your fabrics, too!! So there’s very little chance you’ll be exercising and catch someone across the room wearing the same thing!

The first collection is comprised of two prints – “Zigzag” and “Maps”, using three different colourways – “citrine/black”, “purple/citrine/teal”, and an “earthy” mix of forest green, slate blue, and muted red, which should be perfect for Fall and Winter. The idea is that we’ll be changing these up and releasing different designs a few times a year, too, so we’re open to ideas on colour combinations you’re loving!

Very many VNAs (And other FehrTrade Patterns!)

Wow, has it really been over three months since I did the last FehrTrade patterns roundup post? Well, in that time it’s clear that neither you nor I have been taking it easy, because I have so many amazing sporty garments to show you!

Frau Fleur’s triple Duathlons

Fleur Hoare liked her Duathlons so much that she made no less than THREE pairs, including one made up in crazy cat-print lycra (that I am also now the proud crazy cat lady owner of)!

She also gave a great tip about creating a fold at the top of the pockets if you want a bit of extra security, which is totally worth checking out.

Sarai & Kristen’s coordinating cat-print race gear

But if you thought these would be the last cat-printed exercise gear you’d see all day, then friends, prepare to have your expectations exceeded. The Colette Patterns ladies went and sewed an XYT Top, Duathlon Shorts, and RTW-knockoff, all in coordinating cat-print wicking lycra.

And then ran a half marathon in them. BOOM!

Amélie’s star-print VNA & Duathlons

Amélie wrote me the loveliest email recently, telling me that she had once been very fit and active in a variety of sports, but had fallen out of the habit. But when she saw my pattern designs, she was inspired not only to sew them up, but also head out on her first run in years! How amazing is that?!

To start, she made a gorgeous red and grey star-print set using the VNA Top and the Duathlon Shorts, and she’s already got an XYT Top in the works, too!

My teal mixed-print VNA Top and bonus booty shorts

I showed you a casual version of my new VNA Top pattern a few weeks ago, modeled by my athlete friend Anne, but one of the great things about this pattern is that it works equally well for both exercising and lounging about. Just change the fabrics and go up a size and it’s ready to throw on with jeans!

Since you’ve already seen one casual version, I wanted to show you my favourite workout version – actually, this might be my favourite workout top ever – I just love how the fabrics coordinate together!

If you’ve used any of my patterns before, you know how great they are for using up small pieces of fabric – because sportswear fabric can be expensive and I hate wasting anything, but also because it means you can coordinate tops and bottoms really easily! I made this VNA Top using a Spoonflower print I fell in love with, printed onto their Performance Knit base (though now that they’ve released their Performance Pique, I actually prefer that to the “knit”!), and when it finally arrived, I saw that the teal colour in it coordinated perfectly with the mint space dyed supplex I had leftover from my minty XYT Workout Top, but also with a bunch of mis-printed “Run to the Beat” technical tees I got given for refashioning. I couldn’t believe my luck!!

I cut the Upper Front in the Spoonflower print, the Lower Front & Back from the “hint of mint” supplex, and the Back and Bindings from the refashioned race tee. Three different fabrics in one top, but the shared teal colour mean they look great together!

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!)

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…

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.

Post Marathon Thank You

Thank you all so, so much for your well wishes, support, and donations for Sunday’s London Marathon!

If you’re interested in my full race report, please head over to my RiverRunner site, but the short version is that it was super tough in the hot sun, but I managed to finish in 3:30:37, which is a new PB for me, an automatic Good For Age place in next year’s race, and a Boston Qualifier as well!

My rainbow Duathlon Shorts were the perfect choice, too – super comfortable with no tugging or chafing whatsoever, and the pockets were big enough for me to cram in four gels and a pack of Shot Bloks and not have them bouncing around everywhere.