Two Monstera sweatshirts

I seem to be really good at making multiple items out of the same fabric recently. Rather than have an odd metre or two sit in my stash, I’ve been making an effect to use up the excess to make something for someone else and share the love.

Case in point – I’d bought a few metres of digitally printed, loop-back sweatshirting from Fashion Formula using this “Turquoise tropical leaves” print design in advance of filming my my Craftsy/Bluprint “Serging Activewear” course last year. I had to sew up some of it before I flew out to Denver, then you got to see me sew a bit more of it on screen, but then it sat unfinished at home for a few months during the summer heat wave.

Black Kimono Sweat and Floral Aires Leggings

It’s back to work for most of us today, but I hope you’ve had a relaxing and/or productive holiday break! We had a brilliantly low-key Christmas, followed by quite a few days just spent at home, some of them in the sewing cave (or in Fallout 4, in James’s case), some spent painting the boat in the unseasonably warm weather, and even a quick trip down to Poole thrown in for good measure!

I was able to sew up a few things over the holidays (never as much as I intend, but I’ve made great progress in this regard!), including a few pieces of activewear. Try not to look so surprised, eh??

Kimono Sweat top

I love wearing my green sweatshirt View A version of my Kimono Sweat sewing pattern so much that I just knew I had to make another to throw on over my sweaty workout gear or just throw on with jeans. I had some black cotton sweatshirting leftover from the hoodie I made my nephew for his Christmas present, originally bought from Josery (which is milled and manufactured in the UK!).

No modifications for the pattern here – I sewed this up in size Small and I resisted the urge to use a contrast thread colour for the neckline, hem, and sleeve topstitching, going with all black instead. I used my coverstitch machine from the wrong side of the garment to get a faux-flatlock sort of stitch on the right side, similar to my grey version, though it’s hard to see in the photos.

If you fancy sewing up your own, good news – you can buy the sewing pattern right over here!

Aires capris

I’m not shy when it comes to how much I enjoy Seamwork magazine and their patterns – I’ve written quite a few articles for them over the past year, and I’ve been a subscriber since day one. But up until now, I’ve been just as in the dark over what that month’s patterns will be until the 1st of the month. But for the new January 2016 “Body Issue”, when they got in touch asking if I’d like to write an article describing pattern and movement considerations for different exercises (which you can read here!), and I was also offered the chance to sew up the new Aires capris pattern a week early!

You may have noticed that mine are not capris, however – I personally don’t like to wear capri length anything (though I know many of you do!), so I lengthened mine to be full-length leggings. I used a gorgeous floral photo printed lycra from Funkifabrics as the main fabric, and some fluorescent yellow mesh from Tia Knight (that had been in my stash for sports bras) for the contrast leg panel as well as the pocket lining.

Pale orange Kimono Sweat tank (View B)

I’ve been holding back this version of my Kimono Sweat pattern for quite a few months because it’s a perfect summer workout top, so I wanted to save it for the Southern hemisphere summer. So Aussies, Kiwis, Saffas, and South Americans, this post is for you!

It’s been a while, so to refresh your memory: View B is a sleeveless tank/vest top with a banded, scooped neckline and straight hem. Deep armholes, and loose, draped sides make this a perfect warm weather workout top for those who prefer a looser fit (and showing off a fancy sports bra!).

You saw my athlete model Lorna modelling a red bamboo version earlier this year but I made this one using a pale fluorescent orange marled “cotton touch” tech jersey I got from my Sweaty Betty insider friend (sorry!). You can use pretty much any lightweight and drapey jersey for this view, but if you’re using it for exercise, be sure to stay away from cotton jerseys which will absorb sweat (ewww!).

I designed this view after seeing so many ladies in my running crew cutting up their race tops to have deep armholes, ready for showing off a fancy sports bra. But regardless of your bra, this is by far the coolest and airiest top I’ve ever run in – you get a great cooling breeze as you run but without revealing too much skin, or having clingy fabric around your waist.

I paired this top with my latest Duathlon Shorts in the booty length that I sewed up before the British Transplant Games at the start of August, made in the suitable jazzy summertime “Aztec Stripe” print in the green colourway (it also comes in purple or yellow), with a bit of leftover scrap fluorescent red wicking lycra for the side panels and some grippy elastic on the hems. Together, these are just about the perfect summer running combo!!

Grey Kimono Sweat top (View A)

Buenos dias from Argentina! While I was developing my latest Kimono Sweat pattern, I made up a bunch of samples for myself to test the fit and how they performed while exercising… or in the case of View A, how practical they were for post-exercise! Today I’d like to show you one of my earlest View A samples, made up in a cheap grey sweatshirting, but it’s one I’ve worn over and over again throughout the summer.

Two tops from one pattern! View A is a top with a deep armscye and kimono-inspired short sleeves with a faced V-neck and dipped hem, designed to wear for your warmup or cool-down, or even just with jeans.

If you’ll recall, this is same view of the pattern which you’ve seen Binta modelling, and it’s one I’ve found to be so useful for rolling up into my kit bag to throw on over my sweaty workout clothes post workout. The short sleeves cover up your shoulders but they’re still loose enough to let a bit of airflow through, and wearing it means I don’t feel quite as self conscious on the bus ride home.

Lorna's Kimono Sweat

Last week I introduced you to the lovely Binta, who modelled View B of my new Kimono Sweat pattern, and today I have the pleasure of introducing our second athlete model!

I’ve known Lorna for about eight years now, as she and her husband live on our moorings on a Dutch barge that’s a very similar size and age to our own. The term “bad ass” is used an awful lot these days, but believe me when I tell you that Lorna is a genuine bad-ass! Up until her recent retirement, she was an international roller derby super star, quite literally flying all over the world to compete in brawls with the best American, Australian, and European teams.

Since her retirement, she basically hasn’t stopped moving for a second! She just can’t sit still so this photoshoot was a ton of fun – running, jumping, pulling up, balancing – she’s basically been doing parkour since before it had a name!

Now that she’s not on skates every night, she’s got time to try out loads of different sports – everything from Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) to Muay Thai boxing to aerial acrobatics to bouldering. She thinks nothing of starting her day with a 3 hour skateboard session! And did I mention that she also taught herself how to weld?? Yeah, bad-ass.

Kimono Sweat – UK and US sweatshirt suppliers

When I was sewing up my Kimono Sweat samples for myself and my athlete models, I put together a little list of all the great sweatshirt fabric supplies I could find, and then starting thinking about what colours I wanted to play with. Since I made the list for myself, I figured I may as well share it with you, and I’ve added a few US suppliers, too (Aussies and anywhere else, please add your favourites in the comments!).

Clockwise from Top Left: Turquoise Multi Fleck, from Guthrie Ghani, Orange and Pink Star, from Stone Fabrics, Chartreuse Washed Wool & Viscose, from Ditto Fabrics, and Fusion Coral, from Girl Charlee UK

UK shops

  • Guthrie-Ghani – Great colours and prints, including the speckled green I used for my casualwear version (be aware that lengths are in HALF metres, so you need to order “3” for the Kimono Sweat!)
  • Dragonfly Fabrics – Limted colours but they’re organic!
  • MyFabrics – These guys have a milllllion colours, and ship from Germany, I believe.

Binta's short sleeved Kimono Sweat top

Wow, thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and orders of my newest Kimono Sweat pattern! It really is a wonderful feeling to release a finished pattern into the world after so many months of hard work behind the scenes.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the first of my two athlete models for this pattern, so say hello to the wonderful Binta! She’s originally from Norway but has been a long-term UK resident and spends her days as a professional PR.

I first met Binta a few years ago when she joined Run dem Crew, and she has been one of the most consistently cheerful people I know. Week after week, she’s led the Greyhound group with patience and enthusiasm and helped so many women to run faster than they thought themselves capable of.

She’s run loads of races but this weekend she’s taking on her first 24 hour relay race at the Spitfire Scramble, and she’s really looking forward to donning a head torch for the first time and getting some quality campfire time in with her teammates! So keep your fingers crossed for dry weather for her, as apparently the 10km course is decidedly off-road and really hilly, too. I know a certain top which would be perfect for wearing in the chilly night air around the campsite, though…

Kimono Sweat pattern – on sale now!

My Kimono Sweat pattern is out now and ready for you to sew! Yay!

How fantastic is the cover illustration from Lauren Cox? You all loved her illustration on my Steeplechase Leggings pattern so much that I just knew she had to be involved again this time! It gives a great feel for how the pattern can be worn that you just don’t get from the official tech drawing (seen below).

View A

Two tops from one pattern! View A is a top with a deep armscye and kimono-inspired short sleeves with a faced V-neck and dipped hem, designed to wear for your warmup or cool-down, or even just with jeans.

And because I know how much you all love my weird-shaped pattern pieces, I couldn’t resist a special “Fehr Trade touch” on the sleeve of View A, which wraps around and gives nice shoulder coverage while being a bit more interesting than the average cap or short sleeve.

I must say, I’ve surprised even myself with how much I’ve been wearing my own short sleeved samples! I’ve literally worn my grey version after every workout that’s not ended at home – it’s perfect to roll up in a bag and not have the whole world looking at your sweaty bod on the way home (or leaving sweat marks all over the bus seats, eww).My green sweatshirt version I wore out to the cinema a few Fridays ago, and then to work, to a family lunch…

View B

View B is a sleeveless tank/vest top with a banded, scooped neckline and straight hem. Deep armholes, and loose, draped sides make this a perfect warm weather workout top for those who prefer a looser fit (and showing off a fancy sports bra!).