It’s been a while since I showed you any of my finished garments, mostly because they’ve predominantly been using designs from my Sew Your Own Activewear book (which you can pre-order signed copies of now!) and I don’t want to show you too much too soon and risk it all feeling stale by the time January actually rolls around. But this one is just so bonkers and so much fun that I can’t help but share it now!
Just before we went to France a few weeks ago, James expressed a desire for a black velvet teeshirt with a V-neck and 3/4 length sleeves, but lamented that he wasn’t finding any in the shops and asked if I could make him one. He specifically said that he loved the way the grey Paxson I made for him last winter fits, and when I offered to fix the few shoulder/neckline issues in it, he said he liked it that way, so I left the pattern as-is apart from turning the round neck into a V and shortening the sleeves.
I was in need of a palate cleansing easy make after I returned from competing in Malaga and promptly came down with a cold (and made a wadder in the form of some deeply unflattering culottes that make me look 10 feet wide). Luckily, I had an invitation to attend the 25th birthday party of my local fabric store, Fabrics Galore, and while I sipped some bubbly I couldn’t help but do some shopping…
This marathon has been entwined with writing my book since the day talks began with my publisher, as the deadline for the writing has always been the day after the marathon. Some people groan when I tell them that, but honestly, the day after is perfect. If the deadline was a week or two after the marathon, my head would’ve been full of all the things I needed to finish and stress on getting everything done. Having the deadline the day after meant everything was already finished, I could relax, and use the race not only as a celebration of all my hard training, but a celebration of writing a freaking book, too!
My publishers asked if I wouldn’t mind running the marathon in designs from the book to help with marketing down the line, and as it turned out, I was able to squeeze in not only a pair of shorts but a top as well! I’ve run all 6 of my previous marathons in me-made gear, but I usually wear a Run dem Crew shirt or vest on top. This time I wanted to both rep my crew AND show off my book designs, so I made my shorts and vest from modified designs which will appear in my book (coming out early 2018), and took the vest up to Big Teezar in Camden to get the RDC logo and my name vinyl printed onto the front.
I like to think I’m a savvy shopper. Last year I bought the Named Patterns Harriet lumberjacket during their advent calendar sale and it ended up being one of my favourite makes of the whole year. So when the same advent calendar sale came round again this year, I kept my eyes peeled and pounced when their Talvikki sweater came up with a one-day discount code. I loved the design of the darted, funnel neckline from the first moment it was released, but my To Do list was full at that point so I kept it in the back of my mind instead – and it paid off!
The fabric is a slate blue French terry with drawings of bows & arrows all over it that’s been in my stash for over a year. Regular readers will know that I don’t normally go for prints, but this one was sparse enough to tickle my fancy! I bought it at Ditto Fabric‘s Brighton store when I visited with Claire in December 2015 and I was really just waiting for the perfect pattern to come along.
The final Christmas present I made this year was a long-sleeved top for James, using the Seamwork Eugene Henley top pattern and some pale blue cotton lycra jersey he’d picked out last time we were at Ditto Fabrics in Brighton. I’d inadvertently picked up a remnant of their cotton lycra jersey previously and James raved about the fabric so much that I finally just brought a scrap of it in to their Brighton store for Gill to fondle and ID for me! Luckily for him, it’s something they always have in stock in a bunch of different colours…
Last week I told you about the Lightspeed Leggings I made for our men at Christmas, but we also had a female friend celebrating Christmas Day with us, too, and I couldn’t leave her empty handed! Darci is a very stylish and practical lady, and her own wardrobe consists mainly of black dresses. Apparently it started because she could never find trousers that fit her in shops, so rather than stress about the problem, she just decided to wear dresses instead. And black because it simplifies getting dressed in the mornings!
In case you thought maybe she has some sort of life of leisure of something – Darci cycles everywhere in London. In her dresses! So of course we had the “omg don’t they blow up over your face while you ride??” conversation, to which she firmly recommended a little elastic garter with a clip that goes on the hem of your skirt (or a tutorial for making your own here). She says you only need it on one leg, and it stops all the blowback without any risk of exposure! (And here I thought that booty-length Duathlon Shorts were the skirt-loving cycle commuter’s best friend!!)
In any case, on to her present – what can you sew a lady who pretty much only wears black dresses, when you don’t have her exact measurements? That rules out anything fitted, and at first I thought I’d make her a hat and gloves, but then I had the realisation that pretty much everyone needs layers, and the Elita Designer Top cardigan from StyleArc would be just her style! So a quick trip round Minerva’s website turned up this black sweater knit and I was ready to sew!
After my success with the test version of that Burda turtleneck (polo neck) pattern in the black and white scribble fabric, I figured I’d just use the same pattern for some of my precious merino jersey. Because seriously, what’s better that a super warm, snugly turtleneck in a cheery colour when it’s cold and dark outside, eh?
I bought a bunch of merino jersey from The Fabric Store last year, because, frankly, no one has a better choice of colours, and finding a source more local than New Zealand was next to impossible (unless you want beige or black). The bright and cheery “Citrus” colourway spoke to me first, and I love it!
The top was one I’d made in the latter stages of pattern development out of some cheap viscose cotton lycra in Lilac from Tia Knight (so obviously not for exercise with a fibre content like that!), and the bottoms were a casual pair I’d made myself from some “shatta” print viscose jersey from my stash (originally from Fabric Godmother but long sold out). I really wanted a pair of casual bottoms for lounging around the boast in over the holidays, and since all my previous samples were in solid colours, it was a nice opportunity to show you want they look like in a print, too.
Happy new year everyone, and a big welcome to everyone who’s visiting for the first time after reading my “Personal Best” article in this month’s SewNow magazine (issue 3)! I realised when I was putting together my end of year roundup that I had a fairly ridiculous amount of unblogged projects from the final few weeks of the year, so I’ll be sharing these with you throughout January.