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A Houndstooth-Quilted Top & Olive Trousers

It seems like no matter how many separates I make, I always seem to need more in my wardrobe. I feel like I do a pretty good job at sewing what I actually wear, but each morning when I go to get dressed for the office, I still end up reaching for the same few pairs of jeans and trousers, so I wanted to shake things up a bit and sew something outside my comfort zone that would still be useful and acceptable to wear to work.

Black ponte Brooklyn trousers

After the excitement levels of the last few posts, I’ve got a decidedly less exciting make to share with you today. But frankly, our wardrobes need a mix of workhorse items that you can pair with all the showier makes, and mine was in particular need of office-appropriate trousers that weren’t jeans but I could still cycle in easily (unlike, say, my Named Jamie jeans, which are far too tight in the leg and low-rise for cycling, ergh).

So when I got an email that Style Arc had marked a number of their Amazon-stocked patterns on deep discount, I took the bait and bought myself the Brooklyn Pant pattern. I figured a knit trouser would be easily to cycle in, versatile, yet not look too scruffy. And the pockets were a bonus!

Happy Halloween! Fox meets Badger…

We’re not overly enthusiastic when it comes to Halloween, but give us an occasion and my god, we’ll rise to it! So when we found out that our favourite cocktail bars, Merchant House and its sister bar Merchant House of Fleet Street, were going to hold Halloween parties this year with a prize for best costume, we started scheming… After a few weeks deliberation, we decided to go as a fox and a badger, the two mascots of the bars which represent the two owners (who kinda look like a fox and a badger each!).

A Raglan Tee full of kitties and bunnies

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!

James’s black velvet tee

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.

The Cityscape dress

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…

London Marathon shorts and vest

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.

A bow & arrow Talvikki sweatshirt

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.

A pale blue Seamwork Eugene henley

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

A gifted black draped cardigan

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!