Blog

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.

Sewing Bee Activewear week! (and Flash Sale!)

Before you read any further, if you haven’t watched the latest Sewing Bee episode yet, I just want to inform you that there are screenshots from the challenges in this post, but I don’t reveal who won or who lost any of the challenges, so you’re safe to read on!

This week’s episode was all about activewear, and I’ve been SO excited ever since the theme was revealed in last week’s preview. I mean, how could I not be excited! The pattern challenge this week was to sew a men’s cycling top, and it was revealed that none of the contestants had much experience with sewing lycra, either!

“Perfect”, I thought, “what a great opportunity to show the 3 million viewers that sewing activewear can be really accessible, even on your first try!” But Patrick and Esme had other ideas, pretty much talking nonstop about how difficult and fraught with peril sewing activewear is. Umm, guys, it’s really not that hard! I’ve taught loads of people to sew their first leggings and they practically dance out of the room!

More of your makes!

It’s that time again! I can barely keep up with all your amazing, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns these days, and before I know it, I’ve got an overflowing heap to share with you! I know how helpful many of you find these – it’s all well and good that I make nice versions of my patterns, but so much more helpful when you see how good they look on other bodies, too!

Be sure to click through to read the details and see more photos on each of these entries, too. With a long weekend coming up both here in the UK and in the US, there’s no excuse not to whip up something sporty!

Winnie’s Steeplechase Leggings with exterior rolled seams & zebra Surf to Summit


Read more…

Karen’s 5(!) Steeplechase Capris for herself and her daughters


Read more…

Maria’s three pairs of Steeplechase Capris, with great reflective accents


Read more…

Sally’s wintry Surf to Summit for the ski slopes!


Read more…

Maria’s “Hunger Games” inspired Duathlon leggings


Read more…

mixtilli’s red Lacey Thong lingerie set


Read more…

A Mountain of Your Makes (Part Three)

We’ve made it – thanks for climbing the mountain with me! I hope these last few makes of yours are as inspiring to you as they are to me. I always love seeing my patterns go off and have a life of their own – being interpreted in ways I’d never imagined, changed to suit different bodies, activities, and tastes, and truly become your own.

Katherine’s Surf to Summit rashie


Read more…

AZGreyGirl’s two different striped Duathlon capris


Read more…

JessieBear’s Surf to Summit with ingenious thumb-hole mitts and piping


Read more…

Elizabeth’s rainbow leopard Surf to Summit for her sister


Read more…

A Mountain of Your Makes (Part Two)

Following on from yesterday’s Part One, I’ve got a whole new heap of activewear sewing inspiration coming your way. You ladies have been so busy sewing up a storm, and I love that you get so excited when I release a new pattern like the Surf to Summit Tops that you make it all in droves!

Winnie’s fabulous peacock print Duathlon capris


Read more…

Cidell’s winter running Surf to Summit Top for her husband, Jordan


Read more…

Katherine’s green cherries runderwear (included in my Threshold Shorts pattern)


Read more…

Veloswer’s kiwi-styled cycling Surf to Summit Top


Read more…

Carey’s teal and white Surf to Summit Top


Read more…

Two Weekend Reads

There are many, many great articles on the web right now for activewear inspiration, and I am desperately overdue in showcasing all the amazing versions of my patterns that you guys have made over the past few months, but I wanted to bring two articles in particular to your attention…

The first is a fantastic tutorial Maria (Velosewer) posted on how to create a secure, zippered pocket for insertion into the back pocket of my Surf to Summit Top pattern. It works equally well with the men’s or ladies’ versions, and only requires a little extra bit of fabric and an invisible zipper. It’s all kinds of genius, and I’m totally going to try it out myself on my next cycling version!

The other exciting read is that my first article for Seamwork magazine is out now, A Guide to Activewear Fabrics. I talk about how to shop for different tech fabrics, what names they can be found under, why cotton is terrible, and how to avoid that horrible smell after repeated washings.

Surf to Summit Top – Four Winter Running versions

Phew! It’s been one heck of a few weeks! I’ve shown you all of the many different versions of the Surf to Summit Top pattern that I’ve made not only for myself, but also my athlete-models. So far you’ve seen versions for snowboarding and cycling, and surfing, but today’s versions are all for winter running.

One of the great things about this design are all the opportunities for colourblocking, and I wanted to play around on this version so you can really see the seamlines – plus I added an extra seam of my own on the shoulders! On the Front and Back, I used some forest green UA Cold Gear fabric (now long gone) from my stash. On the Side panels, I used some reflective fabric from The Rain Shed. A note about this fabric, though – I really like it, but it is not lycra as stated in the description – it’s much, much closer to the sort of textured fabric you find in technical race tees (like DriFit). For the sleeves I used some leopard-print lycra from UK Fabrics, but I didn’t have quite enough leftover from my leggings to fit the entire sleeve in, so I introduced a curved seamline and used some reflective fabric at the shoulder instead.

But let me introduce my athlete-model, Daniel. I’ve probably run more training miles with Daniel than anyone else on earth and he’s a great friend of mine, in additional to being a truly inspiring runner. Dan only started running a few years ago, and has truly embraced endurance running, going from running his ever first race (a 10k) to running his first 100km ultra this year, with a bunch of marathons thrown in for good measure. He’s even run the grueling Mont Blanc Marathon, and regularly passes runners half his age on Tuesday nights.

I made this men’s version of the Surf to Summit Top at the very end of the testing process, so it’s identical to the version you buy, and I especially like how this fits Dan in the waist and hips – this is exactly how I intended the men’s version to fit. It’s slim-fitting without being loose, but isn’t skin-tight, either. If you prefer your tops to fit differently, I’ve included instructions on how to alter the pattern to get the fit you want, as I discovered in testing that men are really polarised on how they like their exercise tops!

Surf to Summit Top – Surfing Rashguard version

Continuing on with our journey through all the different ways you can wear my latest Surf to Summit Top patterns, we’ve already seen it ready for snowboarding and cycling, but today’s version is for the swimmers and surfers! Aussies, you’re particularly going to love this one as it’s perfect for summer swimming without getting burnt to a crisp.

If you’re making a rashguard (aka “rashie”), you’ve got quite a few options to choose from. At first I was a bit confused by all the different variations of rashguards available online, but Katherine really helped me to better understand the cultural context of them in Australia. If you’re sewing for a hardcore surfers, then you’ll probably want to for the long sleeves and not use the half-zip, as it would press against the board while you’re lying on your chest paddling.

But rashies have become so ubiquitous in Australia over the last few decades that the younger generation wear them when swimming as a fashion statement, so you often see versions with long or short sleeves, half zips, and lots of colourblocking in funky swimsuit lycra prints. You can also choose to use either the standard straight hem, or use the dipped hem to protect that little bit of skin above your bikini bottoms! Many teens and twenty-somethings have been wearing rashguards their whole lives, as parents dress their children in them to protect from sunburn, and it’s now caught on with the population at large. All of this may be common sense to Aussies now, but I’ve had loads of Americans and Europeans ask me what a rashguard is, so you’re ahead of the trend here!

My athlete-model, Emily, is a keen surfer, but also a runner, snowboarder, cyclist, and skateboarder(!), so she requested that hers be made in some zebra-print nylon lycra from UK Fabrics, and feature a half zip and sleeve mitts, so she can cleverly use it for winter running and surfing. All of the same options are available on the men’s version of the Surf to Summit Top pattern, too!

Surf to Summit Top – Three Cycling versions

I’ve got quite a few different versions of my latest Surf to Summit Top pattern to show to you! It’s such a versatile pattern with so many different options, which meant that I had to sew samples of all the different features over the past few months. Today I want to focus on the cycling features of this pattern, for both the men and ladies.

Let’s look at the ladies’ version first, which is again modeled by my friend and multi-talented athlete, Emily, whom you met earlier this week. I made this version using some navy wicking nylon from UK Fabrics in the body, and some “triathlon” printed lycra from FunkiFabrics in the sleeves. The 1.25m I bought of the latter was enough to make leggings for myself and have enough over for the short sleeves here, and probably a sports bra, too! I finished off this top with some turquoise FOE bought on eBay around the hem and back pocket.

This top was one of the very last samples I made of the pattern, a few days before its release, and it uses the exact same version that you buy – it was sewn up to test that the final changes to the pattern were good. I’m pleased to say that the improvements I made to the half zip, facing, and zip underlay in particular are ones I’m particularly proud of – this came together really smoothly!