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A German activewear mesh top

This top is doubly German! First of all, the pattern is from the German-language book, “Alles Active”, which I bought to see what the “competition” were up to in Germany vs my own book’s German edition (“Näh dir deine Sportswear”). It’s a decent enough book with a handful of nice activewear designs, but there is a LOT of athleisure filler in it and some very ropey-looking samples on the model, too.

But I liked this top (creatively titled, err, “Top”), and traced it out last summer when I bought the book. I even bought two gorgeous and lightweight activewear fabrics from extremtextil’s Berlin shop when I was over last July to teach the workshop, but then the weather turned cold and I missed my chance to sew it up.

A deep scooped Sweat Luxe for summer

Since I’m in lockdown for the foreseeable future due to my medical history, all of my running has been on the treadmill we’ve (temporarily) set up in our (still under renovation) bathroom. It’s got a skylight for air, and I’ve got a great fan to circulate it, but it’s still far hotter and sweatier than running outside where you create your own wind just by moving forward. So I’ve been reaching deep into my activewear stash for those summery garments I’d normally only wear for a few weeks out of the year in the hottest part of summer, and recognising that I need a lot more summery running tops!

So naturally I reached for View B of our Sweat Luxe pattern since I’ve been wearing my fluorescent orange version a lot. But this time I wanted to play with the pattern a bit so I scooped out the armholes a little further in the back and narrowed the straps by a centimeter or so just for something different.

A surprisingly supportive sports bra pattern

I’ve been running almost exclusively in my own-sewn sports bras for years now. Specifically, some Jalie “sports bras” I’ve hacked to be supportive enough for running but I couldn’t really recommend to others as the instructions were just for a crop top without much support. And I get asked about sports bra patterns all the time!

I don’t really fancy developing my own sports bra pattern, to be perfectly honest, so I’ve been on the lookout for a good one to recommend to people for just as many years. Now and then I hear from someone that they found so-and-so’s supportive enough, but then I’ll hear from someone else that they had to pinch inches out of the same pattern! I don’t have time to be trying out every supposedly “sports bra” pattern out there, but I’ve tried a few, and had rather enough fails along the way (I’m looking at you, horrific Simplicity monstrosity!) to be more than a little wary.

But Jalie are a brand I really rate and admire, so when they released their new Coco sports bra pattern recently, and one actually advertised as a sports bra, I pretty much hit the Buy button immediately so I could test it out for you all.

A big grey Fail of a dress

How excited was I to discover that the Spanish-language pattern magazine, Patrones, had launched an app complete with digital issues and downloadable pdf patterns!? You know, the thing we’d all wished Burda had done years ago rather than the abomination of a website they made instead!

I literally was on my iPad in seconds (there’s a version for Android, too) and was browsing the previews of a few issues when I came across a dress I just had to have!

Pietra Shorts and a belated Kabuki Tee

I am not a great lover of shorts for non-exercise purposes. I feel that they’re not terribly flattering on me and tend to ride up or bunch up when I move, so I only wear them on the hottest days of the year, and only ever around the boat (never to work!). In fact, I really only ever wear one pair, which I bought at The Gap in 1997 when I was 18. Seriously. But even those are wearing out now with the fabric beginning to disintegrate in places, so I figured now was the time to make a few pairs of shorts for summer to wear around the boat.

First up I thought I’d try the shorts version of the Closet Case Patterns Pietra Pants since I’ve already made the trouser-length twice already and loved them, so it was a fair bet that the shorts would work for me, too.

A great basic black skirt

Not every garment needs to be a blockbuster. Sometimes the garments we wear the most are the practical, yet somewhat boring ones that pair well with everything else in our wardrobe. I definitely consider jeans to be in this category, along with the vast majority of teeshirts I make and wear. I’d also consider a good, all-around black skirt to be one, like this skirt, from Christine Jonson’s fabulous “Travel Trio 3” pattern.

I’ve made the top a few times and made this skirt twice already, in blue and then black scuba. But after several years of hard wear, the black one in particular was looking ratty and bobbled so I bought some black ponte from Fabrics Galore to replace the scuba version.

A green gratitude teeshirt

These are weird times. Apart from my birthday dress, I’ve really only been sewing face masks for myself, J, family and neighbours and even though I’ve got loads of lovely fabrics paired with specific patterns that are ready to go, I haven’t actually felt like sewing them. For me, most of the joy of sewing is in the making itself, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t enjoyment in the wearing it for others to admire, too. Without that component, on top of my usual routine being upended for the past 3.5 weeks, it’s just not been easy to get into the right mindset to create.

By go-to for times when I’m in a funk is to sew a “quick knit top”, which, for the past few years has meant a teeshirt using the “Loose Fitting Top Block” from my Sew Your Own Activewear book (my go-to teeshirt pattern). So I grabbed some cotton-lycra jersey from Ditto Fabrics in the most perfectly “me” shade of olive green from my stash, and did some cathartic sewing early on in March.