Double take!

Fashion has always been cyclical – we reinvent ideas from decades past and give them a new twist. But with everyone playing off similar influences, sometimes two designers independently come up with very similar ideas. So it’s really not a surprise that you can sometimes find very similar pattern designs across companies, too.

As I found out, once you start looking for “pattern twins”, suddenly you start seeing them everywhere!

Patrones vs Knip tops

It all started when reader Hilde pointed out in my Patrones 289 review that this Plus top looks an awful lot like an older KnipMode design, so I decided to investigate further by comparing the shapes of the pattern pieces side-by-side:

(This KnipMode top was previously neglected because it was in the same issue as the fabulous swimsuit pattern…)

While the tech drawings look different, when you look at the pattern pieces you can see that most of that is just down to artistic interpretation and the pieces are very similar indeed!

Knip vs Burda blouses

Then I noticed in my review of the March 2010 KnipMode that their ruffle-collared blouse was incredibly similar to one Burda released last year!

A double gauze day dress

A while back I’d heard of a fabric called “double gauze” that was supposedly perfect for hot weather, but at the time it was really only available imported from Japanese shops and really expensive at that! Fast forward a few years and it’s now much more readily available locally, so when I was in Brighton last August I bought some of their muted teal double gauze fabric (also available in a bunch of other colours), keen to try it out. Double gauze is two layers of cotton gauze/muslin fabric joined together with stitches in a grid pattern which creates a sort of seeersucker or quilted texture. It also means the two layers may not be 100% on grain to each other, and it really likes to shrink in the wash so be sure to pre-wash it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it though until I saw the perfect day dress in the May 2019 edition of KnipMode magazine (#11, though #12 is a longer version with longer sleeves). The pattern is available to buy online, too, though be aware the instructions are in Dutch.

Double dusty roses

I was planning on sending my mom some flowers since she’s so full of worry for me right now. I even went as far as getting the number for their local florist and looking at bouquets online, but they just seemed so impersonal… But then, when I was on Goldhawk Road, I saw this dusty rose wool sweater knit in a shop and I instantly thought of my mom. For years, whenever anyone asked what her favourite colour was, she’d always reply with “dusty rose”.

So I had a look through my pattern archives and saw this fantastic cowl neck sweater in the very first KnipMode I ever bought (actually in a supermarket in Steenwijk, on one of the trips when we were buying our boat)!

Feb 2007 KnipMode, #23:

I think I must’ve got my love of interesting necklines from my mom, so I knew this was the pattern for her! And it just so happened to be plus sized, so I could combine a few sizes easily to get a cowl-necked sweater that was perfectly her!

It was a complete surprise and my dad helped to keep it that way until it arrived, and she said it made her day. So mission accomplished. 🙂 And here’s some more shots of it on my dressform, so you can see the neck shape and how it drapes nicely into place…

The Sewing Weekender Number 3

No sooner were we back home from Iceland than I was on my way up to Cambridge for my third Sewing Weekender! The first year I was lucky enough to buy a ticket, then last year I gave my “Sewing for Movement” talk as a speaker, but this year I was determined to attend again and set my alarm in order to buy my ticket as soon as they went on sale.

No joke, these tickets were hotter than Glastonbury – we crashed The Fold Line’s site and tickets sold out in like ten minutes despite having doubled capacity this year to 100 places!

The “Sew Your Own Activewear” Active Jacket

This week we’ll be talking about one of the most popular designs in my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book (that is, if your initial To Sew list intentions are anything to go by!), the Active Jacket! I was so lucky that my publisher gave me absolute creative control with the contents and designs for this book, and I knew from the first conversations that I wanted to include a jacket of some sort. They’re the sort of garment I wear all the time, whether it’s on my cycle commute, marathon training, or just to wear after a race, but for some reason I never quite found the time to release a pattern for one. So the Active Jacket was born!

Tutorial: Lightspeed Active Leggings (for Men!)

One of my favourite things about the block-based approach to the designs in my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book is that you can use just about any block patterns as your starting point – not just the ones I’ve included in the book.

As I say on page 16, “The included blocks are designed for women in the sizes shown in these size charts, but if you’re not a woman or your body doesn’t match any of the measurements in the size charts, using your own block means that these designs could work for children, men, disabled people, trans people and non-binary folks, those who prefer modest clothing and those whose measurements are beyond the size range here. There really is no limit: if you’ve got a body, you can exercise, and if you can sew, you can make activewear.”

It’s one thing for me to say all of this, but it’s another entirely for me to show you. So today I’m going to show you how to take my men’s leggings pattern, the Lightspeed Leggings, and use them as the starting point for the Active Leggings in my book. (Scroll down for a discount code for the Lightspeed Leggings, too!!)

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.

Let’s talk about gussets

Let’s all take a moment to talk about gussets – crotch gussets in particular, and what they can and can’t do, because there is just so much misinformation floating around about them. A gusset is a separate piece of fabric sewn into a seam, most commonly seen on underarms (especially in vintage styles) and on the crotch of trousers.

The purpose of a gusset is to increase the range of motion of the limbs nearby – so in the case of the vintage blouse, its because a dolman sleeve doesn’t really allow the arm to raise naturally due to the shape of the bodice/sleeve piece and the limitations on the non-stretch fabric. So a small gusset is added to the underarm will allow the wearer to raise her arms. The same principle applies to crotch gussets – the purpose of a crotch gusset is to increase the range of motion of the legs.

Burda magazine January 2018

Apologies for the delays in posting this review of the first issue of Burda for 2018! I know a lot of you use these reviews to decide whether or not to buy this issue while it’s current, but the newsagent by my office where I tend to buy these didn’t have it before we broke up for the holidays, and, well – I’ve been very busy with posting all about the designs in my book recently!

But the good news is that this issue is worth the wait IMHO! I won’t be signing up for the Burda Challenge this year (been there, done that back in 2012!!), as I’ve already got way too much on my sewing plate already, but I’m not going to feel bad about not sewing much from these issues, either. I’m just going to enjoy the inspiration and talking points they provide, and hope that one day I’ll actually get to sew everything on my list!