Navy Steffi jacket for cycling and running

While I was ill, I found myself mostly working on two in-depth projects – both of which were navy blue jackets for some strange reason! You’ve already seen my wool lumberjacket but I also made myself another StyleArc Steffi jacket pattern, too.

Some of you may recall that I made this a pattern few years ago and sewed some twinkling LEDs into the back of it! At the time, there were a bunch of problems in the instructions (as well as an inadequate seam allowance in one spot, too) so I let StyleArc know about them, and they corrected them, and posted me the corrected version along with another pattern of my choice. Which is freaking awesome customer service if you ask me! I’m pleased to report that the corrected version of the pattern is much, much better. There’s still a major step missing (if I recall, it’s one of the vertical body seams), but everything else is better so it wasn’t quite as frustrating to sew this time around.

But this isn’t my best work, not by a long shot – I made this when I was feeling really bad and couldn’t sit up for more than 10min at a time, and felt like a zombie for weeks on end. But it’s nice enough for a functional cycling jacket when the weather is warmer, and possibly for winter running, too, though I’ve missed that almost entirely this year. Boo.

The main fabric here is some off-cut stuff from my Sweaty Betty industry friend – it’s navy lycra on the outside and super soft brushed fleece on this inside. At the time I received it, I’d never seen anything quite like it, but as it’s been maturing in my stash, the FunkiFabrics thermo range has since been released, and I can tell you that it’s really similar. So if you’re after a fabric that’s both stretchy and warm for a jacket like this, I’d definitely recommend the thermo. The pocket linings and zip shield use offcuts of Laurie King X Fehr Trade Spoonflower fabrics from my zigzag XYT Workout Top, and the two neon yellow pocket zips I bought off eBay.

Happy 2015! (My year in review)

As I do every year, I like to spend the first of a new year to take the opportunity to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So without further ado, here’s a visual reminder of 2014!

Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the upper left menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way!

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:

  • 29 FehrTrade patterns (no surprise, really!),
  • 7 Burda magazine (aka Burda Style),
  • 5 Self-drafted (including traced from RTW),
  • 4 KwikSew (well, the same one pattern four times!),
  • 3 Manequim magazine,
  • 3 Cake Patterns,
  • 2 Style Arc,
  • 2 Vogue,
  • 2 Orange Lingerie,
  • and 1 each from Simplicity, McCalls, ThriftyStitcher, Christine Jonson, Seamster, Named, Sinbad & Sailor, Drape Drape, House of Pinhiero, and Jalie.

By my count, I made: 31 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts),
5 dresses, 4 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 3 skirts, 3 jackets/coats/cardigans, and 4 bags. James also did well this year, being made a winter coat, 2 shirts, 2 cycling tops, and a dop-kit bag.

And I realise I’ve been sewing a lot of running gear but the total number even surprised me – 34 of the above were for running (though not all for me)!

The above may sound like a lot of sewing, but even this is only a fraction of what I’ve actually sewn – I couldn’t really include all the garments sewn for the Great British Sewing Bee, for example, or those made for custom clients (of which there’s been a LOT!), or for the book I’ve been working on, either. In all honesty, I think you could probably double the amount shown above and it’d be closer to the total output!

My light-up, twinkling running jacket – the sewing bit!

You heard all about the electronic components earlier this week, but the sewing of the jacket itself was in no straightforward, either! If you missed the video of the LEDs in action, have another look:

You might think, that, as a pattern designer for exercise wear, I might view other exercise patterns as competition. On the contrary – when I first saw the StyleArc Steffi jacket, my first thought was “Brilliant! Now I don’t have to draft it myself!”. I’ve got enough ideas in my head for patterns already, so I’d rather refer folks to other good patterns if I can rather than constantly reinvent the wheel.

This pattern was a birthday gift from my inlaws, and I was initially concerned because they’d bought me a size 10 instead of the 12 I’d asked for, but as it turned out this fits me really well anyway. It’s a smidge too tight in the chest for me to run in (my trainer has me focus on pulling my shoulder blades back to open up my chest for better breathing), but is utterly perfect as a warm-up, cool-down jacket, so hurrah for happy accidents!

I chose to do my colourblocking like it’s shown in the technical drawing – I used a grey/black sportshell as the main body, then I used the black reverse of this black/grey “budget” sportshell as the contrast panels. The main sportshell is really nice – a soft, technical jersey with a thin layer of fleece bonded to the inside – it feels really RTW and high quality. The budget one, well, lived up to its name. The grey side looks a bit naff, there’s no fleece, and the black side is just smooth like the other fabric’s grey exterior. So it was fine for my purposes here, but I wouldn’t recommend skimping if you want a similar jacket – go for the more expensive option and you won’t regret it.