How to add more room to your Active Jacket collar

Today I want to give you a little pattern hack that can help if you find that the opening edge of your Active Jacket (or Cycling Top) from my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book is a bit too snug. This can especially be an issue for the smaller sizes, or if your fabric has very little crosswise stretch.

This is a really easy adjustment to make, either after you’ve drafted the collar according to the instructions on page 80 (or page 58 for the Cycling Top), or after you’ve already got your finished pieces cut out.

I’m on the Crafty Planner podcast!

Recently I had the opportunity to chat with the lovely Sandi from the Crafty Planner podcast and we had SO. MUCH. FUN! It turned out that with her based in San Diego and me in London, the hardest part of the whole process was finding a time that worked in both our time zones – after that the conversation just flowed, and I think you’ll really enjoy listening!

In this episode, we chatted about sewing (activewear in particular!), my recent Threads article, my running and competing at the World Transplant Games, some of my top tips for first-time activewear sewings, and (of course!) my upcoming book, too. Since I cycle commute to my office job these days, I listen to the bulk of my podcasts while in my sewing room, and my last job was actually at a podcasting company, so I think it’s safe to say that I’m a big fan of them, and Sandi’s in particular!

Two announcements

Just a quick update this week, but I’ve got two bits of news that I wanted to share with you all…

First up is that the first FehrTrade Print Club fabric design – the “Head for the Hills” Laurie King print is now available to print from Digital Fabrics AU! Thank you all for your patience, as it took a while to get it set up, but future Print Clubs should be available without nearly as much delay. Honestly, I hadn’t forgotten about you, Australia!!

Fabric Shopping in Dublin and Battersea

As I mentioned earlier this week, we visited Dublin on a flying visit last week as James was speaking at a conference, and I decided to tag along to visit some of his family over there. I first visited Dublin back in 2000 when I was a student and did the very American thing of visiting for St Patrick’s Day (hint: it’s absolutely rammed with Americans and Aussies!). We went back again in 2008 to see some family and also buy an engagement ring, and then I had to fly over a bunch for work around 2011-2013 but those trips were mostly in-and-out on the same day, dealing with a difficult client. But it’s been long enough now that I’m mostly over the pain of those awful work trips, and since I had a spare day to wander around the city centre, I thought I’d revisit a few of the fabric shops I reviewed back in 2008.

While I’ve got mixed feelings that the Woolen Mills is no longer a source for haberdashery (mixed because I’m sad it’s closed down, but happy because it’s now a sister restaurant to our favourite restaurant in Dublin, The Winding Stair), I’m pleased to report that Hickeys on Henry Street is still going strong!

How to use your Print Club fabric kit

Big, big thanks for all your wonderful comments and enthusiasm over the new Print Club project and especially, Laurie King’s amazing first “Head for the Hills” print! We’ve both been blown away by the demand for the kits, so don’t wait around if you’re tempted – they really are very limited edition…

Today I wanted to give some tips for using the kit, especially for all of you who bought the Steeplechase Leggings pattern alongside it!

Announcing Print Club – limited edition fabric kits!

I am so excited to finally be able to share with you a project that I’ve been building towards for several years – Fehr Trade Print Club is a semi-regular series of collaborations with illustrators, pairing exclusive artwork with activewear patterns in limited edition fabric kits!

We first started the concept of an illustrator/patternmaker collaboration a few years ago with Laurie King, offering designed prints through Spoonflower with differently designed “zones” on the fabric for the different pattern pieces. This was a great learning experience, but ultimately, we wanted a bit more control, even though this means more work and more financial risk on my part. So we’re starting small, and of course I had to ask Laurie back to be the first Print Club collaborator!

So what’s different this time around? Well, for starters, the designs are printed onto Funkifabric’s “Titan” technical spandex base. This stuff is super high quality – beefy, matte, completely opaque, and no white “show through” when stretched. I ran London marathon in this base fabric in 2015 and it’s freaking fantastic (also the colours haven’t faded a bit since then either).

La Maison Victor magazine Sept/Oct 2016

The Belgian pattern magazine La Maison Victor is usually something I hunt down while we’re in France (the Eurotunnel Calais newsagent being an reliable stockist!). But LMV expanded last year into translating in German (on top of Dutch/Flemish and French), meaning it’s available in Germany now, too.

It wasn’t quite as easy to find as the many flavours of Burda, or even Ottobre, but the major train stations in Berlin seemed to stock it, and it was the only pattern magazine I purchased during our trip. Boxing up all of my pattern magazines when I moved into my new sewing room showed me how many I have already, so I’m a bit more judicious in buying them these days – there’s got to be at least one “Must Make!” in an issue for me to buy it.

Luckily, I know La Maison Victor always has a good range of patterns, excellent illustrated instructions (you really don’t need to speak the language, honest!), and beautiful presentation, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Adventures in and around Berlin

We’ve just returned from a fantastic week in Berlin! Last time we were there was in 2014, finishing a little mini-Eurail trip of Budapest-Vienna-Prague-Berlin with my running Berlin marathon (in my just-released Threshold Shorts pattern – my, how time flies!). This time I just managed to squeeze in a little sightseeing run around the Tiergarten and along the Spree, and it was wonderful how much more relaxed it feels when you’re not stressing about running a marathon!

To celebrate our 6th wedding anniversary, we booked 2 nights at Tropical Islands as a side trip from Berlin. Now, I have no idea why no one outside Germany seems to know about this place, and frankly, we were even umming and ahhing over booking it at all, because it was hard to tell from the website whether it’d be great, or just unbearably awful.