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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.

A babygrow for an ultra-fast baby

I’ve known my friend Vicky through Run dem Crew for years now, and have run many, many miles alongside her on our Tuesday night sessions. She’s a good friend, and outside of the Crew has run multiple marathons and ultras, too. Last summer, she ran the Serpent Trail ultra with another good friend, and she ended up finishing on the podium as 3rd place lady!!

But even more incredible is that she found out later that she was actually pregnant when she ran it! So when she announced she was going to have a little pre-baby pizza & beer get together with our running friends, I knew I had to make her a babygrow. First I thought I’d upcycle a Run dem Crew shirt for the little speedy baby, but then I saw another friend mention on Twitter how happy he was to see the Serpent being run again this year and I got in touch to a) find out if the race even had teeshirts, b) if he had one, and c) if he could send it to me to refashion. It was Yesses all around so I got cutting!