Happy 2024! (Year in Review)

Sigh. For the second year in a row I’m left thinking “ugh, good riddance to a rubbish year!”. And for the second year in a row I’m facing an unknown future of post-viral fatigue stretching out before me, then months and months of rebuilding my body (and my life) once that finally ends. And life feels unbearably bleak.

But hey, part of the reason I write these posts at the start of every year is so I can look back and at least appreciate the good things that happened – and there are always at least a few things! It’s human nature to remember the negative more clearly than the positive I think, and this reflection and reset helps me remember things in a more holistic way.

Even if I did only have 7.5 months in my year when all the rest of you got 12 to accomplish everything… (yes, I tallied it up and I was sick and bedridden for 4.5 months of 2023.)

10 Year Birthday sale!

I can scarcely believe I’m writing this, but TEN YEARS ago this month I released the first FehrTrade sewing patterns into the universe. Ten years! (Even scarier is that I’ve been blogging for something like 16 or 17 years??)

I’ve got so many great posts about our first decade that I want to share this month but to kick things off, it’s our longest ever sale – for the entire MONTH of December you can get 20% off all sewing patterns if you use code “10FREAKINGYEARS” at!

About the pause…

I’m mostly posting these because I have a bit of a backlog of posts building up and I didn’t want to make them even longer than they already are – also one is a swimsuit from July and it’s November now! And because I felt I owed my long-term readers an explanation as to why I haven’t posted in nearly two months…

It’s been over seven weeks since I first tested positive for Covid. In total, I tested positive for 25 days (including a PCR at hospital on Day 24). During this time I had a wide array of symptoms but the worst was a crushing fatigue, at something like 10-20% of normal energy levels, leaving me stuck in bed for 23hrs a day.

Developing the Triumph Suit pattern

The Triumph Suit pattern is not only our first triathlon-focused pattern, or our first Advanced pattern, but I’m also fairly certain is the pattern that was in development the longest. And also very likely the one I nearly gave up on the most times (I don’t deal well with very long-running projects!).

So today I’d like to walk you through a bit of its development process so you can get a feel for the timelines involved and the sheer number of hours, weeks, months, and years that go into something as complex and specialised as this!

I started thinking about a trisuit pattern all the way back in early 2021 (I was still shielding during the time, remember!). It was the first inspiration to hit me since the disruption of 2020. During 2020 I concentrated on updating all of our patterns to be layered and projector-friendly, rather than developing anything new simply because I had zero energy for creativity. It started with me combining two blocks together and drawing out design lines – both on paper and on myself!

Supplies for the Triumph Suit pattern

I’ve had a few requests for a fabric guide for our latest Triumph Suit pattern so today I’ll walk you through all the supplies I used to create the three samples you’ve seen so far (plus an extra you haven’t seen yet).

Exterior Fabrics

Let’s start with the fabrics you’ll see the most of – the exterior fabrics! You can either make the Triumph Suit all from one exterior fabric (like I did for the prototype I wore to London Duathlon last summer), or you can mix and match fabrics. I made the last four samples all from a mix of exterior fabrics, and I colourblocked each of them different ways – there’s so many different possible combinations! It’s really handy to print off the tech drawing on the first page of the instructions and break out the coloured pencils or pencils to sort out which colourblocking you like the most.

Happy 2023! (Year in Review)

For the past 15(!) years I’ve posted my year in review on 1 January, but not this year. I lost my sewjo around the end of September so I didn’t really have much to blog about. I waited for it to reappear (as I learned a long time ago there’s no point in trying to force it) and prepped a few projects, tidied a bit, planned a bit, and then fell into a massive “Interview with the Vampire” fandom hole (more on that later), and generally was happier in October and November than I’ve been in a long time (completely unrelated to the sewing) but that’s not the reason this post is late.

This post is late because, despite my best efforts (cycling to/from, FFP3 masking indoors with my CO2 monitor and otherwise staying outdoors) I caught a virus of some sort at the office christmas party which left me practically bed-bound with post viral fatigue for 4+ full weeks (no, not Covid, not flu, not RSV, not anything they swabbed for at haematology, but thankfully not EBV either). Like, 21+ hours a day in bed, and if I sat up for more than 15min to eat or drink, I’d have to lie flat for another hour. So sitting up to type was impossible, and I wrote this in pieces on my phone when I could, not being able to put it all together until I started improving a little bit in the past few days.

So apologies that it’s late, and for the blog silence for the past few months, but hey, 2023 can only get better from this dismal start, right?? Without further ado, let’s have a look back at 2022…

My Threads Luxury Loungewear Challenge entry!

Back in April I worked on a secret project, which I’m pleased to reveal – it was my entry for the 2022 Threads Digital Ambassadors’ Luxury Loungewear Challenge! I was thrilled to be invited to take part this year as one of only four entrants, and I’m super proud of the ensemble that I created.

Head on over to Threads to read about my inspiration and choices for the garments and then the actual construction and couture elements I incorporated into them.

Sewing the Cos “Made By You” Men’s Shirt

As I mentioned in my earlier post showing off this shirt as well as the women’s shirt, this post is to outline how to construct the Cos “Made By You” men’s shirt so that others in the future can construct it in spite of the very sparse video instructions provided with the pattern. A lot of this information may be a repeat of the women’s shirt post since the kits are very similar in structure, right down to the fabric and packaging provided.

Sewing the Cos “Made By You” Women’s Shirt

Earlier this week I showed you my finished version of the Cos “Made By You” women’s shirt kit with the promise of giving far, far more details on the kit itself and some construction instructions so strap on in! This is a HEFTY brain dump intended to help others who’ve bought this thinking they were getting a full sewing pattern, or who bought it and no longer have Cos’s video online to help. Or frankly, if you’re just intrigued about what a high street shop thinks a home sewing product should be!