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The Sewing Weekender 2017

Sewing retreats are fairly common in America from what I can tell, but up until last year’s inaugural Sewing Weekender, there’d never really been a large scale sewing retreat here in the UK. I was lucky enough to snag a ticket for myself last year, and I had SUCH a great time as a punter that I knew I wanted to go again should Rachel, Kate, and Charlotte plan another one.

Luckily, out of the writing of my book I realised that a lot of the points I made about sewing activewear were also heavily applicable to anyone with a body who moves (so, err, everyone except possibly the comatose) so I approached the organisers months ago saying I’d love to talk about Sewing For Movement at the next event if they were planning one. I’m glad I got in touch early, because as it turns out, this year’s Weekender sold out in under 20 minutes!!

Fabric (and gold!) shopping in Malaga

Apologies for the radio silence over the past few weeks. If you follow me on social media, you’ll know I’ve had an absolutely intense 3 weeks of training culminating in my competing in the World Transplant Games in Malaga, Spain last week.

I’ve written a comprehensive race report over on my running site which gives a bit of insight into the amount in training and sheer effort that went into my performance at the Games, which (spoiler alert!), ended in my bringing home 6 golds and one bronze!

XYT Workout Top – now a layered pdf!

Happy Friday everyone! I’ve got some great news for all of you who’ve loved our XYT Workout Top pattern over the years – it’s now available as a layered pdf!

The XYT was our first ever pattern back in 2013 and when it came out, layered pdfs weren’t even a thing! Our most recent patterns have all been layered, but it’s a really tedious task to re-organise everything in the older pattern files in order to add this functionality. But we’ve got some big love coming XYT’s way next week (*cough* Print Club *cough*), so it was worth the extra TLC, especially since this pattern has English, French, and Dutch translations on the pattern pieces, too!

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!

On location with my athlete models

My sewing activewear book won’t be out til early 2018, but due to lead times in the publishing world, the words are already written, illustrations drawn, patterns drafted, and samples sewn. Some of you may think I’m just being a cruel tease by not showing you all 13 designs right now but honestly, it’s better this way – if I revealed all now, not only would you still have to wait til next year to sew them up anyway, but they’d also be tired and old in your mind – “Didn’t I already see this design somewhere before…?”. So at least this way you may have to wait a while to see everything, but you’ll be able to start sewing them without too much of a gap. When I do have bits I can share, however, I’m happy to do so as I know so many of you are as excited as I am to see its arrival, which is awesome!

One big advantage of working with a major international publisher is that they know how to best shoot and show off the designs I’ve created. From the very first meeting I requested to bring my own athlete models, as I wanted to showcase real women who workout – not just models doing a fake run for the cameras. For the 13 designs we’d need 3 athlete models, and since some of the shots would be in a studio, it made sense for the publisher to source an athlete closer to their base in Devon – and Jade is every bit as strong and lovely as the ladies who’ve modelled for FehrTrade Patterns over the years!

Finding balance (and fabric!) in Copenhagen

After the twin mammoth accomplishments of running London marathon and handing in my book manuscript (and illustrations, patterns, and sewn samples!), I really needed a break! The next few days were filled with sports massages, a spa day, visiting friends, and packing.

I’d only ever visited Copenhagen once, back in 2013 to run the marathon, but I really only got to see the sights directly along the race route, as I had to fly to Miami the next morning for work. Through the global running crew movement I’ve got a bunch of friends there, though, and my friend Christina in particular has stayed with us a few times over the years and when she and her partner Troels were over in January we all sat down with our calendars and finally picked a date for James and I to come stay at theirs and finally see the city properly. As it turned out, Troels ran an ultra the same weekend as I ran London marathon, so the weekend after would be perfect for us all.

If you’ve never been to Copenhagen, I definitely, definitely recommend going. It’s a compact, green, and pleasant city to visit, and it feels like the Danes just really nailed quality of life. Apart from eating everything in sight (smorgasbords!!), we did our usual boat tour, visited the food market, met up with friends, went to three different cocktail bars, and drank a lot of Mikkeller beer at their brewpub, War Pigs.

Sewing with Soft shell

I’ve seen several references to soft shell recently and I thought it might be worth delving a little deeper into this fabric since I’m guessing many of you may not be familiar with it…

What is Soft shell?
Not to be confused with that thin polyester stuff that made up “shell suits” in the 1980s, “soft shell” is a fabric that’s comprised of a densely woven exterior side with a brushed fleecey reverse. It’s ideal for applications like jackets because the exterior blocks the wind and is largely rain resistant, too, while the fleece interior is comfortable and warm against the skin without need for a lining, either.

The making of a Threads article

Thanks so much for all your congratulations on my activewear sewing article in the latest Threads magazine (issue 190). If you haven’t seen it yet, it should be on newsstands very soon – do go and buy it because (as usual!) there are a ton of really interesting articles included. Threads is a magazine I totally and fully respect, and I hold it in the highest esteem possible. When I started sewing, the information and techniques it included was something I was in total awe of, and even now, I learn something new from every single issue. It’s a magazine that doesn’t “dumb down” and is unashamedly not aimed at beginning sewists, which is refreshing in itself!