Apologies for the delay in posting this week – when I set out to cover a book design a week, I wasn’t expecting it to be quite so much work, and piled on top of all the extra content I’m having to write to market the book (which is all good stuff!), plus work for my secret project plus stressing out over the launch party and making sure the books arrived in time and my husband and I packing up and shipping out over 120 pre-orders in under 24hrs (no mean feat considering they all needed to be wrangled into Royal Mail’s print-on-demand postage system first, too!) – well, it meant that I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and on the verge of burnout for the past fortnight and I needed to take some time to try and focus on my health for a few days.
Unfortunately this means I’ve only got time to give you one post this week on the lovely Rashguard design from “Sew Your Own Activewear”, which is a shame because it’s surprisingly versatile and has some great hidden features and possibilities for variations, too!
When I was thinking about the sports I wanted to design for in the early stages of writing the book, I knew I wanted to somehow cover swimming, and I initially wanted to include a traditional swimsuit. But when it got down to the drafting instructions, it would’ve been tricky to construct using just the included blocks, or it’d mean I’d need to include a whole separate panty block just for the swimsuit so instead I took inspiration from my friend, Emily, who is an avid Cornish surfer as well as being a runner, climber, cyclist, and all-around advocate for natural movement (and indeed, the athlete model for this design in the book!).
So rather than a swimsuit, I instead starting thinking about a rashguard, and what kind of requirements a surfer might need – lots of arm movement to get the board going, full coverage from the sand, sun, and scratchy board, but also nothing that might press uncomfortably against your chest while you’re face-down on your board. So with these requirements in mind, I created the features you see on the finished Rashguard, plus some flattering body seaming to make things a bit more interesting!
“Not just for die-hard surfers anymore, the rashguard has become a summer fashion staple in its own right, keeping delicate skin covered from the sun and the harsh elements as well as any irritation from your board. You’ll want to be seen on the beach wearing these flattering seamlines in the front and back, but the addition of an integral sleeve gusset means it’ll stay in place as you raise your arms to swim, too. The back zip (zipper) makes it easy to get in and out of while remaining comfortable lying on your board – or the boardwalk!”
In making this design, you’ll not only learn how to change a regular sleeve into one with an internal gusset for extended arm range of motion, but you’ll also learn how to extend the neckband into a collar for greater coverage as well as sew a centre back zipper on stretchy fabrics with an added guard against the skin.
I also added a “leash” onto the separating zipper to make it easier to take on and off easily – the idea being that you’d wear this over your bikini or swimsuit and use it to help pull up the zipper over that point in your back where your arms don’t reach before tucking the leash inside so it doesn’t get caught on anything. If you’re planning on wearing this as your solo swimsuit (or just not taking it on and off frequently), you can totally just leave off the zipper entirely and cut the centre back piece on the fold instead.
For the sample Emily is wearing in the book, I used Funkifabrics “Mirror shaded” Flexcite in pale turquoise and lavender and paired it with a solid lavender matte nylon lycra for some of the body panels. I also used lavender thread for the exposed “mock flatlock” seams, which creates a nice, flat, decorative stitch using your basic overlocker (serger) machine – details on how to achieve this are also included in my book!
And since I couldn’t just have Emily standing half-naked in her Rashguard, for the photoshoot I made up a matching pair of bikini bottoms using the matte lavender nylon lycra and the standalone “runderwear” briefs included in my Threshold Shorts pattern. Considering hers was the first photoshoot of the day – at dawn! – and it was absolutely freezing, you can see what sort of badass swimming in the sea in January turns you into!!
Other movement geeks might be interested to hear that I recently stumbled across an alternative method for drafting an integral gusset sleeve, which this site calls a “flex sleeve”. I haven’t had a chance to try it out myself yet, but I love that there are often several ways to achieve the same end result in sewing!
For those of you who pre-ordered from Amazon UK, I am happy to report that the book is FINALLY in stock over there and you should be receiving them in the next few days (I have no idea why it took them a week to get their books from the port to the distribution warehouse to their own warehouse, but there you go!). If you pre-ordered from me, they were all shipped out last Saturday, regardless of destination.
The e-book version should be appearing on the Amazons any day now – it was delivered to them a few weeks ago with an “urgent” status so I can’t predict any more accurately than “soon”, sorry! But I can say that the e-book version comes with all the blocks in both Print at Home (A4 and US Letter compatible) and Copy Shop (A0 and 36in wide compatible) versions and that these are also layered pdfs – I know because I generated them myself! If you’re in the US and impatient for the 30 March release date, you can purchase the e-book version via my publisher’s shop right now. And no FOMO! 😉