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Neon Tenacity Capris

Next up in our deep-dive into each of the samples of the new Tenacity Leggings pattern is possibly the brightest pair of capris I’ve ever sewn – and you know I love a bright and crazy activewear print fabric!!

We shot the photos for this pair on Bodmin Moor in Cornwall, made famous by Hitchcock’s “Jamaica Inn”. It made for a great contrast against the muted terrain on a very grey and cloudy day, though I’m pretty sure some of the sheep thought I was the actual sun!

Olive green Tenacity Leggings

Thanks for all your enthusiasm around the new Tenacity Leggings and “Activewear Sewing for Beginners” eBook! It’s always nerve-wracking to release something new so it really makes a difference when you all love it as much as my testers and I did!

I wanted to kick things off today by introducing the first of our three Tenacity Leggings samples. Normally at this part I’d be telling you all about the baddass “athlete model” I worked with, but with still being classed as “Clinically Extremely Vulnerable” even after 3 jabs, it wasn’t feasible for me to be working with someone close quarters for fittings or travelling on the tube with the camera and gear to do the photoshoot. So I’m afraid I’m the only model for this pattern, but the athlete models will definitely be coming back in future!

Writing the “Activewear Sewing for Beginners” eBook

I’m just going to put this out there and say it – writing a book is a TON of work, whether you’re doing it on your own or with the help of an international publisher (like I did with “Sew Your Own Activewear”). When I realised that I wanted to supplement our new beginner pattern with an eBook focused entirely on beginner activewear sewing tips, I had a pretty fully formed idea of what I wanted it to contain, but not really sure of how to get there.

I wrote out a rough outline of chapters and before starting anything, I approached my publisher to make sure that I was legally okay and not breaching any non-compete or future works clause in my contract from SYOA. Thankfully, they could see that both books were fundamentally different and gave me their blessing to self-publish it myself, otherwise it couldn’t have happened at all!

I think most people assume that the actual writing takes up the bulk of the time spent “writing” a book, but for me, getting the actual words onto paper was the easy part. I closed myself into our back cabin for a few days and by the end of it, I had 90% of the text written!

Developing the Tenacity Leggings

Thank you all so much for your enthusiasm for our Tenacity Leggings and eBook launch last week! I’ve got so much more to say about both because omg, they were both so much work! but today I wanted to talk a little bit about the development of the Tenacity Leggings pattern.

Throughout 2020 and my 14 months of shielding, I had zero creativity. But then I suddenly got hit with an explosion of it in spring and threw myself into a crazy complicated, advanced pattern. I went through about 4 test muslins but it still wasn’t quite right, and I felt like it wasn’t the right time to focus on it when so many people felt like they couldn’t even get started sewing activewear. So I parked that pattern (hopefully I’ll release it next year!) and started work on a leggings pattern that would be beginner-friendly, but with enough options to keep myself and other intermediate- or advanced-activewear sewists interested, too.

Coming Soon…

Apologies for the radio silence recently, but I promise it’s for a very good reason! Actually, two reasons, because I have been spending every single second of FehrTrade time for the past few months working to release a new, beginner-focused activewear pattern AND a full beginner activewear-focused eBook to accompany it. Wooooo! And even though the pattern is aimed at beginners, there are plenty of opportunities for upskilling that have won it rave reviews from my more experienced, testers, too.

An ochre Named Saraste Top

For once I’ve actually coordinated my sewing with the weather! Though, like most of my makes, this had a rather long lead time… I actually bought this 1.5m of Atelier Brunette “Shade Ochre” viscose fabric from Lamazi Fabrics last summer but didn’t quite work out which pattern to pair with it until recently, when I decided I wanted to try another variation of the Saraste shirt/dress/top from the first Named book, “Breaking the Pattern”.

An Alpine cycling set

It feels inevitable that, as July rolls around and the Tour de France starts up, I find myself sewing a cycling set! In 2019 it was with a goal to wear it to cycle 100 miles in Ride London, and last year it was to complete the Virtual Tour de France on Zwift with an ascent up Mont Ventoux but this year… well, I just wanted a new outfit!

Funkifabrics are one of my absolute fabric activewear suppliers and I’ve been sewing their various base fabrics for at least 8 years now, and frankly I’ve lost count of the number of races I’ve run in their fabrics. So when they got in touch back in January and asked if I’d like to try out their new Spider print base in the print and colours of my choice, I positively leapt at the chance! Their Spider fabric is what I’d generically call an “aerated polyester” (though this is nylon), and what all the big brands have their own copyrighted names for, but essentially it’s a matte activewear fabric with lots of tiny holes – plenty big enough to let moisture and airflow through, but small enough to not be see-through. It’s super lightweight AND has great stretch and recovery in both directions. It’s quite similar to the material often used in race tees, but with better stretch and a tad more texture.

A black dP Studio slash top

Last year my mom bought me a surprise off my wish list – the dP Studio book, “Fashion Couture”, which ended up being one of my favourite sewing books of recent years. The included 12 patterns are all tops (hooray! No dresses I’m unlikely to wear taking up space in the book!) which are all really interesting and fashion-forward designs. Be aware that the size range is quite limited – it only goes up to a B111/W91/H118. I made the “wink top” in a jungle print viscose last summer in size 46 and it’s one of my favourite makes from 2020.