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Mustard wool pleated shorts

Now that I’m staying at home all the time (and will continue to do so until there’s a vaccine, to be honest) I’m finding a need for shorts in my wardrobe that didn’t really exist when I spent the majority of my week in a climate-controlled office. I absolutely l-o-v-e the denim Pietra shorts I made at the start of the summer but I thought I’d branch out and try a different pattern for some stretch wool suiting that I bought at the same time as the linen denim I used in the Pietras.

I bought this lightweight, mustard wool blend suiting from New Craft House (now long gone, as nearly all their fabrics are fashion industry deadstock) and it’s absolutely perfect for these shorts! Some people think wool is only for winter, but it’s a great year-round fabric if you get the weight right, and this isn’t itchy in the slightest, either. I overlocked all the edges of my pieces as soon as I cut them to prevent fraying, but I constructed this on the sewing machine.

A Lucha Libre kitties teeshirt

Happy Friday everyone! I sewed this a few weeks ago when I was in desperate need of a pick-me-up so I went off-plan for a purely joyful sew! It’s all because of this incredible fabric I found, the Lucha Libre kitties cotton jersey from Like Sew Amazing. I mean, how could I not click buy?!

Sarah had actually had some of this jersey in stock before, but it pretty much sold out immediately – I pounced on this the second I saw she got stock back in, and I’m glad I did, because that round sold out quickly, too. She actually restocked this last weekend, and (yep, you guessed it!) it sold out again. So what I’m saying is, if you want this fabric, definitely follow Like Sew Amazing on Instagram and keep an eye on her IG Stories so you can pounce when she gets another shipment.

Orange striped ATACAC tee

I only rarely sew an exact replica of a pattern, but sometimes I’m just drawn to the same pattern and similar fabric to recreate a look that I know really works for me. ATACAC are Swedish designers who sell short-runs of their very interesting wraparound and zero-waste designs to the public but also offer up sharewear patterns on a “pay what you want” basis, which is SUPER cool. These patterns are pretty bare bones though, so you’ve really got to know what you’re doing. They’re only offered in one size only (size 3), for starters, and with no instructions! I personally love nothing more than seeing a “wtf pattern piece” and trying to make my 3D brain contort it into shape, so I absolutely love figuring out their designs, but you might prefer something more user-friendly!

Burda rose jumpsuit

In the May issue of Burda magazine, there was a behind-the-scenes feature into how they design and develop their sewing patterns and the example they used was an amazing wrap-front jumpsuit, which I immediately wanted to sew! But I found out that the jumpsuit would be in the next issue, so I had to wait a whole month before I could get started.

It ended up actually being the cover star of the June 2020 issue, and even better – it also has the fully illustrated instructions for the issue, too! If you missed this issue, it’s also available to purchase as a pdf pattern from the (otherwise awful) English Burda site.

A citron yellow Rest Vest

Thank you all for your comments and sympathy regarding the death of my father and my tribute vest. I’ve been sewing a LOT over the past few weeks while he’d been dying, but for obvious reasons I hadn’t felt like writing blog posts or taking photos, so I’ve got a bunch of garments to show you, completely out of order and with some photos taken recently and some from weeks ago (just don’t look at the length of my hair too closely!).

The first I wanted to show you is the Rest Vest from MadeIt patterns – a new-to-me pattern company that is also based in London! This is the pattern I used for my tribute vest, but this version today is the one I made first.

I saw the back view of this vest (British English for “tank top”, Americans!) in my Instagram feed and basically clicked buy then and there. It was still under its launch discount, too, which was just a bonus, but I love that the top wraps around at the back to create that upper back interest and the back wraps around at the body to shift the side seams forward. It feels like a design I’d draft myself, which is high praise indeed!

A teeshirt for my Dad and a tribute from/for me

At the end of January my Dad became suddenly critically ill with a list of serious problems as long as my arm. While I anxiously waited for my last-minute transatlantic flight to leave to go over and visit, I needed something to keep my hands busy, so I decided to make him a teeshirt.

I had recently bought some cotton jersey from Girl Charlee UK (who’ve since closed down) in his favourite shade of “Penn State blue” and I used this in conjunction with the Men’s teeshirt from the Great British Sewing Bee Fashion with Fabric book, size Medium. (Coincidentally, I actually made the “perfect” modelled in the book!)

A German activewear mesh top

This top is doubly German! First of all, the pattern is from the German-language book, “Alles Active”, which I bought to see what the “competition” were up to in Germany vs my own book’s German edition (“Näh dir deine Sportswear”). It’s a decent enough book with a handful of nice activewear designs, but there is a LOT of athleisure filler in it and some very ropey-looking samples on the model, too.

But I liked this top (creatively titled, err, “Top”), and traced it out last summer when I bought the book. I even bought two gorgeous and lightweight activewear fabrics from extremtextil’s Berlin shop when I was over last July to teach the workshop, but then the weather turned cold and I missed my chance to sew it up.

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!