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The “Sew Your Own Activewear” Active Leggings

I’ve been waiting for weeks to share this particular design from my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book with you, and now seems as good as any! This week I’ll be talking about one of my favourite designs in the book, the Active Leggings! These started as a bit of a design progression from my super-popular Duathlon Shorts pattern, but as much as they may look similar, under the hood there are plenty of differences going on! For starters, the Active Leggings have much wider pockets (as phones have grown SO much bigger since I released the Duathlons in 2014) that are constructed differently, too, and feature a full-length leg that’s got lower leg visual interest.

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!

Adjusting the Duathlon Shorts pockets for bigger phones

My Duathlon Shorts pattern has been one of my best selling designs, and for good reasons – it’s easy to sew, has a bunch of length options, and suits a wide variety of activities. It’s also got two pockets integrated into the side panels, great for stashing your stuff. But when I made this pattern back in 2014, the iPhone 4 and 5 were the standard size phone, and phones have gotten so much bigger over the past few years! I’ve had a few requests asking how to enlarge the pockets to suit an iPhone 6, and it’s really easy to do!

I’ve drawn out the changes into the below diagram, but essentially you need to add both width and depth to the pocket for bigger phones.

Cycling 120 miles with bacon and ikat

The Dunwich Dynamo isn’t a race – it’s not even an organised event. It’s much more a rite-of passage – an annual 120 mile bike ride from London Fields in east London to Dunwich, on the Suffolk coast. It’s been going for over 20 years and the route is just “known”, and the date is the Saturday closest to the full moon in July. Riders set off sometime between 7 and 9pm, and generally don’t make it to the beach at Dunwich until sunrise, or some hours thereafter.

I’ve written a full report on my ride over at my RiverRunner site if you’d like to hear more about what it’s like to cycle for 9.5 hours on a heavy mountain bike having previously only ridden 30 miles. It was tough, and some parts were more enjoyable than others!

This post is more about what I sewed in the leadup to the race, both for James and myself. My copy of the latest Sewing Bee book arrived two weeks ago, and I knew I wanted to sew up the men’s cycling jersey, just to see how it compares to my Surf to Summit men’s top, if nothing else! I did a bit of work behind the scenes on the show and book this year, and I helped out a bit with the instructions for this one but never had the pattern to sew it up myself until my finished book arrived.

Pale orange Kimono Sweat tank (View B)

I’ve been holding back this version of my Kimono Sweat pattern for quite a few months because it’s a perfect summer workout top, so I wanted to save it for the Southern hemisphere summer. So Aussies, Kiwis, Saffas, and South Americans, this post is for you!

It’s been a while, so to refresh your memory: View B is a sleeveless tank/vest top with a banded, scooped neckline and straight hem. Deep armholes, and loose, draped sides make this a perfect warm weather workout top for those who prefer a looser fit (and showing off a fancy sports bra!).

You saw my athlete model Lorna modelling a red bamboo version earlier this year but I made this one using a pale fluorescent orange marled “cotton touch” tech jersey I got from my Sweaty Betty insider friend (sorry!). You can use pretty much any lightweight and drapey jersey for this view, but if you’re using it for exercise, be sure to stay away from cotton jerseys which will absorb sweat (ewww!).

I designed this view after seeing so many ladies in my running crew cutting up their race tops to have deep armholes, ready for showing off a fancy sports bra. But regardless of your bra, this is by far the coolest and airiest top I’ve ever run in – you get a great cooling breeze as you run but without revealing too much skin, or having clingy fabric around your waist.

I paired this top with my latest Duathlon Shorts in the booty length that I sewed up before the British Transplant Games at the start of August, made in the suitable jazzy summertime “Aztec Stripe” print in the green colourway (it also comes in purple or yellow), with a bit of leftover scrap fluorescent red wicking lycra for the side panels and some grippy elastic on the hems. Together, these are just about the perfect summer running combo!!

French and Dutch Translations plus Facebook and Pinterest, too!

Boy is this a whopper of an update post today! Truth be told, I intended to split it up into two posts as both things are big news but life got in the way of writing this week and I didn’t want to make you all wait any longer…

FehrTrade Patterns – in French and Dutch!

I’ve been wanting to offer translations of my pattern instructions pretty much from the day we launched, but I needed to get a bunch of the admin side of things in order to make it a reality. I started putting feelers out this summer to find out which of my patterns had the biggest demand, and for which languages (since at this point in time I can’t afford to offer translations for all my patterns in every language!).

It turned out that there was a lot of demand for my XYT Workout Top to be translated, since a lot of the advice on power mesh and stretch didn’t really come across visually. So I’m pleased to report that instructions for the XYT Workout Top are now available in both French and Dutch in addition to English! These translations were both done by native speakers who also sew, so they should make sewing your own activewear a lot easier if your English is a little rusty.

Furthermore, I was able to translate a further two more patterns into French, so les couturières francophones can also enjoy instructions for the Duathlon Shorts and Steeplechase Leggings, too!

A whirlwind of activity

You can pretty much assume by this point that if I’ve gone a bit quiet on this site, then it probably means I’ve been sewing up a storm behind the scenes and am just struggling to find the time to tell you all about it! And yes, it’s happened again… So I’ll try and catch you up on a bunch of things at once!

Sewing Indie Month – Pattern Bundle 1

Remember how much fun Sewing Indie Month was last year?? It was a full month full of interviews, great tutorials (like Heather Lou showing you how to turn my XYT Workout Top into a summer maxi dress!), and fabulous Sew Along prizes and it’s back again this September!

But because us pattern designers know how much you all love a bargain, we’ve joined forces to create two pattern bundles in advance of Sewing Indie Month, and the first pattern bundle is on sale now through Wednesday 12 August only.

Click through to see all the included patterns and the different tiers, including some brand new patterns exclusive to this bundle! The cool thing here is that you’re not only buying these patterns for well under the usual price, but 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to the International Folk Art Alliance, which provides education and exhibition opportunities to folk artists from around the world. So you’re helping out other crafters, too!

I made the Lolita Patterns Sugar Plum dress a few years ago and honestly, it’s one I still wear in regular rotation (and looks so much better than the photos in my post, annoyingly!). The Sugar Plum dress is a knit/woven hybrid, but the patterns in this first bundle are mostly wovens, so the sale timing gives you time to make muslins before the sewalong contest begins in September while supporting small women-owned businesses and raising money for charity. You can see the size range for each of the included patterns here, too.

Aztec Duathlon Shorts

Psychologically, short shorts make me run faster. Well, not really, but I think they do, and that’s all I need! So, a few weeks ago, with the British Transplant Games coming up, I managed to squeeze out a new pair of Duathlon Shorts for the occasion!

More of your makes!

It’s that time again! I can barely keep up with all your amazing, inspiring, and beautiful versions of my patterns these days, and before I know it, I’ve got an overflowing heap to share with you! I know how helpful many of you find these – it’s all well and good that I make nice versions of my patterns, but so much more helpful when you see how good they look on other bodies, too!

Be sure to click through to read the details and see more photos on each of these entries, too. With a long weekend coming up both here in the UK and in the US, there’s no excuse not to whip up something sporty!

Winnie’s Steeplechase Leggings with exterior rolled seams & zebra Surf to Summit


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Karen’s 5(!) Steeplechase Capris for herself and her daughters


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Maria’s three pairs of Steeplechase Capris, with great reflective accents


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Sally’s wintry Surf to Summit for the ski slopes!


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Maria’s “Hunger Games” inspired Duathlon leggings


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mixtilli’s red Lacey Thong lingerie set


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A Mountain of Your Makes (Part Three)

We’ve made it – thanks for climbing the mountain with me! I hope these last few makes of yours are as inspiring to you as they are to me. I always love seeing my patterns go off and have a life of their own – being interpreted in ways I’d never imagined, changed to suit different bodies, activities, and tastes, and truly become your own.

Katherine’s Surf to Summit rashie


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AZGreyGirl’s two different striped Duathlon capris


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JessieBear’s Surf to Summit with ingenious thumb-hole mitts and piping


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Elizabeth’s rainbow leopard Surf to Summit for her sister


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