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Tutorial: Add a full-length zip to your Surf to Summit Top

As promised, and after many requests, I’ve created a tutorial for changing the half zip in your Surf to Summit Top pattern to be a fully-opening zipper! This is a pretty straightforward change but I like to be very thorough in my explanations so don’t be scared by the amount of steps – half of them are me just adding clarification.

This tutorial not only works for the Ladies version of our Surf to Summit Top pattern, but also the men’s version, too! I did this same change for our athlete model, Jason, when he wore the Surf to Summit Top with our men’s Lightspeed Leggings pattern.

A Tokyo-inspired cycling jersey

Annnnd rounding out the final garment in my Tokyo-inspired three piece cycling set, it’s the jersey! For this one I used our FehrTrade Surf to Summit Top, which has been one of our bestsellers since it came out at the end of 2014. It’s super versatile, and can be used as a winter running top, classic cycling jersey, or swimming rashguard and has a bunch of interchangeable options. But some people just aren’t happy with a zillion options (err, me!) and had to go and do more tweaks, too!

A Tokyo-inspired sports bra

Earlier this week I talked you through the inspiration for my Tokyo-inspired three piece cycling set and today I wanted to talk a little more about the smallest garment in the set – the sports bra!

Like the rest of the set, for the bra I predominantly used the Tokyo-inspired print from Funkifabrics on the Life Recycled base fabric, and really only used the Discovery Fabrics’ Yoga Stretch in “Rust Berry” for the under-bust band. For the inner layers I used some beige power mesh from Sewing Chest.

Tokyo-inspired cycling bib shorts

You heard all about my three-piece cycling set as a whole yesterday, but today I want to talk specifically about the bib shorts that I wore to ride up the virtual Mont Ventoux on Saturday.

For these I used our very own Rouleur Leggings pattern using the shorts option and the bib waist treatment (so essentially it’s View B). I wanted the Tokyo-inspired print from Funkifabrics (on their Life Recycled base fabric) to be the star of the shorts here so I used that for most of the pattern pieces, but I used the Discovery Fabrics’ Yoga Stretch in “Rust Berry” for the leg band and the bib for a nice bit of contrast.

A Tokyo-inspired three-piece cycling set

Strap in, because this is going to be one EPIC ride! No, seriously – not just what I did on the bike, but also in the sewing of this set, which will be spread over the course of five posts, because, well, I’ve got a lot to say and a lot of details to share and I want to give this all the space it deserves to breathe and inspire.

This all started life back in February, when Funkifabrics got in touch to see if I’d be interested in sewing something up from one of their fabric designs in their Japan collection with the intention of tying in with the Tokyo Olympics. Did I!? It’s no secret that I love Funkifabrics, and I selected this Tokyo-inspired nightlife print which I chose to have printed on their Life Recycled base fabric (because I’m trying to buy sustainable or recycled fabrics as much as I can!). I didn’t really have a project in mind when it arrived, but a lockdown took hold, the Olympics got postponed, and I started to have to do all my exercise at home on our new treadmill and turbo-trainer, so I found myself creating my own events.

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 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.