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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.

Digital cityscape compression leggings

The third pair of compression leggings I wanted to share with you were actually made before the other two pairs, when I was still tweaking the first but felt confident enough to cut into “good fabric” rather than the cheap stuff I keep around for sewing muslins. And what a fabric it is, too!

Red Cold Gear compression leggings

The second pair of compression leggings I made for myself using our new Compression Fitting Bottom Block pattern was one I decided to make after realising that I’m wearing a LOT of leggings made from winter technical fabrics for my daily cycle commutes. Even though my legs are moving and getting warm that way, I find that because I’m moving faster, the wind keeps my legs a lot cooler than when I’m running. And my few pairs of Cold Gear or thermo leggings have been in constant rotation for the past few months.

So I finally cut into some fabric from my deep stash – genuine Under Armour Cold Gear fabric that Cidell gifted to me years ago after coming across a treasure trove of it in a Baltimore fabric shop. I made a baser layer top around the time I was developing the book (which I may have never blogged?), and a bunch of leggings out of the other colourways, but I knew I could always use another pair of warm leggings since the others are worn so much.

New “Compression fitting bottom block” pattern!

My “Sew Your Own Activewear” book was released nearly two years ago (and written three years ago!), and I’m very pleased to announce that I’ve developed a new block pattern to compliment the book!

The new Compression fitting bottom block has significantly less negative ease than either the Close fitting bottom block or Loose fitting bottom block included in the books (a measurement chart is included in the shop listing). This block can be used as a starting point for any of the bottoms designs in the book, but is particularly well suited for the Active Leggings, Cycling Shorts, and Yoga Bottoms.

Highly reflective Rouleur Leggings

One of the things I love most about my Silhouette cutting machine is the ability to essentially cut any shape I like from reflective iron-on vinyl and make everything reflective. This is a seasonal pursuit, since realistically, I’m doing a lot more running and cycling after dark in the winter (with its 4pm sunsets) than I am in summer (with its 10pm sunsets). And since my Silhouette is boxed up awaiting workspace from our renovations, I had to go an fulfil my need for reflective goodies elsewhere, right??

Enter the new-to-me UK shop, Hello Reflectives. Yes, a shop that sells reflective fabrics and haberdashery. They’ve got all the fabrics to mimic those ££££ Nike vaporflash jackets from a few years ago (you have no idea what a status symbol those were before the cheap knockoffs arrived), slightly stretchy reflective pipings, vegan leather… but more importantly, a good collection of stretch fabrics with all-over reflective prints. An all-over reflective print? With STRETCH? Take my money!!

Quick Christmas gifts roundup

I hope you all have been having a great Christmas break! I actually didn’t make very many gifts this year (having a chest infection then flu for most of November and December kinda ended any possible plans!) but I wanted to show off what I did end up making in case it inspires you.