Tropical cats Duathlon Shorts and Tenacity Leggings

Even though I sewed these at the end of November, they’re my final makes of the year. Despite having a week of feeling “kinda okay” (able to take 15min walks outside) around the end of November, I’ve felt truly appalling for the rest of December and am yet again spending 23hrs a day stuck in bed with post-Covid fatigue. It’s now over 100 days since I got Covid and I still can’t sit up or stand for very long, let along have a normal life.

But now that it’s crunch time at the end of the year, I want to share these before I forget the details, even though I’m not able to share anything more than flat photos of both…

These both started with a photo of a maxi dress that was doing the rounds earlier this year (or last year? It all runs together) with big blue and purple flowers on a black background, with black cats peeking out of the shadows. I really wanted to recreate the fabric on my own, but didn’t quite get to do it. And then I saw a similar print on Creative Market so I purchased it instead, and changed the colours to suit my vision.

10 Year Birthday sale!

I can scarcely believe I’m writing this, but TEN YEARS ago this month I released the first FehrTrade sewing patterns into the universe. Ten years! (Even scarier is that I’ve been blogging for something like 16 or 17 years??)

I’ve got so many great posts about our first decade that I want to share this month but to kick things off, it’s our longest ever sale – for the entire MONTH of December you can get 20% off all sewing patterns if you use code “10FREAKINGYEARS” at!

A Sports/Casual Versatili-Tank

I was pretty restrained with US-based fabric buying when my mom visited from the States in May, but I did splurge and buy two fabrics from Sew Dynamic for her to bring over in her suitcase. You already saw the botanic/animal print athletic lycra which became one of my favourite Triumph Suit samples, but I also bought a yard of their Drirelease base fabric in the “Prism Peaks” print.

This particular print may be sold out already but I am absolutely sold ON this Drirelease base fabric! Like all their fabrics, it’s made with recycled poylester (82%), and despite being an activewear fabric, it feels like a soft teeshirt material. It’s really, really wonderful and as soon as it arrived, I kicked myself that I didn’t buy more (and at $25/yd that’s saying something)!

A Cheery Bamboo Versatili-Tee

I’ve been sewing quite a lot of “blanks” recently – basic tanks or tees. Some of these I’ve used as vessels for heat set vinyl (like the green and black IWTV ones), but others I’m keeping plain.

I’ve not got too much to say about this particular teeshirt, but I think it’s nice to share wardrobe workhorses as well as fancier makes, because often these are the sort of garments that get worn most of all.

An “Interview with the Vampire” custom tribute tee

My obsession with the “Interview with the Vampire” tv show has not waned in time since it premiered (and broke my brain) last October. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that not a day has passed that I haven’t thought about this show. The brain rot is real.

Anyway, I’ve been playing with my Silhouette cutting machine recently, as I talked about in my last post, but this shirt design is one I worked on for quite a few weeks, and the idea just wouldn’t let me go.

It started with San Diego Comic Con, where AMC put a ton of money into building a recreation of a New Orleans street with live actors and swag, but also filled whole buildings with enormous posters to promote season two (out some time next year). But the image that really stuck with me was from some lifts (elevators) within a hotel, where there was a huge photo of the four main characters on each wall inside.

Black Pietra shorts and a doubly soft Versatili-Tee

I’ve been doing a lot of sewing recently, but haven’t been very good at either documenting all my post-Triumph Suit makes or taking photos of them, so I’m going to start with some of the first!

Ever since I made my first pair of Pietra Shorts using the ramie from Textile Express, I knew I’d need more, specifically in black. So when their black ramie came back into stock, I pounced on it, buying enough to make Pietra trousers and shorts. This stuff is so great for bottoms – it’s similar to linen but wears a thousand times harder, doesn’t crease, and just goes with everything. So making this pair of shorts out of the remaining black ramie was very high on my “need this in my wardrobe right now!” list as soon as I could. But then our summer turned into 5+ weeks of cold and rain so it hasn’t been a big deal they’ve been stuck languishing on my To Photoshoot pile…

Two pairs of Duathlon Shorts for my Mom

My Mom visited us from the States back in May. She had originally planned to run her first 10km race while she was here, but then some health issues came up and she decided to run a 5km instead. It was so special to be able to run a race with my mom, especially since she wasn’t doing any exercise at all at the end of 2021, and required a zimmer frame (walker) just to get across a room!

But she started small, with walking 1km a day (thanks to my friend Christina’s fantastic book), and gradually built up to running 5-10km and doing lots of strength work as well. She’s lost over 50 pounds in the process but gained so much more in terms of mobility, vitality, confidence, and years back on her life. It even meant she could push back her knee replacement surgeries for a whole year as the surgeons said her running was strengthening the muscles that support her knees.

Developing the Triumph Suit pattern

The Triumph Suit pattern is not only our first triathlon-focused pattern, or our first Advanced pattern, but I’m also fairly certain is the pattern that was in development the longest. And also very likely the one I nearly gave up on the most times (I don’t deal well with very long-running projects!).

So today I’d like to walk you through a bit of its development process so you can get a feel for the timelines involved and the sheer number of hours, weeks, months, and years that go into something as complex and specialised as this!

I started thinking about a trisuit pattern all the way back in early 2021 (I was still shielding during the time, remember!). It was the first inspiration to hit me since the disruption of 2020. During 2020 I concentrated on updating all of our patterns to be layered and projector-friendly, rather than developing anything new simply because I had zero energy for creativity. It started with me combining two blocks together and drawing out design lines – both on paper and on myself!

Supplies for the Triumph Suit pattern

I’ve had a few requests for a fabric guide for our latest Triumph Suit pattern so today I’ll walk you through all the supplies I used to create the three samples you’ve seen so far (plus an extra you haven’t seen yet).

Exterior Fabrics

Let’s start with the fabrics you’ll see the most of – the exterior fabrics! You can either make the Triumph Suit all from one exterior fabric (like I did for the prototype I wore to London Duathlon last summer), or you can mix and match fabrics. I made the last four samples all from a mix of exterior fabrics, and I colourblocked each of them different ways – there’s so many different possible combinations! It’s really handy to print off the tech drawing on the first page of the instructions and break out the coloured pencils or pencils to sort out which colourblocking you like the most.

Meet our Triumph Suit athlete model An!

I’ve always tried to use genuine athletes to model our patterns, starting way back in 2014 with our second pattern, the Duathlon Shorts. It means I get to big up other incredible people, tell their stories, and hopefully inspire you all. It also means you get to see the patterns on bodies other than mine, and bodies that actually exercise instead of just skinny models doing “fake running” like you see in so many magazines!