If you or someone you know would like the gift of sewing their own activewear, but you’re not keen on supporting Amazon, there have been a few great options popping up recently that strive to a) pay their taxes (like, shouldn’t this be the bare minimum??) and also b) help struggling independent book shops. If you’re able to get to your local bookshop and they stock my book, that’s fabulous! But if, like me, you’re doing all your holiday shopping online this year and are stuck for places to look, then read on!
“More shorts?!” I hear you say! (Especially if you’ve also been experiencing our English summer) As I said in my posts on the mustard wool shorts and the linen denim Pietra shorts, my work at home lifestyle change is demanding more warm weather clothing since the boat is not climate controlled like my office. So I’ve been having fun trying out different shorts patterns that I may have overlooked the first time around!
This time I wanted to try out the Named Patterns Astrid Wrap Shorts (which also comes with an option for wide-legged trousers, which I can guarantee you I will never make!). But shortly after I purchased it, Named announced that they were retiring a bunch of their older patterns, including this one and the Harriet jacket I adore and wear ALL the time every winter. I managed to finish sewing these shorts the day before they removed this pattern from sale (yes, even the pdf, which makes no sense to me whatsoever as it literally costs them nothing to retain it!) and shared it on my socials, but it wasn’t enough time for me to do the photoshoot and get this post together, sorry!
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.
These are weird times. Apart from my birthday dress, I’ve really only been sewing face masks for myself, J, family and neighbours and even though I’ve got loads of lovely fabrics paired with specific patterns that are ready to go, I haven’t actually felt like sewing them. For me, most of the joy of sewing is in the making itself, but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t enjoyment in the wearing it for others to admire, too. Without that component, on top of my usual routine being upended for the past 3.5 weeks, it’s just not been easy to get into the right mindset to create.
By go-to for times when I’m in a funk is to sew a “quick knit top”, which, for the past few years has meant a teeshirt using the “Loose Fitting Top Block” from my Sew Your Own Activewear book (my go-to teeshirt pattern). So I grabbed some cotton-lycra jersey from Ditto Fabrics in the most perfectly “me” shade of olive green from my stash, and did some cathartic sewing early on in March.
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!
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.
Thank you all for the enthusiasm for our new (free!) Compression Fitting Bottom Block pattern! Even though these are the most basic leggings you can get, I really wanted to show off the pairs I made to test the pattern and this pair in particular got SO much love when I shared some in-progress shots on Instagram.
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.
Strap in, because this is an epic post for three finished garments and a 100 mile cycle ride!
When I bought the recycled sunburst print activewear fabric from Sew Dynamic back in May, I knew I wanted to make an outfit for RideLondon 100 using it. It’s a brilliant activewear fabric made from recycled plastic bottles that’s got great stretch and recovery, totally opaque when stretched, and with a really vibrant colour pop. But the digitally printed colour bursts run down the length of the fabric – not quite a border print as they’re placed about a third of the width in, but certainly something that I’d need to really pay attention to when cutting out my fabric.
It was all a bit last-minute that I was going to be in Berlin last week at all, let alone doing an event, so I have to thank everyone who came out to talk all things activewear! Special thanks go out to the incredibly lovely staff at extremtextil who hosted the event, made their shop so welcoming, and opened up especially for us on a Tuesday evening. It’s so wonderful to see an independent speciality fabric shop run by people who are so passionate and educated on every aspect of outdoor and sportswear sewing!