Blog

A lavender & “shatta” print Knot-Maste Yoga Set

One of the outfits I brought along to Alvanon’s fit studio last week was a new-to-you Knot-Maste Yoga Set!

The top was one I’d made in the latter stages of pattern development out of some cheap viscose cotton lycra in Lilac from Tia Knight (so obviously not for exercise with a fibre content like that!), and the bottoms were a casual pair I’d made myself from some “shatta” print viscose jersey from my stash (originally from Fabric Godmother but long sold out). I really wanted a pair of casual bottoms for lounging around the boast in over the holidays, and since all my previous samples were in solid colours, it was a nice opportunity to show you want they look like in a print, too.

The Knot-Maste Yoga Set – out now!

Please welcome our latest sewing pattern and our first designed specifically for yoga and pilates – the Knot-Maste Yoga Set!

Make your own perfect yoga wardrobe with our Knot-Maste Yoga Set sewing pattern. Start with a loose fitting teeshirt with knot-detail sleeves, upper back yoke, and semi- open back, worn knotted in the back for a tighter fit during exercise or left loose for cooling down. Alternatively, a shorter option features a hem band with knotted side detail. Pair it with comfy bottoms featuring slouchy pockets, crotch gusset, waistband with hidden elastic and optional tie, and a banded or tied hem in capri or full length and you’re ready to hit the mats in style!

Another pair of cycling jeans

I’ve made a lot of jeans since I started sewing 14 years ago. I remember I made my first pair before we even bought the boat, which would put them back in 2006 or 2007, and I really haven’t stopped since! I’ve probably made at least 10-15 pairs over the years, with various patterns and weights of denim, but my most recent pair with cycling-specific adaptations have been one of my favourites, so I wanted to have another pair of those in my wardrobe.

The majority of my jeans over the years have been made with Ditto Fabrics’ super freaking amazing Italian denims, and this traditional, non-stretch, dark dye was bought when I last visited their shop in December. It’s no coincidence that we’ve got another trip to Brighton planned in a few weeks so I can restock then…

Sewing jeans against the world

Sometimes you have to just close yourself into your sewing room, try to block out the world, and just make. This weekend I closed myself in my sewing cave and emerged on Sunday with a new pair of jeans and a teeshirt.

Let’s start with the jeans – I’ve lost track, but these are probably at least the 10-15th pair of jeans I’ve sewn myself, so I pretty much know what I want and how to achieve it by now. I usually try to make at least a pair a year, as they seem to live for just over a year of hard wear before the inner thighs inevitably start to wear thin and they’re relegated into “boat work jeans”.

Grey wool trousers (with hidden biscuit pockets!)

I’ve been doing quite a lot of sewing recently (less so on the blogging!). Most of it is for an upcoming pattern, so I’m not able to really share details yet, but I’ve also been trying to take time out to fill a few holes in my own wardrobe. Specifically, I realised I was in desperate need of trousers – I pretty much only had jeans or leggings that still fit me, apart from the Navy twill trousers I made this summer of course. I have quite a few skirts and dresses that still fit, but I tend to only wear those once or twice a week to work and I definitely favour trousers in cooler, wet weather.

So taking inspiration from what I’d had that I wore the most, looked at the grey flannel trousers I made in 2012, which I absolutely wore to death over the past three years. They’re a bit too big now, aside from being bobbled, so I thought I’d look for a similar pattern and attempt to recreate them. I found this pattern from the October 2013 issue, though when I looked through my Burda archives there were a ton of slight variations on this general shape. Hooray for sewing from the archives!


(The top on this page was Tall sizes, but the trousers were the regular size range)

The fabric was from equally deep in my stash – I’d been given this soft, grey flannel by Neighbour Helen just before they moved off the moorings (4-5 years ago), and at the time I already had a similar grey flannel in my stash (which became the aforementioned trousers, a midi skirt, and a sheath dress amoungst other things) so I didn’t cut into this one until that had gone. For some reason I had noted in my records that it was a polyester, but when I did a burn test it turns out it was wool! I found hidden treasure in my deep stash, and there’s a good 2m of it left, too.


Seen here with my favourite green Kimono Sweat top, made with green fleck sweatshirting from Guthrie Ghani.

Navy twill Jamie Jeans

With my sprint training regime over the summer, I’d lost quite a bit of weight from around my waist and hips, while my legs essentially stayed the same size. This has meant that pretty much all my trousers are now too big (some of them, comically so), and I pretty desperately needed some trousers that fit properly.

With the Kimono Sweat pattern launch out of the way, I went through my fabric stash to find something trouser-y, and discovered a length of stretch navy twill from Ditto that my friend Pip bought me as a Christmas present two years ago and I’d been meaning to sew ever since. Then I had a little dig through my pattern stash for something easy with minimal fitting, and I pulled out Named’s Jamie Jeans pattern, which I’d previously sewn in silver denim. Unfortunately, that fabric was not the best quality, with the silver coating having worn away considerably despite zero machine washing, and are just murky black now. So sad. But I mostly liked the fit of those, and the pattern was ready to go, so the trousers were GO!


These photos were taken in Plaza San Martin in Buenos Aires last week, and were lightened to try and show the details a bit better!

In the silver pair, I loved the close fit through the legs, but the crotch was just not comfortable. To me, it felt like they were too low-rise, but upon closer comparison with my favourite (non-stretch) Burda jeans pattern, it turned out that the crotch curve was about an inch too high, so I lowered it to match Burda’s and the fit is just right now. So they hit at about the same point, just below my belly button, but the crotch isn’t pulling and feeling a bit too… camel-toe!

Pleated denim leggings

The three words in the title may not seem like they naturally go together, but it’s all made possible by the super stretchy denim I bought from Mood when we were in NYC for my birthday in March. The weave definitely looks more like a denim/twill than a knit, but strangely, there’s more lengthwise stretch than widthwise (about 50-60% compared to only about 20%). There’s still plenty of stretch there for them to just pull on with an elastic waistband, and the fit is definitely more “leggings” than “jeans”, despite the denim.

I made these well over a month ago, and I’ve been wearing them pretty much twice weekly since then – they’re unbelievably versatile and so much more interesting than just a basic stretch denim legging (or, ugh, “jegging”). They were one of the last items to be made in my old sewing room, and I’m not entirely sure why it’s taken so long to photograph these, because I really do like them!

There’s no pattern to talk about here, I’m afraid – I just opened my basic leggings sloper in Illustrator and made some modifications to fit what was in my head.

In short, I drew some design lines on the Front where I wanted the pleated panel to be, sliced that off as its own piece, then digitally spread it apart again to have twelve 1cm pleats with 2cm in between. (You can do this really quickly by overlaying a grid onto the pattern piece, splitting it apart, then moving the top (or bottom) piece by the amount you want the total spread to be (in my case, moving it 12 × 2cm=24cm). Then just set those pleat pieces to distribute vertically!) IMHO, this is so much easier then getting out scissors and tape and a ruler and trying to draw out all the pleats myself. I truly am a digital native when it comes to pattern drafting now, I swear!


Worn here with my mustard Drape Drape top – still a favourite 2.5 years later!

My birthday jeans

It’s my birthday today! And I’m in New York City!!

We usually take a Spring holiday, but not til later in April or May, however this year James suggested we go away to New York over my birthday, since we haven’t been for four years and there were some shows we really wanted to see (we’ve developed an expensive immersive theater habit!). I’ve been needing a new pair of jeans for a while now, so I promised myself that I’d sew some up once the Steeplechase Leggings pattern was released and I’d have a little bit of a breather. And here they are, coinciding nicely as my birthday make this year!

This denim was bought from Ditto Fabrics, labelled as an Italian denim with very slight stretch, so I treated these as a non-stretch denim. It’s super high quality and I love the colour and wash, though like most denims, it’s still bleeding a bit of colour after two prewashes, so I’ll wash it separately for a while before sitting on any white couches.


(Apologies for the iPhone timer photos taken before I left, but I wanted to ensure I had covered the bases and it’s hard to upload images on the road without a laptop!)

I used the same base pattern as my classic pair of jeans made in 2013 (which is #120 from the April 2010 issue of Burda magazine), but my older pair is a bit too big, and also very straight in the leg and I wanted something more fitted and with a slimmer leg this time around.

I essentially made the same pattern (plus the same wedge cut out of the CB as before), but then basted the inseam and side seams to check the fit. I then decided I wanted to take out a cm at the hips and thighs to make the fit closer to “just washed jeans” to allow for some relaxing, then took out a cm from each of the side seams and inseam through the legs for a more skinny-jean silhouette.

Triathlon Leggings and Three Molehills

I’ve been a fan of FunkiFabrics for a long time (ie: before it was cool!), having made a sports bra, shorts, and leggings from their digital print lycra back in 2013. I’ve been meaning to get some more to use for myself, but it always felt like I was buying it on request for clients and students and never for me!

But recently I decided enough was enough ad I splurged on some luuuuuuuuuscious Funki Fabrics lycra in the “triathlon” print (bought with my own money). This fabric could not be more me – geometric print with turquoise and purples?! (It also comes in a red/orange/pink colourway).

I teamed it up with the basic, one-piece Kwik Sew leggings pattern that I’d recently altered in strange places to suit my runner’s legs, so I knew that the pattern would work well on the run and not bother me by shifting around! I’d made these with an eye to wear at the Three Molehills race, but the old adage “Nothing new on race day” lives deep within my psyche, so I took them out for a test run through Hampstead Heath (and the infamous Swains Lane) the weekend before:

It was only a short loop round the Heath, but long enough for me to tell they were going to be great (and that the mud washed out of them just fine on a cold sports wash!).

When I got home and put a sweatshirt on to warm up, I realised how well the print teamed with royal blue as well as purple! It’s a definite bonus for me when I can pair leggings with a number of tops in my running wardrobe…

So when the morning of the Three Molehills race arrived, I wasn’t even all that concerned that the forecast was for heavy downpours the entire day – at least I had fun leggings to wear round the super hilly, 16 mile course mudbath!


Photo credit: SussexSportPhotography.com

Crazy Cat Lady Leggings

I mentioned at the end of a post earlier this month that I cut into the kitten-face lycra Fleur brought me from the Garment District and made some leggings, but they weren’t finished at the time, and I owed you more photos.

I wanted to minimise the disruption to the print as much as possible (I could hear the kitties screaming every time I chopped through a face!), so I used KwikSew 3636, which is a one-piece legging pattern with no seams running down th outside legs. Coincidentally, this is also the pattern I also in my Lovely Leggings classes (and there’s still time to join this Sunday’s class if you sign up now!), so it’s super quick and great for beginners, too. Perfect for showcasing a wild print!

We were out in Wiltshire at the weekend visiting a friend, so I wore these for a little walk around her village. They actually work surprisingly well as casualwear, especially paired with my trench jacket I made in 2010 and still wear regularly!