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Aztec print Seamwork retro bikini

31 August 2015, 11:33

I have a really bad habit of trying to cram in a bunch of last-minute sewing just before I go away on holiday, when most normal people would be packing their suitcase or reading through guidebooks. But no, I decide to sew up a pair of trousers and a bikini in the week before I leave!

I’d sewn up a swimsuit once before, but I’m not even sure whether I actually wore it in the water at all, as I hardly ever go swimming, and I’d moved away from one-pieces and that one had zero bust support so it just flattened the girls. But discovering that Team GB had been allocated the posh beachfront hotel with the pool, sauna and jacuzzi for the World Transplant Games gave me renewed enthusiasm to cram in the retro bikini patterns included in the August Seamwork magazine (which you can buy separately if you’re not a subscriber).

The Reno halter bikini top has ties around the neck and the back, separate seamed cups, and is also fully lined. The August issue (free!) gives tips on selecting and sewing swimsuit fabrics and elastics, and also how to insert boning, underwires, or foam cups if you prefer. I opted for the latter, since I had some in my stash anyway, though my foam cups were a little bigger than the lining piece, and I had to trim some off.

I consider myself to be experienced in sewing both lingerie and activewear, but even I found sewing this bikini top to be challenging. I know adding the foam cups contributed to that, as it meant I had an extra (thick) layer to contend with, but even so, I broke three separate stretch needles inserting the bikini cups into the bottom portion alone, and I had to re-thread my overlocker after nearly every line of stitching. Don’t get me wrong – I absolutely love the end result, but this was not a relaxing sew.

The high waisted Dakota swim briefs have options to have a contrast panel in the front, and, like the bikini top, are also fully lined. I know these are high waisted but seriously – these are high waisted. Like, up to my natural waist, which, when I tried them on prior to applying the elastic, both James and I agreed they needed to come down a good two inches to be at my belly button instead and they’re still high waisted. I would definitely recommend trying them on yourself, and also basting the side seams before overlocking, because, while these look utterly enormous laid flat (“Is my arse really that big??”), mine actually fit me perfectly when I tried them on – but your mileage may vary. Also note that the front leg openings feel quite low, especially if you’re used to more modern, high cut underwear. But I get that this is a retro-inspired suit, which is part of the charm!

I made both of these in the suitable jazzy summertime “Aztec Stripe” print Funkifabrics lycra in the green colourway (it also comes in purple or yellow), with a half metre of their neon red matte lycra (I’ve learned through experience that you really want the matte in the solid colours, as the alternative is really shiny in a 1980s aerobics instructor kind of way). I barely squeezed what you see here out of the half metre of red, having to piece the back ties on one side to make it all fit, so I’d recommend buying just a little more if you fancy the same.

You’ve seen this same colour combo before in those Duathlon Shorts in the booty length that I sewed up before the British Transplant Games at the start of August. In case it was looking familiar…

And if this combo wasn’t bright enough to require sunglasses, then brace yourself, because I only had enough beige mesh to line the bikini, so I used some fluorescent yellow mesh from my stash to line the briefs instead!

So the end result is a retro bikini with a very modern combination of fabrics! I’d originally thought about using some floral lycra from my stash, but my friend and style muse FJ, warned me off it, saying it’d be retro overload and choosing this combo instead. And he’s totally right (he always is!), because I can’t even imagine this in the floral now!

Since I’m in holiday mode and the Team GB hotel has a heated indoor pool, these have been getting wet pretty much every day of the Games, and they’re quick to dry in the hotel bathroom overnight, too!

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A tour of my new sewing room!

27 August 2015, 13:20

I know I’ve been talking about my new sewing room for ages (and believe me, it feels like even longer to me!) but I’m finally moved in and so chuffed to finally share it with you!

My new sewing room is very small, but what it lacks in size, it more than makes up for in cool points – who else has a sewing room on a boat, concealed behind a hidden bookcase door, eh??

This is the bit everyone loves – a modified Hemnes bookcase from Ikea, with reinforcements, casters (wheels), and a hidden pull latch to keep it closed. Our joiner is a genius and we’re so lucky to have found him!! The greatest thing about this is that my sewing room is at the very end of the corridor, and the way the various deck heights work means there’s a porthole just above the bookcase. So it really does look convincing, like there’s no boat beyond it!!

Once inside, I’ve put a corkboard on the inside of the door as a place to pin all my magazine clippings, sketches of designs past and present, and general mood-boardy stuff. You can also see how small the room is here – it’s only a little under 2m (6 feet) long by 2m wide at its widest point.

Also take note of the smoked oak parquet floor that I painstakingly cut, laid, sanded, and hand oiled myself. Loooouuuurve my floor! It was expensive, both in cost and effort, but so worth it.

When you enter the room, immediately on your left you’ll find Susan, my dressform (seen here wearing my Laurie King fabric collaboration VNA Top pattern), and my pattern rack, which I’ve had for quite a few years but came from the garment industry supply shop, Morplan. As you can see from the number of patterns on it, I find it unbelievably useful! Also note the cute sewing machine clock my mom sent over to me!

The curved wall along the left will have a radiator on it before winter, and you can see my walnut worktop along the back wall – this was an Ikea Karlby kitchen countertop that we cut down to the right size (as well as cutting out a hemisphere at the back to thread cables through). It’s jointly supported by wall brackets and two adjustable legs. On the left by my coverstitch is a 120 spool thread rack that I spray painted white and have since mounted on the wall after these photos were taken. You can also just see at the top that I’ve found the clothes line above my machines to be so indispensable for dealing with pieces of works in progress that I’ve moved it over from the old sewing room. Can’t sew without it!

Not pictured, but underneath the worktop on the right is a little red IKEA Helmer chest of drawers which has held all my smaller haberdashery like zippers, elastics, ribbons, buttons, etc for quite a few years now. It’s a bit hidden under the worktop, but I know where everything is in there anyway by now.

Rotating around to the right you can see the biggest object in the sewing room, an IKEA Stuva wardrobe to which I’ve added a bunch of internal shelves and doors and which was so big we very nearly couldn’t get it into place (cue frantic disassembling and hacking together to squeeze it in, ultimately meaning I had to leave the top set of doors off since the ceiling slopes doward with the deck above!). Pictured above is just my lycra/activewear stash and I love the basket drawer which contains all my weird little lycra scraps for colourblocking. These were previously in a plastic bag in my old room and it’s much easier to find stuff now! I’m also proud to say that my woven and “casual knits” stashes are small enough to only occupy one shelf each (up by the ceiling).

To the right of the stash wardrobe is an old IKEA chest of drawers I’ve had for a few years, which holds my envelope patterns, lingerie stash, and various other small bits of fabric that aren’t activewear. I’ve turned the side of the wardrobe into storage for my drafting tools and I finally have a place to showcase my Rosie Lee “Health is Wealth” lithograph which is pretty much my mantra.

And with that, we’re back at the door again! But to anticipate some questions from you all…

Where were you sewing before?
I’m glad you asked! You can see some photos I took just after we moved onto the boat 8 years ago here, ooooooorrrrrr, because I love you all, I actually filmed some Before & After videos so you can compare my old, temporary space with my new sewing space!

It’s about 6:30min in total and the new room starts at about 3:50min in if you want to skip straight to that bit!

Where do you cut fabric?
I use the desk up in the saloon (living room) to cut all my fabric. It’s just wide enough to hold folded 150cm width fabric, though I do have to clean off James’s stuff a lot of times as it becomes a bit of a dumping ground.

Where do you press?
My iron and ironing board are currently in the corridor outside my old sewing room, but when the renovations are complete, my pressing station will be in the corridor outside my new sewing room. Which, umm, currently houses Nishi’s litter tray.

Don’t you have a lot of pattern magazines? Where are they?
Well spotted – as a long time pattern magazine subscriber, I’ve got a lot of magazines stretching back over the past ten years! I diligently scan the “At a glance” page for each issue (or create one if it doesn’t exist) and store these online for me to easily browse through. The magazines themselves are now in our storage hold, with one of these boxes holding approximately 3.5yrs of Burda magazines. These will be ultimately stored in the corridor outside my sewing room once it’s finished and the shelves are up.

Don’t you find it cramped? And dark with no windows?
Nope! I love my little room! I love that I can sit on my little swivel stool (designed for beauticians & tattoo artists so comfy for sitting for long periods!) and easily scoot between my three main machines (sewing, overlocker/serger & coverstitch) and grab supplies from elsewhere in the room without getting up. I love that I can shut the door and know I’ll be finding everything in the same place and be able to sew in little 10min snippets here and there. The lack of windows doesn’t really bother me, either – our bedroom and saloon are really bright and airy, so I can do delicate work in natural light there if I want, but the LED 24v lighting (fed by our solar panels so free!) gives me plenty of light, and, frankly, I like that I can be in the zone for hours without noticing the passage of time!

Just for the avoidance of doubt and/or new readers, I want to point out that our boat itself is enormous – it’s just my sewing room that is small, and that we’re still very much renovating the rest of the boat so that’s why it looks like a building site in the background of some photos/videos. I really do keep my sewing room as impeccably tidy as it appears in these photos, though. I thrive on organised, clean spaces!!

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Grey Kimono Sweat top (View A)

26 August 2015, 13:38

Buenos dias from Argentina! While I was developing my latest Kimono Sweat pattern, I made up a bunch of samples for myself to test the fit and how they performed while exercising… or in the case of View A, how practical they were for post-exercise! Today I’d like to show you one of my earlest View A samples, made up in a cheap grey sweatshirting, but it’s one I’ve worn over and over again throughout the summer.

Two tops from one pattern! View A is a top with a deep armscye and kimono-inspired short sleeves with a faced V-neck and dipped hem, designed to wear for your warmup or cool-down, or even just with jeans.

If you’ll recall, this is same view of the pattern which you’ve seen Binta modelling, and it’s one I’ve found to be so useful for rolling up into my kit bag to throw on over my sweaty workout clothes post workout. The short sleeves cover up your shoulders but they’re still loose enough to let a bit of airflow through, and wearing it means I don’t feel quite as self conscious on the bus ride home.

The grey sweatshirting fabric is from Minerva – I initially bought it because it was cheap and I wasn’t sure if the muslin would work out or not, but it turned out to be a nice choice because it’s not super fluffy inside, though it does show every wrinkle after a wash!

Here I chose to do some fancy contrast stitching around the neckline, hem, and sleeve facings with my coverstitch. It just meant sewing from the wrong side of the fabric (ie: with the facings facing up) and threading fluroescent orange thread into the looper. It gives it the look of a RTW flatlock but without having to fiddle with machine settings or even gasp(!) buy a new machine. This and other variation ideas are included in the pattern, and give you a few more ideas to get more looks from one pattern.

Because I know how much you all love my weird-shaped pattern pieces, I couldn’t resist a special “Fehr Trade touch” on the sleeve of View A, which wraps around and gives nice shoulder coverage while being a bit more interesting than the average cap or short sleeve.

I’ve actually got yet another sample of View A I’ve not photographed yet, but the green casualwear one was precious enough to warrant coming along with me on holiday in my very crowded suitcase…


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Manequim magazine July 2015

25 August 2015, 17:21

Hola from South America! No, I’m not in Brazil (yet – I’ll be just over the border one day next week), but in neighbouring Argentina, where I’ve just become World Champion at the 5km road race here at the World Transplant Games. omg! While that sinks in, let’s have a look through the July Manequim…

Here’s a better look at the cover outfit, but with pattern details this time. I’m not fully sold on crop tops for myself, but I like the idea of the stretchy striped midi pencil skirt and the two pair together really well.

The patterns aren’t particularly special, but I just love the digitally printed fabric they used to make the shirt, with its sheer sleeves, and the banded, full skirt.

Ooh, I just love the starburst hip seaming on this midi skirt and the deep slit really gives it some added drama. That it’s in my size is just a bonus, really.

…and a, err, here’s a pencil skirt with starburst seaming and deep slit. Guess it was a good enough idea to do twice?

Here are the Plus patterns this month – IMHO a really nice collection with the faux leather leggings, basic button-down shirt, a wrap dress, and a banded dress.

I thought perhaps this would be the final Manequim I’d have to show you before I’m there myself (ready to scour the newsstands for any pattern magazines!) but no – August’s issue arrived just before I left so you’ll be seeing that later this week, too.

And yeah, World Champion WHAT?!? Best way to keep updated on the rest of my events (Friday & Saturday) is to follow @fehrtrade on Twitter or Instagram…

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Lorna's Kimono Sweat

18 August 2015, 14:02

Last week I introduced you to the lovely Binta, who modelled View B of my new Kimono Sweat pattern, and today I have the pleasure of introducing our second athlete model!

I’ve known Lorna for about eight years now, as she and her husband live on our moorings on a Dutch barge that’s a very similar size and age to our own. The term “bad ass” is used an awful lot these days, but believe me when I tell you that Lorna is a genuine bad-ass! Up until her recent retirement, she was an international roller derby super star, quite literally flying all over the world to compete in brawls with the best American, Australian, and European teams.

Since her retirement, she basically hasn’t stopped moving for a second! She just can’t sit still so this photoshoot was a ton of fun – running, jumping, pulling up, balancing – she’s basically been doing parkour since before it had a name!

Now that she’s not on skates every night, she’s got time to try out loads of different sports – everything from Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense) to Muay Thai boxing to aerial acrobatics to bouldering. She thinks nothing of starting her day with a 3 hour skateboard session! And did I mention that she also taught herself how to weld?? Yeah, bad-ass.

Lorna is wearing View B of the Kimono Sweat top, made in “ruby red” bamboo jersey from Jersey Fashion. View B is a sleveless vest/tank with deep armholes so you get a lot of airflow through while you’re working out, which makes it perfect for hot and sweaty summer sessions or Bikram yoga.

It also means you can show off a fancy sports bra at the sides without exposing your stomach or love handles – I’ve seen so many runners customising their race shirts to have these low sides recently!

You can use pretty much any lightweight jersey for this version, and it only takes 1m (1yd) of fabric so you can spring for something really nice like bamboo jersey, which is naturally antimicrobial and great for sport. If you can find some lightweight “cotton touch” technical jerseys then grab a few in each colour and your summer workout outfit is set!

And remember you can use the code BOTTOMSUP for 20% off all my shorts and leggings patterns (ie: anything in the “Bottoms” section) from shop.fehrtrade.com until next Monday 24 August, which is the day of my first event in Argentina, eeep! (Paypal users take note that you’ll go quite far through the checkout process before the discount box appears, but it will!). Oh, and I’m on Instagram now, too!


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Kimono Sweat - UK and US sweatshirt suppliers

14 August 2015, 18:12

When I was sewing up my Kimono Sweat samples for myself and my athlete models, I put together a little list of all the great sweatshirt fabric supplies I could find, and then starting thinking about what colours I wanted to play with. Since I made the list for myself, I figured I may as well share it with you, and I’ve added a few US suppliers, too (Aussies and anywhere else, please add your favourites in the comments!).

Clockwise from Top Left: Turquoise Multi Fleck, from Guthrie Ghani, Orange and Pink Star, from Stone Fabrics, Chartreuse Washed Wool & Viscose, from Ditto Fabrics, and Fusion Coral, from Girl Charlee UK

UK shops

US shops

If you’re planning on shopping for fabrics in a physical store, you may wish to read the article I wrote for Seamwork magazine on Shopping for knits (Also great is this Sewing knits without a serger article, though I didn’t write it!).

Happy Friday shopping!! If I’ve missed off your favourite shop, please tell me in the comments!

And remember you can use the code BOTTOMSUP for 20% off all my shorts and leggings patterns (ie: anything in the “Bottoms” section) from shop.fehrtrade.com until 24 August, which is the day of my first event in Argentina, eeep! (Paypal users take note that you’ll go quite far through the checkout process before the discount box appears, but it will!) This means you can make yourself a Kimono Sweat and something new for your legs, too!


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Binta's short sleeved Kimono Sweat top

12 August 2015, 13:01

Wow, thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and orders of my newest Kimono Sweat pattern! It really is a wonderful feeling to release a finished pattern into the world after so many months of hard work behind the scenes.

Today I’d like to introduce you to the first of my two athlete models for this pattern, so say hello to the wonderful Binta! She’s originally from Norway but has been a long-term UK resident and spends her days as a professional PR.

I first met Binta a few years ago when she joined Run dem Crew, and she has been one of the most consistently cheerful people I know. Week after week, she’s led the Greyhound group with patience and enthusiasm and helped so many women to run faster than they thought themselves capable of.

She’s run loads of races but this weekend she’s taking on her first 24 hour relay race at the Spitfire Scramble, and she’s really looking forward to donning a head torch for the first time and getting some quality campfire time in with her teammates! So keep your fingers crossed for dry weather for her, as apparently the 10km course is decidedly off-road and really hilly, too. I know a certain top which would be perfect for wearing in the chilly night air around the campsite, though…

Binta is wearing View A of the Kimono Sweat top – her measurements fit my XL size absolutely perfectly without alterations, and I actually squealed when she tried it on and it fit exactly as it should on her! I always hope for compliments when my athlete models see their garment for the first time, but Binta seriously could not stop telling me how much she loved this top!!

I made this version in “jeans blue” sweatshirting from Jersey Fashion and I used turquoise blue topstitching around the neckline, hem and sleeve openings for an extra touch. This was my first time using this Dutch shop, but I was really pleased with the quality of the sweatshirting (and their bamboo jersey, which you’ll see in a View B soon!) – it’s on par with a ponte knit in terms of weight, but is super stretchy and has more of a loop back than a soft fluff on the reverse (which is ideal if you don’t want fluff sticking to your sweat, eww).

The wonderful thing about View A of this pattern is that it works equally well for casualwear as well as for a cool down coverup after exercise. So you really can feel comfortable meeting up for brunch or drinks after your workout, whether you decide to change out of your leggings or not!

And remember you can use the code BOTTOMSUP for 20% off all my shorts and leggings patterns (ie: anything in the “Bottoms” section) from shop.fehrtrade.com until 24 August, which is the day of my first event in Argentina, eeep! (Paypal users take note that you’ll go quite far through the checkout process before the discount box appears, but it will!) This means you can make yourself a Kimono Sweat and something new for your legs, too!


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Kimono Sweat pattern - on sale now!

10 August 2015, 13:52

My Kimono Sweat pattern is out now and ready for you to sew! Yay!

How fantastic is the cover illustration from Lauren Cox? You all loved her illustration on my Steeplechase Leggings pattern so much that I just knew she had to be involved again this time! It gives a great feel for how the pattern can be worn that you just don’t get from the official tech drawing (seen below).

View A

Two tops from one pattern! View A is a top with a deep armscye and kimono-inspired short sleeves with a faced V-neck and dipped hem, designed to wear for your warmup or cool-down, or even just with jeans.

And because I know how much you all love my weird-shaped pattern pieces, I couldn’t resist a special “Fehr Trade touch” on the sleeve of View A, which wraps around and gives nice shoulder coverage while being a bit more interesting than the average cap or short sleeve.

I must say, I’ve surprised even myself with how much I’ve been wearing my own short sleeved samples! I’ve literally worn my grey version after every workout that’s not ended at home – it’s perfect to roll up in a bag and not have the whole world looking at your sweaty bod on the way home (or leaving sweat marks all over the bus seats, eww).My green sweatshirt version I wore out to the cinema a few Fridays ago, and then to work, to a family lunch…

View B

View B is a sleeveless tank/vest top with a banded, scooped neckline and straight hem. Deep armholes, and loose, draped sides make this a perfect warm weather workout top for those who prefer a looser fit (and showing off a fancy sports bra!).

I’ve had so many requests for for looser-fitting workout gear (both tops and bottoms), both for reasons of personal preference but also because some women feel self-conscious or even unsafe exercising in tight-fitting clothing. View B is for those women who want something looser but still fashionable and allowing movement. It’s crazy how many women out there who play basketball, rock climbing, lift weight, etc just don’t have many good options!

Since I know how many of you love to buy patterns in pairs so you can sew coordinating sets, you can use the code BOTTOMSUP for 20% off all my shorts and leggings patterns (ie: anything in the “Bottoms” section) from shop.fehrtrade.com until 24 August, which is the day of my first event in Argentina, eeep! (Paypal users take note that you’ll go quite far through the checkout process before the discount box appears, but it will!)

And of course, keep your eyes peeled here over the next few weeks while I show you some more shots of my two athlete models, Binta and Lorna, rocking each of the pattern views!


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A whirlwind of activity

6 August 2015, 13:24

You can pretty much assume by this point that if I’ve gone a bit quiet on this site, then it probably means I’ve been sewing up a storm behind the scenes and am just struggling to find the time to tell you all about it! And yes, it’s happened again… So I’ll try and catch you up on a bunch of things at once!

Sewing Indie Month – Pattern Bundle 1

Remember how much fun Sewing Indie Month was last year?? It was a full month full of interviews, great tutorials (like Heather Lou showing you how to turn my XYT Workout Top into a summer maxi dress!), and fabulous Sew Along prizes and it’s back again this September!

But because us pattern designers know how much you all love a bargain, we’ve joined forces to create two pattern bundles in advance of Sewing Indie Month, and the first pattern bundle is on sale now through Wednesday 12 August only.

Click through to see all the included patterns and the different tiers, including some brand new patterns exclusive to this bundle! The cool thing here is that you’re not only buying these patterns for well under the usual price, but 20% of bundle proceeds will be donated to the International Folk Art Alliance, which provides education and exhibition opportunities to folk artists from around the world. So you’re helping out other crafters, too!

I made the Lolita Patterns Sugar Plum dress a few years ago and honestly, it’s one I still wear in regular rotation (and looks so much better than the photos in my post, annoyingly!). The Sugar Plum dress is a knit/woven hybrid, but the patterns in this first bundle are mostly wovens, so the sale timing gives you time to make muslins before the sewalong contest begins in September while supporting small women-owned businesses and raising money for charity. You can see the size range for each of the included patterns here, too.

Aztec Duathlon Shorts

Psychologically, short shorts make me run faster. Well, not really, but I think they do, and that’s all I need! So, a few weeks ago, with the British Transplant Games coming up, I managed to squeeze out a new pair of Duathlon Shorts for the occasion!

I ordered a massive pile of Funkifabrics lycra a few months back when I won a discount code, so I dipped into my stash for these, making them in the suitable jazzy summertime “Aztec Stripe” print in the green colourway (it also comes in purple or yellow), with a bit of leftover scrap fluorescent red wicking lycra for the side panels.

I’ve made loads of my Duathlon Shorts in the biker and booty length (I’m not much of a capri girl!) and, though the biker length stay in place just fine, the booty length usually need some help to stop shifting around. So again I added some silicone elastic zig-zagged onto the hems to keep them in place (pro-tip – use tissue paper to prevent it sticking to the machine bed!). I also added silicone elastic to the hems of all my Team GB shorts, since they’re also all booty length and really wouldn’t stay put before!

The photo of me running in my Aztec shorts was taken at the British Transplant Games up in Newcastle this past weekend, which were a fantastic warmup for the World Games in a few weeks! If you’d like to read more about my winning four gold medals, a bronze, and retaining my trophy for another year, head over to my running site

New Sewing Room

I am fully moved into my new sewing room! Wa-heeeey! It turns out all I needed was a firm deadline – my new sewing cave will be featured in a major UK sewing magazine, how cool is that?!

I’ve also shot some videos in the old room before I moved out and the new room which I’ll be posting along with all my storage supplies (so much IKEA!) when I get a chance – it might be a good one to post for while I’m on holiday at the end of the month…

Spoonflower Sports Lycra

This news came out of nowhere but omg they’ve finally released a sports lycra base fabric with stretch in BOTH directions!. I’ve ordered a swatch, but it sounds utterly perfect. Who’s going to be the first to try one of my Laurie King collaboration designs in the new sports lycra?? (Jump straight to my Spoonflower page here if you’re not interested in seeing the examples)

Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about their previous Performance Pique and Performance Knit bases was that they had zero lengthwise stretch (so you had to modify all your patterns which require two-way stretch, or everything comes up too short!), so this is fantastic. Now if only (the UK based) FunkiFabrics started on-demand printing for their technical fabric bases, I’d be an extremely happy bunny!

Next pattern – next week!

The biggest thing I’ve been working on though is my next pattern!! Weeee! It’s gone through all my lovely pattern testers, I’ve got the illustration for the front cover, all my samples are sewn both for myself and my two badass athlete models, so it should be ready to go live some time next week!

Just like with the past few patterns, I’ll be sending out the first peek details to my newsletter subscribers very shortly, so if you haven’t already, join the newsletter!

This is the same form that’s on the bottom of my Shop – I really hardly send out any emails at all, and only when I’ve got either a new pattern announcement or a discount code.

This pattern’s got two distinct views, and fulfils some wishes that’ve been requested by a lot of customers, so I hope you’re all going to be as excited as I am!

Admitting defeat

So, on a bit of a down note, I’m sorry to admit that I am, in fact, not Superwoman. (Boo!)

This week I finally admitted to myself that there’s no way I can release a pattern, host a Thriftystitcher panty party (sold out!) and sew up a silk ballgown in the 2.5 weeks before I leave for Argentina. This is always my problem – I want to do everything and then feel disappointed that I can never do the insane amount of tasks I want to! But we’re attending a wedding in Provence at the end of September, so I think I’m going to re-target the silk ballgown (that McCalls vintage reissue!) for that instead. I’ve already traced the pattern and cut out the skirt pieces for the muslin (I’m not as fussed about the bodice), so it might be do-able?

PS: Anyone have any fabric store recommendations for either Buenos Aires, Mar del Plata, or Iguazu Falls?

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Burda magazine August 2015

31 July 2015, 13:50

Finally, after months of lacklustre issues, Burda have produced one that I’m actually excited to show you! August is traditionally the start of the Fall fashions, but there’s plenty of transitional designs included in here too, and so many I want to wear right away…

Just to start things off on a damp squib – I see what they’re trying to do here and I know I’m normally a sucker for anything asymmetric, but I’m just not convinced by this shapeless dress with a weird pleated section tacked on at the hem.

It’s not really my style, but this riding jacket is beautiful. The details, the proportions, the finish – just lovely.

The outfit on the left, however, I’d wear exactly as it is, in a heartbeat! Both tops shown are the same raglan-sleeved top made from lightweight wovens, and the midi skirt with the hi-lo (or “mullet”!) hem is cut on the bias. I’m not a wide-legged trouser fan, but they’re an interesting design with the deep pleats.

Is this a shot straight out of Mad Men or what?? I love this simple silk teeshirt, with or without the folded overlay section (which would show a little bit of the matte reverse on a silk charmeuse, just saying!). I bet this would fit into one metre of fabric if you left off the overlay, too. And the pencil skirt is a great pairing – again, with or without the sailor-style buttons.

On the left is that riding jacket again, but the right – heart be still! A seamed ponte sheath dress!! Unfortunately it’s in Tall sizing, which Burda claim is changed only in length, but every time I’ve altered Tall patterns down to normal, the sizing has been way off, so I’m not convinced. But for this dress, I might try anyway.

What? Two awesome knit sheath dresses in one issue!? You’re killing me here Burda, because this one is so flattering and a no brainer to colourblock, too!!

Let’s overlook the weird hip-pleat dress on the bottom again and instead focus our attention on that Tall sheath dress, shown here as a top. Burda are quite proud that it’s made in “romanit” fabric, though, so I actually went and looked it up – it appears to be what every German website calls ponte (or ponti roma), so, err thanks for translating that, guys. But on the upside, it’s a million times easier to find great ponte knits than killing myself searching for “romanit”.

Such a simple dress, but so nicely done. This is a beautiful example where simplicity is just so chic, and the shape would be not only flattering on many body types, but also great for transitional weather with those half-length sleeves, too.

Now, into the Plus patterns, where we have a shirtdress pattern with a lot of nice details in the pockets and sleeve tabs, though they seem to have forgotten any waist definition…

Never let it be said that Burda don’t print fashionable Plus patterns, because you couldn’t be more on trend than culottes right now!

I’ve seen the preview for the September issue already, and I’m just going to say that the Oktoberfest pattern explosion every single year is getting reeeeeeeeally old. Let’s hope they’ve put some amazing patterns in the rest of the mag to even it out for their global audience!

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