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Fehr Trade x Laurie King fabric - first samples

20 August 2014, 22:08

Thank you all so, so much for your enthusiasm and compliments on the launch of our fabric designs last week! I’ve been swamped with work (which is great!) but managed to squeeze in some time to sew up the first two samples – a VNA Top and Duathlon Shorts (booty length) in the coordinating “Maps” citrine & black colourway.

So if you buy one yard of the “Maps” citrine/black VNA fabric and one yard of the “Maps” citrine/black Duathlon fabric, this is what you get! Cool, eh? There’s more photos of me modelling at the end, but I know loads of you were waiting to see finished versions first before taking the plunge!

Having cut out and sewn both, I took some photos throughout the process, and have a few tips as well. The previous post shows you how to lay out your pieces onto the different zones, but in real life, I know my makeshift cutting table (err, desk!) isn’t big enough to hold the full yardage.

So the first thing I recommend is to cut the fabric apart along the different zones and trim the white borders.

This makes it a lot easier to match up the edges so you can fold the zones in half and cut on the fold (or in the case of the Duathlon shorts, cut two layers at once). It also means I can fit the fabric onto my cutting table!

Here you can see the pieces in size Small and how I laid them out on the zones. As I said before, when drawing out the zones, I made sure that all the sizes fit in as printed, from XXS to XL.

And for the neckbands, you can just use the width guide provided and extend that to the set length with a ruler. Here, the neckband uses the horizontal zone and the four armbands are cut from the vertical zone (since they don’t need any stretch).

One thing I noticed from my geometric speedy outfit was that the curved underbust seam was riding a bit high due to the Spoonflower Performance Knit not having any vertical stretch – just like this Performance Piqué. So to lower the underbust seam a little here, I cut it few cm lower at the CF, gradually reducing to nothing at the sides. Note that this is not an FBA – you’ll find instructions for that in the pattern itself, remember.


I was using a test pattern here without seam allowances… You don’t need to add any on to yours!

So once I had all the pieces cut up, sewing it together was just like any other!

For the Duathlon shorts, I wanted another booty length pair since I love my geometric ones I raced in last weekend, but the biker short length also fits into one yard (I’m working on a 2 yard solution for the capris!). The booty length only use the upper side piece (in turquoise here) and not the lower side (in citrine), so I left the citrine attached for some other future use. I’ve found that the key to comfortable movement in the booty short length is to use gripper (silicone) elastic inside the hems, and I had just barely enough leftover to do that here, too.

Again once the pieces were cut out, the construction was all very straightforward, and just like the million other pairs I’ve sewn! But when I went to try them on to check the waistband elastic, I realised that I’d been relying on the bi-directional stretch of most lycras way more than I thought – without any vertical stretch – these were really low-rise!

So having worn this pair, I know that in future, I’d definitely recommend adding vertical length above the crotch but below the waist edge. For me, I’d probably add about two inches to bring this up closer to my belly button. Adding this into the Duathlons is easy – just cut a straight line perpendicular to the grain line, spread it apart, and smooth out the pattern edges (since the back slants at the top, the smoothing out will be a bit dramatic).

You’ll also need to add the corresponding length to the Upper Side piece as well as the Front and Back, remember! But I realised that the zone for this didn’t allow much extra room beyond the XL size, so I’ve redrawn the zones in all the Duathlon fabrics now so the Upper Side piece extends all the way down the entire length, so you’ve got plenty of room. If you’ve already bought, I’d extend the Upper Side piece into the main fabric area (past the slanted end), and you’ll just have an extra stripe of colour/print in there, which would look pretty cool!

But apart from the slight surprise about the vertical length, I love this set! I utterly adore the ombré, the print and the way these two pieces coordinate as a set.

Happily, I think I have enough of the main fabric zone to cut another pair of booty length Duathlons, and I’ll figure something out for the sides!

You may notice a running armband in these photos too – stay tuned as I’ve got this to re-release as a much clearer (free!) pattern, too.

Oh, and if you’re like me and want matching thread without a trip to a physical store, here are the Gutermann thread numbers for our colours:

I still have two more samples to sew up – an XYT Top in “Zigzag” purple/citrine/teal and another pair of Duathlons in “Zigzag” earthy colours (I’ve got these earmarked for biker length!).

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A speedy weekend

13 August 2014, 12:16

Wow, thank you all so much for your enthusiasm and support for the new fabric designs – I’m so glad you all are as excited by the idea as I am!!

Unfortunately, however, I didn’t get a chance to sew them up into samples over the weekend because I was up north in Bolton competing in the British Transplant Games! On Saturday and Sunday I raced in the 3km “mini marathon”, 1500m, 800m, 400m, and 200m (my planned mixed relay race was cancelled due to poor weather).

The bulk of my races were on Sunday (in the sideways rain!), and I’m proud to say that I competed in my own designs – a VNA Top and a pair of Duathlon Shorts, booty length. I must say, this particular combo makes me feel so speedy and confident that I just loved racing in it. Also, if you haven’t tried the booty length, adding silicon “gripper” elastic to the hems makes a world of difference – they don’t budge at all, and were comfortable enough to wear under my team tracksuit all day.

If you’re into that sort of thing, I posted a full race report on my River Runner site, so you can see exactly how I got on…

Housekeeping note: I’m incredibly busy with work right now behind the scenes and feeling a bit overstretched, so I’m really, really sorry I haven’t posted nor replied to as many emails as I’d like to – please bear with me!

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Comment [2]

Introducing... FehrTrade x Laurie King fabric designs!

5 August 2014, 12:25

By far the single biggest question I get with my exercise sewing patterns is “Where do I buy good fabric?”. Despite compiling a list of global stockists of exercise fabric, I totally get your frustration – it’s getting a lot easier to buy nice colours and quality wicking lycra, but prints are still difficult to get a hold of, and when you can, it’s often costly and difficult to match colours.

But what if you could buy just one yard of fabric and be able to sew up one garment with coordinating colours and stylish prints, and mix and match to make outfits that coordinate together, too?

I’m super pleased to announce that this is exactly what I and illustrator Laurie King have made happen! Laurie is an avid cyclist and dad to two small boys, and I’ve been a massive fan of his hand-drawn style since before he made that amazing couch on ITV’s The Cycle Show!

I’ve had this idea brewing for about 6 months now, but it took a design session with Laurie before the idea really came to life. Since I know the exact size and shape of all the pieces for my sewing patterns, I’ve created “zones” of print and colour on one yard of fabric using two of his prints in three different colourways. These prints are exclusively for your fabrics, too!! So there’s very little chance you’ll be exercising and catch someone across the room wearing the same thing!

The first collection is comprised of two prints – “Zigzag” and “Maps”, using three different colourways – “citrine/black”, “purple/citrine/teal”, and an “earthy” mix of forest green, slate blue, and muted red, which should be perfect for Fall and Winter. The idea is that we’ll be changing these up and releasing different designs a few times a year, too, so we’re open to ideas on colour combinations you’re loving!

As for the sewing patterns you can make, well, I’ve created specialised yardages for my XYT Workout Top, my VNA Top, and my Duathlon Shorts – I’m afraid there was no way I could fit my PB Jam Leggings into one yard (or the Duathlon capri length, either), so that’s something I’ll have to work on for the future.

Right now, the designs are only available through Spoonflower, though I’m working on getting a UK distributor, too (UK shoppers, you can order one yard of Performance Piqué from Spoonflower and still be under HMRC’s customs exemptions value!). Having felt and worn both of Spoonflower’s performance fabrics, I recommend buying their “Performance Piqué” because it’s got more crosswise stretch, a nicer cottony handfeel, and I think it’s closer to what most people think exercise fabric should be. The only caveat here is that the recovery and dark colour saturation are not 100% perfect, so if you’re interested in a design with large swathes of black, you might want to choose their “Performance Knit” instead. Neither have any lengthwise stretch, so you may need to add a bit of length if you’re used to four-way stretch fabrics.

How to use the fabric


When you order the fabric, it just comes as one big yardage, and you’ll need to look at my guides below to see how the pattern pieces are intended to fit. I highly recommend you cut your fabric in a single layer (ie: not on the fold) so that everything lines up in the zones properly. I’ve checked the layouts digitally against all sizes, XXS-XL and they should all fit, and I’ve given as much extra room as possible to allow for common alterations like FBAs and lengthening. If you have altered your patterns to be significantly larger or longer, they may not fit, however, so buy at your own risk (in future, I may provide a tiled pdf just showing the outline of the zones which you can print out to double check first).

All the pattern piece outlines shown below are size XL.

For the XYT Workout Top patterns, lay out your pieces like this:

Since you’ll only be making one of the upper back views, they can all fit inside the upper left zone. Note that you’ll need to cut the full front and full back, so either flip the pattern pieces, trace them to have the full width, or print a second copy and tape together.

For the VNA Top patterns, lay out your pieces like this:

For two of the designs, there are vertical zigzags which should be centred along the Upper Front or Back pieces. Again, you’ll need to cut the full width of the pieces rather than along the fold.

For the Duathlon Shorts patterns, lay out your pieces like this:

Note that you’ll need to fit the Back piece upside down (as none of these are directional prints, that’s fine!) and that you’ll need to flip the pattern pieces over for everything on the right half as shown above.

I’ll be posting more photos (and maybe even a video!) as I make up my own samples to help you out.

What they’ll look like sewn up


I’ve applied the prints and colours to the tech drawings for my patterns and put them together according to colourway and print family so you can see what they look like sewn up, but also worn together. Because the colours are all the same across the colour families, you could even decide to wear the earthy “Maps” Duathlon shorts with the earthy “Zigzag” XYT Top and it’d still look good! This means that for $40 (plus shipping), you can have a matching, wicking exercise outfit!


“Zigzag” in purple/citrine/teal (seen above)


“Zigzag” in earthy (seen above)


“Zigzag” in citrine/black (seen above)


“Maps” in purple/citrine/teal (seen above)


“Maps” in earthy (seen above)


“Maps” in citrine/black (seen above)

It’s taken nearly a month for me to get my fabrics through from my order this time (It’s usually 2-3 weeks, with most of that as shipping time) and I’m so excited I wanted to share this with you right away! I’ll be making up my own samples over the next few weeks, so I’ll be sharing any tips and tracks as well as photos along the way. That being said, it’s possible that there might be some issues with the prints – they’ve all been checked and rechecked digitally, but I have only checked the fabrics themselves as swatches, apart from four I’ve chosen to get printed as full yardages. I’d love to buy them all, but I can’t afford to buy 36 yards x $20!

If I do discover any issues, I can change and upload the designs right away, but this won’t help you if you’ve already bought. So if you want to be extra-extra careful, wait a few weeks for me to iron out any unforeseen issues. Or if you’re too excited like me, just go shopping!!

Also, if anyone wants to buy these designs ready-made into sportwear, I do sew custom work, so get in touch!

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Comment [34]

Very many VNAs (And other FehrTrade Patterns!)

4 August 2014, 13:02

Wow, has it really been over three months since I did the last FehrTrade patterns roundup post? Well, in that time it’s clear that neither you nor I have been taking it easy, because I have so many amazing sporty garments to show you!

Frau Fleur’s triple Duathlons


Fleur Hoare liked her Duathlons so much that she made no less than THREE pairs, including one made up in crazy cat-print lycra (that I am also now the proud crazy cat lady owner of)!

She also gave a great tip about creating a fold at the top of the pockets if you want a bit of extra security, which is totally worth checking out.

Sarai & Kristen’s coordinating cat-print race gear


But if you thought these would be the last cat-printed exercise gear you’d see all day, then friends, prepare to have your expectations exceeded. The Colette Patterns ladies went and sewed an XYT Top, Duathlon Shorts, and RTW-knockoff, all in coordinating cat-print wicking lycra.

And then ran a half marathon in them. BOOM!

Amélie’s star-print VNA & Duathlons


Amélie wrote me the loveliest email recently, telling me that she had once been very fit and active in a variety of sports, but had fallen out of the habit. But when she saw my pattern designs, she was inspired not only to sew them up, but also head out on her first run in years! How amazing is that?!

To start, she made a gorgeous red and grey star-print set using the VNA Top and the Duathlon Shorts, and she’s already got an XYT Top in the works, too!

Kathy’s double VNA Tops


Kathy is not only one of the most prolific sewers I know (and with a small child, no less!), but she’s also been one of my pattern testers from the beginning. For the VNA Top patterns, she liked it so much she ended up making two – one in pink and another in brown and green.

I like how she chose two split two fabrics over the three pieces in a different way than I had – keeping both front pieces the same and using the back as the accent! She also gives some good tips about lengthening the pattern

Winnie’s triple VNAs


Winnie is another of my faithful pattern testers, and you’d be forgiven for thinking these ladies are required to make more than one, but no – this is just a sign that they really do like the patterns so much that they can’t stop at just one!

Winnie’s used three different fabrics with different weights & stretches in each of hers, and made really interesting notes on how each behaves. I like that she’s also used a bit of contrast piping in the under-bust seam on the blue version, too.

A teenager-approved VNA Top


Karen is the rarest of all sewists – she’s generous enough to sew for her entire family, and in turn, they don’t even mind going out and exercising in them to pass their feedback on to me. I know how fickle teenagers can be, though, and especially when it comes to fashion, so I was amazed to hear that her fashion-conscious teenaged daughter “went into raptures” over her VNA Top and promptly ordered more from the Shop Of Mom.

Apparently wearing fashionable kit gives you an advantage in races… If that isn’t an excuse to sew more, I don’t know what is!

Rebecca’s XYT-Concert hybrid


Rebecca’s made quite a few of my patterns so far, and for the recent Sewing Indie celebrations she decided to hack together my XYT Workout Top pattern with the Dixie DIY Summer Concert T. The result is a workout top that’s close-fitting around the bust and shoulders, but loose around the hips!

Rebecca has documented all her pattern changes, too, so you can follow along at home.

Katherine’s print & piped VNA Tops


I’d love to take a nosedive into Katherine’s lycra stash, because if her first printed purple version isn’t a “good” fabric, then what else must be lurking in there?? (Seriously though, I love those prints together, even if it was just a pattern test for me).

She also made up a second version for a friend and documented how to make a square shoulder adjustment after comparing the pattern pieces to her TNT teeshirt pattern (always a good idea!).

Allison’s first-ever sportswear


And last but not least, I was so excited to see that Allison C had finally taken the plunge to sew up her first ever sportswear recently. I’ve been following her blog for years now and I find that we have such similar tastes in clothing that we end up sewing patterns right after the other has made them! Not only was it her first foray into the wide world of supplex, but also her first ever PDF pattern – proof that it’s never too late to start either!

Her first set was comprised of a VNA Top and Duathlon capris in blue and black.

…but then Maria came to visit and they went shopping in the Hong Kong markets for exercise fabrics, so her next set of three XYT Workout Tops are made in the most amazing prints!

She also opted to merge the upper back of the X version onto the lower back, and omit the opening, giving yet another back option to this pattern!

Remember, there were also quite a few FehrTrade patterns seen in the Spring Race Challenge podium post, too, and several in the Pattern Review galleries that don’t have blog posts so weren’t included here, either.

I’m also pleased to report that I’m deep into the production of my next pattern, which has taken longer than expected as it’s definitely my most technically challenging one to date (in its development, anyway – it’s not any harder to sew!). It’s probably still 3-4 weeks away at the earliest, though, and I’ve got some bigger announcements in the meantime, too!

Fancy making your own? Go to my Shop section or head straight to Etsy below…


buy!


buy!


buy!


buy!

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Comment [3]

Common XYT Workout Top bra adjustments

31 July 2014, 12:55

I’ve learned a lot through the release of my four exercise sewing patterns, and even though each is vigorously tested through my crack team of pattern testers, there are still a few things I’d go back and do differently if I had the chance.

On the XYT Workout Top, providing only one level of support and one cup option is definitely something I’d change if I was releasing it now – as printed, the bra lining is awesome if you want high support for running and other high impact sports and you’re a C cup or smaller.

But two of the most common issues I see with people is that they’re totally unaccustomed to how a fully-supportive compression bra actually feels (I see so many women bouncing all over the place when they run, it makes me weep for their future selves), or that they think they can “get away” without doing an FBA even though they’re busty.

Let’s address those two issues!

It’s too tight – I need less support!


Not planning on doing any running or other high impact sports and only want lighter support? Only use one power mesh layer with the crosswise stretch (ie: going around the body) and add room at the side seams. On the Back Lining piece, you can actually just cheat and cut it a cm or so from the fold since it’s just a rectangle, but on the Front Lining, add a bit to the side, then smooth out the curve to the armhole.

I recently made an adjustment similar to the darker shading for a client who wanted very minimal support for power walking. I’d suggest you do something in between should you want to wear it for yoga, cycling, and other low-impact sports.

I’m bigger than C- cup – I need an FBA!


If you need an FBA in normal patterns, then yes you will definitely need a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on a bra lining pattern! (I’d think this would be common sense, but you’d be surprised…)

You can just leave the Back Lining piece alone and just alter the Front Lining piece here, though if you’re really busty, you may benefit from doing the same adjustment to the Front piece, too.

I’ve included these sort of common fit alteration illustrations in my latest VNA Top pattern, so if you purchase that they’re all ready for you!

Don’t have the XYT yet? Come get it here!

buy!

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StyleArc Pamela - the perfect summer dress?

30 July 2014, 11:47

I must be the only sewist on earth without enough casual dresses, but alas, the weather has turned very hot and summery and I’ve taken to just wearing the same jeanskirt and pair of 17 year old shorts (no, really) around the boat while I work from home. I realised I could just make any number of knit dresses, but that’s too easy, and besides, my knit stash is a little low and my woven stash is spilling over.

So I decided to pull out the StyleArc Pamela dress pattern I originally planned to make for my Mexico travel wardrobe last year, and pair it with the same blue linen (blend?) that was gifted to me by Veronica back in 2012.

It’s been ages since I sewed a woven for myself, so of course I forgot that they require pressing, which means heat and steam standing by the iron, ugh! But let me tell you, it was all worth it in the end because I totally love this dress. I think it might be the perfect summer dress, as it’s both casual and a little different, and you can change the look just by tying it either in front, or in the back.


(Yes, I had been wearing the dress all day before these photos – including two lots of treadmill running to whilst shopping for new racing flats!)

I bought the pattern when I was a StyleArc size 14 (I’m closer to a 12 now), so the dress is a little bigger than usual on me, but this works for summer because you can get a looser fit by tying the integrated ties in a bow under the bust. Or, if you want, you can also cinch in the waist by wrapping the ties around to tie it in the back. I’ve been wearing it about 50/50 according to my whims.

There are a lot of great little details in this pattern – the shawl collar extends to the centre back neck, falling nicely into an inverted pleat at the inset corner.

Those ties are really cleverly drafted so that they emerge from the underbust seam with no openings at all – it’s all sewn shut!

There’s a choice of either sleeveless or short sleeves, so you’re provided with either an all-in-one facing for the former, or just a neck facing for the latter. There’s an invisible zipper in the left side seam, though I can actually pull this on without it – whether that’s because it’s a size too big or not, though, I’m not sure!

There’s a nice walking vent in the centre back, too, and I even took the time to mitre both corners, as well as use a bit of ribbon on the hem. I’d have used hem lace but I’m all out, and annoyingly there don’t seem to be any cheap stockists outside the US.

I did have an issue cutting out the upper front piece, because those ties are cut on and extend quite some way across, making it wider than my doubled fabric. Because of this, I had to piece the ties and introduce a seam there, but since the seam is at an angle and they’re tied up anyway during wear, it’s really not an issue!

The instructions were mostly sane, but I think perhaps they tried to be a bit too clever in making them work for both sleeved and sleeveless at the same time, which results in a poor finish for the sleeveless all-in-one facing. So after constructing both the front and back on their own, I instead opted to keep the centre back and side seams open, sew the shoulder seams together, then attach the facing at the neckline and armholes. I could even end up understitching the entire way along both the neckline and armhoes, too, which was a nice surprise! Once the facing was attached, I could just pull the backs through the shoulders and then sew up the remaining seams.

This is by far my preferred approach if there’s a centre back seam – I hate leaving the shoulder seams til last and fiddling with the hand stitching (ie: Burda’s “wooden spoon” approach!).

So, this dress may not have gotten to see the dizzying heights of Mexico, but as luck would have it, we’re off to Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin at the end of September, so it looks likely she’ll get rolled up in a suitcase and be taken on a Eurailing adventure instead!

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Burda magazine August 2014

25 July 2014, 16:12

Many thanks for your get well soon messages – I think it definitely worked, because no sooner did I post that than I started to feel a little better! I’m still not back to 100% right now, but I felt well enough to try a very easy and short run this morning, so thank you!

To show my thanks, I’m going to share my picks from the latest Burda magazine, which arrived this week. Usually the August issue is the start of the Fall fashions, but this seems more like a transitional issue – lots of summer wear but some great long-sleeved pieces, too.

First up from the “macaron pastels” feature is omg I must make this pieced sheath dress! Burda clearly love it, too, since they made it three times in this issue. My only letdown is that the back is very boring indeed, so if when I make this, I’ll be slicing up the back and adding similar diagonal seams like I did with my swirled sheath dress (still one of my favourites ever, I might add!).

The dress on the left really reminded me of the RTW dress I wore to a wedding recently – though you didn’t see the back, it too had a lower back cutout! I also rather like the pleated teeshirt on the right. It also comes in a solid-sleeve version and the pleating detail reminds me a lot of the pleats on the neckline of my favourite Manequim silk blouse pattern.

Now, I really hated the shiny, glittery, tacky disco fabrics they used in this feature with the “DJane” (a term which I’ve never, ever heard before. Nor had any of my music-industry friends – though urban dictionary has some feelings on it!). But, if you look beyond the gold lamé here this surplice-neck top has a lot of great design lines, and I love the idea of a pleated band, too.

This sheath dress pattern didn’t really grab me right away, but pair it with this amazing digital-print jersey and well, it’s certainly growing on me! On closer inspection, I rather like the square neckline, but I’m not sure how that dropped-waist hem would look on someone with hips. Of course the first thing I did when I saw this dress was to see if Alfatex stocked it, but disappointingly, they list this photo, but have a jersey next to it which looks nothing like the original. They used to stock the exact fabrics used in the magazine, but it appears now they’re just selling their “best match” or something. Boo.

Yay! It’s my favourite diagonally-seamed sheath dress, made even cooler here by some colourblocking. Ooh, a great dress and the opprtunity to use up fabric scraps? Don’t mind if I do! Oh, and I failed to mention earlier, but it’s also got the illustrated instructions for this issue, too…

There wasn’t much in the menswear styled feature to set me alight (though I love my seamed sheath dress made up in suiting fabric, I didn’t think you needed to see it a third time), but I really liked this teeshirt with the asymmetric, pleated shoulder. It looks a lot like StyleArc’s Emily pattern this month, so I’m assuming they’re drawing on the same designer inspiration. This also comes in a long-sleeved version, but bizarrely for jersey patterns, both long and short feature two-part sleeves – a feature normally reserved for jackets and coats.

And finally, I found most of the Plus patterns to be just… odd this month, but I like this asymmetric blouse with its shoulder pleats and cowl neck, and dolman sleeve on one side only. The jersey trousers also look like they’d be a great wardrobe basic made up in ponte knit, especially since they’ve got pockets.

So who else enjoyed this issue? Anyone care to race me to trace out the sheath dress (though modifying the back is likely to slow me down!)?

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Comment [10]

Sick Day Delays

23 July 2014, 12:39

I was hoping to have been able to show you photos of my latest Donna Karan denim-look leggings, as well as what the Aztec-print sports bra looks like on a real person, but alas, I have succumbed to The Cold that all of London has already had over the past month and that I naively thought I’d evaded. Boo.

So because I’ve been laid low under a mountain of tissues and Netflix, I’ve not been able to do much of anything besides the few client projects which had to be done, and we’ll have to catch up on photoshoots, the road-testing of my next pattern, and the August BurdaStyle magazine when I’m feeling more energetic.

I did, however, managed to cut out and sew most of the StyleArc Pamela dress in fits and bursts between lying down.

I had my first try on yesterday and I really like it! It works equally well tied in front or tied in the back, and is just the sort of casual summer dress I need in my wardrobe (somehow I appear to be the only sewist on earth that doesn’t make enough casual dresses?!).

So apologies for the delay, but I’ll be back atcha when I’m less, err, atchoo.

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Comment [5]

Manequim magazine June 2014

18 July 2014, 12:34

After the dizzying heights of May’s issue (and April’s Oscar gown special!), June was going to always be a let down in comparison. Sure, there are some nice patterns, and if you’re Plus-sized, this is totally the one to get, but I’m just not overwhelmed with inspiration this time around….

The first pattern to catch my eye in this issue was the maxi-dress in the top left – have a look at that back! It’s got the basic upper back like the T- view of my XYT Workout Top pattern, but with a bunch of short strips overlapping to make an almost Art Deco look! Who’s up for an XYT hack??

Manequim produce a lot of jumpsuit patterns, and having worn precisely zero in my life (let alone sewn any), I’m usually not too fussed over them unless they’ve got separates potential. But this jumpsuit has a really elegant asymmetric drape over a belt, which looks really chic!

The designer inspiration this month is Narciso Rodriguez, and we get three really nice pieces with great seam lines, and all are for stable jerseys like pontes, too!

There’s a feature this month showing a whole bunch of knit and crochet items (with free downloadable patterns here!) together with sewn separates. The sewn stuff didn’t catch my eye, but I love this oversized sweater, very Maison Martin Margiela! Anyone fancy knitting it for me?

omg I love the design of this dress! I also mourn that it’s too small for me, and there’s no way I’d grade up all those millions of pieces. Sorry to disappoint everyone who keeps asking me what I do when patterns aren’t in my size, but I don’t have a magic answer, and I’m way too lazy to grade – I either just sew stuff that’s in my size (or close enough), or take the details and graft it onto a similar base pattern.

In this same “Day to Night” feature, we get a really stylish open-backed bodysuit (an easy hack for the Nettie pattern!) and a sweeping, seamed skirt with flounce and slight hi-lo hem. It’s not a length I’d usually wear, but this hangs really very nicely.

And finally, onto the Plus section this month, which has way more patterns than the usual 2 or 3 (Manequim tend to only do a dedicated Plus feature once or twice a year). The first to grab my eye is this sweatshirt with banded, uneven hem. I first thought it was a hood, but judging from the pattern shapes, it’s just a drapey, drawstring collar.

Wow! If you can find embroidered leather, this is certainly the best way I’ve seen to show it off!

On top of these, there are also Plus patterns for a jersey dress, jumpsuit with illusion neckline (multisized), a zipper-featured pencil skirt, button-down dress shirt, and a parka.

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How to change the presser foot on a JL Mini sewing machine

17 July 2014, 12:45

I do not work for John Lewis. Yet somehow, I know more about their sewing machines than the people who do, and I know this because I get a constant stream of emails and comments from people who find my review of the JL Mini basic sewing machine on Google and ask me questions about it.

By far, the Number 1 question is “How do I change the presser foot?” Apparently many John Lewis employees have told people that the feet cannot be changed. This is not true.

To change the presser foot, grab a Philips head screwdriver (the kind that looks like a +). Unscrew the screw to the left and above the presser foot (see photos below).

When the screw is completely loosened, you can remove the screw and the foot. You can now place any generic “low shank” foot on the machine (using that screw you just removed!), including a zipper foot, walking foot, rolled hem foot, you name it.

This is just an example of the feet in my collection that fit it.

Regular readers – I’m sorry if this bores you, but I’m bored by the constant stream of emails from people who’ve been lied to by John Lewis employees, and now I can just point them all to this post instead of being exasperated. Thank you for your time!

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