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Inspiration

Burda magazine September 2014

22 August 2014, 11:44

By rights, I should totally be feeling the Fall styles right now seeing as how we’re currently in the most October-feeling August I can recall (which is fine since we had a glorious July!). But despite my finding a lot to talk about in this issue, there’s actually not much I can see myself making, at least not with my limited “Me Sewing” time these days…

Burda have produced so many ladies bomber jackets in the past few months, it’s only natural they’d produce one for men now, too. But seriously, Burda, there is nothing British about this look! This has retro Americana written all over it!!

Ah this V-neck teeshirt looks very wearable… but I’m having deja vu… oh yes, it’s because we had an almost identical tee in July’s issue! At least recycle a bit further back, c’mon!

And now into the Alpine feature… yawn. If you’ve subscribed to Burda as long as I have, you’re likely to be thoroughly sick of dirndls by now, too. I have enough dirndl patterns to create an entire dirndl wardrobe. I’m even traveling to Austria and Germany during Oktoberfest this year and I still don’t want to sew a dirndl.

So, err, look at this Alpine jacket instead. It’s not offensive.

This combo, on the other hand, is truly hideous.

In an attempt to show the rest of the world that dirndls really are a versatile garment, we have a “Pimp Up” spread (snigger) showing a few variations on the basic patterns. As much as I hate to admit it, I really like the “Cool” variation, with the lace illusion neckline. It’d be a great use for Minerva’s skull lace, for starters!

I’ve been looking for a similar boxy sweatshirt style to showcase the last remaining bits of my galaxy print ponte knit, but the neckline looks way too wide here (easy to fix), and the general proportions look out of wack (not so easy to fix). Interesting that the front panel is cut on the bias, though, so you can showcase a woven instead.

Neither of these are my usual style, and I’m seeing beyond the awful floral here, too, but I still really like both the blouse and the skirt on their own and paired together like this. The blouse is even more interesting to me once I saw the layout – it’s one pattern piece, with no shoulder seams and a raw-edged neckline! This skirt is apparently a knockoff of a Prada runway train skirt – not necessarily the most practical for London (dragging that train through damp streets, ewwww), though.

Love the style lines on this dress – near to being a basic princess-line dress, but the angular seaming and neck slit really gives it a modern edge. They missed a treat with the pockets though – instead of putting them in the side seams, I’d totally make use of that horizontal waist seam and stick them there instead.

I really like the tech drawing for this asymmetric pencil skirt with its half belt (much more than the pleated trousers in a similar vein elsewhere in this issue), but sadly I’m not that into it on the model. I really wish they’d shown more than one photo of it so I could better decide. Perhaps I’ll wait til the Russian ladies make it first and then decide (they’re so freakin’ quick!).

Love the scooped neckline seaming (and that it continues on the back!) but hate the skirt godet. Again, that’s easy enough to fix by just filling in the skirt and leaving it as an A-line.

And finally, from the Plus section, have a look at the tech drawing for this coat! How many pieces is that?!? Clearly it’s enough to warrant Burda including three extra drawings in the instructions to show how the pieces are split up and named… Respect to anyone who tackles this!

So what did you think of this issue? I know the Alpine look much be a big seller for Burda in Germany, but is anyone outside of the Alpine region that bothered? Do people actually wear dirndls outside of Germany in a regular fashion sense (ie: not as a costume to your town’s Oktoberfest party)?

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Comment [5]

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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Comment [3]

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]

The Spring Race Challenge podium

9 July 2014, 15:32

The Spring Race Challenge officially came to a close this week, but that’s no reason you should stop sewing your own exercise gear, or challenging yourself! But I had to draw a line somewhere so I could stop and draw a winner from the enormous (and sweaty!) pile of entrants, and I don’t think we can carry on calling this “spring” much longer, or the Aussies really will be into spring!

Everyone made such an effort in their sporty makes, and many of you said that you wouldn’t have pushed yourself to either a) sew exercise clothing nor b) sign up to a race if it wasn’t for this challenge, which is such a boost! Because seeing others exercise is such a big motivation, I want to show you all the entrants so you can see how great me-made exercisewear can be. And that it’s not just bonkers-me doing it!

(Though if you would like to know more about lil-ol-bonkers me, Karen from “Did You Make That?” interviewed me for her own Sporty Summer Sewathon and she asked some great questions!!)

The Sweaty Sewists (in order of submission)


  1. Eva’s Ottobre tee & tights

  2. Kathy’s XYT Workout top & Duathlon capris

  3. Jenny’s Anna & Elsa from Frozen running costumes

  4. Rebecca’s Espresso capris

  5. Geo’s XYT Workout top & Jalie sports skirt

  6. Mary’s muddy jungle skirts & headbands

  7. Amy’s rainbow leopard leggings

  8. Nancy’s XYT running bra & skirt

  9. Markita’s Jalie running skirt & self drafted top

  10. Kelli’s “Girl on Fire” themed skirt, shorts, and top

  11. Merche’s Burda running shorts

  12. Aveli’s self-drafted tops & Burda shorts

  13. Kim’s XYT Workout top

  14. Katrina’s straight & swung tap-dancing leggings

  15. Louise’s Duathlon booty shorts

  16. Nicole’s double races: her Duathlon capris and matching Sewaholic top

Now if you recall from the prize announcement, one lucky winner will receive a bundle of fabric, power mesh, and elastic compliments of Sewing Chest (enough to make at least 2 garments, 3 if you’re frugal!), plus a prize pack of all four of my digital sewing patterns! Unfortunately only one of you can win, but I’m pleased to report that the Sewing Chest kits are now up for sale, so if you’re not a winner you can still take the hassle out of sourcing the right fabrics.


And the winner is… Geo!
Congratulations! I’ll be in touch regarding posting your prizes.

Thank you all so much for taking part, for pushing yourselves to sew outside your comfort zone, and the confidence to wear your own me-made-sportswear in competition. I hope that you’ve found the same joy that I do when I sweat in something I’ve sewn!

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Comment [8]

Burda magazine July 2014

27 June 2014, 13:25

Burda’s recent winning streak was bound to stop sometime, and this issue landed with a giant THUD as far as I’m concerned! This is the usual summer issue, light on substance and big on frills, peasant styles (so 90s I’m going to go gag myself with a spoon), and the return of the clichéd safari style feature.

But there were a few garments worth discussing, so let’s take a look inside before retiring it to the shelf and drooling over June’s issue again instead…

Unfortunately we start with one of the ugliest garments I’ve seen in a long time (and I’d just flipped past an awful, off-the-shoulder peasant maxi dress, too). Who possibly thought that this satin bomber on the left was a good look?! I’m not even sure where to start – the unfortunate pocket flap placement right over the boobs, the wide elastic waistband making the model look super short-waisted, the petroleum shine of those cheap satins, or that horrible white pilgrim’s collar? BURN IT!

(The lace dress on the right I’m ambivalent about, but you’ll see it in worse fabrics in a minute)

This is a lovely gown, even if it is too big for the model and doesn’t really go with the rest of the collection (further confirming my theory that July is just the dumping ground for all the bin-ends of summer patterns before August’s first Fall fashion issue). I like the asymmetry and this could be a really lovely dress, either in the long length or the shorter version.

Let’s ignore the fact that this is sewn in “imitation snakeskin leather” for a second, and that it’s something that an Aerosmith backup singer might wear onstage – at least that ruffled overlayer won’t fly open in the wind, right?

Ahh, the sporty styles feature – I thought this would be my saviour of this issue but in reality there’s only one pattern I really like, and it’s this V neck, raglan sleeved knit top. I love the colourblocking, the deep banded V-neck, and the casual style. Definitely my Most Likely To Make in this entire issue, no contest. I’m still undecided on the satin trousers, but they seem to work in this context so I’ll let them slide…

I really like the concept of this pieced jersey dress (though I reckon this must be a leftover from the Japanese design feature last month?), but man does it look like it’d be fiddly to wear with the various overlay pieces and that centre front zip!

And finally, here’s the same pattern as the lace dress in the first photo, but made up in truly unfortunate fabric choices, like some horrible mashup between your apron and your potholder. That quilted fabric, those enormous patch pockets – all she needs is a wooden spoon! Ugh!

What did everyone else think of this issue – am I being unfair? Or did you think it stunk, too?

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Comment [14]

The Spring Race Challenge - prizes!

24 June 2014, 12:53

Hands up if you’ve been motivated by the Spring Race Challenge to sew up some lycra and go out and be active… ooh yes, that’s rather a lot of you!

Well, I’m pleased to report that there’s now another reason to be motivated to enter before 7 July, and that’s because I can finally announce the prizes, which will go to one lucky entrant, chosen by random draw.

Sewing Chest has very kindly supplied a special activewear kit full of goodies to sew at least one workout garment (and likely two, if you’re clever with your cutting)! It contains:

It should be enough for you to sew, say, a pair of PB Jam leggings in black with red contrasts, plus a black XYT Workout Top with a red upper back and FOE edges… or a pair of black Duathlon Shorts with red sides and a black VNA Top with red lower front and bindings… Or any other combo you choose, really!

These activewear kits will soon be available to buy from Sewing Chest, too, which should make it super easy to buy all the bits for coordinating sportswear in one go!

I’ll also be throwing in a bumper prize pack of all four of my sewing patterns (if you haven’t got them already!) to the lucky winner so she can have some new patterns to go with the new fabric, too.

Who’s in the running already? So far we’ve got entries from:

  1. Eva

  2. Kathy

  3. Jenny

  4. Rebecca

  5. Geo

  6. Mary

  7. Amy

  8. Nancy D

  9. Markita

  10. Kelli

  11. Merche

  12. Aveli

If you’ve made something but aren’t listed above, then you’re not entered for the draw! (I know there are at least a few of you out there!!) Please remember to link to your entry in the comments of the Spring Race Challenge post before 7 July.

PS: The cleverest amongst you will go and enter Karen’s Sporty Summer Sewathon, too and double your chances of winning!

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Comment [2]

Manequim magazine May 2014

30 May 2014, 12:55

It is an excellent time to be a pattern magazine subscriber, and I think this week’s posts on the June Burda, April Manequim, and now this May issue are a great illustration on the variety and fashion forward elements that just aren’t being seen in the Big Four right now.

The other two issues this week have been fantastic, but this May issue may just top them all… I don’t think I’ve ever scanned so many pages from one magazine before!

First up are the Plus offerings for this issue – three different dresses all with illusion-type colourblocking made popular by Stella McCartney recently.

As you may have guessed from the cover, there are maternity patterns included this month for the first time that I’ve ever seen! The cover blouse is the nicest IMHO, but there’s also patterns for a skirt, trousers, and a caftan-like dress, too.

The designer style patterns this month use Jason Wu as their inspiration and we get a really intricate jacket with wide lapels but loads of the sleeve details are just swallowed by the floral print. There’s also a cutaway shoulder blouse with a wide hem in multiple sizes, and also a dress with some stunning lace appliques. It might be difficult to source a similar lace, but the dress pattern is offered in a whopping 6 sizes, so it’s a great pattern to have as a jersey base for comparing against & modifying to become other styles not in your size.

I stopped buying Patrones magazine a while back as I only ever really liked the winter issues anyway, and I was getting a bit bored of their styles. But to me, Patrones really made the best coat patterns ever. Let me tell you, this coat feature here is enough to make me burn all my back issues of Patrones and sew all of these instead.

Take this pink coat for starters – immaculate clean lines – the princess seam goes straight into that angle to form the pocket. The raglan seams draw the eye to the face, and there’s no collar in the way to distract from the simplicity. YES.

This pattern appears to have everything I’d ever want from a motorcycle jacket, and sewn in coating rather than leather. Again, the attention to detail here is great – I only wish I could see more clearly what’s going on with that right side (as worn) pocket…

Again with the crazy amount of details and fabric mixing – is it a trench coat? Is it a biker jacket? It’s apparently made with faux leather, coating, and a polyester (presumably the fabric with the holes) and you know how much I love to mix different textures in the same colour!

And lastly in the coat feature, I adore this colourblock coat with the stripe running through just above the waist. Very striking but very classic at the same time.

Now some of my long-time readers may recall that in the very first issue of Manequim I ever had there was a feature on chic uses for sweatshirt and I squealed with delight. OMG IT’S ANOTHER CHIC SWEATSHIRTING FEATURE. And this time it’s even better. I had to restrain myself to even leave one pattern out of my picks.

This dress! You could totally leave the lower sleeves off and it’d work well with cap sleeves, too!

This one has similar seaming by the shoulders but they’ve used leather and cutout fabrics to make it even more interesting (if not warm!).

I didn’t think it was actually possible, but these sweatpants actually look nice. Not only would I make these, I’d be caught dead in them, too!

This dress, for me, is the pinnacle of this feature and entire issue. The seaming, the colourblocking, the crazy hem, I adore this entire package! I would get down on one knee to this dress. You will be mine.

And last but not least in the sweatshirting feature is this basic tee, offered again in a whopping six sizes. James actually has a shirt almost exactly like this that he wears all the time – a boxy tee made from alternating sides of grey marl sweatshirts, left to curl at the edges. I could make this and we’d match! ha!

I nearly needed a cool drink and a lie down after that feature, but then I turned the page and saw this mini dress made from map fabric, which reminded me of the map skirt Sinbad & Sailor made!

And in case you were disappointed the paneled dresses at the beginning were all for Plus sizes, Manequim went and threw in an illusion knit dress just for you (or, err, me) in size 44!

So, was I right, or was I right – is this issue not amazing?!

(And yes, I see there’s some up on eBay right now…)

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