Go to content Go to navigation Go to highlighted projects Go to contact
Surf to Summit Top Pattern - Out now!

Happy 2015! (My year in review)

1 January 2015, 11:14

As I do every year, I like to spend the first of a new year to take the opportunity to look back on what I’ve sewn in the previous year. So without further ado, here’s a visual reminder of 2014!

Click the image to see it better, or right-click here to see it in a new tab to get a better look!

Tip: If you’d like to skim back through the posts for the above projects, you can click Gallery in the upper left menu, which will only show you finished projects, without all the magazine reviews and in-progress reports getting in the way!

The Year in Stats

In terms of pattern companies used this year, I made:

By my count, I made: 31 tops, 19 trousers (including leggings & shorts),
5 dresses, 4 pieces of lingerie (bras, panties, slips, etc), 3 skirts, 3 jackets/coats/cardigans, and 4 bags. James also did well this year, being made a winter coat, 2 shirts, 2 cycling tops, and a dop-kit bag.

And I realise I’ve been sewing a lot of running gear but the total number even surprised me – 34 of the above were for running (though not all for me)!

The above may sound like a lot of sewing, but even this is only a fraction of what I’ve actually sewn – I couldn’t really include all the garments sewn for the Great British Sewing Bee, for example, or those made for custom clients (of which there’s been a LOT!), or for the book I’ve been working on, either. In all honesty, I think you could probably double the amount shown above and it’d be closer to the total output!


I like to pick a theme for each year, and for me, 2014 was The Year of the Business. In this year I released five(!) digital sewing patterns – the Duathlon Shorts in March, the VNA Top in June, the Threshold Shorts in September, the Running Armband Pocket in October, and finally, the Surf to Summit Top for men and women in December. These are by far my proudest achievements for the whole year, and something I’ll continue to be proud of in future years, just as I am with the XYT Workout Top and PB Jam Leggings patterns which were released at the tail end of 2013.

But to pick out a few of my favourite garments…

The Sherlock Coat – This one was a true labour of love, self-drafted to recreate the coat Benedict Cumberbatch wears in Sherlock. Sewn in wool, underlined in flannel for warmth, and with a collar that wants to stay up of its own accord – these were the brief. But unexpectedly, the shape is really flattering on James, and he both looks fantastic and feels toasty warm in it. Hard work well spent.

Yellow Lace Marlborough Bra – After years of sewing bras, I finally, finally sewed one that fits properly, and is comfortable enough to wear all day. I didn’t even have to alter the pattern, which just boggles my mind. This was a huge success for me. I even managed to sew up another while I’ve been sick over the holidays, but more on that soon enough.

Lavender Threshold Shorts – I spent months perfecting the fit and motion control of the Threshold Shorts pattern, making muslin after muslin trying to get them to stop that horrible inner-thigh creep when you run, and eventually, I cracked the problem and ended up with a really flattering pair of shorts (not words I say lightly, either!). This was one of those drafts that would be a triumph for me even if I was the only person who wanted to wear them. Luckily, I wasn’t, but I wanted to show the world my confidence in the design, and so ran Berlin marathon in this lavender pair. I can’t think back to this marathon without a huge smile on my face, as it was the most wonderful day (More on this here).

My light-up, twinkling running jacket – The jacket itself may have been a *#%$^# to sew and in reality, a bit too tight to actually run in, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing it before and after exercise all the time (yes, even in daylight!). Like a well-fitting bra, sewing electronics has been something I’ve wanted to do for years and I am so proud that I finally sat down and did it. Like most things, it wasn’t anywhere near as complicated as I thought it’d be, and it has the singular ability to impress absolutely everyone who sees it.

My Digital-print cowl neck top – This one really is a triumph of matching amazing designer fabric to a very simple but suitable pattern. One of my friends tells me this is his favourite of anything I’ve ever made, and it’s certainly one I find myself reaching for more often than I should. The print is far busier than I usually prefer to wear for non-exercise, but the trompe l’oiel print just gets me every time.

Argh, it was tougher than I thought to pick out only a few makes! I tend to have my fair share of duds but this year was particularly strong.

Other highlights of 2014
Ooh, too many to list, really, but I’ll try! Working on the Great British Sewing Bee, releasing five exercise patterns, running two marathons, winning four gold medals and one silver at the British Transplant Games, teaching so many ladies to sew with stretch fabrics at all my classes, collaborating on fabric designs with Laurie King, sewing so many interesting custom garments for clients, speaking at the House of Commons and visiting Downing Street in my own dresses, and getting you all motivated with sweat and sew with the Spring Race Challenge!

I’ve got lots of ideas for 2015 – some things are changing, and some are staying the same. Priorities will shift and no doubt new things will appear to take the place of the old. We’ll look forward to the great things, and endure the not-so-great. Here’s to a new year, full of hope.

If you’re curious to see how 2014 stacked up to previous years, you can have a look at previous roundups here: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, and 2007.


Comment [6]

KnipMode magazine - December 2014

30 December 2014, 13:43

What a blast from the past, right?? Some longterm readers may recall that I used to subscribe to the Dutch pattern magazine, KnipMode, but the quality of the designs really went downhill when they appointed a new editor and I let my subscription expire back in 2012. It was an easy choice, since it was the most expensive of my magazine subscriptions, but when I get the opportunity, I still pick up the odd issue from continental newsstands.

Well, we were in Brussels shortly before Christmas for a festive weekend at the Christmas market, and on our drive back we stopped in at a Belgian supermarket. I was surprised to find KnipMode on the magazine rack, and I couldn’t resist seeing what KnipMode were up to these days. Clearly loads has happened since 2012, as they’ve not only had a complete redesign, but have a new publisher as well! The editor I blamed for the downhill spiral is still there (grumble grumble) but the designs look decent in this one, so I’ll hold out hope…

“Knip” means “cut” in Dutch, so I think the new scissor logo is quite cute!

First up is a green party dress with lots of gathering and a nice surplice neckline. It’s not a million miles away from my 30th birthday dress, which is probably why I was drawn to it!

This tie-hem shirt is styled for a party here, but I think this could be a really great casual top, too. It’s made for wovens, and with the kimono sleeve it means there’s only two patterns pieces plus the hem binding, so it’d be super quick to sew it! It reminds me a little of a Pattern Magic design that I drafted and muslined but haven’t quite sewn up yet, though the tie on that is in a different position.

There are a bunch of nice Plus-sized designs interspersed amongst the regular sizes, and I think this blouse and trousers are really trendy and flattering. Both are styles I’ve seen around a lot, but not really in larger sizes.

The skirt suit on the left is a little too “old lady Chanel” for me, but I really like both the seamed trousers and the sweater on the right. It’s hard to tell from the Front/Back tech drawings, but the trousers have a side panel that wraps along the front waistband, so I think Knip have really missed a treat in not showcasing this better!

Here’s the same sweater as seen above, but without the half zip and horizontal seam. Taking out the zip really turns this into a 2 hour make, tops!

And finally – this is my absolute favourite design from this issue (even though it’s partially obscured here), a dress for two different types of scuba fabric! The other version in the magazine showed the seaming better (the wide, round collar and cuffs use the contrast scuba), but it had some ugly embellishment that detracted from the design. I love that the side seams wrap around creating a flattering diagonal in front, too. I may well have to take a selfish trip to Goldhawk Road, as I noticed that A-One Fabrics had a ton of great scuba when I was there a few weeks ago, including some textured ones!

And just for fun, here’s what the instruction sheets look like these days – still in Dutch and without illustrations for individual designs, but they’ve added a lot more illustrated illustrations for common techniques, and the pattern sheets still appear to be the same as when I compared them to other pattern magazines years ago (ie: less dense than Burda or Manequim!).

KnipMode release a selected number of patterns from each issue to their download store. the All of the downloadable pdf patterns from this issue are here to purchase at €5.99 each. Though annoyingly for you all, the link for the scuba dress which I love is broken so it redirects to a maxidress instead. Maybe someone who speaks Dutch can alert KnipMode and have them fix it? Thanks, Sigrid! The scuba dress download is here.

tags: ,

Comment [3]

Manequim magazine November 2014

29 December 2014, 13:08

Manequim magazine have had the unique tradition of offering two November issues each year – some sort of weird reasoning like “there’s too much summer to be contained in one issue!”, but this year for some reason there’s only one November issue (yes, I double checked the numbering with October and December’s issues to make sure it just wasn’t lost in the post!).

It may appear at first glance that I’ve not pulled out many garments here, but the ones I’ve chosen are amazing and therefore this cranks my overall rating of this issue up a notch!

The Plus sized garments this issue are all cocktail dresses, and they are fantastic! Look at the lace seaming on the right-hand blue dress in particular (sorry the tech drawing is blurry)! That hem! Those curved seams! Luscious.

The designer inspiration feature this month is in the style of Costume National, a brand I’ve heard of but am not particularly familiar with, if I’m being honest. The woven tee on the right is also offered as a pattern, but I was just blown away by the monochrome seamed dress! That’s not a printed fabric – the white and black crepes are cut separately. I’m a bit disappointed that the back is so plain – they should’ve really carried the seaming around to the back IMHO. However, the glory of patterns without seam allowances is that it’s easy to just draw your own new seaming on and split it up yourself.

There’s a feature showcasing unusual catwalk fabrics, and I just love the asymmetric dress they’ve used to showcase neoprene (which I’m guessing can be substituted with scuba for those of us without designer budgets!). Looking at the seaming, I think I’d colourblock it differently myself, but what a great design!

In the same feature, I rather like the dress they’ve used to showcase net fabrics. You’d have to be quite bold to wear this with net alone on those side panels, but think about how great it’d look if you layered the net on top of a brightly coloured fabric underneath…

December’s Manequim will be coming along shortly, but first I’ve got more magazine reviews, both from a newcomer and an old favourite…

tags: ,

Comment [3]

Manequim magazine October 2014

26 December 2014, 13:01

Manequim magazines appear to be like that old London bus saying: “You wait for ages and then three come along at once!”. All of us international subscribers were accidentally sent some random teenybopper magazine with Taylor Swift on the cover instead of the October issue a month or so ago, and even though I emailed a complaint, I didn’t really expect to see this issue. This sort of mixup happens about once a year with the publisher, and we usually just get our subscription extended by an issue. But no – October’s issue did turn up in the end, bundled with November, and then December arrived a day later!

First up is a pattern for a very trendy little bike satchel pattern. The overall construction isn’t really new, and in fact I’ve got a bright orange leather satchel I use every day that looks very similar. But the unique part here is that there are an extra two straps on the back which allow it to attach to the handlebars! Very cool, and something you could add onto just about any bag pattern.

The Plus patterns this month aren’t particularly inspiring, I must admit. Really, overalls? They aren’t flattering on the tiniest, youngest ladies, let alone those of us with a bit of hips…

Manequim patterns are mostly offered in one size only, but there are a few each issue which come in multiple size (which you can then often use to sort of “scale up” fancier patterns that aren’t in your size). This teeshirt is a basic design, but it’s offered for a ton of sizes, and would be a really good base for other styles. I also rather like the simple, pleated midi skirt it’s paired with here.

This multi-level hem detail is one I’ve seen on a few other Manequim designs this year, but not really in other pattern magazines. This makes me think this must be an upcoming trend…!

Most issues don’t contain any kids patterns, but this one has a whole feature devoted to the children. The patterns are all too small for my tween niece and nephew, so it was really only this pair of shorts which stood out to me. I swear I’ve seen these in an earlier issue for women!

And that’s it from this issue – mostly lacklustre IMHO, so it would’ve been no biggie had I just received the Portuguese pop music mag, really. Luckily, November’s is a bit better!

tags: ,


A Green Skirt Suit

25 December 2014, 12:05

Happy Christmas! While not a holiday-specific make, I thought the colour of this outfit alone was rather festive and worthy of posting on Christmas Day itself. Enjoy! -melissa

Remember back in the summer when I made that cropped Manequim blazer with the matching wristlet to attend a friend’s wedding?

Well, I had a small amount of the textured green fabric leftover and I thought it might be nice to make a simple skirt to add to the jacket and bag so I could wear it as a smart skirt suit. Simple skirt patterns are a dime a dozen, but I really wanted to try out one in particular as it has a completely flat front and only two darts and an invisible zipper in the back. The only issue is that it’s unreleased, so I can’t tell you where it’s from yet, but I promise I’ll remind you and link back here when you’re able to buy it.

I don’t have many skirt suits as I don’t have much cause for business-wear, but I when I was making the jacket, I fondly recalled the silver cropped jacket and matching skirt I made back in 2010, and thought it might be a look worth recreating in green!

The skirt pattern comes with facing pieces, so I subtracted these from the skirt pieces to draft a quick and easy lining pattern. Clearly I’d bought a little too much of the lovely peacock digital print polyester at the same time, too, as I had enough to line the skirt! I love how the jacket, skirt, and bag all have the same lining fabric as well as exterior. It’s a wonderful pop of colour in the jacket – not like there will be many people seeing the skirt lining!

I could really wear just about any sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse underneath the jacket (though since the jacket’s sleeves are cropped, it looks really weird with long sleeves underneath!), but I chose to wear it with a purple cowl top I picked up in a clothing swap about ten years ago. It’s such a well-loved part of my wardrobe, and I think the purple pairs so nicely with the green. I’ve been having a great time playing with unusual combinations of solid colour recently – the other day two separate people complimented my colour choices when I wore my pale teal coat with my yellow dress, orange satchel, fuschia scarf and mustard woolly hat.

As I mentioned earlier, the skirt’s only features are the two back darts, and the invisible zipper in the centre back seam. I did a particularly nice job inserting this one, and I joined the lining to it by machine, too, so it’s nice and neat on the inside, too.

I think when you get to be an advanced seamstress, sometime you tend to overlook the simple patterns in favour of ones with complicated construction or unique seamlines (or maybe that’s just me)? But there’s definite joy to be had in a simple pattern done well if it’s one you’re guaranteed to wear and love. This skirt really only two me two evenings to sew together in amoungst different Surf to Summit samples and was a nice diversion from Work Sewing.

Tomorrow is the last day to save 10% on two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20”! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!


Comment [2]

Surf to Summit Top - Four Winter Running versions

24 December 2014, 13:02

Phew! It’s been one heck of a few weeks! I’ve shown you all of the many different versions of the Surf to Summit Top pattern that I’ve made not only for myself, but also my athlete-models. So far you’ve seen versions for snowboarding and cycling, and surfing, but today’s versions are all for winter running.

One of the great things about this design are all the opportunities for colourblocking, and I wanted to play around on this version so you can really see the seamlines – plus I added an extra seam of my own on the shoulders! On the Front and Back, I used some forest green UA Cold Gear fabric (now long gone) from my stash. On the Side panels, I used some reflective fabric from The Rain Shed. A note about this fabric, though – I really like it, but it is not lycra as stated in the description – it’s much, much closer to the sort of textured fabric you find in technical race tees (like DriFit). For the sleeves I used some leopard-print lycra from UK Fabrics, but I didn’t have quite enough leftover from my leggings to fit the entire sleeve in, so I introduced a curved seamline and used some reflective fabric at the shoulder instead.

But let me introduce my athlete-model, Daniel. I’ve probably run more training miles with Daniel than anyone else on earth and he’s a great friend of mine, in additional to being a truly inspiring runner. Dan only started running a few years ago, and has truly embraced endurance running, going from running his ever first race (a 10k) to running his first 100km ultra this year, with a bunch of marathons thrown in for good measure. He’s even run the grueling Mont Blanc Marathon, and regularly passes runners half his age on Tuesday nights.

I made this men’s version of the Surf to Summit Top at the very end of the testing process, so it’s identical to the version you buy, and I especially like how this fits Dan in the waist and hips – this is exactly how I intended the men’s version to fit. It’s slim-fitting without being loose, but isn’t skin-tight, either. If you prefer your tops to fit differently, I’ve included instructions on how to alter the pattern to get the fit you want, as I discovered in testing that men are really polarised on how they like their exercise tops!

Not many men can pull off a good animal print, but I know Dan’s tastes and so made his top to be in earth tones, but having a print on the arms means that he can put a teeshirt over top and still show off a bit of fun.

I mentioned that the white fabrics are reflective – they’ve actually got a reflective print on them, which you can really see in these photos of some scraps I was sewing up when making this top! With dusk before 4pm right now in London, it’s really important to be visible for night runs and this is a great alternative to an all-over reflective look.

Since this is a winter running top, I also gave Dan some sleeve mitts in the warmer Cold Gear fabric. This fabric is green on the outside, with a black, bushed back, so you can see where the reverse is shown when the mitts are engaged.

The ladies winter running versions I’ll show you today all use the same pattern options as Dan’s – long sleeves with the straight hem and added sleeve mitts. But all four versions look distinctive, just from changing around the fabric and adding some piping in strategic places!

I hesitated to show you these first two versions because they were pretty early samples and the neckline isn’t quite right, as you’ll see. But the neckline is fixed in the finished pattern, and I thought the piping and fabric choices were interesting enough to warrant a viewing anyway, in case they inspired some ideas in you.

This first version is sewn up in aqua nylon lycra from UK Fabrics (now out of stock, though they have it in other colours). I was going to just make it plain, but then the pieces were hanging in my sewing room next to some strips of yellow foiled lycra I’d cut out years ago, and I had a lightbulb moment – what if I made stretch piping from the yellow lycra and round elastic?!

So that’s what I did! The round elastic is slightly more firm than the lycra, so the top fits a tad too high in the armpits (even though all my other versions are fine on me), but I love the colour combo!

Here you can see what I mean about the neckline – it dips too low in the front, which makes it a bit wrinkly in front. In the finished version I raised the front neckline so it sits much nicer and the facing isn’t fighting with it.

This blue printed version was made at about the same time as the aqua one (so has the same neckline issue) but I just couldn’t wait to sew up the premium, ex-designer wicking lycra I got given by a friend!

Some of you may even recognise the print (shhh! Don’t want to get her in trouble!), but the piece of fabric I was given was an oddly-sized offcut. Frustrantingly, no matter how I shifted the pieces around, I couldn’t quite fit everything in, until I decided I should just piece the Side panel. I learned a long time ago that curved or diagonal seams look intentional, but ones that are straight across often look like mistakes!

So I made this one angled towards the front, and inserted some (non-stretch) reflective piping into the new seam. While the top overall requires some stretch, having a short amount of non-stretch in a non-critical area isn’t really a problem. Just don’t try to do this around the neckline or biceps – those need to stretch!!

Again, this is an early draft of the pattern so disregard the low neckline seen above! Better to look at my latest version of this pattern, sewn only last week in the mustard colourway of the amazing merino jersey with the wicking backing. (Seriously. Buy this.)

You saw the sister to this top, modeled by Emily with her snowboard, but I loved the teal version so much that I just had to make another in the mustard colourway, too. And now that I’ve run in this, I am totally going to be squeezing a third version out, which will have a teal body and mustard sleeves! Not bad to get three very high-end merino sports tops from only 4 yards of fabric!

Like the teal version, this one is made using the final version of the pattern, so you can see that the neckline is higher in the front, it’s cut a bit slimmer through the body, and the straight hem is a bit longer than shown in the blue printed one. Just little tweaks, but ones that really make a difference when you’re on the move!

I also made a little matching merino headband to take advantage of the wicking backing. It’s got 1cm wide elastic along each side, which I zigzagged onto the wrong side, then flipped inside again and coverstitched. It kept my ears as warm as the rest of me during my trail run on Sunday!

This is a first for me – I’ve never made another version of a pattern so soon after release before. Usually, by the time I get to the point of releasing a pattern, I’ve made it so many times that I’m thoroughly sick of it and I don’t want to sew another for a long time. But the Surf to Summit Top is somehow different – I’ve made all these versions yet still I’m planning a few more in my head already!!

Remember you can save 10% off if you buy two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20” before 26 December! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!


tags: , ,

Comment [4]

Surf to Summit Top - Surfing Rashguard version

22 December 2014, 15:22

Continuing on with our journey through all the different ways you can wear my latest Surf to Summit Top patterns, we’ve already seen it ready for snowboarding and cycling, but today’s version is for the swimmers and surfers! Aussies, you’re particularly going to love this one as it’s perfect for summer swimming without getting burnt to a crisp.

If you’re making a rashguard (aka “rashie”), you’ve got quite a few options to choose from. At first I was a bit confused by all the different variations of rashguards available online, but Katherine really helped me to better understand the cultural context of them in Australia. If you’re sewing for a hardcore surfer, then you’ll probably want to go for the long sleeves and not use the half-zip, as it would press against the board while you’re lying on your chest paddling.

But rashies have become so ubiquitous in Australia over the last few decades that the younger generation wear them when swimming as a fashion statement, so you often see versions with long or short sleeves, half zips, and lots of colourblocking in funky swimsuit lycra prints. You can also choose to use either the standard straight hem, or use the dipped hem to protect that little bit of skin above your bikini bottoms! Many teens and twenty-somethings have been wearing rashguards their whole lives, as parents dress their children in them to protect from sunburn, and it’s now caught on with the population at large. All of this may be common sense to Aussies now, but I’ve had loads of Americans and Europeans ask me what a rashguard is, so you’re ahead of the trend here!

My athlete-model, Emily, is a keen surfer, but also a runner, snowboarder, cyclist, and skateboarder(!), so she requested that hers be made in some zebra-print nylon lycra from UK Fabrics, and feature a half zip and sleeve mitts, so she can cleverly use it for winter running and surfing. All of the same options are available on the men’s version of the Surf to Summit Top pattern, too!

Extra points to Emily for volunteering to model in bikini bottoms on a cold, wintry day!

I sewed up this version while my patterns testers were hard at work, so I should probably point out that I made a few changes to the finished pattern that aren’t shown here, namely, that the neckline is raised by 2cm (1in), and the body has been taken in by so the hips are now at zero ease. Depending on how you like your rashies to fit, you may want to take yours in a little further in the body, but this was a happy medium in fit between the various sport uses.

If you’re not from the UK, you may be surprised to learn that Cornwall (in Southwest England) has some of the best surfing beaches in Europe, and possibly the world – I certainly wasn’t aware before I moved here. Even in the coldest months of the year, surfers will be out in wetsuits, and both the north and south coasts are jam-packed with surf schools and board rental shops. Emily has family in Cornwall, and spends as much time as possible surfing there in the summers.

Now, I hope you’re not too sick of all these Surf to Summit versions just yet, because I’ve got three running versions yet to show you, and they all feature some more creative uses for piping and colourblocking which I think you’re going to really like!

Remember you can save 10% off if you buy two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20” before 26 December! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!


tags: , ,

Comment [3]

Surf to Summit Top - Three Cycling versions

18 December 2014, 12:38

I’ve got quite a few different versions of my latest Surf to Summit Top pattern to show to you! It’s such a versatile pattern with so many different options, which meant that I had to sew samples of all the different features over the past few months. Today I want to focus on the cycling features of this pattern, for both the men and ladies.

Let’s look at the ladies’ version first, which is again modeled by my friend and multi-talented athlete, Emily, whom you met earlier this week. I made this version using some navy wicking nylon from UK Fabrics in the body, and some “triathlon” printed lycra from FunkiFabrics in the sleeves. The 1.25m I bought of the latter was enough to make leggings for myself and have enough over for the short sleeves here, and probably a sports bra, too! I finished off this top with some turquoise FOE bought on eBay around the hem and back pocket.

This top was one of the very last samples I made of the pattern, a few days before its release, and it uses the exact same version that you buy – it was sewn up to test that the final changes to the pattern were good. I’m pleased to say that the improvements I made to the half zip, facing, and zip underlay in particular are ones I’m particularly proud of – this came together really smoothly!

Here you can also see the dipped hem and big back pockets. The top edge of the pockets is gathered in by FOE along the top edge, so you’ve got some extra space in there on top of the stretch provided by the fabric. The pocket is divided into three by topstitching, or you could keep it as one big pocket, or divide it up however you like!

So that’s the basic features of the traditional cycling jersey – you can use the exact same optional extras on the men’s version, too, or if you want something a bit warmer, like my husband James, then you can use the long sleeves instead!

James cycle commutes to work most days, and he’s found a route that mostly takes him along the river and then through the Royal Parks. But it’s winter in London right now, and the sun sets early, so he requested cycling tops that had long sleeves, back pockets, and a half zip.

You can also see the half zip here on this red version, sewn up in some red wicking supplex from Tia Knight. It’s got a nice underlay to protect your skin from the teeth and rough zip tape, but it means that you can vent a bit if you start to overheat during your ride.

The back pockets and hem are edged in the same turquoise FOE as seen in Emily’s version above. James has a RTW cycle top that mixes bright red and turquoise, so he selected this combo again from my stash, and I think it’s a brilliant choice.

I also wanted to show you an early sample I made of the men’s version because it shows how you can colourblock the side panel and pockets to get a lot of use from some wild prints!

In this case the “print” is actually Beta Brand’s “Disconium” fabric, which is lots of little foil “sequins” printed onto a base lycra. I’ve used it quite a bit in running leggings and tops for myself over the years, plus James has it in his reversible jacket, too!

Since the side panel and back pocket were so eye-catching, I chose to use basic black supplex for the rest of the top (originally from Tia Knight but long out of stock), and used wide black elastic binding along the pocket top and hem.

Can you believe I’ve still got… FOUR more versions of this pattern to show you (and two more sports!)?? That’s what I get for releasing such a versatile pattern I guess! You lucky, lucky sewists, you.

Remember you can save 10% off if you buy two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20” before 26 December! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!


tags: , , ,

Comment [4]

Surf to Summit Top - Winter Merino version

15 December 2014, 13:14

Wow, thank you all so so much for your enthusiasm on the launch of my latest patterns! More than one person went and bought all seven of my patterns in one go, too, which is just crazy wonderful! Can you imagine the fun weekends of sewing them all up?? I’ve been totally bowled over by your comments, encouragement, and enthusiasm, and I haven’t even shown you all the great versions I’ve been busily sewing over the past few months yet, either.

I’m going to start with one of the more basic versions, but one that should particularly appeal to those of you experiencing a North American winter right now, as it’s perfect for winter base layers. I sewed this one up in a freaking fantastic merino jersey which has a wicking backing fused onto it. It came from Mill Yardage in America, and I also bought the mustard colourway, too, which I actually love even more than the teal! I highly recommend grabbing 2yds of this if you’d like your own version (I have no affiliation whatsoever!).

Let me first take a minute to introduce Emily, my athlete-model for the ladies’ version of the pattern. Emily runs with me every week at Run Dem Crew, but we also ran the Copenhagen marathon together a few years ago, too. But Emily is a truly talented, multisport athlete – she’s not just a runner, but an avid Cornish surfer, snowboarder, and skateboarder, too. She also cycles just about everywhere in London, so she was the perfect choice to show the versatility of the Surf to Summit Top pattern!

You’ll see the cycling and surfing versions (and Men’s versions!) soon enough, but here I used the basic, no frills version of the body, going for the long sleeve length, and (because this is actually going to be my winter running top!) I added on the optional sleeve mitts because I just can’t go back to wearing gloves again! Now, you wouldn’t normally need sleeve mitts for skiing or snowboarding, as you’re probably going to be wearing more heavy-duty gloves like Emily is here, but the mitts don’t get in the way when they’re not in use, so it’s really not a problem. The body of this pattern is drafted to be a tad looser fitting than the XYT Workout Top (which had 10% negative ease), with 2cm negative ease in the Bust, 8cm positive ease at the Waist, and 1cm negative ease at the Hips. I did this specifically so you can use fabrics with a little less stretch in them, like merino jersey!

Top: Sleeve mitt engaged (hand covered), under side. Bottom: Sleeve mitt open (hand exposed), upper side.

Note that the wrong side of your fabric (and twin stitching) will show when the mitts are engaged and over your hands, but I’ve found that I usually end up only having the mitts over my hands for the first few minutes at the beginning of a run. And even with a fabric which has two distinct sides, it doesn’t really look bad. The hem is on the under side of your hand when it’s engaged (ie: against your palm) so it’s not very obvious, either, but you could choose to finish the edge with FOE instead if you have an objection to the underside of the stitching showing.

I also wanted to highlight the high neck on this pattern, which works well for winter coverage as well as rashguard coverage. It’s an integrated funnel neck, and uses a facing to finish the neckline. I know, right – eating my words about facings on knits!! But this facing is a) un-interfaced, so it stretches along with your fabric, and b) tacked down by machine along all four seams so it really does stay put without flipping out everywhere. If you’re making this up in a stretchy fleece or sweatshirting, though, you’ll want to use a thinner jersey for the neck facing to reduce bulk.

Also, a few people asked about whether this top has side seams – there are no side seams – the Side panel wraps around to join the Front and Back at the princess seams. This means you can get some great colourblocking opportunities, which I’ll show you in some later versions I made…

Remember you can save 10% off if you buy two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20” before 26 December! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!


tags: , , ,

Comment [1]

On sale now - Surf to Summit Top pattern for men and women

12 December 2014, 16:54

It’s finally here! After months of hard work, dozens of pattern revisions, ten sewn samples, three athlete-models, and meters upon meters of spandex, the Surf to Summit Top is on sale now!

Both the men’s and ladies’ versions feature princess seams, side panels (so no side seams!), your choice of long or short raglan sleeves, optional sleeve mitts for keeping your hands warm without fiddling for gloves, a tall integral collar to keep your neck covered, and your choice of two hem lengths. An optional half zip and back cycling-style pocket are also included.

Click any image to make it bigger!

This pattern truly does cover all seasons and a multitude of sports – everything from a rashguard for surfing, to a winter base layer for skiing! Plus you can make a traditional cycling jersey with it, and I absolutely love it for winter running.

I’ve also been asked if women could wear the men’s version and vice-versa – absolutely! If you’re a lady who prefers straight-cut tops, you may be happier with the men’s version, and likewise, if you’re a guy who prefers his workout tops to be form-fitting, you may be happier with the ladies’ edition (albeit with a Small Bust Adjustment!).

As usual, this pattern comes with fully illustrated instructions, including a Common Fit Alterations section showing you how to alter the pattern pieces if you want to increase or decrease the waist and hips, have square shoulders, need an FBA, plus loads more! The pattern comes with both Print at Home version, compatible with both US and A4 printers, as well as a Copy Shop version sized to fit within 36in wide and A0 printers.

As promised, my newsletter subscribers have been sent an exclusive 15% off discount code, but if you’ve been holding off buying one of my older patterns until this release, you won’t be disappointed, as you can use the code 10OVER20 to save 10% off any order over $20 before Boxing Day (26 Dec 2014). Note: This code is valid only on shop.fehrtrade.com and not my Etsy Shop.

So you can use it to buy both versions of the Surf to Summit Top, or maybe buy Surf to Summit and my PB Jam Leggings for a great winter medley, or if you’re in the southern hemisphere, Surf to Summit pairs nicely with my best-selling Duathlon Shorts pattern for hot weather exercise.

I want to thank you all again for all your support over the past year of FehrTrade Patterns – I launched my first two patterns right around Christmas last year, and it’s been a fulfilling year of design and a fantastic learning experience! I’ve got some fantastic photos to show you of my athlete-models for this pattern over the next few weeks, too!


tags: , , ,

Comment [5]

Older Articles Newer Articles