Fehr Trade Duathlon Shorts

The exercise clothing I make would have to be my most wears-per-garment sewing projects.  The washing cycle around here is not particularly short and I exercise most days, so I need plenty of exercise clothes.  Ultimately, I get more satisfaction from sewing everyday items, such as exercise clothing or bras, than I do from sewing a dress that may only get worn once or twice a year.  I think it is fabulous that patterns, fabrics and notions for these garments are more readily available now than they were when I first started sewing (though, I still do have to hunt them out...hopefully they will become even more available in the future).

I got to test out Melissa's Fehr Trade Duathlon pattern recently.  The pattern comes in 3 lengths - capri, biker and booty and it has an optional sew-in padding for cyclists.  First up I made the biker length.  My legs are on the short side, so they are a bit longer on me than the design would suggest.

The stripe at the side has an in-built pocket.  Melissa designed it to hold the i-phone 5, but in this stretchy lycra, I can squeeze my i-phone 4 + life proof cover (which I love!) into the pocket.  At first I wasn't too excited by the contrast stripe at the side, but now that I am seeing different versions made up on the internet, I can how fabric choice makes for a really individual look.  Some people have chosen to colour block the top half, some the bottom, and others both.  My favourite so far would have to be Kathy's stripes

Short shorts are my preferred running clothing, just because I live in a really hot climate, so I decided to give the booty length a whirl as well (though, it is a bit shorter and tighter than my typical shorts pattern).  I made some changes to the pattern.  I made them up in a chlorine resistant lycra, so that I could run to the pool and then swim in them (I have made a matching swim crop top, not pictured).  I lined them with swim-wear lining.  I shortened the side panel by about 6 cm and gathered the front and back sides to fit, which makes for a cute detail.

The top in this photo is a previously unblogged project, made from supplex, using Burda 6/2013 114.

 I think my next pair will be somewhere between the booty and biker length.


Swimmers, 2014 version

These are the swimmers that I have made myself this summer.

This first pair were made by morphing my self-drafted halter top onto Jalie 2447 and, after reading reviews for the Jalie pattern, adding 3 inches of length.  It is a while since I made these, so I am a bit hazy on the construction, but I remember being pleasantly surprised by how easily the 2 patterns morphed together.   The bottoms are my basic self-drafted pattern.  The fabric was from The Fabric Store.  These swimmers have good coverage, so I felt quite comfortable wearing them to social occasions  that involved hanging about in swimmers with other people, say sipping champagne by the pool.

The next pair are not so suitable for public wearing, being on the skimpy side, but are my favourite.  They are very comfy, so great if I am going to be wearing them for a long time.  The pattern is from Patrones Extra No. 29 (5 Sujetador Halter & 6 Braguita Baja).  There are quite a few bikini patterns in this magazine and I was curious to see how they compared to my self-drafted patterns.

The top ended up a bit of a mess.  The edges are all self bound, as per the pattern, but there is no elastic in the straps, and the fabric is not what I call a strong lycra, so the top is not very supportive.  I think I'll steer clear of bound edges for bikini tops in the future, and stick to elasticated edges.  I changed it from a neck tie to a cross-over back, so that I don't have ties at my neck (no headaches!) or ties at my back (comfort sitting in the car).  I wore these to the beach a lot, with a swim shirt over the top.  The fabric is the same fabric that I used to make a bikini for my niece, so we were a little matchy-matchy on the holidays.

The popularity of the bombshell swimsuit pattern would suggest that sewing bloggers prefer good bottom coverage, but I subscribe to the theory that skimpier bikinis make your backside appear smaller.  If I have to cover my whole bottom, it takes a whole lotta fabric, and everyone can see how much fabric is needed.  If I sew a skimpier style, in a fabric that contrasts with my skin, if has a colour-blocking effect.  Try it!  You just might be surprised.

The last pair I made today, so I haven't tested them yet, but I am pretty happy with the fit.  The pattern is Jalie 3134.  I bought this pattern for my daughter, but have decided to give it a go for myself, although using fabric from my stash that I don't really love, in case it didn't work out.  I made a size W at the hips and slimmed to a size T at the top.    This was a little tricky to do, with the multiple pieces, so I kept my basic block beside me to help with the process.  After reading reviews, I also lowered the leg-line by 5cm.  I was worried about the length, as many reviewers seemed to need to add length to the pattern.  I thought I had a long torso, but my measurements compared well with the Jalie measurements and the length seems just right.  These are for swimming laps, now that my sporty bikini from last year is starting to perish.

This photo was taken at Memorial, a camping spot near here.  We know locals who jump off the cliffs into the water-hole below, but we also know people who have seen crocs there, so we didn't brave the pools.

We only sat in the waterfall at the top of the pool.  Some of the pools were quite deep, and now and then I got a scare when something did bite me....but only yabbies (I assume??) that didn't like us sharing their pools.


Summer Sewing

I begged and borrowed sewing machines on my summer holidays to whip up a couple of projects.

The shorts are 17 shorts denim from Patrones No. 328.    I had been planning on making capris, but I took the wrong piece of fabric with me, so had to flick through the couple of magazines with me to find something else.  The Patrones patterns often have interesting little details.  This one does not use a zipper in the fly.  The shorts are relatively low-waisted, so the fly is rather short, and then they use 2 buttons instead of a zip.  Both buttons show on the outside, so it is a bit different to making a button fly. 

I didn't make a muslin and then they turned out to be too low and too gaping in the back.  So I pinned out the gaping, removed the back yoke, cut a new yoke about 5 cm higher at CB taping to nothing at the side seams and reinserted the yoke.  A bit of a hassle, but it turned out okay.  Next time I sew these, it would probably be good to add a little to the height of the sides as well.  I left off the belt loops, as I never wear belts.  These would be perfect in a non-stretch fabric, but stretch out a bit over the day (in spite of using non-stretch interfacing in the waist-band), so I am considering adding some side tabs.

The fabric is a lovely quality, very smooth denim.

The top was designed to use a tiny remnant of fabric with a peacock feather print.  My shirt-dress was the last garment I sewed before the holidays, and the pattern was still out when I was packing, so I took it with me and used it to make this top.  I left off the collar and played around with the front bib bit to create a pleated, wrap sort of bib insert. 

 The wrap bit looked lovely but was a bit of a wardrobe malfunction.  I think sewing wraps closed loses some of the effect, so I sewed a stay on the inner layer instead, which you can see if you look closely not quite halfway down the bib.  It works rather well, but the first time I tried to photograph this top was on the beach in gale force winds, and it doesn't actually hold up in gale force winds...so I won't be wearing this in a cyclone.