On the Run: Giving my Sewing a Workout!

This seems to be the year of making things I never thought I’d ever attempt to sew for myself – things like bras, jeans, and bikinis. Well, today I have a new addition to that list – workout clothes! Now that we live in such a mild climate year-round, I finally decided to bite the bullet and start running. While I have no ambitions to be a marathoner (I’ve told myself that 10K is a goal someday…maaaaaaybe…but no more than that!), I’ve actually grown to really enjoy running shorter distances (I’m up to a 5K at this point), especially since that often involves running through parts of Golden Gate Park :).

Since my workout clothes were getting…errr…a workout, I decided it was time to restock my fairly tiny athletic-wear wardrobe. I started out making the Seamwork Manila leggings using an unlabeled technical fabric I found last summer while discount fabric shopping in San Jose (I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of poly/lycra/nylon blend). The pattern came out pretty well, although I found the cuff at the bottom to be quite snug, so next time I’ll probably grade up a size at the ankle. I didn’t think I had particularly beefy ankles, but maybe I do! I also need to add about an inch to the back at the waist to account for my buxom bum.

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For the top, I made Papercut Patterns’ Pneuma Tank, using a thin rayon for the tank and the leggings fabric for the bra underneath. For the straps, I used my usual bra strap elastic, which worked out quite nicely. I really like this top – I definitely plan to make it again! I especially love running with it, since the vents in the side and back provide a bit of extra breeze to keep me cool. I did wear it to a yoga class recently, though, and the looseness of the tank was a bit problematic for inverted poses (thank goodness for that bra underneath!!), so consider yourself warned…

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The top especially has gotten a lot of wear, and both have held up great so far to the demands of movement, sweat, and washing. I’m really looking forward to making more activewear in the future, especially now that Tasia has come out with her own line of workout clothes at Sewaholic. I already have the fabric and patterns for those – so stay tuned!

More Husband Sewing: Another Newcastle

Today I have yet another long-overdue project to share with you! This year, like last year, I decided to sew my husband something for his birthday. However, unlike last year, it didn’t take me five months post-birthday to complete it. Just one month. 😛 Still, an improvement!

Since his first Newcastle Cardigan was such a hit, I figured a second version would be a great choice. This time, I chose a lighter weight fabric so that I could play around with the contrasting yoke option the pattern offers – a really sharp detail that I enjoyed a lot! The main fabric is a very lightweight fleece I found at Britex that supposedly has moisture-wicking properties, which I figured can’t hurt in our often sweaty weather here.

In fact, the fleece was so lightweight that I was concerned about pairing it with the ponte knit I had chosen for the contrast yoke. To mitigate any potential problems mixing the two different weights, I added a medium-weight interfacing to all of the interfaced pieces (as opposed to a lighter-weight option that I might have otherwise picked for the fabric). This worked quite well, and I didn’t end up needing to interface the main body pieces, which was my plan B if things didn’t work out as hoped.

I played around a bit with the fit for this one. Last time, I had made a straight-up size medium and shaved off 3/8″ at the armhole to account for my husband’s narrow shoulders. This time, I retraced the whole pattern, grading from the smallest size at the shoulders to a medium at the chest. After basting the pieces together, I found that this actually didn’t work as well as my first fix, so I adjusted my seam allowances accordingly to approximate the first version as closely as possible.

I really love how this one turned out – the contrasting yoke is such a nice touch!

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I’m pleased to report that this version has been an even bigger hit than the last one! It’s gotten a lot of use, and has held up extremely well, even with the differing fabric weights. I always enjoy sewing Thread Theory patterns – not only are they beautifully drafted, they work perfectly with my husband’s body type! I’m sure there will be many more Newcastles in his future…

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Belated Blogging

Goodness gracious, I’m behind on my blogging! I now have several garments languishing in an un-blogged (though much-worn) state, one all the way from March! Unfortunately, I blame this mostly on my photo-taking situation here in the city. Even though I live in a “good” neighborhood, I’ve had several experiences with loitering, “creepy” voyeurs during a few of my photoshoots, so I’m now very shy about taking my camera out into the streets of SF (and my living room is a no-go in terms of lighting). Have any of you experienced this when taking pictures? Any tips??? Ugh.

But anyhow, on to cheerier topics – like a colorful dress! In case you hadn’t already figured it out, this is the Colette Moneta Dress, a real favorite of mine! I actually made this version well over a year ago, shortly after the pattern came out. It’s my second iteration of the pattern, and I have since made a few changes (mainly, a sway back adjustment and removing a bit from the CF neckline to avoid gaping), so you may notice a few fit issues here that I fixed later on.

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As you can see, I made up the pattern pretty much as-is, using the original collar and gathered skirt. I really love this version, and it’s been a real wardrobe workhorse for the past year. It’s the perfect combo of polished enough for work but comfy enough for pretty much every other activity, so it gets worn a LOT!

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The fabric is a fantastic jersey from a local sewing store near my parents in PA, Steve’s Sewing Center. They started carrying designer leftovers a few years ago, and their collection is really pretty amazing! I actually just went there again on a quick trip back home – any sewers in the area should definitely check it out! This particular knit has a lovely drape and a very soft, almost peachskin texture. I think the fiber content is polyester, though to be honest, I really don’t remember.

…but wait, there’s more! One of my favorite makes from over the summer was by far the Grainline Studio’s Morris Blazer. It’s such a versatile pattern, and really fills a lot of wardrobe needs. (I may or may not have bought fabric for another…) I already blogged about my second Morris here, but this was my first version. Interestingly, since this first version is made out of a stable knit, and my second one was made out of a stretch twill, I actually had to use two different sizes to account for the varying amounts of stretch. This version is a size 2, but my green one is a size 4 – just goes to show that you really do need to take your fabric into account from the beginning!

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I absolutely adore this fabric – it’s from Blackbird Fabrics, and although this particular knit isn’t available anymore, Caroline always has some great knits stocked. I used the “right side” for the main body of the blazer and the “wrong side” for the collar – I just love it when I can take advantage of fabric like that! I originally had purchased this fabric for a different pattern, so I only had one meter, but I was able to squeeze this out with the help of some creative cutting (I had to switch the grainline of the collar facing, but it all worked out in the end). The fabric is super soft, and has only pilled a tiny bit after very frequent wear.

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So there you go – a few favorites that have now finally made it to the blog! Whew!