….is a vast improvement on writer’s block 😉
I knew about drafting patterns from blocks – basic pattern pieces with an overall shape, but that can be adapted for lots of projects – but had never had a go myself. I’ve been a fan of pattern ‘mashing’ for a while, where I’ve taken bits of different patterns and bought them together to make something new. I’ve become a lot more confident at having a go at changing things and in the process have started to learn about how patterns are constructed.
This made Melissa Fehr’s book Sew Your Own Activewear a great next step. I knew about Melissa from her Fehr Trade blog and pattern shop and briefly met her at the Great British Sewing Bee exhibition last year (very lovely she was too). I was really excited about the book coming out, but it arrived at a really busy time and I didn’t have the time (or nerve) to experiment. That changed this weekend when I decided I wanted to make a top to go with my new Greenstyle Pace (yes, another one!) and fancied a change from the Lille and Lille/Lacy mashups I’ve made of late. They are great, but I have a few!
I got stuck in with the Vest Top pattern, which uses a close fitting top block pattern as a base. Melissa guides you through the changes to make to turn this long sleeve tshirt into a colour-blocked, princess seamed, funky-backed racing vest. The instructions are easy to follow and I soon had a finished vest. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken the time to make a muslin of the block pattern first so my on the fly adjustments were slightly off. I added some extras to try and make it look like a layered top and cover my mistakes and although it’s wearable, it may not often make my pick list – ah well.
It was the doing that was the best bit and it gave me an idea for a slightly different version. I decided to keep it really simple and just use the princess seams and make it slightly less form fitting. I know lots of people who don’t want things to cling too much so I kept it fitted, but without so much negative ease (where the flat measurements of the garment are smaller than your body measurements so the garment has to stretch to go around you and is tight).
The final version isn’t perfect, but I wore it for my race yesterday and it was comfortable and feels like something people might like. I’ve adjusted the pattern a bit more for next time and had a few more ideas for other design options. I have a feeling I am going to have a lot of fun with this book 🙂