Wearing clothes that really fit when exercising makes such a difference! Comfort and confidence are so important when you want to focus on enjoying yourself and working on that perfect form. There are great brands out there, but we’re all different and if you don’t happen to fit into one size band at all measurement points the fit won’t be as ideal as you might like.
I started sewing a few years ago and got hooked on sewing my own running kit about 2 years ago. Since then, I’ve also made exercise clothes for friends and have built up a good set of patterns that work well for people of all shapes and sizes. I have also developed a bit of a fabric buying habit and now have a good range of material for different items/occasions.
Come along to try on some samples, see the fabric available in person, catch up with friends and meet new people, with absolutely no pressure to order anything!
Leggings, shorts, skorts, vests, t-shirts, hoodies and jackets are all available and I’m always up for having a go at turning your own ideas into reality. The samples will be women’s sizes, but I also have patterns designed for children and men so please ask if you have any requests. The samples will be available to buy on the night if you find something you like.
Myony has kindly offered us The Studio Gym, www.thestudio-bath.com , for the evening. When you sign up you’ll get more details on where to go!
If you plan to come along please fill in the RSVP form so I know how many people to expect (I will also send you an invite to the private facebook event so you can see what’s going on in more detail). If you know anyone else who would like to come please do share this page and if you have any questions just let me know.
Looking forward to seeing you there!
Sign up here:
….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 🙂
A common complaint among the runners I know is that shorts are always too short! Chaffing is a problem for people of all sizes and for lots of us 5″ inseams aren’t long enough; meaning a long run can result in very sore inner thighs…
Of the skorts I’ve made, more than half have come with requests for longer shorts and 7-8″ seems to be the most popular inseam. It’s also a good length if you’re using the side pockets in the underskirt of the Pace skort as it means you can fit a smart phone in an be confident it won’t come out (priorities!).
I knew that a couple of friends were interested in shorts so I asked Jo if she fancied being a guinea pig for a shorts version of the Super G athletic tights. There’s not an official short cut length, but in the testing group a few people tried them out at different lengths so I thought they were a good shorts candidate. I went for view B (love the side pockets) and added in a waistband zipped pocket as well (using Sarah Connell’s suggestion).
I used a super soft heather yoga knit from So Sew English, which also has 100% stretch both ways making it ideal for the Super Gs.
I think Jo looks amazing in them and fingers crossed that they’ll keep her comfy on plenty of her epic runs (tomorrow’s Cheddar Half Marathon being a short outing ).
The great thing about working with knit fabrics is that if you are bustier than average the stretch of the fabric will give you a bit of leeway when sewing your own clothes. However, to get the best from a pattern, those of use more than just above average will probably still have to make some adjustments.
While it’s natural to pick a pattern size based on your full bust measurement, if you have a larger cup size than the pattern is drafted for (lots of patterns are drafted for a B cup, but Greenstyle seems to be nearer a C/D cup as standard) you’ll end up with too much fabric at your neck and shoulders. However, choosing the pattern size based on your upper bust measurement* and using a full bust adjustment (FBA) will give you the size you need at the bust without swamping you anywhere else (you may never go back to RTW when you see how much difference this makes!).
Once you’ve worked out what’s going on doing an FBA isn’t at all daunting and is really worth while. There are lots of good tutorials out there, but they normally deal with shirts or tees so I wanted to show you how I used the same technique for the Greenstyle North Shore swimsuit. Hopefully it will make it a bit easier to see what you need to do.
For context, I wear a UK 30G (which, depending on manufacturer is about a US 30I). My underbust measurement is 29″, full bust is 37″ and upper bust is 34″.
- Take your upper/high bust measurement (just under your arm pits):
- Use this to pick your base size (in my case XS for the North Shore)
- Take your full bust measurement (at the largest point) and compare it to the largest bust size for the pattern size you picked.
- In my case, the XS is 34-35” and my full bust is 37” so I want to add 2” to the pattern )this will put me at the top end of the new size, so I’ll need to double check fit!)
- Because we’re dealing with half the pattern we want to add 1” width to each bodice piece
- Take your pattern piece (I’ve cheated as I knew where it would fall so only printed 3 size layers to make it easier to see) and mark on it where the bust apex (the ‘point’ of your boob) would be for your base size. This will be a bit of a guess, but it worked for me putting it at approx. the green +for the XS.
- Draw a line from the apex to about halfway in the curve of the arm scy
- Then, down from the apex vertically and across to the side seam horizontally.
- Cut up the vertical line and then up the diagonal line to the arm scy – stopping just before you get there as you’ll be pivoting at this point. Also cut in from the opposite direction, not cutting right through, so it can pivot on both sides.
- Cut from the side seam along the horizontal line almost to the apex point (you’ll also pivot here so don’t cut right through)
- Place a piece of paper behind the pattern piece (I used purple so it would show up) and tape down the right hand edge of the vertical cut to stop it sliding around.
- Now pivot the left hand pieces to create a vertical gap the same width as the amount you want to add (in this case 1”)
- Tape the pivoted pieces to the new piece of paper below
- Now you want to redraw the bottom curve. Handily, in this case, the lowered XS line is a close match to the original 2XL line so I drew a curve to join them
- You’ll now want to redraw gathering marks/bottom darts. I’ve gone for gathering dots only here and measured the distance from the left vertical edge of the original pattern to the 2XL dot, then measured the same distance from the right hand vertical edge, across the gap to the new dot position.
- Next, we’ll redraw the arm scy. You’ll want to hold the pattern piece against you to get a sense of how much you need to add as it will be different for everyone.
- Now we will add the side dart. We’ll use the gap we created when pivoting, but we want to angle it up towards the new apex to get a nice shape. You don’t want to go all the way to the apex with the dart point – stop an inch or so away.
- Now you can cut out your new pattern piece which will now be both wider and deeper and you can do some testing. If this works straight off, hooray! However, you may well need to tweak it after making a muslin. Depending on where you hold volume in your boobs you make need more space at the bottom or on the sides and the shape of the pattern will have an impact on this.
- Don’t forget that if you’re doing the tie front you’ll need an FBA there as well…
I was a bit lazy and laid my altered bodice piece over the tie piece and did a bit of tracing and then adjusted the curve of the tie
- Take your upper/high bust measurement (just under your arm pits):
Here are some pictures of how mine turned out:
They are all the deep V, full cup bodice and the bikini has the tie front overlay as well.
This pattern is lovely and really doesn’t take a lot of work to be great for big boobs – enjoy making yours and enjoy wearing it this summer!
If you’re looking for tips to create your own stretchy wardrobe for exercising (or just feeling comfy!) or if you’d like me to make something for you…