Something about Kelli

Kelli sews, cycles and runs and she’s petite. In fact Kelli completes marathons. And that in itself is admirable.

When Kelli contacted me about the quality of Funki fabrics last month, and she later told me why she wanted to know about what I thought of their fabrics #amazing. She sent me some pics of her marathon running kits that she’s sewn for herself and her running crew. I’m so in awe of her sewing efforts and running strength.

Here’s Kelli’s story.
Kelli crossing the finishing line
I’m not a fast runner at all! ‘so might as well have fun’.  I try to come up with a different idea for each of the organized runs I do.  Like one of the marathons I did, I experimented with a dress this time with a leopard theme.  That was when I was first learning different ways to finish/hem stretch fabric (still a learning process!!).  This was stretch velvet and a cotton jersey.  I tried small pockets off the neckline and pockets in the back kind of like the Ruu Muu dresses.  There was matching shorts underneath and a matching shrug that I had tied around my waist in this pix.
Leopard-theme running kit
That’s some of what I love to do.  Design fun outfits to wear for running and biking. 
Most of what I sew besides the fun stuff is practical make-it-suit-my-needs sewing.  I can never find exactly what I want in ready to wear so I’m always either buying RTW and tweaking it (adding pockets to leggings or reflective detail), hacking RTW (I get a LOT of my patterns from tracing RTW that I like some particular aspect of and adapting the rest), or buying stuff at good will for the fabric and using it to make ideas that I’ve seen in mags or on the Lululemon, Athleta, or Lucy websites (I’m sorry, you want what?…$90?!?…for leggings that don’t even have pockets?!?  Huh?!?  I gotta have my pockets but I get lots of ideas for details from these guys).  One of the first forays into personalized activewear was a pair of shorts that I made for long runs. 
I made a pair of shorts that had 4 pockets on them and were inspired by Sub4USA compression crops.  I used a green wickaway, black mesh, and horse themed FOE from Rose City Textiles for detailing. And then I stuffed the pockets full of jelly beans, inhalors, flip phone, ipod, and camera! and ran my first marathon.

The bags of jellies that I’m holding in the pix above I was snacking on until the very last minute to get to the end but originally they were all stuffed in the front pockets. 

Oh, and I love to personalize stuff.  My daughter likes tigers and plaid shirts…so now she has a purple plaid fleece shirt with a tiger minky fur lining.  And my son has a kilt made of flannel for lounging in.
Next for him is a pair of cargo pants in wolf fabric…as soon as I figure out how to design the wolf fabric and have Spoonflower print it!  

I often have so many ideas, I have a hard time getting started because I don’t know which one to go with.  Or I’m limited by the materials available. It’d be soooo liberating to be able to sew up everything I envision.  But, then again, half the time the creativity comes out of jerry (or jury) rigging the designed based on the materials available!
Reflective fabrics
In the USA, Rose City Textiles (also known as Fabricline) and Rainshed (both available online) still have a little bit of stuff but it’s pretty limited these days.  Rose City usually has a 4-way stretch that’s pricey and doesn’t have much rebound in its stretch and Rainshed has mostly shell fabrics but also a couple of cotton/fleece knits.  
Reflective tape
I’ve found with all my research into options that the best way to add reflectivity to activewear is probably just to use reflective vinyl heat transfers (like the big companies do with their logos on all their BLACK stuff….a pet peeve of mine…if you want to be visible at night with reflective gear, why would you wear black?!?).
You might be able get a local shop to do it, or get a craft cutter like Silohuette or CriCut and do it yourself, or get ready made reflective tapes or stickers.  One of the ones I like the best is Lightweights by 3M (…again somewhat limited shapes but very lightweight and easy to apply.
Oh, and just for kicks so you can see what kind of stuff I like to sew here’s a few pix of some of the stuff I made over the summer.
What Kelli sewed last Summer
These are a hack of all sorts of things…a bit of Athleta’s Be Free knickers,  with a little of Melissa’s Duathlon shorts, and a combo of SparkleSkirts waistband and DiY fitness belts.  I love my pockets so these have a large one on each side and a zippy one on the back.

This was a reversible skirt for some Girl-On-Fire themed outfits.  Again it was a takeoff of the technical Sparkleskirt except without the built in shorts, and it’s reversible with the hologram lycra on one side and plain tie dye pattern on the other.

Have a look at this fun one (below) based on the Cheshire Cat.  I found some white and pink striped fabric and dyed it a light pink to get Cheshire stripes and used the embroidery machine to do the Grin and “We are All Mad Here” on pink wickaway.
Below is the whole outfit (I’m about 5’3”).  The visor just has an embroidered patch on it and the shorts are like my phoenix shorts except in pink…again I had to make the stripes by painting them on with some inkjet iron on transfers and embroidered the grin on the pocket…the tail was the sleeves cut off of a toddlers sweater found at the good will and doubled as arm warmers.  It’s always a challenge to have a vision in my head of what I want and then find some way to come as close as possible with the materials I’m able to find.

Now that it’s darker, I also like to sew more practical stuff for biking to work and that involves the preference for reflectives and brightly colored fabrics like these.

This is a reversible wrap around skirt with a rear pocket based on the Sweet Spot skirts.  It’s made of some of the Illuminite fabric that I had in my stash from 5 years ago…can’t find it anymore darn it!  The back of the yellow vest has some of the Lightweight Iron on reflective patches. They come as oval so I cut them up and made the flower design.

And here’s how they look when reflecting at night.  Isn’t that way cool!  I really, really, really wish I could find more of this!!! Or that I had known it wasn’t going to be available any longer and gotten a much bigger stash!!!
What’s Kelli working on now?
I’m gearing up now to work on some Christmas stuff and winter cycle commuting stuff.
I just tried making a pair of waterproof shoe covers out of the PUL stuff they sell at the local fabric store for diaper covers…very stretchy rubber backed fabric. So far they’ve failed their test ride but I’m not sure if it’s because the road spray and heavy rains are too much for the PUL fabric to handle or if it’s because my leg warmers were soaking up water and, in turn, soaking my socks from top down into my shoe.
Maybe try some gaiters to eliminate the wet sock problem.

Since our first emails, I’ve bought some reflective notions from Lightweights and some wicking lycra from Rose City Textiles based on Kelli’s advice. I’ll work on these in 2015.
And Kelli unknowingly spurred me to do a local 10k fun run, in a me-made mermaid scale running kit using Funki Fabrics. Kelli has her own Funki Fabrics to work with when the weather gets warmer.

Mermaid scale fun run

I set a goal to do a 10K fun run. But part of the fun – other than training and eating well – I wondered, I’d love to look like I’m having fun on the day. Hence my mermaid scale print kit using Funkifabrics.

My starting point was Jalie 3247 shorts – with a difference.

I wanted to look ‘fast’ (LOL) so I cut a curve and used the mermaid scale print on the lower leg.

The Jalie shorts length was ok but I needed another 2″ of length to guard against chafing.  I use the test version when I train on the treadmill. For some reason, they’re ok in the gym.
The test version showed me these shorts were ‘short’ at the top and at the leg. So I extended the leg length by 2″.

The curves on the shorts were now where I wanted them. Then I tested these shorts at a boot camp session during the week to make sure there was no pulling/gaping/mishaps ‘while in use’. No problems.

Then the next issue was – what top pattern do I use? A top that I can pin on my racing bid was needed so I used View C with New Look 6160.
From the size chart my test version was size 14. 14 is a comfy summer version but too big at the shoulders and at the bust for what I needed.
Left to right: test vesion, Funki Fabrics blue fish scale print, retro print with bling shoulder feature
The test version on the left confirmed where the shoulder adjustment could be made (on the front seam of the yolk) and how much I need to take out. This pattern has a centre back seam so this is ideal for sway back adjustments.

So I recut this top again in a 10 across the bust and 12 at the waist and hips. I lowered the hem by 1.5cm. And I’m glad I did so you can’t see my tum when I raise my arms:)
this running kit worked pretty well on the day.

The legs kept rolling up at times so after the race I contact Susan of and she suggested adding a cuff.
Front view

back view

Inside view

Of course I wore these again at a 6am boot camp class and the cuff worked. Thank you Susan for your suggestion. Now to test these on a leisurely 10km training run.

Thank you Funki fabrics for this mermaid scale print.

About the fabrics 

Funki Fabrics are a polyester print base and they are also: 

  • Ulta chlorine resistant
  • Pilling resistant
  • Shape retention
  • Two way stretch 
  • UV protective

Read Susan’s activewear post if you want the knowledge of a sewing industry expert on activewear sewing.

Dear Jalie patterns. My niece, her Mum and I love Jalie 3247. My niece wore her Jalie pieces on the weekend and was really happy with them. The fabrics and styles of each set blew them away.
Thank you so much. 


I wore these ‘test’ Esther ‘ shorts when we traveled earlier this year. They did the trick.

I widened the inner thigh seam because I cycle.

Increased the depth of the centre back crotch curve to suit my shape.

Lengthened the centre back seam for sway back by 3cm.
My husband is convinced I need to see physio for my sway back curve. He could be right.

Checked the waist width and adjusted the grainline.

The seams are 1/2″ on this pattern and it uses an invisible zipper on the left side seam.

So the first version felt big on me so tapering this in at the centre seams and back darts before I added the waistband was an easy fix. 

The leg length is 2″ too long for my height (#petite) so again, that was easy to adjust. 
Then I shortened the body pieces by 1″ (#toohighwaist). Another easy adjustment.

Here’s version two.

I’ve added a feature that I like on shorts – a zipper fly. The other feature I would add to a future pair are belt loops. 

The pattern matching was fun. The invisible zip is not so invisible…

Here’s the final set using Vogue 8815 peplum top.

So I think I now have a cute shorts set to wear for the Summer BBQ season.

Jalie swimwear – part deux


Jalie patterns provide the child to adult sizes in each pattern they produce. They’re very family friendly.

Funkifabrics gave me a decent amount of dyesplosion so my littlest niece now has her own dyesplosion beach set for Summer. 

The brand new print you see above was created by Funkifabrics to help raise money for Children in Need. 25% profits made from this fabric will be donated to help the lives of disabled children in the UK.

Jalie swimshorts
My littlest niece is very active so these swimshorts (3351) with swim bottoms work for her (and are approved by her Mum too).

She has been through the ‘pink clothes’ stage and she now loves bright colours so dyesplosion works for her.

The built in pants are made from dyesplosion too.

Jalie top

View B (3247) halter style, seemed the best (practical) option for my littlest niece. 

Finished set

Cut for print placement

The lining is sewn onto the front and then the fold over elastic is sewn on.
About the fabrics 

Funki Fabrics are polyester print base and they are also: 

  • Ulta chlorine resistant
  • Pilling resistant
  • Shape retention
  • Two way stretch 
  • UV protective

Something to consider.

I still had leftover pink lycra in my stash so I made her a pink version using Jalie 3247 view A, racer back top. 

The fabric has a bit of pattern line in it so I obliged and made sure the lighter pink circles balanced across these two pieces.

Below is shows the final hemming stage of construction.

She now has plenty of ‘play wear’ that can be washed many times over.

Thank you Funkifabrics for dyesplosion and Jalie patterns for 3351 and 3247. The hot weather is here and so are some really cute beach outfits for the littlest niece.

Postscript 24 November 2014: The littlest niece loved all of these pieces. She loved the pink set more than I thought. She loved the dyesplosion set too. The Mum’s who saw the dyesplosion set were ready to put in orders for a few more sets for gymnastics. Jalie’s patterns are spot on. The colours in these Funkifabrics are excellent.

Vogue 1407 lining

I’m really pleased some of you loved Vogue 1407. The pattern has lining pieces with the darts included so I had a ‘what if?’ moment. Could I use the lining pieces for a simple ponte dress? Mmm.

Then I grabbed another Tessuti ponte remnant and tested the lining pieces to see what would result?

I’ve sewn in a zipper and used black fold over elastic to finish the neckline and arms.

This unlined ponte dress worked. 
So while the pattern has a distinct dress style to it, I’ve managed to make two dress types from the one pattern.

Minerva make – Updated work look

Vogue pieced patterns like V1407 are irresistible and Minerva has the right dogtooth print ponte and stretch lining for this dress. 
Here’s a close up of the front binding WIP.

Spring in Australia gives us a few hot burst of Summer to come ie 35C during the day with relatively cooler nights, so Vogue 1407 is the ideal choice.

The test version confirmed the adjustments I needed to make as I didn’t want to ruin the fabric and notions from Minerva Crafts UK.
Noting my basic adjustments on the pattern envelope in pencil.


Roll shoulder, sway back, shortened hems, checking bust darts and straightened the side to match my hip shape were needed. I make these adjustments to just about every pattern.
Lining up the print to match once these pieces were cut out
Vogue pattern provide the actual bust, waist and hip measurements on their patterns and I rely on these so that I know what size to choose. Vogue pattern grading on their patterns help me grade as I go.

Vogue’s instructions are easy to follow and they name the pattern and provide the pattern number in their instructions. This keeps my sewing on the ‘straight and narrow’.

Lining up the centre fronts to match.

The fabrics

I did use Minerva Crafts dogtooth print in my March make work dress. So when I saw this brilliant white and black version, I knew Vogue 1407 would work. And it does.

Lining up the front pieces.

The lining from Minerva Crafts is something I’ve not come across locally before. It’s smooth and has a bit of stretch. The lining was easy to cut and easy to sew. It’s light-weight and sewed nicely but doesn’t add width to the dress. I’ll be bookmarking this fabric for a future knit sewing project.

The finished dress

Lining update 8 November: Here’s a link to it. It comes in 8 colours. Is anti-static – that’s why I like lining knit dresses. And is 60″ wide. So this lining while it has some stretch, won’t ride up your body while you’re wearing this dress.

The dogtooth print has a very strong white against the black contrast. This print is also big enough to see and close enough to match up easily.

I used the 14 on my hips and 12 at the waist and bust. Once I got this dress ready to hem I resewed the side seams in so the dress didn’t look baggy and was more form fitting. On both sides of the dress I took out 3cm at the side seams from the bust to the waist. I didn’t want to assume a smaller size. The test dress was a stretchier fabric so I gave the seams some lee way just in case I needed to let out the seams.

Those lines are me twisting and not the dress.
My design feature

The back dress and back dress lining pieces are the same width, but not the same length. Remember that if you cut this dress out and you’re rushing.


I have curve so I embrace them. On the test version, I noticed the centre back seam hangs correctly but was very ordinary looking. So once I got this dress fitting well on the side seams, I tapered out the centre back seam so that it curves towards me and not away – with Mr V’s approval. Hey, Mr V smiled when I showed him the finished product.

So now I have a Winter and Summer dogtooth print dress. I can safely say the Winter work version was worn quite a bit and was comfortable in the office. I know this Summer version will be too.

Minerva Crafts have now sponsored me each month for a year. Vicky been really kind and supportive every time we’ve ‘spoken’ by email and in real life at the Minerva meetup. Thank you Minerva Crafts.

Tech post – Vogue 1407

This pattern Vogue 1407 is definitely eye catching. 

I liked how it gives the illusion of a waistline. So can you see why I sewed up those shapewear pieces from Jalie and CJ patterns last week? They are my ‘dress insurance’ pieces. 
The other ‘dress insurance’ I needed was to test this dress out with some stash fabric before I cut into my Minerva Crafts fabrics.
The test version has some purple stash fabric with a good amount of stretch, white mystery knit lining and some Tessuti remnant ponte.

Above is the dogtooth print from Minerva Crafts. I was able to lining up the front pieces correctly once I’d made the test dress. 

The problem with the test dress fabric was the purple fabric was very stretchy. There wasn’t much stability in it which is great but not so great when you sew in a zipper. Hence a bit of hand stitching. I could have made it without the zipper but I was testing the pattern – so the zipper stayed.

Lori from Girls in the Garden has made a great version with no zipper.

The zipper was a success. The centre back seam had a curve in it so I didn’t need to adjust it too much more for my curves.

And I think the pattern placement worked too. There were still some additional pattern tweaks to do – roll shoulder, neckline gap and hand stitching the lining on the next version.

So with the pattern sorted, I was ready for the real dress. You’ll see that later this week.