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.


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