Skull lace

I wanted to take this fluoro fun jacket (McCalls 7026) to another level by using two types of skull lace for my Minerva Crafts project this month. There’s a lot of cool lace and mesh used in ready to wear activewear.

When I saw this skull laceon the Minerva Crafts website, I saw how I could play with placing the skulls in a strategic way. 

I’ve never seen skull lace before so I thought I could wear ‘skulls’ outside of Halloween.

The ponte de roma Minerva Crafts has is a good weight for a jacket and has good stretch recovery so I know this jacket can take the heat of being worn for weekends or getting to and from the gym at 5am in the morning. However since making this jacket, I worn it to the movies and out at night because I love this particular purple colour.

I still have a bunch of reflective tape that I bought in Hong Kong so this time I applied reflective piping on
  • the zipper
  • the front yoke and
  • the back curve.

I’ve found this basic jacket with no hood and no extended cuffs suits my needs. The shape is very RTW too.

A few hints
If you do decide to make this pattern, sew in the front zipper before finishing the side seams so the pieces lay flat as you sew in the zipper. You get a more accurate finish if you sew in the zipper this way.

I moved the pockets to the front panel. Having the pockets in the side seam felt awkward. When you do move the pockets they will only be as wide as the front panel and if you want a firmer fit, add zippers to the pockets. I added invisible zippers to keep the pockets closed for running to gym classes.

Oh, the only additional change I made was a forward shoulder adjustment.

I’m short so if you’re mid height or taller, you’ll need to extend the body and arms. This pattern is short-waisted.

So far I’ve had lots of compliments about the purple ponte. I think the skull lace has taken a few people by surprise. I think my job is here done;)

Thanks again Minerva Crafts for enabling my ‘design’ brain.

Fluoro fun

Here’s a mild-mannered cyclist who sews and has created a fluoro/reflective jacket using McCalls 7026.

Here’s how this jacket looks with my normal Sunday morning cycling kit.
This jacket looks quite tame.
Nothing too amazing yet.
But here’s how it looks when you use flash photography.
And the back looks amazing too.

The back view covers my RTW cycling jersey so I won’t be adjusting the jacket length.

What I will be adjusting is the front panel so I can include zippered pockets for future jackets. The pattern has the pockets in the side seam but on a form fitting jacket, side seam pockets makes the side seams gape.

I prefer the pockets at the front and with a zipper, to keep my keys and id intact. I always carry id in case of an accident and I’m the one they need to put in an ambulance to send to hospital. It’s happened in the past and fortunately I regained consciousness fast enough to get off the road.

The yellow fabric is two-way stretch and is a factory off-cut I was given. The print is a Spotlight special I bought. Kirsty of Top Notch used this same print for her Frocktails 14 dress and I loved the texture and flouro-ness of it when I saw her dress in real life. When it was on sale, I bought a few metres to experiment with.

I didn’t use the cuff on sleeve for this version. I was checking the fit of size 12 and I’ll use this size for my Minerva Crafts version next month. The print fabric has no stretch but my Minerva Crafts ponte does so this size will work. I’d certainly go up a size for non-stretch fabrics. 

I do love the effect of the reflective tape.

Princess line bathers

The prospect of celebrating Christmas by the water made me realise I needed something festive so I’ve used the last piece of my red marakesh fabric from Pitt Trading for a new pair of bathers.

Kwik Sew’s Swim and Action Wear book has a classic princess line swimsuit that I tested using a possible Christmas colour – green.The green test version is wearable and this version gave me the tweaks I needed to make the marakesh bathers work.

This test version is not lined and uses three lycra remnants of varying weights.The green wave print is a lighter-weight knit to the solid colour fabrics so it should have had a second layer underlining it to balance its weight against the other fabrics. Live and learn.

On swimwear, I also exaggerate the derriere curve as you can see on the test pair above. I added the bust cups to the soft bust shelf.

I joined the crotch piece to the front to eliminate this seam.

On this test version 

– I realised that cutting the medium size was a tad too big, so I sewed in the centre back and side seams. 
– the princess line seam at the armhole was loose so I sewed this seam in closer
– I shortened the straps but then had to lower the armhole curve.

These changes were added to the pattern pieces.

The things I couldn’t fix on the green test version:

– angle in the straps so they don’t slip off my shoulders
– fully line this next version. I don’t like unpicking lots of overlocking so the test version remained unlined but is usable.

Testing swimwear:
Before adding the elastic finishing, I try on my bathers.

The derriere curve is lower on this pair too. It’s now a standard adjustment I do on the paper pattern at the start of the project. 

Here are the finished pattern pieces with all the elastic lengths noted and the stitch lengths for future reference.

I love the lycra print fabrics Pitt Trading bought this year. They brought in a stack a medium weight lycra prints and they’re perfect for supportive bathers.

Floral malliot bathers

It’s hard to resist a fabulous lycra print that is a heavy weight and supportive, hence my newest malliot. Pitt Trading still has more great prints, including this print ‘wild rose’ in store.

Finished: fully lined, double straps and includes bust support with cups.

I’ve used the basic Spaghetti strap swimsuit pattern from Kwik Sew’s Swim & Action Wear book by Kerstin Martensson published in 1995 (ISBN 0-913212-18-0 if you want to get this from a library). This is the first time I’ve used this book.

The information is still accurate so if you don’t have an overlocker, you can sew swimwear on your sewing machine.

This is my 4th bathers I’ve made this week and love this pair the best because I made this as close to RTW as I could.

The back has a centre back seam, perfect for shaping to your curves. 

Below you can see the sewn in cups to the bust shelf lining layer. 

Using double straps was an idea I had because my shoulders slope downwards.
I’ve also moved the straps closer to the centre back seam, again for more shoulder safety.

This test version shows how I’ve set up the lining so you can remove the lining. In reality I’ll probably use this feature to change the cups, as required. This shelf area is also where you’ll have to remove the sand if you actually wear these at the beach.

I count this as my 3rd pair of bathers.

Above is my test pair using stash fabric. The powermesh lining from Pitt Trading used on this pair was sewn in at the side seams but I found this pulls a bit so on the floral pair, I’ve only sewn the lining at the elastic edges.

On the pattern I exaggerated the curve on the rear to cover my rear better. After wear the test pair, I raised the back neckline by 1.5cm. This was personal preference. The book is filled with lots of designer touches to help you be creative. I like the idea of lowering the back and adding lacing!

I do love this pair the best, paired with sun-kissed skin.

Thanks Pitt Trading for getting in great lycra prints. Love your power mesh too #supportive.

See spot run

McCalls 4261 has a basic round neck tee pattern and I had some white knit fabric with huge silver spots on it, hence this post.

Melissa and Winnie recently ran the London Marathon. An awesome feat in itself. They both wore outfits that didn’t hinder their efforts but ensured they could be spotted in the crowd. Or at least that’s my take on their running outfits.

This month I’m ran my only half marathon and to distract my training and a dress I’ve working on, I played with this tee. 

The test top is a daywear basic made from this highly textured knit. There’s a matching skirt but that’s another story…

The test top showed me I needed to use the small size for the waist up and medium size for the waist down. The long sleeves are not long enough for me. I think this fabric is a piece I bought at Clear it in Melbourne some time ago. It has no wicking properties at all. It just looks good.

Here’s the short sleeve and long sleeve training versions.

I still have enough of this fabric for a panel on something. 

Before the run my estimated running time was over 2 hours and I finished in 2 hours 18 minutes. After running in the short sleeve top for over 2 hours on a cool day, I could do this again.

The whole time I ran my main concern was to finish and not fall or ‘hitting the wall’. Now to cheer on Kathy in her half marathon later this month.

Oh, while I was recovering this week, I made these three versions post-half marathon because these scrap fabrics were begging to be used. 

Check blue top, brown pleather top and basic blue top

 The blue version was comfy to wear to work this week.

The Hunger Games

I love great activewear so this month I’ve made my version of the activewear worn in The Hunger Games for my Minerva Crafts project.

Here’s Katniss training for the Hunger Games. Judianna Makovsky was the designer for the first movie.  Lucas Hugh designed the training gear for the second movie which is on my future list of activewear but for now the picture above is what I’ve made.

Using great knits from Minerva Crafts, I used Kwik Sew 3567 for the top and Fehr Trade’s duathlons for the track pants.

The blue knit is soft and has good recovery, So does the red sparkly fabric. The cornflower colour knit is bonded so I originally wasn’t sure if this would work but having a bonded knit was an advantage to developing the sleeves and track pants.

I used the navy and cornflower fabrics for the track pants and added reflective tape. Here’s the flash view.

Here’s the no flash view.
The top base used the navy knit. It has a lovely feel to it.

However I changed the back bodice to use the red knit and some reflective tape.

Then I used my french curve ruler to mark out the sleeve design and you can see the pieces cut out with seam allowance and ready to sew.
Most of this outfit was sewn using the overlocker and I used the sewing machine to add the piping.

So here’s the front view using flash. I added reflective tape to the zipper.

And here’s how the back turned out. I don’t have a photo of the back view of the outfit Katniss wears so this is my interpretation… The red fabric has a shine to it so it made sense to put the reflective tape piping with this.

What’s great is I can use these pieces to train outside now that it’s Autumn in Australia.

These fabrics have such strength to them. I chose these fabric based on the colours on the Minerva Crafts website. They do a much better job of showing the colours on their website than I can.

I’ve still got fabric left to make a could more Autumn workout pieces. Now that it’s getting cooler in the mornings, I can use these pieces for outdoor training and still be seen. Thanks again Minerva Fabrics for letting me indulge a bit in films/books I love and my current pattern drafting binge.

Interview with FunkiFabrics

Funki Fabrics interviewed me recently because I love to sew my own activewear.

I’m a small blog in a big online sewing community.

While I do sew for myself, I’ve enjoyed sewing with Funki Fabrics for the family too so I know FunkiFabrics suit the Australian climate.

From time to time keep an eye on Funki Fabrics pinterest board too as I’ll be posting easy activewear sewing technique posts.

26 Feb: Updated information from Funki Fabrics for Lyndle’s question:

Composition of Funkifabrics’ fabrics

​The composition of the fabrics differs depending on which type of fabric/design it is. These details can be found on each individual product page. However, on the whole, the composition of the printed fabrics is 82% Polyester and 18% Elastane. The weight is 190 g/m² (grams per square metre). 

Are they all the same or are there different types?

While this question seems broad, all of the fabrics use the same print base product which makes them consistent. We have different prints and textures of fabric but the print base remains the same so they are all of the same quality.

Are any of the fabrics wicking?/What is it like wearing normal togs Nylon Lycra for working out?

Although the fabrics aren’t technically wicking fabrics, the print base that all​ of the fabrics have is fabric that is designed to be the ideal partner for all sport activities including cycling, running, skating, dance, sailing, skiing etc. The fabric has been worn and used during activewear by many sewing bloggers (including yourself and Erin at Miss Crayola Creepy). 

Erin recently published a blog post featuring Funkifabrics discussing the fabric and how she found it during exercising – here is what she said “Saturday morning my friend and I walked 4+ miles on the beach in a lot of soft sand and through dunes/hills. It was pretty warm (in the seventies) and we were both sweating. My legs were dry (the Polyester in the fabric helps with that), but since I was wearing a cotton shirt, my upper half was sweaty.”