Just can’t stop

…making Melissa’s new Steeplechase leggings.

Front view
It’s all my fault. I’ve got lycra pieces that need to be made up into something. I like my leggings to be fitted and these fit perfectly with my usual alterations (sway back and knee curves). These are my test versions I made as part of Melissa’s pattern testing team.
Back view
I’m training for a few events, it’s full on mozzie season and this capri length supports my knees as I work out. Three good reasons to make three test pairs for Melissa. Melissa’s made six pairs for herself too. You should see Kathy’s three pairs as well.

The basic black pair uses locally bought high density black lycra and left over Funki Fabric on the yoke. This first pair has the back pocket included. Then I had to make two more pairs.

Then the grey/green pair with reflective piping uses Funki Fabric and reflective tape piping I bought from Ebay that I wanted to try out. You’ve probably seen Winnie’s leggings and cool top and the great work that Kbenco has done for her daughters

The plain navy pair below has reflective stickers I bought from Lightweight Safety on Kelli’s recommendation. The stickers are placed on my calves so you can see me speeding away!

In case you don’t know Melissa’s story, have a read of her and what motivates her pattern designs on Pattern Review.

as Melissa says…”you can use SADDLE10 for 10% off all purchases from shop.fehrtrade.com until 25 March (my birthday!).” 

My 2c worth

By the way, I tried some high-end RTW leggings that cost over $AU100 this week and I can’t justify buying their leggings for that price – even with my gift voucher. Sorry. But with a legging style like Melissa’s, it’s too easy to make leggings that rock for a whole lot less. And my gym buddies are always in awe when they see the gym gear I’ve made too. I think that’s saying something for those of us who make our own activewear and quietly get on with maintaining our healthy lifestyle #YOLO.

PR review below

Pattern Description:
These leggings have no inseams! Instead, a curved, outer seam runs from the back of the ankle up to the centre front, where it joins a separate yoke piece. There’s an optional, hidden back pocket, elasticated waistband, and your choice of three lengths: biker short, capri, or full length leggings.
Pattern Sizing:
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Initially this design had me ‘for a sixer’ but once I walked through the instructions, they’re easy to follow and the notches on the patterns are the best guide to making this leggings.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

This pattern in unique. I’ve only seen one no-inseam legging pattern. 
This pattern is as cutting edge as the latest RTW on the market. 
This style is easy to make but doesn’t look ‘home made’.

Fabric Used:

Polyester spandex.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I raised the centre back seam on the yoke for my sway back by 2.5cm.
I made the first pair of leggings to assess where the knee is on me, and then I adjusted this for a better fit – and promptly made two more pairs.
Second version with reflective tape.
The third version with reflective sticker on the back calf.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Yes. I have two more ideas that I’ll share once I’ve sewn these up.

This pattern has ignited my activewear sewing mojo beyond what I’ve done before. Probably because this is such an edgy design that Melissa has developed using the latest style influences.

Stormset cycling jersey

This is the real cycling jersey from Fehr Trade – Summit to Surf top using Funki Fabrics.

The reflective tape is used on the front and back panel seams.

It’s odd when you sew wovens and knit fabrics together

Here’s a close up of the finished back pocket with a secure pocket on the right hand seam.

This new cycling version is certainly smaller and more fitted than the test version – just like a RTW cycling jersey.

Last Saturday I road tested this jersey in the heat. When I say road test I mean a 52km ride that went for more than 2 hours on the road.

You can see how well the back pocket sits in the right position.

The sky was overcast but it was quite humid. There was no additional breeze but cycling does provide a breeze.

Just checking the spare tyre in the bike bag 🙂

I was on the road by 6am which is considered late by some keen cyclists. I usually get home in time to have breakfast with Mr V. 

This Stormset cycling jersey is a keeper for Summer training. The fit is great for riding and the fabric is light, supportive and provides good sun protection.

Thanks Melissa for this pattern. You’re really thorough with your testing process.
Thank you Funki Fabrics for this fabric and all the fabrics I’ve been provided with. I’m so thankful to be using such good quality lycra.

DIY reflective tape ideas

Road cycling can be hazardous if drivers don’t see you. I’ve had a few cycling bingles in the past and none were car-related #touchwood. Now that I’ve made a few activewear pieces I wanted to add reflective tape for cycling/running gear.
Last year I managed to buy a couple of rolls of reflective tape from the fabric district in Hong Kong with Allison Churchman. Here’s what I learnt so far…
Reflective zipper:
Before the Christmas break I had a look at what reflective zippers were available and Rose City Textiles has a few reflective zipper options. I couldn’t find any reflective zippers locally and I felt silly pre-buying reflective zippers when I didn’t have a project in mind.

When I do have a specific project in mind, I’ll order some zippers from Rose CityTextiles.

Here’s the RTW cycling jersey I wear which has a faux reflective zipper.

After closer inspection it is a sports zipper with reflective tape sewn on it. So I created my own reflective zipper. 

The reflective tape is woven and firm so I used the Clover wonder clips to hold the reflective tape onto the zipper for sewing.
I used Clover wonder clips to hold the tape to the zipper tape.
You can see how much reflective tape I have to play with.
Here’s the finished DIY reflective zipper.

It took a few goes to sew the zipper onto this knit fabric but I got the hang of it by sewing slowly and resewing some parts just to get it to sit properly.

Lesson learnt:
Use glue if you need to hold the knit fabric in place when pins won’t pierce through the layers of tape, zipper and knit fabric. 
Reflective piping:
Preparing piping is easy enough. The piping filling I’ve used is acrylic wool from a failed learning to knit attempt #idon’tknit.

On my Surf to Summit cycling jersey using Funki Fabrics, the plan was to use reflective piping
  •         at the sleeve seams
  •         on the panel lines
  •         at the base of the back pocket.

My guestimate was I would need 4m of reflective piping. Once I finished the new cycling jersey (using blue Stormset fabric) I had reflective piping left over so I was glad I only had to sew the piping once.

Here’s the original Surf to Summit jersey with reflective tape.

Initially I sewed the piping on with a straight stitch. Not bad. Then I decided to use the overlocker. I wasn’t very accurate and the piping stitching was visible so in the end I sewed the seams with a straight stitch and then used the overlocker to finish the seams.

Here’s a WIP view of the cycling jersey.

Lesson learnt:
Run the piping into the seam so you don’t have a layer of piping at a seam join. This simply makes seam allowance joins easier to work with.

Last year Susan from Measure twice cut once also gave me some reflective tape samples to use which I still have to test. The samples she’s given me is high quality so I need a good project to use them on #preciousstuff.

Kiwi-styled cycling top

Cycling on the roads can be a scary activity so having a cycling top that screams “I’m here” is what I’ve created with Melissa’s latest Surf to Summit top.

My fabric is ordinary poly/lycra knit. Nothing special. The fabric isn’t a gift. I did test this pattern for Melissa and I added a few ‘bits’ to it – reflective piping and hidden pocket.

Mr V said the fabric looks Maori-inspired, hence it’s ‘Kiwi-styled’.

None of my stash fabric used is wicking but this top is not form fitting either so it worked really well for a training road ride on the weekend.
The sleeves are raglan so there’s a colour blocking opportunity with this top.
The neckline choice I’ve used hugs my neck, so there’s less likelihood of sun or wind burn.

I added a zipper/neck guard that I’ll post the technical details of in a future post. It stops the zipper teeth and top from sticking into my neck, and I’ve seen this detail used on RTW tops.
Can you see where I’ve used woven reflective tape at the back? 
I bought a couple of rolls of reflective tape in Hong Kong when Allison C took me to Sham Shu Po in July this year. I have a stack of woven reflective tape and it’s easy to apply if you use it like piping.
I think you can see the reflective tape better in this pic.
Can you see how clever Melissa has been with her design? Check out the fold over elastic.

Here’s a closer view of where the fold over elastic is used.
And I’ve sewn in a secure pocket using a white invisible zipper because I really wanted a secure pocket for my phone, money and id. 

The reality of ‘road cycling’ is I take my driver’s licence and medical card with me on every ride so if there’s an accident, the ambos can identify who I am if I’m knocked out cold. ‘Touch wood!’ 

The 30km test ride was on a warm day. The real top will be smaller and really bright.

If you decide to indulge and buy Melissa’s new Surf to Summit top, Melissa is offering 10% off saving if you buy two or more patterns by using the code “10OVER20” before 26 December! The Surf to Summit Top pattern comes in men’s and ladies’ editions, too!

I’ll show you how to add a secure pocket and zipper neck tab in the next blog post. My next version will be the ‘real’ version.

Until then have a safe Christmas everyone.