This has definetly been the biggest challenge for me. Trying a new indie designer. Sewing with fabric I’ve never used before. Utilising habidashery that I never even knew had a name. Lets just say at the start, I felt so far from my comfort zone it might as well be at the bottom of a well in Timbucktoo.
Cause my inspiration comes from the Cycling collection at Sweaty Betty:
I’m reacreating the look with two patterns from Fehr Trade:
Imagine my amazment as I started watching the Great British Sewing Bee last week, as I was cutting out my patterns, to discover that the theme was sportswear! It was both inspiring and daunting. But I quickly discovered it wasn’t nearly as scary as I thought it would be – in fact I’m a convert! So eat your heart out Sweaty Betty. So long lululemon. I’ve found myself a new indie, sportswear God and her name is Fehr Trade.
The main fabric for the Dualthon cycling shorts is a digital print from Funki Fabrics, which is 87% polyester and 13% lycra. The base is PF 1003 Matt – TITAN (but I honestly don’t know what that means) and is 250 g/m². I had ordered a sample of this fabric in the leighter weight but reaslied it would be see-through and much too light wieght. I also used silicone-coated gripper elastic (from Macculloch & Wallis) on the inside hems of the shorts so that they wouldn’t ride up. And two layers of black foam lining, which is 3.5mm thick (from Make Bra) to ensure my lady bits would travel in comfort. The side pannel I used scraps from my top fabric.
The main fabric for the Surf to Summit top is Supplex Lycra (which feels amazing) from Tissu Fabrics, with a four way stretch. I added a hot pink half zipper, and used scraps from my shorts to make piping for a little added detail along the short raglan sleeve inserts. Plus I’ve oped to add the back pocket and cylcing hem so am using Fold Over Elastic (FOE) for the first time.
I made the shorts first and they came together surprisingly quickly. As the pattern recommends choosing your size based on hip measurements, I made the XS (for 38″ hips). And I’m quite pleased with the final fit – snug but not suffocating.
As I don’t have an overlocker, I used the overlock stitch on my Bernina which came out really nicely. I adjusted the tension down to 2, to avoid tunneling and the seams came out really well. I had a little more difficulty at first using the twin needle for the waistband and hems – but that my my own fault as I had been threading the needles wrong (and the tension had to changed up to 6).
Actually sewing the shorts was easy – but I really struggled to put the padding in nicely and not get any puckers. There are actually quite a few puckers but they’re hidden away near the leg seams. The downside to having used a muti-colored print fabric is that no one color would match perfectly. I ended up using the same blue thread, that I got for the shirt – so the stitching to add the padding is quite visible.
The top I made at the last minute and I was very very nervous about it. But like the shots it came together must easier than anticipated. I love the hot pink zip contrasting with the blue and putting the zipper in (my biggest fear) turned out to be a cinch.
The back pocket however was tricky – I think because although I cut the FOE the prescribed length it didn’t stretch enough to fold over the top edge of the pocket from side to side, so I had to add a little gather stitch (though I probably should have just cut a another piece a little longer. But once it was all on and I’d sewn the lines to seperate the pocket into thirds it looked like the real deal.
I did something wrong with the neck facing – I’m not exactly sure where I went wrong but the zip underlap didn’t actually underlap. I remember late last night as I madly tried to finish the top, thinking that I’d stretched the facing as it seemed to be too long. But this evening as I was putting the finishing touches I realised that it was suppose to be an underlap. I decided to just cut that piece off – it doesnt make a different to how it sits and I like the look when its open.
Still I feel an imense sense of satisfaction and am chuffed to bits with the final look. There are a gazillion more photos on my blog if you’re interested.