Monday, 22 June 2015

International Yoga Day // It’s time for some activewear!

Currently, I am following a yoga teacher training program and, hopefully, by November, I will have become a qualified yoga teacher. Although I’ve been doing yoga for the last five years, my activewear wardrobe has always consisted of two pairs of leggings, one short and one long, and two tops. Being on a yoga teacher training program, each module of which lasts five days in a row and is a pretty intensive physically  has increased my need for activewear: I’ve had to add more leggings and tops. And that is  how I began to sew my own activewear.

My first piece of activewear was this pair of Steeplechase leggings, by Fehr Trade. I was so glad that I began with this particular pattern: it gave me a huge amount of confidence in working with stretch fabrics. Once I taped and cut the pattern, I finished my first pair of the Steeplechase leggings within one hour. This pattern includes only a few seams and, the most importantly, it does not have an inseam! If you do hot yoga or tend to sweat, not having an inseam on your leggings saves you from needless discomfort. The design of this pattern is super clever and, I imagine, that the person who created it does a lot of sport, just like me :)
Irish Yoga :)
The fabric used for these leggings is a polyester and elastane mix, which I bought on my recent trip to Ukraine. One cut is aubergine colour, since I am not a big fan of black, and the other one is electric fuchsia. Can you imagine my surprise when, going through my blog roll, I stumbled upon Sonja’s Steelpechase leggings in similar colour combo :) As they say, great minds think alike, even though an ocean separates us.

Following the size chart, I sewed my first pair of leggings in a size S, but it turned out to be too big! After removing 1cm along the leg seam for the first pair, I then sewed the second pair in a size XS. Maybe it’s not easy to spot the difference from the photos, but the second pair fits much better. So if you make the same leggings, I would definitely recommend to go for a size below your true measurements. This pattern offers an optional pocket, but I decided not to add one. When I do  yoga, I hate it when there is any bulky stuff in my way, especially, when I lie on the floor. If I was a runner instead, the inside pocket would be come in very handy.

Before I started sewing  activewear, I was devouring Maria’s blog, where she shares her own experience in making sportswear. She cycles, runs and swims a lot and, believe me, there’s a lot of  activewear in her wardrobe,  particularly tops. If you, like me, are a newbie to sportswear, I highly recommend checking out her blog for tips and great advice!

Making activewear has had the added benefit of being not only fun and but also a money saving activity. I could not agree more with Sonja’s statement about how pricey activewear can be! Given that I used less than 1m of fabric on the capri length leggings, and my my yoga studio is selling some good quality leggings for 70EUR, this mean that I have saved a price of two dinners only on this one pair. Who fancies a dinner with Inna?

My next stop in the activewear sewing adventure will be tops, and I would like to sew different types: cropped and ‘classical’, t-shirts and sleeveless. Personally, I find racerback back tank tops the most comfortable to wear, but having a few other types can be handy as well. Depending on the sport you do, which style of top do you find the most comfortable?

Monday, 8 June 2015

Jessica dress #2

As much as we like to try out new patterns, we love our TNTs (tried and true). We love them because they fit, because we know which adjustments would make them even better. Often, we can sew them with our eyes closed. In some cases, we make a few garments using the same pattern in one go, but sometimes it takes a while before we come back to the pattern we love. After a two and a half year lapse, here is my second take on the Jessica dress.
I loved this dress from the very moment I put it on!  The design is versatile. It’s somewhere between casual and dressy, meaning I can wear it anytime without feeling either over- or underdressed. Suitable for knits, this dress is perfect for cycling, and so it has won my heart again. Last, but not least, I find this particular design in harmony with my on-going quest for a personal style.
The fabric I used for the second version is a little bit more luxurious than the previous one. I purchased two metres of this knit fabric from the Tessuti online shop last year and have kept it for something special. When it came to cutting the fabric, I faced a big dilemma: matching stripes! With only 2 metres of fabric it was quite a challenge to fit and match the pattern which requires 2m of fabric. It took me two evenings, lots of moaning and Instagramming, to try to figure out how to match the fabric in the most efficient way. Although, I knew I had to sacrifice a look of either back or front parts, the end result was  quite satisfying. I was glad I managed to match the front bodice panels, because that the front is  the first thing that catches the eye, and the back, because that’s the second thing that catches the eye :)

With Style Arc patterns, my top corresponds to a size 8 and the bottom to a 10. Since it’s always easier to modify the skirt, I ordered this pattern in a size 8, but have not made any changes to it except elongating the bodice by 10cm.. Oh yes, my waistline is longer than the average and extending the waistline is a common pattern adjustment of mine.

From the construction point of view, everything was pretty straightforward. Even if the pattern contains minimal instructions, there is a step-by-step technical drawing of the front piece (the knot part), which some may find a bit tricky. I serged most of my seams with the exception of the sleeves and the hem. The only piece which I took extra-special care of was the neckline binding; I handsewed it for a neater finish.
At this stage, I would like to think that the 3d dress will be made from some plain fabric and the Jessica pattern can be truly called my TNT. There are a few other patterns which I’d love to repeat this summer: the Soma swimsuit (this time a bikini version), another pair of the Jamie jeans and a few Nettie bodysuits/dresses/tops.

What about you? Who is the Queen of TNTs out there? What made you repeat the same pattern again and again? Were you happy with the repeated version?