Me Made May 2014

I’ve been making quite a few running tops and skirts over the last few months, and have recently moved onto everyday clothing.  It’s been years since I worked with woven fabrics AND sewed something for myself.  *grin*

Last year I saw a lot of posts going around called “Me Made May”, so this year I’ve decided to join in.  The idea is that you make a commitment on So Zo blog as to how you’re going to challenge yourself to wear clothing that you make yourself during the month of May.  It’s very versatile, and each person gets to choose for themselves.  You can read more about it here Me Made May 2014

I’ve made a commitment to wear one Made By Me garment each day during May.  Originally I was thinking that would be a huge challenge, then realised that since it can be any garment it’s not that bad – most days when I’m running I wear one of my XYT tops, or around the house I wear a Jalie jumper that I made.  Obviously I want to wear more than these, however it does mean that I’m not having to wear something new every single day.  In fact, I could just make a pair of pyjamas and wear them every night…  LOL

I do need to do a lot more sewing, and while I’m not going to panic sew to have a whole new wardrobe before May I do plan to sew several tops and pants before then.

If you’re a sewer, why not come and join in?  You don’t have to commit to wearing a handmade garment every day, just once or twice a week if that is a challenge for you.


Running Leggings

The first pair of running leggings that I’ve ever made and I’m feeling pretty proud of them!


They’re made from Papercut Ooh-La Leggings pattern, which is a fashion leggings pattern, not a sportswear pattern.  I first saw this pattern used as running leggings on KBenko’s blog back in August 2012.  This seemed like a wonderful idea, so I bought the pattern.  And let it sit in the cupboard to age sufficiently until I got up the nerve to make them….

The reason I was so hesitant to make them up is that there is so little sizing information in the pattern package.  There is a list of sizes with measurements for bust, waist, hips, but that’s it.  No finished measurements, no list of required fabric other than “merino knit”.  Having had a lot of fitting disasters issues in the past, I was hesitant to have another one.  However since it’s coming into winter, and I badly needed another pair of full length leggings (I have one expensive pair of Lorna Jane compression leggings already) I realised that buying another pair wasn’t actually on the cards.  Not when I had both pattern and fabric here.

So this past friday I bit the bullet and made a pair.  The pattern is quite nice, packaged beautifully and printed on brown paper.  All the sizes are there, without overlapping lines so very easy to trace.  The instructions say to cut out the appropriate size, but I traced it onto vilene.  Partly because I prefer not to cut patterns, particularly if I’m unsure of the sizing and may want another size, and partly because there’s two of us here who wear leggings and I’ll definitely need more than one size for both of us.

I chose my size off just my hip measurement of 103cm.  The hip size for S is 100cm, and 106cm for size M.  Since I’m working with stretchy fabric I went with the smaller size.  Dark printing on brown paper, while it looks good, is awkward to trace.  It’s hard to see the dark lines on the dark paper so tracing took longer than usual.  There were also more pattern pieces than I’m used to for leggings, with three pieces per leg and a front and back (five pattern pieces in total).  I was ecstatic to discover that I can get a pair of full length leggings out of a single metre of fabric!


The first pair, to check sizing, was in an ugly green t-shirt fabric that I dragged out of stash.  Surprisingly, they fitted first go.  A couple of other people have mentioned that the legs are quite long and I have to agree.  I took 10cm (4″) off the bottom of the leg to make them ankle length.  You can see in the below photo (a) how ugly the fabric is and (b) one leg trimmed and one still all scrunched up.


The fabric I used for my good leggings is a darkish blue Supplex, bought from Addicted to Fabric.  It’s the only supplex I’ve ever seen there, except for one other that was labelled supplex but was in fact lycra.  This supplex is nice and thick, with almost a loopy back on it.  I read somewhere that supplex is wind resistant, and I have to say I was very skeptical.  Warm yes, but wind resistant is asking a lot from a fabric.

To smarten up the leggings I embroidered the top of one of the leg inserts with an ink style tiger.  And here’s where I made one of the stupidest sewing mistakes ever.

In order to embroider on knit fabric (or any for that matter) you have to stabilise the fabric.  When working with knits, I often use wash away stabiliser, which I did for these.  I embroidered the leg piece before construction, and to ensure that it wasn’t stretched while putting it in the embroidery frame, I used temporary adhesive on the wash-away, and adhered the fabric to it.  The embroidery, in a soft gold metallic thread, went beautifully.  Then I went to put the leg piece onto the main body.


The order of construction for these leggings has you sew the front and back together at the side seams, then the outside leg pieces, one of which was now embroidered, then the rest of the legs, finishing by stitching the inside leg seams.  So I had done the side seams, stitched in the plain leg piece and went to sew in the embroidered piece.

Did I mention I’d used temporary adhesive to glue the fabric to the stabiliser?  Then removed it from the hoop and cut away the excess stabiliser?  Sounds pretty normal so far…. right up until I went to sew the seam.  I sat at my overlocker, looked at the fabric and thought “This is still a bit sticky, I wonder if it will catch as it feeds through?”  AND THEN I FED IT THROUGH THE OVERLOCKER.  Well, I tried to.  It did stick on the feed dogs, and the fabric twisted and the overlocker blade cut a hunk out of both the leg piece and the main body piece.  I said some very bad words.  How stupid is it to think about a problem, and then go and do it anyway?

Luckily I had more fabric, and was able to cut out another pair.  This time I thought about it a lot more, and did the embroidery with the leggings almost fully constructed, just without the inside leg seams done.  So it didn’t matter about excess adhesive as there were not seams to be done in the area.

I did the second embroidery in a rayon embroidery thread, as I realised the metallic thread would chafe during a run.  If I were doing this again I’d put the tiger on the other leg, or flip the embroidery, so it’s more towards the front.  But it looks good and smartens up a plain pair of leggings.  I’m not sure how durable this embroidery is going to be when washed constantly, after completing it I realised that a permanent layer of stabiliser might have been a good idea.  Too late now, only time will tell.


All the seams are first overlocked then topstitched so they lie flat, using a stretch stitch that looks like a straight stitch.  It took quite a while to sew them up, they’re definitely nowhere near as fast as sewing a pair of normal leggings.  The ankles are hemmed using three step zig zag, again so it lies flat and stretches.  The waist I did using the Better Elastic Waistband tutorial from Fehr Trade.  I’ve used this waistband method on a couple of garments and it’s simple and very effective, plus non-irritating against your skin.

I wore these for three runs on Saturday, a total of 12.7km and they were great.  They felt good, I love that they are waist height as I usually spend a lot of time pulling up my medium rise leggings which feel as if they’re constantly falling down.  Even better, this supplex really IS wind resistant.  :-)  Saturday was a cold, windy day and my legs were lovely and cosy.  Couldn’t say the same for my top half!

I will definitely be making more of these.  I have enough blue supplex left to make another two pairs (I think, hadn’t counted on having to recut these ones) and also lycra that would make some bright fun leggings.  More of these will be great for running in those sub-freezing winter mornings that are coming very soon.

My next running sewing endeavour will be a running skirt.  I’ve had the Jalie running skirt pattern here for about a year, even longer than the leggings pattern, and haven’t even opened the package.

Running Armband

Two posts in one day…  I’m on a roll here!

In my Running post earlier today, I mentioned that I’d made the armband that I am wearing in the photo’s.  I’ve got a couple of better photo’s here to show it off.  The tutorial for this armband is from Melissa Fehr and is here

The very first one of these I made I couldn’t even get my hand into.  I’ve since made a couple more, and the sizing on them is a lot better.  The front of this one is a patterned dance lycra from Spotlight, and the back is a plain blue lycra from stash.

Melissa very carefully hand stitches the back of her armband in the tutorial.  I’m a bit lazier so I simply stitched over mine with a three step zigzag.  I plan to make another one for myself with the front narrower than the back, just the width of my phone + ease, as having it half the width lets the phone move too much.



Showing my lazy stitching on the back

Showing my lazy stitching on the back

This armband is simple to make, and so easy to use.  It’s comfortable to wear and keeps my phone nice and secure.  Headphone cords simply snake under the flap.  The only thing it won’t do is keep my phone dry if it’s raining, in which case I’d have to wear my garmin watch instead.


Showing the front and two fabrics

Showing the front and two fabrics




Since December 2012 I’ve been running again.  I’m quite proud of this for several reasons:

  • every other time I’ve begun running I’ve stopped after 4-6 weeks because of injury or simply getting too busy.  So far we’ve been going for four months!
  • I’ve clocked up 190km in total, of which 173km are for 2013.  That’s an astounding number of km on my own two legs!
  • I’m enjoying it!  I had to take last week off running on the advice of my physio and hated it.  Desperately wanted to run and couldn’t.  I really missed the running and loved being back suffering again this morning.  :-)
Finishing the Sri Chinmoy 4km race.  My first race ever!  11 March 2013

Finishing the Sri Chinmoy 4km race. My first race ever! 11 March 2013

First injury

Well, I haven’t made it this far injury free.  Whilst doing the Relay For Life two weeks ago I managed to get shin splints in my right leg.  From walking.  Took a couple of days off, then ran again and it hurt again.  So it was off to the physio.  A week off running and exercises.  Yay – NOT!  The exercises are ok, I don’t mind doing them and am feeling the results from stronger more supple muscles and greater stability, but the no running?  That was hard.

Running Partner

One of the reasons I’ve managed to keep running so much is because this time around I have a running partner.  Emma Grey and I spent 2012 walking several times a week, so bumped up the pace and began running.  We’re really good for each other.  She slows me down so I run farther, and I push her on to run faster.  Between the two of us we get into a great pace that keeps on going.

Somehow we manage not to have an off day at the same time.  We’ve both had days we didn’t want to be bothered, and the only reason we got out there was because the other person was waiting, just not on the same day.

One person who motivates me to keep running is Melissa Fehr.  Three(?) years ago she had a bone marrow transplant, and she runs marathons.  Sews her own running clothes (anyone who sews as much as she does has to be awesome) and accessories.  The armband that I’m wearing in the above photo is from a tutorial on her site.

The other person who motivates me to keep running is a friend of mine who over the past year has lost more than half her body weight through exercise and good eating.  One day she commented how sociable it is to gain weight, yet how isolating and lonesome it is to lose it.  So I signed up for a race (Australian Running Festival 5km) to keep her company, then began training with Emma and realised I enjoyed it.

What next?

Emma and I have both signed up for the 5km Australian Running Festival which is in two weeks.  Assuming my legs stay good…..  After that we’ve signed up for the Mother’s Day Classic 10km race, and the Sydney City2Surf 14km race in August.  One part of me thinks I’m nuts, the other part of me is jumping up and down in excitement!

Run on!

Running Happy.  :-)

Running Happy. :-)