Friday 4 July 2014

Fehr Trade VNA Workout Top & Duathlon Shorts

I have been meaning to make my own workout clothes for a few years now so when Melissa at Fehr Trade started producing activewear patterns I took it as a sign to finally get round to doing it rather than just thinking about it.  It's still taken a while, but I am finally off the starting blocks!

This was also my first foray into the world of pdf patterns and although I was a bit daunted by the prospect of printing and taping it was really very painless and I love the instant gratification of hitting the order button and having the pattern immediately rather than waiting 2 weeks for it to arrive in Hong Kong.  I suppose it helps that the pattern pieces for clothes like this are quite small, I might feel differently about a huge ballgown.  My tip is to only cut the right hand border off each page, tape the first row together overlapping the edges, then trim off the whole bottom edge, repeat for each row then tape the rows together. Maybe everyone already does this, but I had it in my head before printing that I would need to trim off all the borders off all the pages (=boring!).

For my first attempt, I just worked with some fabrics I had in my stash to get a feel for the sizing.  My measurements put me as a medium so that is what I made with no adjustments.  Argh this is scary, major kudos to those of you who regularly post workout and swimwear photos!


Inspired by a Vionnet design this top has 3 main pieces plus bindings and is a great way to use up small pieces of fabrics and create lots of different and fun combinations. I've just used 2 colours here, the purple was a bit flimsy so I underlined that piece with some of the black fabric.

I am really happy with how this turned out, the drafting is spot on and the instructions are very clear and give a great result thanks to clever techniques in applying the binding strips. Even on this first version my bindings look quite professional and I know they will get better.   The only problem on this version is that I stitched the side seams so that the underarm bindings are a continuation of the side seams whereas they are supposed to cross over, mine would not meet perfectly and frankly I was too impatient to try it on so I went with my method.  This is due to slightly sloppy sewing on my part and not the pattern, it doesn't make the top any less wearable, but the original way is more in keeping with the design - I'll get it right next time.  And there will be many next times!

Duathlon Shorts

This shorts pattern comes in 3 lengths with optional padding for the cyclists out there.  (I recently tried spinning classes, man it is such a relief when the instructor tells you to stand up on your pedals!).  These were even more of a sizing experiment, my fabric is a bit shinier than I would usually choose to wear on my bottom half.

I made a straight medium in the Capri length and am thrilled with the fit, the legs could be a bit tighter round the knees, but that can easily be adjusted. The pocket design in the side contrast is devilishly simple and clever and provides opportunity for adding 1 or 2 contrast colours.  Again the instructions are really clear and provide a great looking finish. I want to get some less spandexy shiny fabric to make these up again.

Happily this experiment also coincided with Maria the Velosewer's visit to Hong Kong, Maria makes a lot of workout clothing, you can see her stuff on her blog, so I was hoping to pick up some tips whilst we toured the garment district together.  And I did, especially with finding and choosing fabrics (e.g. I would never have thought to use a panel print, but it's perfect, the 2 different fabrics match perfectly) so now I have a whole stack to play with which cost less than 1 RTW outfit.  My magpie tendencies came out again and I went even crazier with prints than usual which is going to be quite a change from my usual head to toe black gym outfits that I am bored to bits of although I may still be waist to toe black for a bit - baby steps people!

It's been said so many times after meet ups like these that it is almost a cliche, but it is always so good meeting up with people who love to sew and even though you only know each other through the internet there is an instant connection and it feels like you have known each other for years.  We picked a sweltering day to meet and shop so it was quite the workout, appropriately enough, especially with the added "handweights" I accumulated!

Thank you Maria, I had a brilliant afternoon and hope you will be back!


  1. Your new workout clothes are great! Love your new pieces of fabric...and so glad that you and Maria had a great time together!

  2. Maria is fun to shop with!

    Ha ha ha for your "handweights". I never thought of bags of fabric in that way before!

    Your workout wear looks great!

  3. I've been wanting to make some work out clothing for awhile and these pieces have inspired me. I really like your description of the pocket. Great for walking. You look terrific and a great advertisement for Melissa's patterns.

  4. wow those look great ! I have been thinking about that top so you have convinced me. And what fun to meet up with Maria!

  5. Glad you met Maria. She is one of my real life sewing pals. You look ready for action in your new gym wear.

  6. Gosh, your work out outfit looks great!! The fit is excellent and the finish really good. I admire you! I have a love-hate relationship with lycra or two way stretch fabrics. I love them, they hate me :D

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  8. You have a great eye for activewear. Those pieces are very RTW. Keep at it.

    Oh please. The pleasure was mine Allison. I've been following your sewing for ages and I felt the same way about meeting and shopping of course:)

    Thank you for re-inviting me too. You're an excellent HK sewing ambassador.

  9. Fantastic looking active wear and I have both of these patterns on my cutting table right now. Looks like I could be adding some more active wear to the stash when I visit in December!

  10. Fabulous outfit - love the blue/black combo.

  11. Your workout clothes are fab! They fit perfectly.

  12. The outfit looks great on you! I love the fabrics you picked out for future workout clothes.