Fehrtrade duathlon leggings

Back in July I won Melissa’s Spring Race Challenge, and not only did I win a great bundle of fabrics and some special accessories, but I also got to meet Melissa. I’m sorry I didn’t take a selfie with her, as I’m a very big fan 😀

The duathlon shorts were part of the prize and then Melissa announced her Spoonflower collaboration with Laurie King. She had me at “UK shoppers, you can order one yard of Performance Piqué from Spoonflower and still be under HMRC’s customs exemptions value!“. I ordered from US before and ended up paying 30% more for custom and handling fees. But she was right, I didn’t pay anything extra for this fabric and it was delivered in 2 weeks.

The fabric is quite firm – it doesn’t take pins easily and it doesn’t have any vertical stretch. I added 4cm length below the waist as recommended by Melissa to make up for the lack of stretch. Even so I managed to make my leggings 7cm longer than the capri length, so I can still wear them now that the weather is not that warm. I had to piece the side panels, but they look ok.

I cut them in size XS because my last pair of Fehrtrade leggings in size M was a bit too big. If I make then again in a stretchier fabric, I’ll go down to XXS.

The pocket is not wide enough to hold my phone, but my card, parkrun code and keys fit just fine. Here I am after my second Parkrun ever, wearing my new leggings with a matching XYT top.

I was thinking of making another pair using the fabric I won and widen the side panels so I can slip my phone in them. But now that Melissa released a free armband pattern, I might make one of those to keep my phone 🙂



My first half marathon

Running is my favorite work out, and lately my only work out 🙂

In December last year I started training for a 2:30 half marathon. My best yet is 2:45 running on roads or park trails with minimum elevation gain. Last Saturday I ran in my first HM race in Brasov, my hometown. It was a trail race with almost 1000 meters elevation gain, climbing Tampa mountain twice. It was beautiful, but so effing hard! I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn’t expect it to be so hard. I was hoping to finish the race in ~3:30, but I gave up trying when I was climbing the mountain the second time, on a very steep trail, and my total time was a bit over 4 hours. Stopping for pictures included 🙂

We climbed the mountain on a trail full of sharp and slippery stones, covered in thick mud

Only a few meters to the top

The old city seen from the top

A bit of downhill running, in my Jalie 2796 skort and Fehrtrade XYT top (I’m planning to blog about them next week)

More climbing

I wasn’t running for a while now

The race soundtrack, only 5 seconds, so you don’t get bored 🙂


The second climb was brutal, climbing steep stairs built in stone

And from this side you could see a part of the newer city, not as lovely as the old one 🙂

Mothers never rest – I was trying to catch my breath, but someone wanted to be held 🙂

To my surprise I was able to stand with 15 kilos wrapped around me 🙂

If you like sewing and racing, why not join Melissa’s Spring Race Challenge?

Almost there

This Sunday I ran the HM distance for the first time, the longest I ran before is 16 km. Hooray for me!! 😀 I have 7 more weeks until my first HM competition, so there is still some time to improve my close to 3 hours time.

The weather was so nice this weekend. But don’t be fooled by the image below, I’ve seen daffodils in bloom throughout the winter here.


Here is an action shot of my running belt, sorry my hand is so short and I can’t show you a more “panoramic” view 🙂 . I’ve been wearing it for all my runs lately and I love it. I don’t know how I could live without it so far. It did stretch a bit and I’m thinking of a new version with a separate smaller pocket for coins, so they don’t scratch my phone and jiggle while I run.


I tried to run really slow, just to make sure that I can make the 21 kilometers, and good for me! Because I don’t think I would’ve made it otherwise. I stopped for a banana at 17km and it was so hard to get back to running after that. Maybe I should try gels, so I don’t have to stop?

I’ve been listening to the National a lot during this run. Their lyrics and his voice are so beautifully sad, I just want to give him a hug and tell him everything will be alright.

In other news – sewing/knitting related – I’ve made some progress with my perfect jacket pattern. I have it ready, 2 piece sleeve and all, I need to make a muslin now. I’m thinking of something similar to Dapper.


I’ve cut my owl fabric for a JJ shirt.


And my Tweedy Dan is ready, waiting to be blocked and sewn.


Jalie + Fehrtrade = Love

I LOVE THIS SKORT! It’s Jalie 2796 and it’s such an ingenious pattern. There is a pocket on each side, so I won’t be needing my running belt when wearing this.

I didn’t expect this to fit so good, it was more like a test for the skort I plan to wear when running my first half marathon this April. I’m going to make one in red for the HM, because I can’t just run it wearing whatever, right?

The waist band fits snugly all around, but the skirt is loose enough to be comfortable when running. I guess. It’s still too cold to wear it outside.

Under the skirt there’s a pair of compression shorts. I zigzagged over the inseam and crotch seam to keep them flat, no chafing’s going to take place in there 🙂

The fabric is supplex from Tissu. They have terrible (none) customer service, but they’re cheap, so I’m probably going to buy from them again anyway.

Why didn’t you reply to my email, Tissu?

You probably recognized the top, is Fehrtrade’s XYT top, which I’ve sewn before, but it turned out much better this time. This was supposed to be in animal print with hot pink FOE around the edges (scruffybadger style), but life’s hard and Tissu don’t actually send what they confirm as shipped. And they don’t offer cheap shipping, so you can’t just order another animal print unless you want to pay more for shipping than what you’re paying for the fabric.

I was trying to get an action shot here but the pictures were too blurry to be used for anything else than a gif.

I’m still making an animal print top to go with my red skort. I have to run my first half marathon in style 😀

Running belt

I re-started running before Christmas last year and one of my problems was that I only had one pair of pants with a pocket. So I either had to run with the phone in my hand, or use the same pair of pants every time. I chose the second option almost every time, but I had to do something so I can wear my Fehtrade leggings more often.


I found this tutorial early this year and I finally took the time to make a running belt. I used the same idea but my belt isn’t double all around. I didn’t want to cut in a new uncut meter of fabric, I wanted to use the small pieces left from previous projects and they weren’t wide enough to go around my waist. So only half of my belt is a long strip of folded fabric, while the back is only one layer.


This means that I don’t have to worry about my belt rolling or bunching, the back part and the side seams help it to keep its shape, so I didn’t have to sew fold over elastic on top and bottom.


It’s a great idea, I like it more than an armband. I already used it a couple of times and it serves its purpose very well.

I’m training for a half marathon

and I’m happy to say that I ran 11.5km today, despite the horrible weather and despite the fact that it’s one of those days when my joints are looser than a £5 street girl.


It’s my longest distance so far and it’s a modest pace, but I still have time to improve it, the HM is on April 21st.

I’m following a free training plan on Runkeeper, aiming to run a sub 2h30 half marathon. I don’t think that would be extremely hard under normal circumstances, but the route of the HM I’ll be running has a total of 960m vertical climb. I have to find routes with more elevation here and start working on my strength. I found this series which I think will help

My Wonder Twins costume! ( XYT Workout Top and PB Jam Leggings)

It wasn’t my intention to sew a superhero costume, but while I was working on the leggings my husband asked me if I am making one. Then I googled “superhero in purple” and I found them. Well, now I do feel a little like a superhero considering that I have a costume after all the things that didn’t work.

I even have superhero eyes/vision. Or is it evil?

I even have superhero eyes/vision. Or is it evil?

I bought the patterns for the XYT Workout Top and the PB Jam Leggings  the moment they were available. I don’t know why, but I was sooo excited when I heard that Melissa is launching these patterns. I am following her blog for a really long time now and I was amazed that she is making her running tops and bottoms. I tried making a pair of leggings before, it didn’t work so I gave up. So I saw this as an opportunity to try again.

I spent two evenings taping and altering the pattern for my shortness. I cut size S, tapering to M at the waist. I usually remove 2cm from the top, somewhere around the armscye. For this top I split the 2cm, on above the neckline, and one below. I had to remove the cm below the neckline in the lining too. I shortened the XYT parts too, trying to keep the proportions.


I also altered the pattern for the pants. I didn’t want to just cut the excess from the bottom, because I knew the knee contrast would end up near my ankles. There is a line in the middle of the knee contrast that says “knee line” and I wanted that line to be where it should be. All the PB Jam leggings I’ve seen until now have the knee contrast below the knee, even the ones on the pattern. I wanted mine to be the first to have the knee line on the knee line. So after measuring I decided to remove 4 cm above the knee. I also removed 4 cm from the bottom.


I bought my powers mesh and wicking fabric from Sewing Chest. I had to go with this power mesh, since it’s called Geo flower. I should go by this name 🙂

My son is always helping. Just like a cat, he will jump on the fabric after I carefully measured from fold to selvage and made sure it’s on grain.


When we moved to London, my husband surprised me with shipping the serger. He was so nice, but he didn’t know that there are some accessories that go with it. I don’t have the screwdriver that takes the needle out, so I had to use the needle that was in it. I had only the right needle and my knife it’s not working properly, so I just serged on the edge of the fabric, with a 5mm allowance (or less) instead of 1cm. The needle thread kept breaking, especially when I was going over other seams, so I’m hoping it’s because the needle is too blunt, and not because I’m missing this part. I’m sure my son put it in a very safe place back at home.

So I decided to finish the pants using a zig zag stitch. When I put them on – THE HORROR -they were too big above the knees. 10 points question: Why? Well, because there are a lot of seams with an excess of at least 5mm. So I went over all the seams, taking them in, and now my contrast panels are aligned, but my vertical seams in that area are not. I’m not telling you why I have a back pocket topstitch and I don’t have a pocket, because this post is already too long.



Again with the superhero eye. Can you see how my knee contrast is below my knee? Great measuring skills.

I like this leggings, but they make my back look saggy like the back of a 80 year old, they are not tight enough. Next time I’ll go with the smallest size. Oh, and I must revise my measuring skills – when they were done, I had to cut another 10 cm from the bottom. Yes, I am that short.


Let’s talk about the top now. My power mesh had a stretch of 150% one way and 180% the other way. So I used the pattern piece and didn’t read the appendix with instructions for the lining. Well, the lining is so small, that it’s dragging the rest of the top to the front. And when I went around and baste it to the top, I couldn’t stretch it enough so I stopped before the marking. This makes my top even wonkier. Next time I’ll make the lining a bit wider. The top could be a size smaller too i think.


The tight lining does make my twins looking like superheroes 😀

I usually sew/run when my son sleeps. This Sunday it took him over an hour to fall asleep in the afternoon, and it was already dark when I got out. I was in such a hurry to catch some light that I forgot that I don’t have a pocket, I had to run with the phone in my hand. I also forgot to take a headband, but the wind was strong enough to keep the hair out of my eyes. 😐

If you’re still with me 🙂 don’t get discouraged about these patterns. I love them and I plan to make more, the instructions are simple and clear. But I never sewed anything like this before (except the failed leggings) and I was trying to make more in less time, which is never the solution. There’s a saying that we are too poor to buy cheap stuff. I’m not sure if you have it in English, it might be an Eastern European thing, since we are the poor ones. 🙂 What I’m trying to say is that I don’t have enough time to rush through my projects. Maybe next time I’ll remember this.