Finally! My First VNA Top

VNA - 1This is my first Fehrtrade VNA running top. After a bit of un-selfish sewing (these lounge pants for my brother-in-law, who envied his baby son’s purple pants when I made them), and the detail work of finishing off a UFO from before our trip to Switzerland, I needed a quick make last weekend and this one did the trick! It’s a fun, quick make and a great result!VNA - 2

I’d long had this fabric combination in mind, as the colors coordinate so well. The main fabric is an SPF wicking fabric from Seattle Fabrics, and the mesh is a yard I threw in my Fabric Mart basket a while ago, as I recall. I was thinking I might make some Seamster Rose Hip Tights out of it, but this combination caught my fancy when I placed the mesh into the “athletics” basket and they wound up next to each other!

Now I wish I’d thought to place the print more carefully on the back, but at the time I was just thinking in terms of economical fabric use. I still like it, and it’s already quite fancy for running gear! I recognize that it’s pretty silly to combine SPF fabric with completely translucent mesh, but I reckon it’s also not so logical to create a sleeveless top out of SPF either.VNA - 4

The construction was pretty straightforward, with a wonderful technique for creating a nice V at the front. I did find it a bit fiddly at the sides. I’m used to constructing my knitwear entirely on my serger, and I had to do the side seams on my regular machine with a fine zigzag due to the way the binding is applied. I may experiment with applying it differently on the armholes next time, to see if I can come up with an order of construction that doesn’t necessitate using both machines. Is this rational? Probably not, but I feel the drawn to try.VNA2 - 2

I especially want to see what I can do about the rear point, which I did not get smooth and nice. I will try sewing the long seam to connect the bottom section first, then hemming, to see if that helps. VNA - 2

What else to say? I made up a straight size L based on Melissa’s measurement chart, knowing that it was likely to be close-fitting in the bust and loose (as I like it) at the hips. While I do have some drag lines, I actually find the fit as it is very comfortable! I’m not used to being 1. a straight size or 2. potentially a larger size at the bust than the hip. Also a bit surprising to me, I really like the slightly higher hemline on this top. It feels comfortable and I think it flatters me as much as a running top over compression tights can.VNA2 - 1

The top was incredibly airy and light to run in, and I thoroughly enjoyed the first test run in 80-degree sunshine (it was, thank goodness, a low heart-rate run). The only issue I have found is that when I ran in it a second time, with my iPhone armband, I had some abrasion on my side where the armband is a bit scratchy and there’s no coverage from the top. Nothing I can blame the top for! I’ll try it with another armband I have, or maybe I’ll make a Fehrtrade armband from her free pattern!

I really love this top and I may make it with some adjustments for casual wear as well. One thing’s for sure, this is the first of many VNA tops I’ll be making!

Family Hiking Trousers

In the last blog post I showed you what I made for my husband and I to wear while we ran a half-marathon last November, 2014. Much more recently we took a vacation to Switzerland, where we went hiking in the Berner Oberland for 8 days. Neither of us had technical trousers for hiking, just running gear, so I set out to make us some!

A bit about fit

HikingPants - 10I chose to adapt this Sandra Betzina pattern I got at a fabric and pattern swap way back when at Mena Trott’s house. I adjusted it per my trouser block and then made a couple of muslins. I am almost done finishing up my wearable muslin in a 10% stretch lightweight denim from Robert Kaufman (if only my machine would make a perfect buttonhole on my garment, not the test fabric!). It’s going to be fun to have high-waisted, wide-legged jeans.HikingPants - 12

 

For my husband, I first created and tweaked a trouser block from Kershaw’s Patternmaking for Menswear. I actually want to go back and work on this some more before making him more trousers, but we ran a bit short on time, and he’s not too fond of the fitting process.

HikingPants - 11Once the block was acceptable, I used it to adjust the Jutland pattern from Thread Theory. I had to skip cargo pockets (I’ll definitely be making this with cargo pockets in the future!), but I did successfully include an articulated knee area more or less in the right zone for his knees. My attempt at articulated knees for my own trousers wound up around mid-thigh when I really bent my knees, but looked about right when standing up.

Though the fit isn’t perfect on these two pair, they were VERY comfortable and worked out super for our hiking adventures. I had a little trouble with this lightweight stretch wicking woven from Fabricline and topstitching thread, so I eventually gave up and did the last bits of topstitching with regular thread, as you can see here.

When the machine just won't topstitch with topstitching thread any more....
When the machine just won’t topstitch with topstitching thread any more….

HikingPants - 6Last, I had two immense brain cramps while making these: first, I couldn’t keep the right side of the fabric straight and created two pair of trousers with some pieces facing right-side-out and some right-side-in. Oh well! Second, and even more hilariously, I got the zipper guard confused when putting together the fly and sewed it to the wrong side of the zip! We did fine with this, but it took a little getting used to when zipping them up.

HikingPants - 8

HikingPants - 2
A bit roomier in the thighs for ease of movement. Good fit on the bum, if I do say so myself!

Here are some gratuitous pictures of our hiking trousers in action in Switzerland:

IMG_7554

IMG_7400

 

Catching Up: Athletic Edition

I’ve moved this blog to a self-hosted WordPress site now and am fixing to get into more regular blogging. I have had MAJOR blockages on taking Finished Object pictures because it involved coordinating with the Lion, but I’m going to try some other ways around that. To wit:

  1. Dressform pictures allowed
  2. iPhone pictures allowed
  3. Try Bluetooth iPhone trigger

But the main thing is that I do love seeing what others share and I really want to participate actively as well. So however funky the pictures may be, I’m going to just do it! And now, for a little catching up . . .

Going WAY back in time we have the jerseys I made for my Lion and myself for our half marathon last November. Not a long distance for some, it was plenty long for us at our slow speeds! We trained for much of 2014 for this race, and we wanted to have special jerseys to wear.

The Lion Prepping to Run
The Lion Prepping to Run

I worked out two patterns for us, a Burdastyle Men’s T-shirt pattern for my husband and the Jalie raglan sleeve top for myself. I made us each a wearable muslin of Robert Kaufman Laguna jersey. It’s super reliable fabric for stable t shirts and the like.

Spoonflower fabric with Lion and Tiger Motif
Spoonflower fabric with Lion and Tiger Motif

I ordered special printed fabric from Spoonflower. Since we have the fun convention of calling ourselves Lion and Tiger, this action-oriented print was a great choice. It was interesting to slice up my tracings of our jersey patterns so that the motif was featured well.

Lion Jersey
My jersey
My jersey

I found the base fabric at B&J in New York about a year ago, and while it breathes, it’s a bit warm. I think I’ll be sticking with Rose City Textiles, a.k.a. Fabricline.com, for wicking fabrics going forward. But anyhow, it is just fine for a cooler run. We had a fun, entertaining race despite some knee pain. And we sure looked fantastic while we were at it.

I'm ready to Go!
I’m ready to Go!