Or in my case, Bat Pants… I think it’s clear to see that I love fitness, but what you may not know is that I also have a love for dressmaking. Something about starting with a metre or two of fabric and ending up with a finished garment is very, very satisfying. That and the bragging rights when you wear said garment! So when I saw the opportunity to sign up for a workshop to “Make Your Own Running Tights” at the Like The Wind Pop Up I was straight on Eventbrite booking in!
The workshop, held at the Pop Up in Shoreditch, was run by Melissa Fehr, of Fehr Trade (awesome name, right?!) who, let’s be honest, is AMAZING. Melissa is a graphic designer by day, and self-taught sewer making occasional one-off exclusive pieces upon request. See her website for more information. Oh and she’s also a newly recruited team GB track athlete. WOW.
After selecting my fabric, which was a very difficult choice with over 1000 gorgeous prints to ponder over on funkifabrics.com, it was just a case of waiting for the event date to come… I don’t usually wish time away, but I really wanted to get going! The day arrived and me and my friend Wendy, from Woo’s Crafty Stuff, made our way to Shoreditch where our fabric was unveiled. I, being a huge comic fan, of course chose the Gotham black, grey and yellow print. It was even more awesome in person, and to make it the perfect pairing, there was even a batman print in the Pop Up gallery from issue 3 of the mag!
And So We Began
Melissa gave us a brief on the day and checked our dressmaking credentials before starting. Most of us had sewn before, a couple not for many years, but the workshop was totally suitable for beginners and experienced sewers alike. After the introduction we were let loose to start cutting. For those who may not know, in dressmaking you usually work from a pre-made dressmaker’s pattern – a template for the item. The pattern is printed on tissue paper, which you pin to your fabric and cut out. There are other important things to know, such as the direction of the grain of your fabric, and whether your fabric has a directional pattern or a nap, but all is covered by the experienced Melissa.
Once we had our pieces cut out we began pinning the front and back seams together. The leggings had a simple design of front and back crotch seams and a single inner seam that started at the bottom of one leg, all the way up to the crotch and back down the other leg. This made them perfect for running (the fewer seams, the less chafing!) but also made them very quick to put together into a nearly finished garment.
Using an overlocker (a machine with four spools that loops the stitching over the edge of the seam as well as trimming the raw edges) was a dream, and we all flew through our sewing with minimal tidying up. Next we marked out the waistbands, with our leggings on inside out… no seeing the finished article just yet! Some of us opted for low rise, while others preferred high waists – the beauty of making your own clothes is that you can choose all of this stuff!
We stitched the ends of our waistbands together with Melissa’s tried and tested “zig-zag the crap out of it” technique, and then attached them to the edge of the waist, rolled down and concealed with a parallel top stitch using Melissa’s coverstitch, though this can also be done with a twin needle on most standard machines. Lastly, we turned up the hem on each ankle and stitched in place with a parallel top stitch.
The Finished Article
Finished, we were all excited to try on our brand spanking new, homemade, leggings and the oohs and ahs as we came out were enough to tell us we’d done a good job.
I am totally in love with my new leggings, and can’t thank Melissa Fehr and Like The Wind magazine enough for giving us the opportunity to experience this workshop. Look out for more workshops by Melissa in 2015.
Photos courtesy of Like The Wind Mag’s Facebook page.