Duathlon Shorts – a tale of triumph

When the Hero stands alone, ready to face the challenge, there is adrenaline and excitement coursing through the body and mind. The audience, if there is one, is tense with anticipation, and wait for the climax and eventually, the outcome. They want the win, as much as the hero. The Hero should not consider the audience participants, but often the hero will, and let that reflection be a weight on their shoulders, a factor in decisions. Truly what the Hero needs is not an audience but a community, a support system. The adventure should be not judged on what is accomplished, but should be a discussion and improvement for group knowledge. Even if only the Hero acts, the group should learn from those actions. So that is where the story became useful, even if the moral got lost among the details.

I am on a journey of fitness. I am 38 (though I just typed 37 and had to correct that) and roughly 5’5 and around 190lbs. I make jokes that I am only plus sized for around 4″ of my lower half, and like many my body has changed somewhat drastically from child bearing and moving from an independent lifestyle to one of family. So my journey I started this summer, and I am trying to set goals with metrics, but I am still somewhat floundering around a bit. I have started to count my caloric intake, and am trying to work out at the gym 150 min a week. I was doing very well for #sweatnsew all summer, but the school schedule somehow changed everything. What I thought would be easy, is even harder than before.

Motivation is key, I think. What inspires you to do things that are “good for you” that you don’t particularly enjoy doing? I am amazing at getting things done for anyone but myself. I am technically very bad at making myself do things that are uncomfortable. Inspiration hit me one day while in yoga and I was embarrassed because every time we went from the mat to standing, my leggings needed adjusting. The Espresso Leggings by Cake Patterns is amazing, but it is not for yoga. I love it, but I was constantly adjusting it during yoga class. I needed workout clothes! Comfort is key! Here is something I could do to keep me excited and motivated to move.

Fehr Trade are active wear patterns, with fairly large size ranges. I have sewn up some Jalie and Green Pepper patterns but I wanted something a little more fun, and Fehr Trade seemed just the ticket. Little did I know how odd my body shape is in relation to “normal” or how much work it would take for me to get a nice fitting pair of work out shorts. I have never found a pair of RTW yoga pants or bike shorts that fit me well, so the standard on the Fehr trade patterns probably isn’t to blame either.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

This terrible fitting picture isn’t even the earliest rendition. This is the 3rd pair I had made, and where I was finally making some progress. My assumption that the pattern would work with just grading from the waist size to hip size helped me ruin and waste some costly dri-fit moisture wicking fabric, a lot of it. My husband helped me late at night, me in near tears, as I would pin and try on and he would photograph and then he would pin and back and forth for a few nights.

If you follow me on instragram, you may have seen a photo where I was ready to throw in the towel and go to REI and give them all my money for clothes and I would just forget Fehr trade and move on. Then I got some super encouraging help and advice from friends (thank you friends!) and after a 6 hour break I went back into my studio, took one look, and knew exactly what to do.

At what point do you want to kick yourself for being your own downfall? I had stressed myself into a giant fit of uselessness. Ah well, hopefully next time I won’t make that mistake again.

I also read the entire “pants for everyone” by palmer & pletsch and learned a great deal. I read and reread Colette’s pants fitting blog post from the Clover Pattern sewalong as well. Leggings are not the same as pants that hang, but I worked with what I had.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Most of the changes I did: shortened for petite length but widened for full thighs, shortened crotch length and depth, flattened the front crotch curve for my tilted pelvis, a massive sway back adjustment, raised the front waist to cover my protruding stomach, widened for a full tummy somewhat (the photo above you can see I could still do more for that, but I don’t mind the snugness) and widened the pattern at my plus sized low hip area. I deepened the back crotch curve, and took a few inches off the leg width from mid thigh to mid calf. My waist is 35″ and my low low low hips are 49″ – what can I say, my body is a wonderland!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

All that and I eventually made some nearly perfect shorts! Keeping that side stripe straight was actually a fun challenge, and it helped me recognize where to add and where to take away based on how it pulled.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

I am pretty darn happy despite my award backyard photos! I wore these pink pair out all day Saturday and no problems arose. They never sagged (the fabric is an awesome spandex blend that is described as “yoga pants”) and while they were a little baggy at the back of the knee I have since fixed that by taking in and adjusting the angle of the leg for all my others.

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Dang, my hot pants! These are made from an art gallery knit, and are so amazingly cozy I may never wear anything else. You can barely see the color change in the stripe! And now I am going to show you by butt. I feel like I need to warn you, or make some trumpeted announcement.  Dut da-duh dah!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

Apparently I can’t seem to stand straight, but when I do all the wrinkles are gone! There are a few here because I kicked my right knee forward a bit. You can’t see the stripe from the front or the back, only at angles. There are few fabric folds. I am so happy and so proud!

duathlon shorts from fehr trade by bird and bicycle

I learned so very much despite all my mistakes, or because of my mistakes. Knock-kneed isn’t joke to be messed with. Tilted pelvis gives you some funky fabric folds in very unpleasant places. And as Shakira says, “Hips don’t lie!” I started with an XL Duathlon Shorts and ended up with my own version, practically perfect in every way.

I feel probably too confident now about my pants’ making skills now, but I still want to make myself a decent pair of jeans. It’s my long term goal. I got so hung up on these as an immediate need I haven’t made good progress on the Jalie Hoodie I want to make. I feel like I need to start from curvy based patterns, to make fewer adjustments, to make fewer mistakes. Sewing for yourself is not cost effective, but it certainly is a rewarding challenge!

Wonder Woman Tofino Pants

Hey friends. I made another Sewaholic pattern, the Tofino pants. Yes, just like everyone tells in all the reviews, blog posts, and social media pictures, they are baggy. Bag-eh. Bagsy bagsy bagsy. However, they are very cozy, but anyone with a small dog or cat or crawling infant could trip in these, so make and wear with caution.

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

I love WW, as everyone should. Her lasso of truth, invisible jet, her island of amazons, those Grecian robes… she is a goddess among superheroes. So naturally when this flannel came out I needed some immediately!

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

Width. Did I mention width? These baggy baggy baggy pants take width to a whole new level. Granted, now that I have made one pair, I could have gone down a full size. I need to shorten the crotch depth/length and adjust the width, but I was too anxious for WW pants and whipped up a pair with few alterations. If there is a next time, I made just remove the side panels completely.

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

The piping is a nice detail and gives some structure to the swaying fabric down my hips, but the flannel is pretty stiff. These are more lounging pants than “sleeping” pants for sure. I think if you made these pants in a voile or something thinner and smoother they would be quite lovely.

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

Not a bad make, and again, very comfortable for late night Netflix and my famous coconut popcorn (which is really just air popped corn with melted coconut oil and salt, so not really famous, but it should be famous it’s delicious!)

Do they make me look like Evel Knievel too much? You can tell me, be honest.

sewaholic tofino pants in wonder woman flannel by bird and bicycle

Does this count as pattern drafting?

What does my little guy love? Superheroes. What inspires me most to sew? My little guy. So when he asks for costumes, I make it happen. I wanted them to be comfortable, easy to wear, and useful. Often the costumes you purchase are thin nylon or polyester, hot and not breathable, and not made to last. (Can we say that about all ready to wear clothes?) I took his dream of being Ironman and made it work for me, too. Pajamas!

Using a simple knit pajamas pattern I cut and redrew them into costumes. Some shapes were fused and appliquéd and some were color blocked. I tried to be true to outfit of the superhero, without having it be lycra-tight.

Iron Man pajamas in progress Bird and Bicycle

I used JoAnn’s cheap jersey and interlock, and using coupons I think I spent less than $20 on all my supplies for the three costumes. Ironman was the easiest to make, as it was all 90′ angles and one circle for his glowing chest. Ironman is his favorite, but there is no decent “gold” fabric that isn’t metallic. I want me kid to be comfortable, sleep in them, wear them all the time, so jersey it is.

Ironman Pajamas by Bird and Bicycle

Rulers are my favorite tool (after scissors.) I used a ruler and the angles on my cutting mat to make the perfect star for Captain America. I was quick and sloppy about my topstitching but luckily my 4 year old doesn’t care.

Capt America Pajams bird and bicycle

Fusing Knit Fabrics bird and bicycle

As you can see, the star and the red torso stripes are appliquéd onto the main shirt. The sleeves and “boots” of the legs are not. The fusible interfacing made it ridiculously easy, with a zigzag stitch and easy on the tension.

Captain America Pajamas by bird and bicycle

Finally my absolute favorite (maybe because Logan/Wolverine has been my crush since I was in 7th grade?) are the wolverine pajamas. I even managed to get the V points of the “boot” on the lower legs. This costume was the most challenging and the most rewarding. Logan has gone through MANY costume variations, but I went with the classic one from the 90’s. The neckline is a complete disaster, because I used the interlock for the neckline. DO NOT USE INTERLOCK FOR NECKLINES.

wolverine by bird and bicycle

My sneaky secret is that I actually made these all in April and May of this year, but he is still wearing them all! The wolverine photo was taken last night, and you can see his happy face! I love using my skills to make others happy! I think this is my first foray into pattern drafting, but maybe it’s just color blocking an existing pattern? I don’t know the technical terms. I just make awesome shit.

I hope you are all enjoying your Fall sewing! Kid’s Clothing Week is starting soon (or did it already start?) and the HOODIE SEW ALONG with Kelly (which I am overly excited for!)

PS: Do you feel an odd awareness when you curse through typing, or is that just me?