So yeah, I started running. Never in a million years would I have thought I would enjoy running. And yet. And yeah we've all heard that story before, and since this is still a sewing blog I won't bore you with my version of it.
But aside from now being obsessed with sewing my own athletic wear, running also introduced me to two small things that kinda litterally changed my life (not even exagerating): Merino fabric and Almond milk.
Granted, it's not like these two things just came out last month, and it may seem like a lot of "duh" moments for some of you, but if it wasn't for my newly found athletic interest, I might not have been so inclined to try either of them. And now that I have, I can never go back.
Since the main sewing object of this post is this vest (actually completed last fall but never blogged about), I'll start with Merino. And with this statement: I'm Cold. As in, pretty much always. As in, if it's a sunny, hot summer day, but all of a sudden there's a very light breeze, I might actually get a shiver and reach for a sweater. In the past, whenever we would go out for a hike in the winter, I would pile on layers upon layers of clothing, with varying success rates at achieving comfortable warmth. Also, I would look like the Michelin man...
But THOSE. DAYS. ARE. OVER. Enters merino wool fabric. It's soft, breathable, doesn't retain sweat smell. And it's incredibly warm.
As I mentionned in this post, I got quite excited when I purchased my fabric from NZ Merino and Fabric, and ordered 5 pieces. After making my orange hoodie (also worn in those photos), I made this black vest. The vest was originally part of my race outfit but I ran out of time and finished it later.
The fabric I used this time is a heavier Merino/Spandex sweatshirting. I was originally hopping for someting a litte heavier, but in the end it's perfect.
I used Mc Call 7026 View A, without the sleeves.
I lengthenned the pattern by 3cm and made the following asjustments as I sewed it:
-Took in about 1.5cm at the front princess seam in the bust area.
-As a result, I shortenned the shoulder seam the same amount
-one issue that I ran into was that the back princess seams where a bit too tight, pulling the side seams towards the back at the waist. I had already trimmed and overlocked those seams when I realized that, so instead I let out the side seams as much as possible to compensate. If I was to make this again I would probably add 1cm ease to the back princess seams.
-The pattern comes with pockets in the side seams. I thought I would add zippers to them to make them more functionnal. Unfortunately, the pockets turned out way too bulky and made the waist line quite unflattering, so I removed them altogether. In hindsight, I should have tried cutting them out of the lighter mesh fabric that I used for the bra lining, as opposed to the same merino sweatshirting...
I also made one mistake and cut the collar pattern piece a of couple sizes too small. I didn't have enough fabric to recut, so I slashed the piece in half along the center back and added a strip of fabric to compensate for the width different. It worked fine, you wouldn't know it was a cutting mistake and not a deliberate design element.
I finished the armholes and the hem with black bias tape to avoid those areas from stretching out too much. I seem to always have that problem when sewing hems on knit. If anybody has tips on how to avoid those area becoming all wavy after sewing the hem, I'd love to hear!
I love the result, it's exactly what I needed. An additional layer to keep my core toasty.
I do still pile on layers when going out to run/hike in the cold (average is about 4), but now two of them are warm, light merino layers as opposed to thick fleece or some polyesther puffer (I would love to make myself a down puffer using this kit, but that's a whole other scale of sewing...)
As a side note, I wore these pieces pretty much every other day last winter for running, hiking, etc and washed them about as often, and they've sustained machine wash perfectly so far. Another win for merino!
I only have one full piece left, that I would like to make another running top out of, probably a half zip like this. I've also traced a RTW merino bra and panty and plan on making a set or two with my remnants. Yeah for Merino-everything!
And now for the second life-changing item brought on by running: Almond milk. I'm not lactose intolerant, far from it (cheese and butter on bread? sour cream on... everything? yes please!), but I've always hated the taste of milk. Never could drink it. As a kid I used to put loads of sugar in my cereals to cover the taste, and then eventually I stopped putting milk in my cereal altogether (I prefer them crunchy anyways). On the other hand I always loved the idea of a cup of warm chocolate or a creamy latte on a cold winter day, never actually liked the taste.
It's only when I started working out at home, as sort of ground work to build up muscle resistance and strength for running, that I looked for ways to make myself energy smoothies without using milk. I tried almond milk and loved it! My favorite recipe: 1 banana, 1 cup of almond milk, a table spoon of almond or cashew nut butter, add your protein powder of choice and voila! delicious nutritious breakfast drink. And of course it wasn't too long before I tried using almond milk for hot cocoa. Perfect! The taste of chocolate without that un-appealing milk flavour (:P).
So now when I come home after a hike/run in the cold and rain, I fix myself a cup of hot almond milk cocoa..and it's glorious...