Friday, March 7, 2014

A Fair Wind with Fehr Trade

When I was considering taking the RTW Pledge the garments I thought would give me the most challenge were running gear. I've made the odd pair of shorts, but I had no idea how to make a running top that was actually functional. Just as I was wavering, Melissa released this pattern. Problem solved!

I did the Y back for my first version
I finished my first make of the Fehr Trade XYT Runnning Top last Sunday. The designer, Melissa Fehr, is a runner herself. The kind who runs marathons. The kind who makes a 10k look like child's play. I figured if there was anyone who could produce a pattern for a running top that would be comfortable, supportive, and wouldn't rub you the wrong way, she would be that gal. Sure enough, she is.

Front view
I hate buying running tops. They're rediculously expensive and I have a hard time finding something that I like. I prefer a bra that's all one stretchy piece - just pull it on over my head and go. What I see in the stores lately is much more structured. They have a bunch of underwires and buckles and winches that someone of my size just doesn't need. I figure the more doodads they include, the more likely I am to have chafing.

The XYT is just my preferred style. The cut is simple and the built-in bra is all stretch and no hardware. Melissa has you use two layers of power mesh, each layer rotated 90 degrees to equalize the squeeze.

The directions are super-clear. I discovered I need to work on my stretch-and-sew skills, but practice will make perfect and even my first creation is totally wearable. I don't have one of those fancy-dancy sergers, but I could do everything I needed for this pattern on a sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch.

Lime green picot elastic
Due to my math-challenged brain, I bought the wrong width of elastic for the neck and armholes. Note to self: 3/8 of an inch is less then 1/4 of an inch, not almost 1/2 inch. I did some stash-diving and found some 3/8 inch elastic in lime green with a little ruffle on the edge. Melissa's directions have you turn the elastic as you finish the edges to it's totally encased and there's no chance of rubbing. I decided I liked the hint of lime enough to try leaving it exposed. So far, no problem.

I took the top out for it's maiden voyage the morning after I finished it and it worked great! I have to wriggle around a bit to get into it, but once I'm there it's comfortable and I feel like I have plenty of support. I gather from cruising the interwebs that even ladies with more cargo than I can use this top for running with no issues.

I love the cute style of my top, but I think the next one I make I'll try a small pattern hack. I like to limit my sun exposure because of the whole skin cancer thing. I think I'll try just shortening the outer layer to make a running bra that I can wear under a long-sleeve top even on a warm day. That way I can run myself silly and not worry about what's happening with my melanin.

Here's my review on


  1. 1/4 " =2/8. Which is smaller than 3/8". 1/2"=4/8" so the 3/8" is between 1/4 and 1/2 inches. :-)

  2. 3/8 of an inch is more than 1/4 but less than 1/2"

  3. But 3/8 is almost half an inch, you were right the first time! 4/8 = 1/2, and 2/8 = 1/4, so it's right in between the two.

    In any case, it looks great!

  4. If only I'd taken the pattern with me - the directions gave inches and millimeters, and all the elastic was marked in millimeters. I bet sewers and carpenters are the only folks who work with fractions anymore!