I’ve gotten into sewing my own fitness clothing this past year, and my most recent make is the Fehr Trade Surf to Summit Top. I haven’t written up posts about most of my sewing projects because I’m usually fairly late to the party, and there are plenty of other people who’ve sewn and written about the patterns by the time I get there. But this time, I bought and sewed the pattern just a few days after it was released, and I figured I might be able to help out others who might be considering the pattern.

I don’t have a serger, but I had no problem sewing this top together with my conventional sewing machine, a stretch needle, and some good quality polyester thread. I was eager to take it for a spin on my next run to test it out and so I could get my husband to take a few photos of me wearing it. The next morning when I was heading out for my run, it was only 28 deg F (-2 deg C). So….this is what I actually went out running in:

IMG 2530 JPG (it looks good under that blue jacket, doesn’t it?)

And just for fun, here is a nice photo I took when I was out on my run – this view is one of the things that helps keep me running regularly! (The nice soft fuzzy look isn’t an Instragram filter or anything…it is sort of a natural misty filter that sometimes comes from my phone being stashed in an arm pocket while I’m sweating!)

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When I got back, it had warmed up nicely to 35 deg (1.6 dec C), so I peeled off the jacket so we could get better photos of the top. (Forgive the dappled shade – the sun is awfully low to the south just now and it is really hard to get good photos with the sun coming through all those tree branches.):

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IMG 2534 JPGAs I mention in the review that follows: the high cut of the underarm seam fit a bit too high for me. But when I was running, I hardly noticed this. It’s only when I’m just wearing it around that I really feel it. I think it may also be causing some of these wrinkles:

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I’m getting used to the funnel neck. This isn’t a neck style I’ve gone for in RTW clothing as I’ve just never liked the way they don’t really lay flat. But this looked better than I expected (but you can still see those horizontal pulls that just seem to happen with this style):

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The optional hand mitts are a fun touch, and while I had to wear my regular gloves for such a cold run, I can see there will be many days when the mitts will be just perfect on their own. One thing to note is that the mitt is just sewn on to the sleeve end (where you would hem if not adding the mitt). So there is quite a bit of extra fabric squished on to the end of the arm. It doesn’t bother me, but here is what it looks like:

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It’s a fantastic pattern, and I really enjoyed sewing it up! I’m quite happy with it and will be making it again once I can figure out what I need to do to make that underarm seam a bit more comfortable.

I also have to say that I appreciate all of the work that went into the development of it (drafting, testing, etc). It’s a darn lot of work to pull together such a high quality PDF pattern! I say this because I recently have seen some comments about how PDF patterns should be free or super cheap (like when you buy a pattern, all you’re paying for is the paper and envelope?!?).

Thanks for reading! Here is my review that I wrote up for Pattern Review using their template.

FehrTrade Surf-to-Summit Top (Ladies) Review

Pattern Description:
A top with long or short raglan sleeves with optional sleeve mitts, tall integral collar to keep your neck covered, princess seams with side panel, and your choice of two hem lengths. An optional half zip and back cycling-style pocket are also included.

The top is drafted to be snug-fitting through the bust, and looser throughout the waist and hips, and with ample room through the shoulders to allow forward arm movement.

Pattern Sizing:
XXS (Bust 33″ / Hips 35.5″) – XL (Bust 45″ / Hips 47.25″)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
The instructions are fantastic. I knew what to expect as I’ve also sewn the XYT Workout Top, so I felt confident buying this pattern on release. The only part where I had to really do some rereading was with the optional mitts (I think one of the diagrams has a piece drawn as “right” side when it should have been shaded to be “wrong” side).

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
The top is beautiful! There is so much to love, but I’ll try to keep it to a few key things.

As this is a PDF-only pattern, I particularly liked that she organized the pieces so that all of the printed pages do NOT have to be taped together. Instead you end up with four smaller sections after trimming and taping. (She even included a note about this in an easy-to-see place on the pattern pages.)

Fitwise, overall, I was very pleased. At 34ish”/29.5″/38.5″ I went with cutting out pieces for XS bust, S waist, and XS+ hips. (She recommends going with upper bust measurement, which would have put me in XXS or smaller – but this would probably not have worked for me. I suspect it would have made the armpit seam way too high and very uncomfortable.)
This resulted in a top that fit very nicely through the bust and was looser in the waist and hips – just as the pattern describes!

The funnel neck doesn’t lay quite as flat as I’d like, but flatter than I expected (given what I saw in the pattern and model photos). This may just be a personal preference issue and funnel necks aren’t my preferred neck line finish.

If you decide to add the optional hand mitts, they are sewn directly on to the ends of the sleeves, with no fabric removed (basically you are sewing them right on to the sleeve hemline). This means your sleeves will be extra long when the mitts are “stowed,” but I really didn’t mind the look of the extra fabric on my lower arms.

My only fit issue is with the underarm seam. It is drafted to be high, but it is really right up there in the armpit a bit too snuggly for me. I think this also caused some diagonal wrinkling in the side panel fabric. For my next version, I may try deepening the side panel “V” just a bit and then adding fabric to the portions of the sleeve piece that are sewn to that “V.” (NOTE: I took this top for a run, and the armpit seam felt fine while running.)

Fabric Used:
I used my trusty Janome MC6500 to sew this with two different active wear knits from FabricMart.com. They are both on the light side, and I’ll need to wear this as a base layer under other layers for most winter running.

I don’t know the content of the teal, but it has a more cottony feel and about 50% stretch. The ivory (90% poly/ 10% spandex) is very stretchy (maybe 75%) and soft – love it!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I’m not sure if this is a design change, but recently I’ve been using my triple stitch zigzag in places where a twin needle hem or coverstitch is called for. I’ve had a few twin needle hems pop on me, so it gives me pause before using it on a hem that I know will really receive some stretching!

I sewed it as drafted this time. And even though it was my practice piece, I did the hand mitts too – and they turned out great! Fun!

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I’m already planning my next one! I’d love to do this in heavier fabrics for winter running. The trick is finding those marvelous fabrics.

As mentioned above, next time I’ll try altering the pieces that affect the underarm seam just a bit to get a little more room.

I think I’ll also take in the waist and hip a bit, as my preference is for a snugger fit in those areas in my running tops.

This is such a super pattern for a very flattering running top.