Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Its hard to belive that women and cycling was once a contentious issue!....There were issues of modest dress,the worry by the american writer James McGurn that the 'Unfettered liberty of bicycling would intoxicate women to immoral acts' and if women could even physically manage the exercise......None of this put off those who were determined to seize the freedom it gave and to try and expand of these women was Frances E Willard who was an influental womens social reformer....she wrote the book 'how i learned to ride the bicycle'...hoping to encourage more women to cycle.... she started at the age of 53! Frances wrote alot in her book about the correct dress....encouraging the use of bloomers and the ditching of corsets! As Francis says'It will be a delight to girls to learn that the fact of their sex is,in itself,not a bar to riding a wheel.'

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Here are some beautiful images of Dr.Ron Hill....a legend in marathon running......a former European and commonwealth champion he still runs every day even at the age of nearly 71.
The top image is of Dr Ron winning the Edinburgh 1970 commonwealth games and setting a new word record at the time all whilst wearing mesh vests and cut off shorts! His doctorate comes from a phd in textile chemistry which would have helped when he set up his clothing company making performance sports wear, he later sold the brand but he gained all his early glories wearing a vest that you can still buy in dalston market for 50p.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


In 2010 South Africa will host the world cup..which is ironic as there is a shortage of footballs in Africa for schools villages and anyone who wants to play ball......the ingenious solutions to this problem have involved making balls out of rubbish and scraps of materials bound together and wrapped in plastic bags.
Although these home-made balls look beautiful and are an amazingly creative way of getting around a serious problem, there not much good to practice your skills on.....
This problem was highlighted by the charity which ran an advert in the major papers in South Africa...putting this plastic bag inside the paper.... is another charity dealing with the problems of lack of sports equipment by sorting out the supply chain and setting up small factories in Africa making repairable hand stitched footballs with health messages printed on the setting up factories they provide work for people and insure that the sports equipment is not made by child labour.....which is an ongoing problem in India and Pakistan where a large proportion of the worlds footballs are made.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Tuesday, 3 March 2009


We had a marvelous morning challenging our perceptions of sportswear branding with the Golden Years Club at Bethnal Green Library today. 
After having a good giggle and discussion around our 'History of Sportswear' lecture, we put our mugs aside and got busy.
Edna stitched an initial on a vest for her grandson's girlfriend Sarah who works in a gym in Newcastle.  The other ladies had fun with our embroidery transfers and stitched stars and argile patterns on t-shirts, and someone stitched over the 'Un' from 'Really Un-Happy' which was splattered across the front of an otherwise quite jolly t-shirt. 
Well done everyone!
The Golden Years meet at Bethnal Green Library ever Tuesday morning at 10.30 and get up to all sorts of interesting things.

Friday, 27 February 2009


Tired of endlessly washing your track suit?
Scientists have invented a fabric which you never have to wash! It repels dirt and sweat with chemicals attatched to nano- particles.

Here are my copied diagrams of how self cleaning fabric is made.

1. Nano-particles are attatched to clothing fibres using microwaves.
2. Chemicals that repel water, oil, and kill bacteria, but can not be directly applied to the fabric are bound to the nano particles.

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


Check out this cool sports dress! It was designed for tennis, but you could wear it for any sport, and guess what?  It is made from a standard classic open necked man's shirt! 
He'll never notice - choose a shirt you like from his laundry pile and find a sewing machine.
The open neckline, loose waist and front buttons are preserved from the original design. 
For greater freedom of movement the sleeves are eliminated and the arm holes scooped even deeper- before being faced with the same fabric as the dress.  A new band of fabric over the buttonholes strengthens the fastening and adds decoration with it's zig-zag top stitching. And deep side pockets sensibly backed with a dark coloured fabric, providing a handy place for tennis balls, stop watches, and locker keys. 
This dress will still need some extra fabric. Re-use the sleeves for facings, but also try to find scraps for pocket linings. We have more detailed instructions at Prick Your Finger, and I am determined to make this, so I'll keep you posted on the progress.


Wilma Rudolph was the 20th of 22 children, and had polio as a child. In the 1960's Summer Olympics in Rome, she ran with a sprained ankle and won 3 gold medals.
Wilma could have worn anything and looked good.


David Gower, England's former cricket captain, loathes formal dress and prefers to be casual off the pitch in his own design for a sweat-shirt look pullover. His pet hate? Men who sport cricket sweaters without any intention of playing the game! 
Quite right David. 
You could relax in a jumper like David's with a free pattern from Prick Your Finger. David chose Shetland DK knitted on 4mm needles. 


Why not use this beautifully designed chart, to make cycling jumpers for chilled spring adventures? For a better quality copy of the pattern, cycle down to Prick Your Finger.

Sunday, 22 February 2009



Here is a picture of me having a knitted boxing match with my friends Naomi and Annie. the pattern for these gloves can be found in a wonderful book called "KnitKnit" by Sabrina Gschwandtner.
Every knitter knows that our hobby is a great way to make un wanted demons go away. And if you have knitted through the night with your friends, you'll also know how important it is to take breaks every few rows to stretch your body, get your circulation going, and to say what it really on your mind. Play- fighting in your knitting circle can really open up the conversation.
Boxing can help boost your self -confidence, common sense, strength, a sense of calm under pressure - in fact, all the qualities you get from knitting but with the added bonuses of working up a sweat, loosing weight, and, hopefully, ending up on the floor screaming at the mercy of your friends.
The boxing gloves can also be worn as real gloves on cold days when you don't need to use your hands. The knitted whistle doesn't really work, but you can make a whistle like noise and just hold it to your mouth. The knitted gum shields however are very good for protection and dramatically change your facial expressions.
KnitKnit is avaliable from Prick Your Finger for a bargin price of £15.95. It contains patterns and stories from knitting artists and designers from all over the world.

Saturday, 21 February 2009


Seems you can buy anything in a can these days.  Fabrican sell fabric in a can, which you can spray directly onto your body if you forget your gym kit. 

Friday, 20 February 2009


Does anyone remember The Three Degrees? The Runner was my first disco tune, and I loved it because in the mix I had, the break sounded like the theme tune to John Craven's News Round. 

Why not get the look and train to this music?

Prick Your Finger is giving away free photocopies of this pattern for a knitted head band, as worn by the fabulous Three Degrees.


We are digging the look of Fanny Blankers-Coen, a Dutch athlete who won 4 gold medals in the  London 1948 Summer Olympics. The British press embarrassingly called her 'The Flying Housewife'.
To get Fanny's look, why not try cutting down a pair of thin, over sized track suit bottoms and gathering the legs and waist with some extra elastic.


How about embroidering a sporty initial on the side of your favourite cap? 
It's easy with chain stitch! Chain stitch is one of the oldest embroidery stitches and one of the most versatile. It easily moves around corners. Write your initial in the place where you want it, in pencil or chalk, and then follow these simple instructions below to make a Kool tag!

1. Work from right to left. Bring needle up through fabric and hold thread in a loop with your thumb. Reinsert the needle at the point where it emerged.
2.  Bring the needle point out a short distance away. Thread lies under needle point. when the needle and thread are pulled through, the chain is made.
3. To make another chain stitch, reinsert the needle at point where it emerged, bringing it out again the same distance away as for the previous stitch.
4. To change direction, bring the needle out in the direction and continue working chain stitches in the same way as for horizontal line.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009


Hello Everyone, and welcome to 'Homemade Sportswear', an on-line journal dedicated to makers and wearers of homemade sportswear. 
Homemade Sportswear comes to you from Prick Your Finger, a Haberdashery shop and textile gallery in Bethnal Green, London. 
We have created this journal to address the problems and possibilities in fashion surrounding the 2012 Olympics. 
We love sport, fashion, our community, and doing things for ourselves. 
In this journal we will share tips and ideas about doing things the way WE want and not being influenced by big sportswear companies who try to seduce us into spending unnecessary money on things we don't need, which are made badly in appalling conditions. 
By 2012, we will be fit, and looking good, in fashions we are comfortable in and proud to say we made ourselves.
Here is a picture of Louise, Madaline, and myself (Rachael), running a marathon in Vilnus Lithuania, wearing customized tracksuit bottoms, knitted medals and carrying our knitting as we go. Our marathon was part of a show called 'Extreme Crafts' at CAC, and it inspired us to mix more sport into our knitting.