A Tale of Three Race Shirts

Once upon a time, in the spring of 2014, a brand spanking newly turned 37 year old Meridith registered for the Philadelphia Marathon weekend. Registration opened on her birthday, April Fool’s Day, and she was bound and determined to run in the November race (at the cheapest rate possible).

She clicked her way through the registration questions and when she got to the shirt size option, she swiftly chose the “large” without a second thought.

November came to pass and Meridith and Victoria were excited to go to the Convention Center for the expo. They both waited in line for their bibs, then their shirts. The blue large shirt was larger than Meridith expected it to be; it was boxy and seemed to have more material than necessary. She was bummed that it was ill-fitting but she rationalized, “Better too big than too small.” (She and Victoria had their share of too small shirts at the Nike Women’s Half.)

Hanging at the expo – Vic, Kyle, and Meridith

After running the race, she knew she would be returning so she filed away the shirt information in her mind so she would make a more fitting choice the following year.

The spring of 2015 arrived and with it, so did Meridith’s birthday and the registration for the Philly races. Armed with the knowledge she gained in November, she confidently clicked on the “medium” option for her shirt choice. She totally had the shirt game figured out! 10 points for Gryffindor!

Except… no.

She wailed in dismay (because she’s nothing if not dramatic) when she picked up her black shirt at the expo with her friend, Chrissy. The race had changed shirt companies and now the medium looked like it might fit her 6 year old child. Maybe.

Could she exchange sizes? No. She could not. (She asked.)

But the race was great and although she was sad she would never get to wear the race shirt in public (she’d post a picture but this is a family show and then we’d be getting all sorts of spammy comments), she vowed that she would finally make the correct choice in 2016.

This year the half marathon registration did not open on her birthday which goes along with the changes made to the race. A few weeks later, the freshly turned 39 year old Meridith registered for this year’s half. She anxiously clicked through the preliminary questions before arriving to the most important question of all: her shirt size.

She paused, thoughtfully, and then clicked the “extra large” option. And hoped for the best.

At the expo she watched as other racers picked up their shirts. “My chest will never fit in this shirt!” they exclaimed. She found her very short XL line and received her red shirt. And looked at it, doubtfully.

Would it fit?

Yes, yes it does! The sleeves are a bit long and the length is shorter than she likes but it does fit.

Meridith and her 2016 shirt lived happily ever after (while her 2015 and 2014 shirts were banished to the back of the closet).

Do you have a tale of woe when it comes to a race shirt? Meridith would love to hear it and empathize with you.

Scoot Stitches Sewing Tutorial – Race Shirt to Gear Bag


I’m guessing you have a TON of t-shirts laying around. As runners, we accumulate them like we accumulate safety pins. That’s why I thought a tutorial on how to make a gear bag out of a race shirt would be a great Scoot Stitches first project. When I floated the idea by Meri and our Facebook and Instagram friends, they all agreed! So here is a super simple project that is perfect for the first time sewist, and is even kid friendly (with supervision and help, of course). I’ll let you know when I think up some ingenious use for the safety pins beyond the norm. 😉

This project is easy, it took me an hour, and honestly, I didn’t really measure  or get too exact on this one. And that’s the point, don’t over think it. It’s just a bag, keep it fun and have fun with it. if you mess up, who cares? You’ve got plenty of shirts in the dresser, right?


Supplies: Race shirt, 1 spool of thread (if it matches in color, great, if not, it’s cool), scissors or rotary cutter, straight edge/ruler, straight pins, fabric marker or chalk, 1 three yard spool of 1 1/2 inch wide ribbon, sewing machine, Stretch Sewing Machine Needles (see step 3).

Step 1 -Read these instructions all the way through before starting.

Step 2 – Cutting the Panels First, you’re going to cut your shirt to make the two panels for the bag. Here are two methods depending on the tools you have:

Scissors and Fabric Marker Method: Lay your shirt out flat making sure there are no wrinkles. Lay the ruler along one side, matching it to the seam and the top of the shoulder (see pics below). Draw a dotted line long the right side of the ruler. Using pins, pin the two layers together just inside the dotted line to keep them in place. Repeat this on the other side seam, the top just below the collar, and the bottom.  Next, cut along the dotted lines. After you have your rectangle shape, take out the pins along the top, but leave the rest in.


Rotary Cutter Method: Line up your ruler as shown above, and cut along outside edge. Once cut, pin.step1aWhen you’re done, it should look like the photo below; all squared up and ready to stitch! **Note if working with a larger sized shirt, you may want to trim the sides and bottom to make a more narrow rectangle. DO NOT trim from the top, you need that extra fabric for a later step.


Step 3 – Practice Stretch Stitching Make sure you are using a stretch sewing machine needle for this project, and adjust your machine to stretch stitch settings (refer to your manual, or use a zig-zag stitch if you don’t have a stretch feature). Using some scraps that you cut from your shirt, stitch some practice seams to make sure your needle is catching the bobbin thread and sewing properly. With the practice swatch on the left, I used the #75 stretch needles, and my machine was skipping stitches. After I switched to the #90, I got the results I wanted. The right needles make ALL the difference.



Helpful Info!

Step 4 – French Seam A French seam will keep the fabric from unraveling on the inside of your bag.  With the wrong sides together, start stitching 3 and 1/2 inches from the top and stitch the sides and bottom with a  1/2 inch seam allowance (I use the edge of my foot for a guide).


Trim off the corners and excess fabric. You should now have something that looks like a pillowcase. On the back panel, measure 2 1/2 inches from the bottom and mark that spot with a marker or a straight pin. Next, take your ribbon and cut 2, three-ish foot lengths (this is where I kinda eyeballed it). Match one end of each ribbon at an angle to the marks on each side and pin in place. I looped and pined the extra ribbon to the center just to keep it out of the way. Trim the ribbon so its edge lines up with the bag (I didn’t snap a photo of that, but you get the idea).

strapsNext, turn it inside out so that the shirt graphics are on the inside,and stitch the sides and bottom again just like before, only this time, do a 5/8 inch seam allowance. Stop stitching 3 and 1/2 inches from the top. When you turn it right side out, it should look like the photo below.straps3

You are almost done, can you believe it!?!? It’s starting to look like a bag, so pour some wine to celebrate your accomplishment! YOU ARE EPIC.

Step 5 – Make the “Casings” The casing is that part at the top where your ribbon is going to go through. Turn it right side out so the graphics are on the outside. Fold the raw edges over once, pin and stitch each flap. Repeat on other side.


Then, using the ribbon as a guide, fold over the flap and pin, making sure it’s wide enough for the ribbon. Stitch as shown (note, you’re NOT sewing the ribbon in, you’re just making a pocket for the ribbon).


Step 6 – Thread the Ribbon  Starting on the right side, fold the ribbon over once and pin a safety pin through both layers. The larger the safety pin, the larger the better, but even a bib safety pin will work. (Yay, we used them!) Feed the ribbon through the casing from the back to the front. Repeat on the other side feeding the ribbon from front to back.


The last thing to do is to trim off the extra ribbon, fold over the cut edge, and stitch the loose ends as shown below.


And you are finished already!


Outcomes: You just learned three major sewing techniques!!

Drawstring bag construction: If you skip the step of sewing the ribbon to the bottom of this bag, then you’d have yo’self the basis for a laundry bag, make-up bag, evening bag, a washing bag for unmentionables, or whatever else you can put in a bag.

Casings are used in all kinds of applications from elastic waistbands to roman shades. Chances are excellent you’ll use this again.

Lastly, the advanced couture French seam. LOOK AT YOU GO. They are handy when you don’t have a serger machine (visit www.stitchandsew.net/best-sewing-machine for more details), but are working with a fabric that will fray, causng your seams to come apart. That’s why we used it here. It encases the raw edges of the fabric to prevent unraveling at the seams. French seams are also handy if you need to alter the size of a garment. That’s why you usually only see a French seam in wedding gowns.

So that’s it for this lesson. I hope you enjoyed this easy project. Share your finished bags with me on social media, I’d love to see them! Tag your pics with #scootstitches.  If you have questions about the tutorial, you can email me at scootadoot@gmail.com.

Get out there and get crafty!










Runners – they’re everywhere!

While at Kohl’s this morning, I saw a guy in a Broad Street Run shirt. Naturally, I had to approach him.

I mean, right? This is natural. Everyone does this. And if you don’t, you totally should. (Similar to the runner’s wave. If you don’t know about it, check out Ashley at RatherBeRunnin’s post.)


Approaching other runners while in a non-running setting can be a bit tricky.

Bound: Bounding up to them like a puppy off-leash for the first time is an option, but the potential to scare them off is high. I usually only bound if I know the person and they are already well aware of my brand of crazy.

Direct approach: Less scary than the Bound for the recipient. Simply walk up a person and say “Love the Broad Street Run – it was my first time running this year. Have you run it more than once?”

Sidle: The word sidle is a bit off-putting because I always picture a shady person in a trench coat sliding up next to you and offering some illegal substance.

However, in this case, it’s running and so it takes on a more casual, less Shady McShadester connotation.

Find them in an aisle. Ideally, aim for one that’s not, like, underwear or Imodium. “So, hey, I see you were at Broad Street on May 5th. Funnily enough, so was I.” (As were 39,998 others. It’s actually not that rare – I’ve seen three people wearing these shirts in the past three days.)

Mutual wearing: The best is when you’re wearing the same shirt at the same time and place. Serendipitous!

There’s that mutual recognition: you both look at the other person’s shirt, look down at your own shirt and then say something witty like “Nice shirt, where’d you get it?”

It’s absolutely glorious.

During an event: Okay, so this is a bit different because obviously at race events, you’re going to see race shirts of races past. However, I got super excited (it doesn’t take much, you’ve probably figured this out by now) during Broad Street when I saw a cheering guy on the median wearing one of these:


I felt like he was there specifically for me. As I got my high five from him I yelled out something like “Yeah, AC April Fools!” Because I’m limited to four or five word sentences while I’m running. But we totally would have been besties were I not in the middle of a race. I’m sure of it.

When I was younger, my mom talked to everyone. At the supermarket (aka the “stupidmarket” as we so brilliantly called it) she chatted it up with the people at the deli counter, in the aisles, on the checkout line – everyone. I was mortified. Do you know that person? “No,” she’d reply more often than not. “I’m just being friendly.”

Pooks is not nearly as timid as I was when I was a kid; when I approach a runner and he’s with me, he’ll chime in with his thoughts. As we walk away, he always asks if I knew the person. And I can say, with great authority, “Well, of course! We ran a race together.”

Am I missing any ways to approach a runner? Have any fun stories to share?

Race Shirt Superlatives

Who doesn’t love a good race shirt?

I wear them to the gym, to Target, basically everywhere I can get away with it. They’ve become a staple of my wardrobe because they’re included with the race registration (hi, I paid for it, I want to wear it!) and because that means less shopping for me (and I’m lazy and don’t like to shop).

For the record, I’ve gone so far as Googling for recaps to see what other people say about the fit and sizing of shirts. Yes, I’m that serious.

Without further ado, here are some of my favorites. And not so favorites. Don’t worry, I’ll tell you why!

Oldie But Goodie


This is the back (because it has the hand print that always inspires “You’ve got a dirty hand print on your shirt” comments) but the front is similar, sans date and place, so you get the idea. My very first race shirt, it’s the oldster of the group. The shirt is a Merrell tech-t and I’m a fan because of the quality and fit. Two very important factors!

Mas o Menos


The good: It’s from my first half marathon. And the word “princess” is on it, which is very fitting for me.

The not so good: Well, it’s white. And I definitely got caught in the rain in it. Spring Break wet t-shirt contest, anyone?

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny


I wanted so very badly to like this shirt. After all, I dressed up like Katniss from the Hunger Games and ran with some of my favorite people for this race. However, the shirt is small. Not like, a little small… a lot small. I wear it on the treadmill occasionally but never outside of the house.

To be fair, the race coordinators did say that the shirts ran small. So rather than ordering a medium, I went with the large.

No dice. Win some, lose some!

Double Vision


These Brooks tech shirts from the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k are LOUD and I like them like that.

I wear these when I’m running, especially in the early morning hours. My trainer encourages us to do the “Wawa run” –  a run to the nearest Wawa store and back, about a 1.65 loop on a busy road.

I want people to see me (and avoid becoming road kill). With these shirts, there’s no missing me.

Don’t Call It a Tech-T (I’m still earwormed from Bec’s post.)


Runners of the Broad Street Run had the option to upgrade to a tech-t for an additional cost but I personally am a big fan of this cotton t-shirt. They run slightly large but it’s a good quality shirt (Hanes) and I appreciate the fact that the sponsors are kept to the sleeves of the shirt.

This is the baby of my shirts, only a week old. Isn’t it cute?

I don’t usually wear t-shirts to work out in so it won’t be used for that but you might will find me wandering Target or the grocery store in it. In fact, I’m sporting this one today.

Baby, It’s Cold Outside


Friends, meet my favorite long-sleeved race shirt (these are much more rare than the short-sleeved t-shirt, which makes sense). This ranks up there as one of my best races I’ve done so I think that there’s a certain amount of sentimental value that comes along with this shirt.

It has sponsors all over the back but when a run is held as a fundraising event, I have no issues with that.

Miss Congeniality


This shirt wins top honors in my closet! It’s a ladies Brooks tech-t and I love both the fit and the feel. There are no sponsors on this shirt; it has a nice, clean look and it’s from the City of Brotherly Love.

I keep waiting for another race shirt to come along and steal my heart but so far, this one is it for me.

Also, it looks like blue is a popular race shirt color, eh?

When my family asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day, I told them another race t-shirt. Kidding! But I did request that we run a 5k together (I really and truly did) and they agreed.

I’ll be getting another cotton t-shirt tomorrow, matching with Dude and Pooks (we’ll be so cool). (Don’t worry, we won’t wear it at the 5k.)

Littleberry has to sit this one out because a) he’s four and wouldn’t be down for 3.1 miles and b) he broke his foot about a week ago. But no worries, I’ll get my fair share of him, too!

Happy almost Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. And the Aunts. And the Grandmas. And the “Aunts” who let my children dump all their toys on the floor and play “volcano”.

How are you spending Mother’s Day? What’s your favorite race shirt? Bonus points if you post a picture in the comments (I don’t even know if you can do that!).