Last year I decided that I really needed to up my game in the workout gear arena. This came about as I was upping my fitness for my trip to Paris. As some of my readers may know I have a medical condition, Chronic Pancreatitis, that when it decides to flair up it can knock me down and out for a long time. Literally taking my strength and endurance back to step one.
So, as I was upping my strength and endurance I really noticed that I had a need for more workout specific clothing. I did what any good sewist would do and started ‘collecting’ workout/exercise fabrics, patterns and books. I now have enough workout fabrics to sew myself a FULL wardrobe of exercise gear! LOL!!I know I am not alone in doing this….
I started off by identifying the types of exercise that I like to do or aspired to do.
Walking with a small amount of jogging thrown in from time to time, long walks/hikes. casual bike riding (meaning using Divvy Bike in Chicago and not owning my own performance bike) Strength training/functional training with dumbells, medicine balls and bands plus some yoga and active stretching. None of these really require any specialty clothing items and I am not doing any sustained high impact activities.
Next step was to get some inspiration. It’s great to have Instagram, Pinterest and Google Images for this part. SO much fun to go down the inspiration rabbit hole J
I then identified what items I wanted to make.
Sports Bras – tops – leggings (both full length and long shorts)
Considerations for my comfort was mostly around the fact that I don’t necessarily like my tush showing while exercising. Most times it is fine but living in a major city means that people will see me while outside and some guys are just crude… So, I decided that I wanted either tops that covered my tush, or an attached skirt or leggings that are patterned and fit well. I also wanted to make sure I had a pocket on my leg for my phone. This was a must for me.
For this blog post I am going to focus on the tops and the bra. Next blog will be for the bottoms.
Patterns:Sports bra/ bra top Jalie Pika #3679 Tank top: Saybrook tank by Cashmerette .
Fit Changes: The only changes that I made to the Pika was to shorten the Center Front length by 1 inch blending to nothing at the side seams.
For the Cashmerette Saybrook tank I did make a swayback adjustment but did not add a center back seam so it was just a small one and I decided it was fine to have some extra fabric back there for my workout clothes.
Design Changes: None
Fabric: I used a variety of fabrics from different sources. Some were from my collection and other sources were: Fashion Fabrics Club, Blackbird Fabrics, Discovery Fabrics and J Stern Designs.
For the Pika Sports bra specifically I used the Power Mesh from Discovery Fabrics for the lining and it works perfect!! I specifically purchased the Power Mesh sampler pack to try it out. The main fabric of the sports bra were done with lycra stretch that I used for the bottoms. The straps were done with a variety of activewear fabrics to match the rest of the outfits.
|Close up of the power mesh lining|
for the tank tops was from a variety of sources and weights to try things out
that I liked. All of them have stretch with lycra in them. The patterned fabric was from my collection and originally came from the Textile Warehouse in Chicago. The other 2 fabrics were from Fashion Fabrics Club.
3 version of Saybrook tank Close up of the reverse 3-thread coverstitch
Interfacing: none needed
Only notions needed for the Bra and Bra top was elastic. I used ¼ inch and 3/8
inch clear elastic and ¾ inch non-roll elastic. For applying the clear elastic to the Pika bra neckline and armholes I used a trick that I saw on the Fehrtrade blog about using the elastic foot on the serger with no tension. This really stremalines the process and cuts down on the time! it serges the pieces of fabric together AND applies the elastic at the same time! A big WIN in my book!
Elastic foot set up on my serger View as you are sewing - the large circle in front is where the elastic goes in and the smaller circle in the back you can see the 4 thread overlocker stitches attaching the clear elastic and the fabric and self lining all together in one step. Final product all in one! Even there is a slight gathering from the elastic once the top is on that completely goes away and is not noticeable.
Seam construction and seam finishes: I had some fun playing around with different techniques both on the sewing machine and the serger. I read 2 different books which I recommend as a good place to start. Sew Your Own Activewear by Melissa Fehr and Sewing Activewear by Johanna Lundstrom. I also watched a bunch of Gail Yellen’s Gail Patrice Design YouTube Serger and Coverstitch Tip Clips. (these are awesome!)
My first pass at the wearable muslins were done following directions on the patterns which were a combination of both sewing machine and serger/coverstitch. The subsequent versions were done all on the serger and coverstitch with some changes in construction order to facilitate the fact that I have a convertible machine that does both serger and coverstitch.
Hem Finishes: I also took this opportunity to play with these to find what I liked and did not like. I used both front and back coverstitch as finishes and I did some zig zag as well.
Thoughts on Pika bra and top. This is a perfect sports bra for me! I really like it and it gives me plenty of support and is quite comfortable. The top with integrated bra is fun as well and I don’t usually like an integrated bra but this one works for me. The main purple fabric is very lightweight and drapey and will be good for warm weather workouts!
Thoughts on the Saybrook Tank. I was a tester for this top and from the beginning I had thoughts on using it for activewear. I made several different versions, the high neck and high back both with and without the front knot as well as the V-neck with scoop back which is my favorite version. The fit is quite good and I will make more of these.
It is really fun to have a bunch of new workout gear!! Makes working out just a tad bit more fun.
This picture of the princess is just so beautiful! that smile and that hair... She fills my heart with joy. I Loved that she asked me to help her with bath time. She cant quite manage getting all the shampoo out of her hair by herself yet!