When trying to decide what to sew this month I was inspired by an Fabric Mart email that featured a sale on athletic fabric. (Side Note: If you are not their email list, SIGN UP!) I’ve been wanting to sew some workout gear since shortly after I began to sew a little over 2 years ago. As a newbie I purchased athletic wear patterns but avoided sewing them because I was a little unsure of sewing such stretchy fabric (even though I learned on knits).
I figured this month was as good as any to make a workout outfit, especially since I’m trying to recommit to fitness and healthy living. So I pulled out Butterick 6295 and McCalls 7261 from my pattern drawer. I chose B6295 because I love the large pockets on the hip of the leggings (View D). I NEED music to get through a workout and that music is played from my Samsung Note, a HUGE phablet. So these pockets will allow me to keep my phone on me as I squat while listening to my Spotify playlist. I know, I know I need to just get some Bluetooth headphones and leave my phone on the bench, but I haven’t. Plus even if I did, I still track my workouts on my phone. The top, also from B6295 (View B), features a built in bra which is a bonus. To go all out, though it is too hot to wear this now, I decided to add the hoodie from M7261. Mainly because I’ve wanted to sew up this hoodie for a while now.
I wanted to play with bright colors as I’ve noticed a move to loud obnoxious colors in the fitness/sports wear from the major companies like Nike and New Balance. When I searched Fabric Mart’s Activewear selection I noticed the Spandex Supplex Activewear knit described as “thicker/heavier than other active wear knit” and I thought that would be great for the leggings. I picked the loudest of the four color options, Avocado. I wanted to have fun with colorblocking so I added the stone gray to tone the whole look down a bit and vibrant purple for an accent.
I used wooly nylon thread in my serger for the first time! I’d read that the serged seams in activewear could be irritable and the wooly nylon gave softer feel. Additionally activewear requires stretching and the wooly nylon thread is stretchy. The only issue I had with the wooly nylon was that it would slip out of my clips and result in a really loose serge. I learned to check it as I was sewing to catch it right when it happened.
When I pre-read the instructions for M7291 I was concerned I would have issues with the front collar piece as the image didn’t make sense to me at the time. However once I got to that step it came together ok. I could/should have reworked it for a clean edge, but I don’t mind for a first attempt. I liked the method used for finishing the kangaroo pocket. The instructions have you sew the pocket side edges right sides facing to create an even fold for the top and bottom hem. This is not how I had finished this pocket before, but I will now. In the future I would prefer the supplex knit for its heavier weight. A double knit would also work well for a heavier sweater like feel.
Pattern Description: Pullover tops have princess seams. C: Single-layer, seamed hood, front band and kangaroo pocket. B, C: Cuffs with thumb opening. hood C. For two-way stretch knits only.
Sizing: 6-14, 14-22. I cut a 14.
Difficulty: 2/Advanced Begineer
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes, except I created a color block look.
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes!
Likes: I love hoodies. I also like the princess seams and the thumb cuffs.
Pattern alterations or any design changes made: None.
Would I sew it again? I definitely will, maybe with a thicker knit and with different color blocking variations.
Would I recommend it to others? Yes
Conclusion: Great hoodie!
I was really surprised at how well they fit with almost no adjustments! Which was great because this pattern lacks a side seam and it was going to be a pain to take in. I did add about ¾ -1” to the back crotch length but this is a standard adjustment I make to pants. The only place a dramatic adjustment was needed was the length, the legs are absurdly long. I’m not tall by anyone’s standards, but I’m also not a shortie at 5’5” and I had about 5” of excess at the hem. Even if you want a gathered look (which was already achieved with the gathering of the side panel) this was just too much. I cut off 4” and sewed a 3/4 seam. Another thing that wasn’t a adjustment but just something I skipped was the exposed serged edges. The instructions call for you to serge or overlock the edges of some pieces and then topstitch and edge stitch those pieces. This would create a more athletic look that is typically a result of flatlock stitching. I couldn’t find a contrast thread color that I wanted to use, so I simply sewed the pieces together using the typical 5/8″ seam allowances and had not troubles. My favorite features of these leggings is the back yoke part, it a very ready-to-wear feature. These are definitely now my go to fitness leggings!
Pattern Description: Leggings have elasticized waistband, pockets, seam detail, and no side seams. D: Gathered lower sides. C, D: Serge, overcast or regular finish. B, C, D: Stitched hems. All are close-fitting.
Sizing: 6-14, 14-22 I cut a 14
Difficulty: 2/Advanced Beginner
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes!
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very.
Likes: I LOVE the side pocket and the way the waistband is made! The back yoke is great for coverage. I like the endless options to pair colors.
Pattern alterations or any design changes made: I added 3/4 -1″ to the back crotch seam. I also took off 4″ at the hem.
Would I sew it again? Yes, many times. I might no buy workout leggings again.
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely
Conclusion: I might not buy workout leggings again.
I was a little worried about the construction of the built in bra for the top (B6295 View B). I’m not sure why because the directions were great and easy to follow. Power mesh was suggested for the bra lining and though Fabric Mart was out at the time I was able to get some locally. I had never sewn power mesh and was a curious if it would be tricky. I’m glad to say for me it wasn’t. In the future, because I will be making this again, I plain to cut a size smaller as I feel like it lacked some support despite the built in bra feature. Another option may be to use a less stretchy knit for the inner bra. For extra support I plan to slip elastic into the back straps as well.
Pattern Description: Partially lined, pullover bra top and top have elasticized shoulder strap variations and casing. Purchased bra inserts. B: Built-in bra. B, C, D: Stitched hems. All are close-fitting.
Sizing: 6-14-14-22 I cut a 14
Difficulty: 2/Advanced Begineer
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, very
Likes: I like the built in bra and the shirt length (it covers the bum)
Pattern alterations or any design changes made: none
Would I sew it again? Yes, probably a size smaller or in a knit with less give for more support.
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely
Conclusion: Great workout top
I’m extremely satisfied with each piece. The only regret I have is my color blocking choice for the hoodie. I wish I had used the purple for the side front and back pieces and used a gray pocket.
Have you tried athletic wear? What are your favorite patterns? Can you share any tricks you’ve learned?