Activewear edition of Battle of the Stitches

DISCLAIMER: The only Yoga I’ve ever done has been sessions led by my youngest daughter who does it at school!

So Olu (Needle and Ted) and I are back for another battle. This time we both ordered some lovely quality sports jersey from Fabworks and challenged each other to some athletic wear sewing. (Which looking through my previous posts seems to be a motivation to post these days)

The jersey in question is 76%polyamide and 24%lycra, super stretchy and super soft. I often avoid non natural fibres in part because of what we are learning about the damage of micro plastics and in part because I don’t like how they feel, but I do tend to make an exception for sports and swimwear as the performance benefits are hard for me to ignore.

[My exercise of choice is running/jogging and a 5-6km run twice a week has been a very important part of my routine for the last 15 yrs or so. It’s free, makes me feel free and definitely contributes to my sense of wellbeing. That said I never really want to go, the enjoyment tends to come afterwards. I’m also a recent convert to trying to incorporate some Pilates into my week in a bid to improve my posture etc. I am not, however about to start boxing with Olu, she lives to far away and looking at her photos (and gloves) actually knows how to do it.] 

So with lovely fabric I set about finding some patterns to match. Greenstyle Creations kindly gifted me a pdf copy of their Super G Tights (I have preciously only ever used self-drafted patterns for leggings). As always I’m reluctant to offer an actual review on a gifted pattern as it’s likely to be biased from the start, but I can say that I sewed up a size small based on my measurements (only my hip measurement was slightly bigger than the chart) without a muslin and they fitted perfectly straight away. Although I did have to chop off about 2 inches from the length. My fabric was very stretchy though, and they are very fitted like you’d expect from something billed as tights. If i was using a more standard jersey I’d definitely size up.

The design features a gusset and side pockets which I like a lot, as it’s a perfect spot to put keys or a card without them jangling around. The pocket does cause a slight pull you can see in the side seam.

pocket detail

As the style is so stretchy I sewed my seams on my overlocker and then reinforced them all with a zigzag stitch on my sewing machine. My sewing machine (Pfaff quilt ambition) has a built in walking foot (called an IDT system I think) and seems to like sewing jersey fabrics a lot more than my previous ones, but if you’re struggling my tip would be to:

  • use the right needles – stretch needles
  • use the best needles ever – designed for use in the overlocker but seemingly work like magic on all fabrics in a regular sewing machine too.  I think they’re called Organ super stretch needles.
  • use a walking foot.
  • use a stitch that can stretch – I usually prefer a narrow zigzag stitch

With the rest of the fabric I sewed up a matching bra which again is a Greenstyle creations pattern, this time called the Endurance bra. As I bought this one a year ago I’m happy to review and give it a wholehearted endorsement. Of course different styles work for different people but once I made one of these no other sports bra would do. The style features a zip up front (I haven’t actually added a zip to this one yet as the one I ordered hasn’t arrived, but there’s also pictures of the previous one I made). It also has foam lined cups which offer good support, though I chose to size down for even more constriction which i find helpful for running. I ordered the foam and powernet from Fit2sew. You do also need a 6 inch open ended zip, and whilst the pattern suggests you can cut down and tuck in a longer one I’d recommend getting one the right length. I’ve tried both and the one I trimmed feels like it might be more likely to come undone (although that’s only actually happened once).

colour blocked greenstyle endurance bracolour blocked greenstyle endurance bra

Finally I made a top to match. It wasn’t intended to be a Star Trek costume but I think it inadvertently became one. I used the Fjara tank, adding some colour blocking to match the top and, much to my surprise actually managed to get the colour blocking to line up.DSC03316

I usually wear a looser baggier garment on top when I’m running anyway, for warmth in winter and for a bit more coverage in summer, or mix and match the items with others in my wardrobe. Or those that are now in my wardrobe after making up another Fjara tank and an Inari tee in very lightweight viscose jersey (bought at Tia Knight). I’ve heard viscose jersey is also reasonably good for sportswear but I will have to test it out.greenstyle super g leggings and fjara tank and inari teeThe viscose jersey was so thin that it was quite challenging to sew and I gave up the idea of hemming it as it kept getting sucked into the bottom of my machine, but the seams and neckline were straightforward enough using the overlocker. I’ve heard sewing with a layer of tissue paper under the fabric could be a solution but having already chopped off a cm from the hem from one failed attempt I didn’t want to loose any more length.

So the battle is over – but hopefully our competitive (or not) sewing might inspire you to try making your own activewear (whatever that means to you) too.

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