Created by: Trish McLaughlin of Trish Stitched
For the past few years, running has become a saving grace when I’m feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, and my adventures in running have taken me on many 5k’s, a few half marathons and two full marathons. When I realized my two hobbies of running and sewing could come together, I was so excited!
I didn’t know where to start to make my own running gear. I researched all the patterns, drooled over fabrics I thought were appropriate, but felt stuck for over a year before I finally took the plunge. If you are feeling the same way, I’m here to tell you there is nothing to fear!
When I first started sewing active wear, I was nervous. Would I be able to make pieces that would hold up just like my store bought items? But, just like sewing other wardrobe pieces, your handmade items usually last longer than store bought! With the right materials and tools, you can give your gym wear a new look and if anyone asks, “yeah, you made it yourself!”
The number one fear I had about sewing activewear was what fabric to buy. Thankfully fabric.com makes it SO easy to find the right fabric for your project. A quick search of "activewear" will show a bunch of options for making leggings, sports bras, tops, and more!
There are a few qualities that make active fabric different from regular knits.
The first thing you want to look at is the content of fabric. Most active fabrics will contain polyester, nylon, spandex and/or lycra- contents that will give the material good stretch (and recovery) and should have the ability to wick away moisture.
When buying fabric, keep an eye on the amount of stretch the material has (fabric.com has all this info in the description!). Each pattern will call for a different amount of stretch, and having your pattern ready to go will help when purchasing fabric.
Fabrics I chose and what to make with them:
- Moisture Wicking Diamond Knit Black: Great for leggings, would also be great for an after workout jacket.
- Swimwear/Activewear Spandex Knit Stripe Turquoise: Great for Tops, Sports Bras, Leggings and Bike Shorts.
- Activewear Spandex Knit Solid Turquoise: Great for leggings, tops and sports bras.
- St. Maarten Swimwear Knit Stripes: Good for tops, shorts.
- Athletic Mesh Knit: Great for tops.
- Power Mesh Nude: Want to add lining and cups to a sports bra? This will help.
Almost all of fabric.com's’s fabrics can be sent in swatch form so if you want to do a few fabric tests for yourself, buy a swatch!
Sewing your activewear:
- Before using your fabric, pre-wash! This will shrink any material and prevent dyed fabrics from bleeding when wearing.
- Just like any sewing project, you need to use the proper needle. With active fabrics, a ball point or stretch needle is best.
Take your time! If you’ve sewn with knits, or even slippery material, you know that all fabrics aren’t always a walk in the park to sew with. For extra strength, sew your straight seam and in the seam allowances, finish with a zig zag stitch or serge and trim the seam.
Make it professional:
You don’t need to sew with a coverstitch machine, serger or even a double needle, you can create beautiful professional pieces with the basics. Many machines have decorative stitches that you can use to create interesting seams. Test a few out on extra material!
Store your fabrics:
Not ready to sew with the materials you bought? Store them properly! Leave a note with the fabric content so you can remember exactly what’s in it and can easily pair it with the right pattern.
My favorite Patterns:
- XYT Top from Fehr Trade
- Surf to Summit Top from Fehr Trade
- Cora Tights from Jalie
- Swim Shorts from Jalie
- Simplicity 8339
- Sloan Leggings from Hey June Handmade
- Pneuma Tank from Papercut Patterns
- Dunbar Top from Sewaholic
My Workout Outfit:
Using Moisture Wicking Diamond Knit Black, Swimwear/Activewear Spandex Knit Stripe Turquoise, and Activewear Spandex Knit Solid Turquoise, I made a pair of Sloan Leggings and Simplicity 8339. I love exercising in this outfit and it was a breeze to create!