Since moving into my new apartment last month, I have been busy discovering all the cool stuff in my area (bonus that it’s all pretty walkable/bikeable, unlike at my last place in the middle of nowhere :P). One major selling point for me was that I am now super close – about 2 blocks, and again, walkable – to a really great greenway. The multi-use paths are nice and wide, mostly shaded by the trees, and there is a big creek that runs through it which means lots of cool bridges to cross! It’s a fantastic area for both cycling *and* running, and I’ve been taking full advantage of it.
While I have my fair share of workout wear, it quickly became clear to me that what I had was lacking pretty badly, at least for running. My preferred workout of choice has traditionally been hot yoga – where I tend to wear leggings or capris (you know, for the sake of whoever is unfortunate enough to practice right behind me hahaha) and they don’t need any pockets because you are standing in one place. I find those long pant lengths to be way too hot and restrictive for running, at least in the summer time. And I definitely need a pocket to hold my phone and keys, so I can listen to music and/or podcasts and keep my hands free! I noticed that Mood Fabrics has added a lot of performance/activewear fabric to their site, so this seemed like a good excuse to stock up and try them out.
I ended up making 3 pairs of shorts and a sports bra. The first pair uses Midnight Black Max Dri Performance jersey, although you can see here that they are much closer to a darker grey. I love these mottled jerseys and bought them in several colors!
Also – hello from my new studio! I’m still trying to get the hang of taking photos indoors (not cool enough to lug a tripod down the greenway and take action shorts, sorry guys), so I’m sorry that these are subpar.
The pattern I used is the Sewaholic Pacific Leggings – although, obviously, I made some changes to the pattern to turn them into little running shorts! This was as simple as drawing a line where I wanted the new hemline to be, making sure to include a 3/4″ seam allowance for hemming. I started out with a 4.5″ inseam, based on a pair of shorts I already had, but ended up taking another inch off before hemming. I like my shorts short enough for some buttcheek to peek out. Ain’t no shame in that.
I made this pattern before earlier this year, for a couple of full-length yoga pants (which I never posted about, ha). It’s pretty great in terms of fit. I sewed my usual Sewaholic size – a 0 – and even though the line is geared toward pear shapes, my un-pear-shaped ass fits in it just fine. The pattern has some cool seaming on the legs (which is awesome for color and pattern blocking), a nice snug waistband that stays in place, and a back zippered back pocket that is actually big enough to hold my iPhone 6 – check it out!
Now I can run to my heart’s content and know that my phone is safe and secure without worrying that it’s going to bounce out. This pocket is also big enough to hold my key and cash, should I need it (laugh all you want, but the greenway in question actually connects to a Target, soo… I’m just saying.).
The second pair of shorts is pretty much the same as the first pair, except I used the Husky Grey colorway instead. You can barely see the zipper in this picture – it’s pale blue (that was the closest match I had on hand in my stash).
As with the first pair, I used a combination of my serger + sewing machine to construct these. The zipper area gets stabilized with a piece of fusible stay tape (to keep the fabric from going haywire while you’re putting the zipper in), so it’s really easy to sew in. The waistband has clear elastic sewn inside the seam allowances at the top to keep things snug and in place. The only part I did not enjoy sewing was the gusset – that thing is super tricky! I found the only way to get it in even somewhat nicely was to baste with my sewing machine first (because you are gonna end up ripping it out multiple times, so you might as well make it easy on yourself) and then go over the basting with my serger. I am still not a huge fan of the gusset – it kind of gives me cameltoe, if we’re being completely honest here (aaand now that I’ve said THAT word, I’m gonna get some weirdos in here via Google search, lord). I just ignore it and figure – if someone is staring there hard enough to judge the ‘toe, I’ve got a much bigger problem on hand hahahah.
Last pair of shorts! These are a boring, basic black. The fabric is one that I have had in my stash for a couple of years – it’s a another dry-wicking activewear fabric, although I think it’s actually from Nike. My girl Lola sent me a yard of it way back in the day, so I’m not sure where it was purchased from. What I can tell you is that I put it in a really weird stash place and couldn’t find it for those 2 years, whoops. Imagine my delight when I unearthed it while packing for this recent move! Yay! In comparison to the stuff from Mood, this fabric is a lot thicker and more robust. It wears and dries about the same, but the heavier weight does make it feel like it’s a higher quality. It was a little more difficult to sew because it is more slippery, but not too bad. Even with adding a zipper and dealing with a tricky fabric, these shorts don’t take a lot of time – or fabric! – to make. And they are SO MUCH cheaper than buying some shitty Lululemon or whatever.
(In case you were curious, the yellow/grey sports bra is not a handmade – it’s RTW. I like the color combo though and would like to try something similar! Also, I have no idea what happened to the lighting in those photos! Took them at the same time as the others, wtf)
Finally, the sports bra! I’ll be honest – I am 100% a-ok with the stash of RTW sports bras in my drawer. I have a fairly small bust, don’t need a lot of support, and fit well within the size ranges that are available at the store. I tend to buy them on clearance, so they rarely cost me more than $15 a pop. I wasn’t totally interested in making a sports bra because what I already have works, but the Dunbar top pattern (also from Sewaholic) caught my attention enough where I figured I’d try it. I like the details and fabric combinations, and being able to use one of the cool printed Activewear fabrics that Mood Fabrics carries (or even just making a bra to match my shorts because I am SO that person) was a plus. So I tried it out, and I’m a fan! I spent a really long time debating what size to sew – and even traced the pattern just in case I chose the wrong one – but ultimately, went with my usual size 0 and the fit is pretty good. I ended up taking in the band elastic a LOT more than what the pattern calls for, but I have a small ribcage so that’s not surprising (I think the pattern calls for 26″ of elastic at the band, and my ribcage measures 27″. I needed more negative ease than that!). For the record, my full bust measures closer to the size 4, but the 0 was just the right amount negative ease for me.
I used – again! – the Max-Dri Performance Jersey, this time in Midnight Blue – for the main color of my top. For the dark blue contrast, I used navy nylon spandex. The top gets its support by compression – which is achieved with an underlayer of Powermesh . I can’t speak for every boob out there, but my experience with the support in this bra was great. Again, I ain’t rocking a huge cup size here and I don’t need much support to begin with, so take that as you will🙂
Anyway, the sports bra was a bit fiddly with all the little pieces – but it was overall easy to make. I used my sewing machine for the majority of the construction and elastic application, just as you would with a regular bra. I think it turned out quite nice! I think the ability to have really cool patterned/colored sports bras (especially using some of my leftover swimwear spandex, which I am totally eyeballing now) negates the downside of how fiddly it was to sew. It wasn’t even difficult to make, just time consuming with a lot of tiny pieces. Sort of like, I dunno, a bra. lolz.
I’m feeling pretty good about these new additions to my drawers! I didn’t realize how much more fun it is to exercise when your clothes are fun too – even if you’re going to get all sweaty, it’s nice to feel like you look nice while you’re doing it. And speaking of sweaty – these performance fabrics have definitely lived up to their “Max-Dri” hype. I still sweat – a lot! – but they dry very quickly, which is awesome.
I am pretty sure one of the things I said I would never make is activewear – so, I guess I take that back! Honestly, though, I’m running (lol) out of practical holes to fill in my closet, at least in terms of fun practical. Now I’m down to sewing things activewear, white tshirts, and panties. I really love the experience behind sewing and creating, but I don’t want to be wasteful and make things just to make them, you know? So this feels like a good compromise, even if it’s not a necessarily interesting end result.
Note: The fabrics used for some of these projects were supplied by Mood Fabrics, in exchange for my participation in the Mood Sewing Network. I should also point out that Tasia of Sewaholic sent me all the patterns in the Vancouver collection – which includes the Dunbar Top and Pacific Leggings – free of charge last year when the line launched. There was no stipulation that I needed to review the patterns, Tasia is just a nice person🙂 And I have nice things to say about her patterns because they are fucking awesome. That is all.