When you search for activewear sewing patterns, you'll discover that the arena is quite empty. Very few patterns exist. Very few designers even delve into active wear. Just go look at all the pattern catalogs at Joann's. How many activewear patterns do you find? I can count them on 1 hand. Does that tell you something?
Yet, look around you. Do you see just how many people are wearing activewear? Majority of people probably own at least 1 piece of activewear (leggings, gortex jacket, convertable hiking pants, yoga pants, sports bra, or the beloved fleece). I looked around me yesterday and within a 10 min span, I counted more than 10 people wearing their "running gear" for casual Sunday wear. We want to be comfortable, yes? I do. I love this stuff.
Today's post is a review of 2 patterns from 2 different activewear pattern designers: Kwik Sew and Melissa Fehr of Fehr Trade.
Kwik Sew Leggings
Side Panel Leggings, a mash-up of K3988 and K3770
You can't tell from the image above left, but K3988 has a gusset. I sewed these up entirely in the aqua fabric (no stripes) and included the gusset. I measured twice, but somehow, the gusset introduced weird gobs of fabric at the crotch. And I mean weird! "Oh lordy lordy, what am I going to do?" I thought. I didn't want to waste the lovely aqua fabric I'd picked up at Billie's Designer Fabrics on the Portland Shopping Trip. Crap!
We did not work on K3988 at all. It felt right to work with a simpler pattern, then work into the gusset.
I ripped out all the work I did on K3988. Then, I took the adjusted patterns and laid them against K3988 cut out and previously sewn pieces. You could say they were ever so slightly distored by the sewing process, but I didn't care because I was a) learning and b) making sure not to waste the fabric.
I had to increase the size of the side panel a wee bit to accommodate the seams I had to rip out and some I had to cut off. No problem. I added a piece of white swimsuit material - a nylon lycra. Since I wanted something more funky, I took a small amount of black & white striped T-shirt knit (single knit) and stitched it to the white. Then added the panel to my aqua capri pieces. Ooo exciting and shocking colors. Fun! I finshed them off with a simple zig zag and a very tiny seam at the hem. I really dig these and use them a lot for yoga. The aqua fabric is a bit revealing on the more bumpy and lumpy parts of my body, which I love but prefer to minimally advertise, so I choose to only wear them at home for the moment. But I'm ok with that. The only down side of these pants is that the black & white knit is ripping/tearing like a pair of nylons do when you pull a thread or catch them on your nail. Boo! But a good lesson, maybe not a good fit to use the t-shirt knit with such heavily stretched activewear.
Fehr Trade XYT Workout Top
a Running or Yoga Top with a built-in Sports Bra
The first of her patterns I blogged about were the PB Jam Leggings. Lovely pattern. Today I'm sharing with you the XYT Workout Top.
As you can see in the pattern cover to the left, the pattern has 3 back styles. An X, a Y, and a T. Awesome, I have flexibility! And, don't you love that Melissa modeled herself?
Because I have a full bust, I chose to start with the X back. I figured that would give me the most support and evenly distribute the weight of my bust across my shoulders. Sometimes, I get headaches from sports bras because they pull on my neck muscles. So I have to think about that. I looked over Melissa's instructions for adjusting the pattern and even contacted her directly to as about adjusting for the "top heavy". She was so helpful in her reply, even sent me a sketch to help illustrate! For my first version, I chose to keep things simple and add a little to the sides and add to the length rather than do a full bust adjustment (FBA).
If you notice the photo below left, you see multiple seam lines that run cross-body. The reason is that I ran out of the aqua fabric. Thinking back, I would do it differently because as you can see in the bottom photos, the line shows up quite clearly across my bust. There's no hiding it. But, I'm glad I tried it because now I know what it does. I hind sight, I would actually ditch the multiple pieces for the internal shelf bra and cut it entirely out of the sky blue (#0696) Italian Nylon Lycra from Seattle Fabrics. Lesson learned.
I did shorten the straps, after trying it on, where the X attaches to the back. I would have shortened at the shoulder seam, but the elastic is all one piece and I'd have to rip a TON. So, I opted to just shorten at the mid-back seam. Worked out well, the top stays up and in place well and I don't get any major pulling on my neck & shoulder muscles to result in a headache.
I do have a weird twist that occurs around the bust line and some drag linse at the shoulder, but I wonder if an FBA and a more slippery fabric underneath would have helped those disappear. Next time I will likely run the bra all the way up to the shoulder seam even if it adds a little bulk, it may also eliminate some drag lines and add support.
What shocked me is that the anti-bounce, firm hold bra top gave me so much cleavage I could have knocked my eye out. Oh good lord that is way too revealing for me. I took the photos though, so I'm not spilling out every which way. My first thought was, "um, this is at home wear.". I don't need any more attention on my bust than when I'm modestly covered. But...
Speaking of support, I'm also pleasantly shocked by how little things wiggled while I pranced about on my walk. Instead of letting myself worry about cleavage attention, I wore this as a base layer under my wicking t-shirt and fleece running shirt. It was amazing. I mean amazing. When I got home and was all sweaty from working out (yes, I sweat), I suddenly noticed that the bra and supporting elastic did not move and I did not once fuss with it while walking. I have other bras that pinch, rub, or are too lose and move around on my body. Not this one. It held firmly and also was really, really comfy. I'm really happy! So, that was the kicker for me.
I will definitely make another XYT top. Next time, I will:
- include a full bust adjustment (FBA)
- Try the other style backs.
- Lengthening it so I don't show off my belly if I raise my arms.
For having made only 1 other sports bra and pair of leggings, I'm quite pleased with myself!