lundi 23 novembre 2015

Finished Project: Running my first Race in my Activewear

I wouldn't say that I only started running just so I would have an excuse to sew activewear... but almost.
I kind of became obsessed when I started following Dawn's blog Two on Two Off. I became really inspired both by her sewing productivity, and also by how athletic she was, running half marathons and such..all the while being a mother of 4...Anyways, hats off to this impressive lady, and soon I became obsessed with sewing my own tights and sports bra, etc...

As it happens, B. got really into trail running a couple of years ago, and after a while I figured I should give it a try, if only to see what all the fuss was about. So when he signed up for the Mountain Madness Hallow's Eve Trail Marathon, I decided to register for the 10km race. And there was my perfect excuse to sew some fun activewear!!! I won't lie, I was slightly more excited about all the pieces I was going to make than about the race itself.
Because the race was Halloween-themed, I thought I would use fun fabrics, rather than plain old black or grey. I found fabric with little superhero characters on Spoonflower and I knew it would be perfect for B (seperate post to come).
For me, I had my eyes set on something with skulls, and found a cool print from Spandex House.

Because the race was in October, I knew I couldn't just run in a sportsbra, I needed a top. I think someone had mentioned how good Icebreaker clothing were for winter outdoor activity, all made out of warm Merino wool...Since I was pretty set on making my entire outfit, I decided to source out Merino fabric online, and sure enough, I found what I was looking for at New Zealand Merino and Fabric.

I got a little merino-crazy and ordered 5 pieces of fabric (on the left of the print). 3 destined to become running/outdoor tops (orange, blue and black) and 2 to make everyday shirts (light grey for me and probably a Henley-type shirt for B in dark grey.) Merino is just so soft and cozy...I couldn't resist.
Once I had figured out my main fabrics, I put together a little mock-up of what i wanted the full outfit to look like:
For the patterns, the Cora tights by Jalie patterns felt like an obvious choice right away (especially after seeing it on Dawn's blog). For the bra i went with the Pneuma tank by Papercut Patterns, i liked the double straps and the tank version with a loose layer on top. I chose McCall 7261 for the top. I had just enough fabric to make the hoodie version, but I left out the pocket. I also wanted to make a merino vest with Mc Call 7026 but I ran out of time (currently on my sewing table though).
I then started researching online where to source technical fabric: Fabric that was breathable and moisture-wicking. After looking through ebay and amazon i finally came accross Spandez by Yard, an online store that carries an impressive amount of technical polyesther and spandex, from mesh to jersey knit, to various weights of wicking polyester, etc... I got some black and blue poly spande from the M-200 line, and some black nylon spandex tricot mesh (used in the bra).

I had never ordered so much fabric on the internet, and all at once. For a whole week I got a new package in the mail everyday, delivered to my work. My co-workers got to see the full extent of my sewing obsession! 
And then it was time to get sewing. Of course, even with planning this project a couple of months ahead, I ended up finishing the last item on the week of the race!

I made the tights first. The pattern comes with a side seam, but because I was using such a bold print, and didn't want to cut it up and have to match it, I taped the side front and side back together into one piece that would wrap around the side.

I cut size Q based on my measurements, lengthenning to size S at the bottom. Unfortunately when I first cut the skull fabric, I didn't take the stretch into account. My fabric had a lot less stretch than what the pattern recommends (there's a handy little scale to test your fabric stretch on the pattern cover). So even before sewing the pieces together I knew the skull pieces would be too small.

Instead of re-cutting a bigger size, I slashed my pattern piece in half lengthwise and added about 2cm of width. I also slashed it horizontally accross the crotch and added 2.5cm of height. I also had to adjust the pocket piece  (2.5 cm deeper), as well as the waistband.

After these changes I recut my skull fabric. The tights came together really fast and without any major difficulty. I used the patterns's recommanded technique for stretchy fabric: "First stitch: wide zigzag stitch along the edge of the fabric, without stretching the fabric", then "Second stitch: straight stitch 6mm from the edge, stretchy thefabric gently to preserve the seams elasticity".
I have worn the tights many times and haven't had any problems of stitches breaking, so I'd say it's a pretty realiable technique.

Next the bra. I won't go into much details as I've already written a full tutorial on how I added a lining and foam cups. As for size, based on my measurements, I cut between the two smallest sizes on the pattern and i didn't have to make any adjustments (see red line in photo below).

I used the main fabric for the front only, and used blue polyester wicking fabric for the back. I really like the contrast with the orange of the straps. Speaking of, those actually gave me the hardest time. I followed Sophie's tutorial on how to create elastic straps, but the turning over was a total pain in the butt. The safety pin kept un-hooking and I had to start over like 3 times. Those alone took me 2 hours to make.  

Finally, the hoodie. I cut a size 10, added 2.5cm to the bodice and sleeve length, and removed about 3.5 cm in sleeve width. I originally planned on making the turtle neck version, but I had enough fabric to make the hood, so I went with that. 

I think I also took in some of the hood depth when I was putting it together, I can't remember exactly. The merino fabric is pretty lightweight so the top turned out a bit more drapy, but I don't mind it.
You can't tell on the photos, but I used a slightly lighter thread to add a zigzag topstitching on the princess seams, the hood seams and the hem, just to give is a bit more interest.  The hem is a little wonky, proabbly due to the light weight of the fabric, but I can live with it.

The fit of the top isn't amazing, maybe a little too loose, but it's really comfortable, and soo warm! I actually wore it over another long-sleeve running top and I didn't get cold at all. I've been wearing this top pretty consistently since I made it to go run at night, and it's a great layer.

So that's it for my active-wear sewing spree! (well, aside from the running tights that I made for B, photos to come in a seperate post). It was quite the project and it's got me eager to make more pieces. I'm currently completing the final item (black merino vest), but I'll most definitely make more tights and the tank version of the pneuma pattern is on my list for spring.

Active wear sewing is quite popular these days, with so indie pattern designers coming out with their ow patterns. Are you sewing activewear? what are your favorite patterns?

10 commentaires:

  1. Wow! Well you definitely look like a professional runner :) I love everything and btw thankyou so much for the lined pneuma bra tutorial. I'm definitely going to be using that in the future. I've made one pneuma tank and one bra and I have the ooh la leggings pattern which I must get onto. Finding merino here in New Zealand is no problem - we are inundated, but performance fabric is near on impossible, I must check out online sources. Thanks for your inspiration!

    1. Hi Kate, Thank you for reading! and I'm glad you like the tutorial, I hope it's all clear enough! I'm in love with Merino, I'm restraining myself at the moment from buying anymore until I've sewn up the one I already have, but it's hard! Good luck with all the fabric sourcing and activewear sewing!

  2. That is an impressive ensemble! Like Kate in NZ we have no issues getting beautiful merino here in Australia - so,lucky I know. I'm not super keen on making my own active wear at the moment as my machine isn't the most awesome when it comes to knits with a high spandex content, but I enjoy seeing what others make, especially with such fabulous fabric!

    1. Thank you! Spandex can be tricky to sew for sure. My machine did pretty good with it, i didn't have any problems...

  3. Okay...that dia de morte pattern is fabulous! I love it! I've only ordered the free sample of stretch fabric from Spoonflower, but it looks like good quality. My problem is I get overwhelmed with the sheer volume of selection! Doing a mock up is a brilliant idea! I love the entire *line* that you've created. The pattern mixing on the tights is superb!

    I learned a method of turning narrow straps. I haven't tried it with stretch fabric though. After sewing the length of strap and across one end {tiny stitches across the end} I put a sturdy drinking straw into the hole all the way up to the stitching. Then, using a knitting needle, I gently feed the fabric down through the hole. I hope that makes sense. If not, email me and I'll try to explain further.

    1. Thank you Sue ! The Spoonflower Sport Lycra holds up really well. I ordered a yard for my partner's tights (post to come soon), and he ran a 42km marathon with them no problem. But I know, so many options! One thing I wish though is that they had better overlapping repeats. I find that on a lot of the designs, the repeats are pretty obvious, which can take away from the design itself if that makes sense... Thank you for the strap turning trick, i can visualize exactly what you mean! with this type of straps I would need a fairly wide straw though, because of the elastic that is sewn on the inside. But I will try it next time!

  4. Congratulations on your first race and your first activewear. Ive just begun my romance with sewing my own lycra activewear and have fallen in love with all the wild print options to choose from. I was curious what/how you made your mock-up to see what it would look like. I think it would be great to be able to have a visual of the finished piece before cutting into the fabric.

  5. Thank you! For the mock-up I grab the line drawings on the pattern's website, as well as pictures of the fabric (either online pictures or a picture i took myself in decent light(, and I use photoshop to layer everthing up. I play with the fabric scale and duplicate it if needed so that it covers the pattern line somewhat accurately. This tutorial explains it pretty well:
    Sometimes I also use the line drawing only if I'm trying to mock up merging too patterns (like a dress top with a different dress bottom). Hope this helps!

  6. Hi there, awesome site. I thought the topics you posted on were very interesting keep it up thanks.
    PS. Youractivewear

  7. So lovely dress that is. I just love it. I found some excellent fabrics from Spandex Collection in NYC near me which was a nice weight, not too beefy.