An Athletic Inspired Mini Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Hey everyone! I hope y’all have had a great September – I can’t believe it’s over already! Was it just me, or did it seem to fly by particularly fast?

This month for the Mood Sewing Network I decided to do something a little different.  Rather than making one garment, I spent each weekend sewing up one article of clothing with the aim of filling in a huge wardrobe gap for me – workout/leisure wear.  All these garments were really fast makes, and I approached each as a little experiment.  If you’ve ever looked at RTW active wear you know that it’s a wild and wooly world of performance tech fabrics, compression tights, lululemons, celebrity designer collaborations, and $95 dollar leggings. Basically it’s overwhelming. And expensive. Like, so so expensive. So I did what any self respecting sewist would do and I decided to make my own.

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

I’m certainly not the first person to make my own workout wear, but I have to admit that this was an area of sewing that always intimidated me.  Mainly because of the fabrics.  You want workout clothes to move when you move, bend when you bend, keep you cool when you’re overheating, and to not become too much of a sweaty, dripping mess.  This is an area where manmade fibers are actually far more preferrable to natural fibers, and stretch knits are obviously more comfortable than wovens.  And jersey has always been much more of a foreign language to me than wovens.  You also want the seams to hold up to a good amount of strain (squats anyone?) which can be tricky when you don’t have access to industrial machines.

But I decided to dive in and I bought a couple different knits – both polyester and natural fibers – in different weights and chose a few really simple patterns to get me started. I should note that since ordering these fabrics I noticed that Mood online now carries a nice little selection of performance fabrics, including moisture wicking spandex and compression jersey. I’ll definitely be ordering some of those in the future!

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

The first garment I made was a sweatshirt using this Cadet Charcoal & Cream French Terry Knit  and the matching Rib Knit.  I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that the ribbing on this sweatshirt is an exact match! It makes the whole thing feel so professional. These are both really beefy fabrics, so I used my serger with a 4-thread-overlock to sew and finish all the seams in one.  The hem looks a bit wavy, but it really doesn’t bother me.  The pattern is Grainline’s Linden Sweatshirt view A.  It’s a great, modern fit, and in the classic athletic gray it’s already become the item I reach for everyday when I come home from work.

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

The next item I made were some leggings using this Black/Hollyhock Purple Double-Faced Viscose Jersey.  For whatever reason, my camera could not handle the color of these leggings – the color on the Mood website is a far more accurate depiction than this weird magenta color I’m getting here. This fabric is nice and thick, with the purple side being a slightly shiny poly and the black side, which I used as the wrong side, soft and cotton-y feeling (though I’m pretty sure it’s not cotton).  It has great two-way stretch and awesome recovery.  But what I really love about these poly leggings is that they are awesome at wicking moisture. I’ve worn them to workout in already, and even though I sweated buckets, about 5 minutes after my cooldown and stretch my leggings were nice and dry, and no unsightly color change when you do sweat (which I find particularly gross in pants… looks like you’ve had an accident). I used the Espresso leggings pattern from Cake patterns which is a fun pattern if you’re looking for a good legging pattern. It’s basically a grid and you plot your measurements on it so the pattern is made specifically to your size.

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

The next item on my ‘to sew’ list was a basic pair of black leggings.  For this I used a nice medium weight Black Cotton-Viscose Jersey. I love that this fabric looks and feels like a pair of black leggings you would buy in the store. It’s super soft and has a great 4-way stretch.  I used the same Espresso pattern as I did for the purple leggings, but just with the presence of vertical stretch as well as width-wise stretch these leggings ended up much longer than the purple pair.  The cotton content means they’re not great for super sweaty activities, but they are perfect for days when I’m just doing some yoga or stretching, or, you know, bumming around the house.  For both pairs of leggings I used 1 1/2 inch elastic in the waist because I prefer a wider waistband, and I finished the waist and the ankle hems using my sewing machines triple stretch stitch.  This stitch setting was a revelation for me, as it really is so much more stretchy than a zig-zag or twin-needle, which always end up popping for me with wear, and the look is nice and clean and professional.

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

Mood Fabrics Mini Athletic Inspired Wardrobe

And finally I made this racerback tank using some Black Heathered Cotton Jersey. This fabric is really interesting as it’s two transparent, tissue-weight jersey’s fused together, black and white, to create the heathered effect.  It’s super light and oh-so-soft.  I used a self-drafted pattern for this and sewed everything on my serger.  The neck and armholes are finished with a self-fabric binding, and I simply overlocked the raw edge for the hem.

And that’s it guys! Have any of you made your own workout wear? Any tips for a newbie?

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Comments


  • Sue
    September 30, 2015

    SALLIE these look so profesh! You look like an activewear model, and oh SO adorably ATHLETIC in your cute grey sweatshirt, especially. I vow to copy your Linden ASAP.

    • sallie
      September 30, 2015

      Thank you Sue!! I LOOOOVVEE my gray sweatshirt! Seriously I’ve been wearing it everyday!

  • Kathleen
    September 30, 2015

    You did a great job! I’ve considered making some workout clothes but stumbled into the same quandaries you describe so well – where to get the fabric and what fabric to actually use. So much of the commercial fabrics are just not available to the home sewer but you’ve offered some great suggestions here that has encouraged me! Thank you for sharing your work – challenges and successes. Overall I think your new workout wardrobe is fabulous and made to fit too!

    • sallie
      September 30, 2015

      Oh thanks Kathleen! I’m so glad this was a helpful post! Yes, I’ve found that polyester jersey is best for moisture wicking, and I stuck with simple patterns to start, but I think Sewaholic just released a couple activewear patterns and the leggings look great! They have so many details that I see on the higher end brands, like a gusseted crotch and an interior pocket and curved seams. Also take a look at Moods performance fabrics. They don’t have a HUGE selection, but I was pretty excited to see some wicking spandex and compression lycra there.

  • True Bias
    September 30, 2015

    ive never made my own workout wear but i really want to. these all look so great.

  • Mary
    October 2, 2015

    THANK YOU for this post! I am a competitive powerlifter and am hard on my workout clothes. They are all looking rather…er… worn, to put it nicely. :) I very much want to sew my own things but am daunted by the fabric selection. You have given me some great ideas. I”m now debating between patterns… Sewaholic (as you mentioned), Green Style leggings (and I LOVE the hoodie) and Sloan leggings. Oh, the possibilites! Keep on working out… great benefits all around!

  • Peter
    October 2, 2015

    These pieces look great, Sallie! FWIW, my RTW sweatshirts have that exact type of rippling: you’re stitching a wider circumference (the torso) to a narrower circumference (the waistband) by stretching the narrower piece to the wider one. Naturally when they rebound, there’s going to be some waviness. You did good!

  • Amanda S.
    October 2, 2015

    Wow, great job on all FOUR new additions to your athletic wardrobe. I’m putting those gray fabrics in a Mood board for later use. Matching knits are hard to come by.

  • Fiona
    October 3, 2015

    This is such an interesting post Sallie! I’m just thinking about making some active wear and all your info on the different fabrics and what to look for is so helpful! I’m getting right on those performance fabrics next month!

  • Lisa
    October 4, 2015

    I love your workout wear. You did great. Have you checked out the patterns on Fehr Trade, Melissa Fehr’s website? She has some really creative ideas. I made her PBJam leggings and felt like I was the coolest person at the gym.