Posted in Projects on Tuesday the 24th March 2020 by Vicki Ormerod
After a recent holiday to Canada and Northern America I discovered a love for athleisure wear. Whether your working out or relaxing on the couch, you cannot deny the comfort of a stretchy pair of leggings and a sports bra.
Sportswear is not something I would typically choose to sew. However I was up for a challenge to push my sewing skills to the next level ... and it wasn't as challenging as you might expect.
Let's start with the fabric choice! It was love at first sight! I chose a gorgeous charcoal grey Lady McElroy Ponte Roma Fabric. Such amazing quality! It is an opaque fabric with just a little stretch and good recovery (contains spandex). Squat proof and ideal for athleisure wear.
As a non athletic kinda person I knew that whatever I made, had to make me feel a particular way. Energized, fierce and last but not least fabulous! So when the MIGHTY sports bra was released by Evie La Luve I knew this was the one to make. Mighty by name and mighty on the support. It features a double layer, with a mesh overlay, with lots of elastic detailing, a racer style back and lots of options to mix things up a bit.
The only alterations I made was to increase the length by two inches (a common long body alteration I tend to need). The pattern suggests fabric with between 20-30% stretch so a scuba or ponte knit would work well, especially if you want a little extra support.
Although the construction looks a little complex it came together surprisingly quickly. Once the fold over elastic was successfully applied it was pretty plain sailing after that. If you’ve never applied fold over elastic before be sure to check out the tutorials on Evie La Luve’s Youtube channel, it is easier than you’d think. For this project I used both my sewing machine and an overlocker/serger to make sure all the seams where nice and strong. A combination of a twin needle and a zig zag stitch was perfect for the finish I was looking for.
For the main front piece I used the lady McElroy grey ponte roma and paired it with an Airtex Fabric overlay from my sewing supplies (previously purchased at Minerva). This worked well as the ponte roma provides great support and has the same amount of stretch as the airtex. For the back I wanted it to be as breathable as possible so decided that the airtex would be ideal and provide a bit of contrast. I decided not to include any hooks and eyes for the underbust band elastic and thought that it would be more comfortable without. However this does make it more difficult to take on and off. I will probably need to size up for my next one as I nearly dislocated a shoulder trying to get out of this one, so bear that in mind.
So the original plan was to make the Shelly leggings by Seamwork. I'm not going to lie to you, the leggings did not turn out as great as I had hoped. They were super simple to sew, with only three pattern pieces. They feature a curved waistband and a rather unusual long extended gusset. There is only one leg piece which means there is no side seam. The fit on these was a lot larger than I expected and without a side seam they were rather difficult to take in, so they ended up being rather unflattering on me. Oh well you live and learn - should have done a toile first. However, I did have a bit of fabric left over so decided to make the Seamwork Aires leggings as well.
I love the options for color blocking on the Seamwork Aires. I used black airtex mesh for the middle panel to give the leggings a bit of contrast and to match the sports bra. Oh my gosh these are comfortable! So practical and exactly what I had imagined. The pattern even includes a little pocket hidden in the back of the waistband. The gusset on these is considerably smaller than the Shelly legging but is big enough to have a full range of motion. They were a dream to sew. I overlocked all of the seams and then topstitched them down which helped to reinforce the seam and flatten it, so it is more comfortable when on the go.
So despite a little set back I am very happy with the way these turned out. If you’ve always wanted to make your own activewear I’d highly recommend the Seamwork Aries leggings and the Evie La Luve Mighty sport bra. They would make a fabulous addition to any handmade wardrobe! If you’ve made any sportswear let me know what patterns you love in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.
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