Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane


This is What Happens When…..

A home sewer joins a gym……dscn6568After the flurry of sewing posts in August I fell silent for a few weeks and this is the reason why.

Yes, you heard that right. I looked at my thickening waistline in my not-lost Lea wrap dress and decided to take affirmative action. I’ve joined a gym! (Again). However, this time, it’s different – why? Because I sew……….

1980sclothes_p3tauqI really didn’t want to look like Jane Fonda (actually I did!) or wear the 1980’s aerobic  workout gear with headbands and leg warmers.  I know vintage is fashionable but really, there is a limit….bc7df4e1f23e67fbf3ef826d50d85dc5

It seems to be the style nowadays, at least at my gym, to not look like you try too hard with workout clothes – it doesn’t matter if they don’t match or belong to a ‘set’. It’s the “I just threw this on” look.; “I’m more interested in my workout than my workout clothes”.

I don’t do running and jumping stuff and my chest dimension is moderate so that gives me an opportunity to sew some easy workout gear.

Rhonda wrote a very timely post this week about athleisure clothes and I took some inspiration from this. Thankfully we don’t have to spend $98 for a pair of Lululemon leggings – just 1 metre of lycra fabric at £5 makes up a pair of leggings and a cropped top.

I’m doing lovely posturing exercise classes – Yoga, Pilates, BodyBalance etc and they need flexible leggings and tops that don’t ride up. The gym sessions include rowing, cross trainers and mucking about on weight machines. So I tried to sew a workout wardrobe that encompasses both.

Most fabrics are from Fabworks and as far as I know are not specifically manufactured for working out but so far, they’ve performed very well, unlike myself.

Why sew your own? Well, I suppose it’s the same reason we sew normal everyday clothes: no-one else will be wearing the same thing, I can make whatever length and breadth I like, I can choose my colours, I can add little details like tabs for locker keys or pockets, and the cost!

Mainly sewed in a palette of turquoise and pink with a bit of black and grey and, when combined with some RTW navy, black, grey bottoms, forms a very versatile collection that will take me easily from one week to another.

Some details: I changed the tension in the left needle on the overlocker with a contrast thread for an interesting stitch detail in black and white leggings: sliced up a leggings pattern to include a contrast spiral: drafted top from RTW with shoulder strap bands.

Want some action shots?

Leggings pattern – McCalls  6173 and takes 30 mins to sew6173

Dark pink top – drafted from RTW

Pale pink top – Merchant & Mills Bantam top with hemline band and added shoulder contrast.


Leggings – Vogue 9108 (Marcy Tilton)  with added spirals

Top – drafted from RTW with added side panels


Top – as above in turquoise knit marl.

I have lengthened most of the tops and dipped the back to cover my backside. As the tops are racer-back, I have made cropped tops – essentially half a T-shirt, to wear underneath to cover the bra straps.


And when it’s time to go home, just throw on a Holiday top with added front pouch. Same fabric as top above.


The girl who would only ever wear sleeves is now wearing racer back T-shirts…..


and getting muscles.