Saturday, July 20, 2013

An Activewear Sewing Frenzy! Burda, Kwik Sew and Jalie!

This week has been a scorcher here.  The heat index has been so dangerously high that I haven't been running... that was my thermometer in the shade of my back porch at 10 AM yesterday-- a steamy 106F (41C).  So instead I've been inside sewing summer activewear!

First off, I made two more running skirts.  They are Jalie 2796, which is meant to be a skort with shorts attached.  I excluded the under shorts because I like to have the option to wear them over compression shorts or longer pants in the colder months.  I used a combination of supplex and some other tech fabrics. The side pockets are seriously so nice to have to tuck things in while on a run.  You can see my original posts on these Jalie running skirts here on my blog-- it gives details on my experience making them.

The sassy yellow top is another modified version of one of my new favorite activewear patterns.  It's a Burda magazine pattern from 6/2013 (available for download on Burda's website also.)  You can see my first version here and my second version here.  I cut in more on the back reducing the fabric.  The yellow poly/spandex tech fabric was a real butt to sew up!  I could not for the life of me use my regular sewing machine to top stitch ANYTHING on it.  I switched my needles, stitches, lengths, tension, etc. and nothing worked.  So much rumpling and wrinkles... aaggh!  My second version was best as I used really nice quality fabric with top stitching.

I had to improvise on hemming it as my usual twin needle hemming technique wouldn't work.  I used my serger to do some tricky hemming.  It's not perfect but I refused to trash the shirt!  I've worn and washed it once and it wears nicely.  I even inserted a bit of colorful fabric on the front, top shoulder.

But what's totally new here is this Kwik Sew 3672 top.  I spied a review of this a couple weeks or so back on and loved the back.  It has a shelf bra inside, which (as I knew it would) ends up being a very light duty bra even after some major downsizing and altering of the bra.  I had to tweak the pattern some to make this work better for me.  Plus I had to make a few changes because there are some weird things going on with the elastic and finishing if I were to have followed the directions.

I cut a size medium for the bust/shoulder grading to between a large/xlarge at the hip.  I also extended the bodice length by 1 1/2" (3.8 cm).  I used a nylon/spandex material, the same material as my Bombshell Swimsuit.  This top is very, very close fitting and the bra is meant to be be more of a light duty one, ideal for yoga or other low impact activities. Ideally I wanted it to be for running so I cut the width of the bra to a small and made darts out of the shirring under the bust.  This helped but it's not even close to any sort of running bra.  I'd think that it would have been a baggy mess of a bra under my top if I left it as as.  Unfortunately the darts show through on the outside... oh well.

Kwik Sew 3672 top inside out.  The darts reduced the fabric bulk.
One thing I really disliked about this pattern: the exposed elastic to rub on your skin!  The directions tell you to attach the wide elastic along the bottom of the shelf bra where directly it would be against your body.  No way... that would be painful the moment I start to move!!

I serged my elastic underneath to hide it between the main and bra fabric.  I also used a wider elastic 1" (2.5 cm) elastic.  There is elastic all around the armholes and neckline, something I'd usually not do for a running top, but it's meant to give some bust support.  I used a technique I learned from Jalie patterns to attach this narrow elastic.  The back straps have no elastic- I followed the directions and just folded the seam allowance under and did a twin needle top stitch- not the best finish but looks fine enough on the outside.  Also the seam on the top of the bra inside is left raw and unfinished... I should have caught this, I would have like to finished it.

I cannot wear this shirt running without a real compression bra .  I was sad because a bra layered underneath would take away from the interesting looking back straps, but it's fine. I might make this again minus the shelf bra-- as the bra is basically useless for what I want.  I'd do some better seam finishing without elastic.

 Also I'd use fabric with a little more stretch, the pattern calls for 70% stretch, this material is maybe 40% causing a tighter fit.  The large, exposed areas of the back and shoulders feels really nice for hot days.

I think I need to do some work and try to make a running top with a real running bra underneath like Becca did so beautifully.  Now I am on to make something fun and/or pretty to wear for my birthday coming up.


  1. I recently bought this Kwik Sew pattern for the same reasons. I'll be watching to see how it goes together without the built-in bra, because those built-in things are pretty worthless in my experience as a full busted gal.

  2. Oh, I love your new running clothes! That Burda pattern really works well for you. I have been eying the Kwik Sew pattern for yoga, but if you had trouble with it there is no way a newbie knit and activewear sewer like me can hope for a pseudo-professional finish!

  3. Thanks, Kelly!! The actual pattern is pretty easy to sew up following the really clear directions... but I don't know who in the Kwik Sew design dept. thought to have elastic rubbing against your skin is a good idea even if your doing yoga. I think I am a bit more critical of this pattern because I was really attentive to the details... plus my #1 goal for any activewear I wear (RTW or handmade) is that it's 100% comfy and I never have to think about the clothes during whatever activity I'm doing, i.e. no tugging, pulling, chaffing, etc.

  4. Yes, this will work out nicely without the built-in bra... seriously those sort of bras are useless for me even with a smaller bust!!!

  5. Wow, you've been busy! They all look very cute and comfy. I can totally sympathize with the wows of the built-in bras. I'm still working to get one just right. Thanks for mentioning my exercise top. You're too sweet! :) I still have some improvements to make to the pattern I drafted. It's tricky trying to get it tight enough, but still comfortable.

  6. Hi your outfits!...very sporty..well made..and look great on you..keep up the good work.
    Andre in Miami Beach...

  7. Hi your outfits!..very sporty..well made..and look GREAT on you.Keep up the good work..
    Andre in Miami Beach.