This is a special blog post on a challenge I'm hosting for the Alethia's "Sew Much Talent (GR)" group on Facebook. The challenge runs the month of February and I'm really excited, especially since I've never sewn any workout gear before! So to help others who are joining the challenge, I'm going to devote this blog post to the Workout Gear challenge.
First, the Patterns. There are so many on the market to choose, from you could easily become overwhelmed! If this is your first time making workout gear, I would suggest selecting a very easy pattern. Depending on what you want to make, below are a few options out there.
McCalls 7261 On Sale @ JoAnn Fabrics 2/2/16 for $1.99
(Rated "Highly recommend" on PatternReview.com)
McCalls 7514 On Sale @ JoAnn Fabrics 2/2/16 for $1.99
Kwik Sew 3660
Jalie 2796 Rated "Highly Recommended" on PatternReview.com
Jalie 2444 Rated "Highly Recommended" on PatternReview.com
Jalie 2795 Rated "Highly Recommend" & "Great Wardrobe Builder" on PatternReview.com
Second, the Fabrics. There are many types of knit fabrics you can use to create workout gear and there is one thing they all have in common...stretch! However, they are all not created specifically for workout gear. So if you truly plan on using your garment to workout in, there are a few things to keep in mind. Technical, also known as "High Performance" fabrics are most used in the making of workout gear. Stay away from knits like cotton which can hold 25 times it's weight in water and takes a long time to dry. Not something I would want to workout in! Technical or High Performance fabrics are "wicking" fabrics that helps your body stay cooler by keeping moisture on the surface. Here's a definition of Wicking fabrics...
Wicking fabrics are modern technical fabrics which draw moisture away from the body. They are made of high-tech polyester, which, unlike cotton, absorbs very little water.
Below are links to a few online fabric stores that carry a variety of High Performance or Wicking fabrics:
SpandexByYard.com (one of my favs; little pricey)
Michael Levine, Inc. (one of my favs; little pricey)
Mood Fabrics (pricey)
*Updated 2-3-16* So Sew English Fabrics
*Updated 2-3-16* Kathy's Lace & Elastic Outlet (Etsy)
Amazon (don't forget about them!)
Also, check your local JoAnn's for High Performance fabrics...they have it too!
Third, Needles and Thread. When working with knit fabrics, always use a "ball point", "stretch" or "jersey" needle (that includes "Twin" needles for hemming!). Size depends on the weight of your fabric. I typically use #10, #11 or #12. I've used "universal" ballpoint needles before...however, you get the best performance with the ones shown below.
Threads...if you don't want to expose yourself with a "popped" seam, LOL! stay away from 100% cotton thread! Polyester thread provides the best stretch for sewing knits. However, you can use cotton wrapped polyester too (like Coats & Clarks Dual Duty)...it provides both strength and stretch.
Fourth, Machines and Sewing Feet (the machine's feet, not yours, LOL!). Both Sergers and Sewing Machines can be used when sewing Workout Gear (I do use both!) The Serger is easy and basically needs no explanation because the stitches automatically have the stretch needed for knit seams. Sewing machines can also be used...but to be successful in sewing your workout gear, you need to follow a few suggestions.
If your machine has a Stretch stitch, use it! If not, try a Zizag stitch...on light to medium weight knits, try using a stitch length of 1.5 and a width of 5. This setting closely mimics the look and function of an overlock stitch. When sewing, remember to backstitch at the beginning and end of every seam to secure, then trim seams. Also, support your knit fabric while sewing, never force fabric by pulling from behind or forward to prevent stretching.
The three most popular styles of Sewing Machine Pressure Feet to use for sewing your workout gear are...
- Knit Foot (I need to get one!). This knit foot has holding teeth that holds the fabric at just the right moment as the needle is going down through the fabric. The foot is designed to work with your machine's needle bar. As the needle bar goes up, it lifts the lever on the knit foot which pulls up the holding teeth and allows your machine's feeding system to advance the fabric forward for the next stitch. Price approximately $6 - $14.
- Plastic Zizag Foot (what I use now when I use my sewing machine). Most machines come with one and can be all plastic or an "all purpose" one that has metal on the bottom of the foot. The "all" plastic is recommended. Price approximately $10
- Walking Foot. Attaching this foot to your machine is not as quick and easy as the others above...using it also helps move knit fabrics evenly through your machine (like the Knit Foot) so they don't stretch out of shape. However, it can be cumbersome when sewing curves or turning corners, you may not obtain consistent stitches. (But perfect for straight seams!) There are many brands and styles that can run you from $15 - $130.
Lastly, Sewing With Knits Tutorials. I love working with knits (my preferred fabric!). However, this is my first time creating Workout gear...So I've done a bit a research over the last couple of days to prepare myself and wanted to share my findings with you all! Below are some of the sewing tutorials I found helpful and hope you do too!
*Updated 2-3-16* Sewing With Stretch Fabrics (Colleen G. Lea)
*Updated 2-3-16* Beginners Guide To Sewing Knits (Sewing Parts Online)
*Updated 2-3-16* Knit Fabric Types (That's What Chey Thread)
That's it for my little research! I hope this will be as informative for others as it has been for me compiling it! I'm not done with my research, there's SO MUCH out there...I will continue because I am truly "hyped" about creating my very own workout gear!
Thanks so much for stopping by and until next time...