I sew nearly all of my running gear. Why?! Several reasons: I want a better fit than I can get in ready-to-wear stuff. The nicer quality activewear I covet is much too expensive for my budget. Plus I love crazy, loud running clothes-- for the fun of it and for high visibility & safety for the my urban running. I'm not a fast runner by anyone's standards (but who cares!!) and have not been a super long distance runner but am starting to train for a half marathon in late spring! Making my own running clothes is a huge motivator for me... I sew a sassy new pair of leggings or top, then I just have go out for a run to try them out.
I sewed up three long-sleeved tops and a pair of tights. I used the newly released Surf to Summit Top pattern from Fehr Trade along with the Ooh La Leggings pattern from Papercut. I've sewn every single one of the Fehr Trade patterns (& have been a pattern tester for every single one but actually was not a tester for this particular ladies top) but I muslined it all out first. A few weeks ago Fabric Mart had a wildly amazing sale on a bunch of New Balance fabric found in their Activewear category so of course I ordered (almost) every color. I used a bold pink from my order for my muslin and some purple and brown supplex bits I had in my stash for the mitts. I made a size small then graded to a large at the hip. I also added 1 1/2" to the length of the hem.
I found the underarms to be cut pretty high for me and went ahead and cut out 3/4" to lower it some. I've run and hiked in this pink version and the high underarm didn't cause discomfort, but I felt like there was just a small amount of excess fabric bunched up under there. You can see in the picture below how I removed that wedge from the pattern pieces.
My second version is in the shocking citron. I added in piping on the vertical seams in a dark pink. Both fabrics are that New Balance stuff. It's a polyester/lycra blend and is super stretchy with excellent recovery. I've run, hiked and washed all of these tops a couple times each already with zero shrinkage and no weird stretched out parts. It is a wicking fabric perfect for sweaty activities but I found it to not keep me really warm in below freezing temperatures. I've paired these tops with a fleece vest and it was perfect for the low 30s. In a side by side comparison to some knit Supplex fabric I have, they are basically identical.
My third Surf to Summit top is a solid grey New Balance fabric I picked up from Fabric Mart when I was in their brick & mortar store in early fall. I *wish* I bought more of it!! It's heavier weight and has a very soft wicking back.
I used more of the the dark pink New Balance fabric (the same color as the piping on the citron top) for the upper part of the tights and piping on the seams. I've actually never done a piping like this before and just improvised a very simple technique. I cut 1" wide strips long enough to cover the lengths of the seams. I then folded it half, pinned it to the edge of the seam and then joined my seams as usual with my pattern pieces.
I really like shaking things up on my hem finishes. I sometimes will use a twin needle and other times do a nice looking zig zag stitch. Both work really well, it's really a matter of what look I am wanting at the moment. I've seen a particular fancy-pants activewear clothing manufacturer use zig zag stitching on their hems and seams and liked the look (rhymes with LuluPhlemon.)
I use a serger for all my seams. I prefer to use Maxi-Lock Stretch Thread for my activewear serging-- it's soft against the skin and has a "fuzzy" quality like a yarn. I steer away from the regular cone thread for this sort of sewing, that stuff is great for my woven fabrics.
Another interesting thing to note, the elastic to use in the waist of a pair of tights. I've tried both non-roll and knit... I have a great affinity for the knit one-- it's very soft, more stretchy and moves much more comfortably than the stiffer non-roll elastic.
My husband was super sweet and took a couple photos of me in action. I wore the pink one hiking last weekend... it was so nice to have the mitts when the sun was starting to go down below the tree line. The photo on the right is moments after my New Year's Day 5k around my neighborhood. Don't look too close, I was a little sweaty. And P.S. I was at a New Balance store earlier today-- one long sleeved running top comparable to mine cost *more* than all the yards of fabric I got to make my own! Yeah, seriously. And it was very likely the same fabric.