Hi sewists! It’s such a cliché, but almost everyone I know complains of overindulging over the holidays and it’s a lot of fun to do it! Believe me, I enjoy it. However, I went home for a whole month to the UK this year and I haven’t been back for a few years, so I went to town on all the lovely things I’ve missed since being away. Of course, the things you miss tend to be terrible for you (Tunnocks teacakes, fish and chips, sausage butties for breakfast, etc.) and a whole month of that has meant my clothes aren’t just tight on me – they properly do. not. fit.
So I was pretty excited to see that the January theme for #sewmystyle2019 was activewear. I’ve put on around a stone in weight since I did my triathlon last June, so was in need of some new bits and pieces as I kick off my 2019 exercise schedule. Now, you will never see me looking like this at the gym. I’m more of a loose tee or hoodie kind of girl (below) than a midriff-displayer, but in order to show you my projects – here you go! I made the Jalie Clara leggings and the Greenstyle Power Bra. There’s a fair bit to say about the power bra, so I’m going to talk just about the leggings today.
I made a few pairs of leggings last year and my favourites are my Megan Nielsen Virginia leggings, which have seen me through many, many workouts. But I wanted to try something with a high waist and gusset this year. The free P4P Peg Leg leggings work for many people, but just aren’t ideal for my body type (I tend to bloat very easily over the course of a day, so the lack of elastic in the waistband has proved something of an issue), so I decided it was time to try a dedicated activewear patternmaker that I’ve had my eye on for a while – Jalie.
This French-Canadian (patterns also in English!) active wear company has a wide range of leggings, sports bras and swimsuits, as well as lots of other sports- and performance wear for the whole family. I have to admit I almost bought the Cora leggings instead, because the colour-blocking is so pretty, and I’m a sucker for packaging (no shame). But I went for the re-issued Clara leggings as they had caught my eye last year and received good reviews at the time, from what I recall.
So – what to tell you about sewing a pair of leggings? These ones come in a great range of 27 sizes for girls and women: girls aged 2 to 13 and women’s sizes 4 to 22. They have several features that attracted me – a gusset for ease of movement, no side seam for a smooth fit, and a high waistband. In fact, you can make a simple elastic-waisted version and a pair of shorts in addition to the wide waistband full-length version, which I made. One thing I thought was interesting was that the instructions tell you to use elastic in the wide waistband as well. I haven’t seen this before and thought it would be good to try.
For fabric I used this Heavyweight Activewear Jersey from Jess at La Mercerie. Jess made a fantastic colour-blocked version of the Avery leggings, which led me to check out her stock. Great colours – it was very hard to choose. I opted for the pink and dark grey shown, as well as a lighter co-ordinating grey, so look out for more versions soon! Jalie recommends at least 60% stretch for these and this fabric has 70%, as well as a sun protection factor of 50 UV. All in all – it’s a great fabric for this project.
Construction was pretty swift. I removed two inches from the length (I am 5’6″), but that was my only adjustment. The instructions are very good – great pics and concise, but clear wording helps make this fun to sew. Because of the lack of side seam, the pieces are a slightly strange shape to begin, but just follow the instructions and they magically form into leggings. One tip: make sure to catch all of the gusset in the body piece when you sew them together. Mine slipped a little and I had to go back and re-serge that part.
Result: The waistband is very secure. I like the extra elastic (can’t even really tell it’s there as it’s not tight) and the final product feels a lot like a RTW product to me, which is high praise. The acid test is of course taking them out for a good run, which has exposed flaws in other patterns before. I’ve been for a couple of runs in them and I’m pleased to say I didn’t need to tug at these at all and never felt in fear of an unexpected indecent exposure incident. I’m not sure they are very flattering on my bum – but I’m not sure any leggings would be right now. I picked these because they are “high-waisted” and, as you can see, I really need the high waist. I would probably add another inch next time. Overall, I want leggings that are comfortable and durable, with a flash of colour. I’m not going to be sashaying around my local YMCA, so don’t care if they’re not the most figure-enhancing garment of all time. And based on those criteria – I like them a lot!
Tomorrow I’ll post my thoughts on my Greenstyle Power Bra.