GreenStyle Power Sports Bra Workout Top Hack

How I Made A Good Bra “Workout” Better

I was lucky enough to be one of the GreenStyle Power Sports Bra pattern testers.  As soon as I made my first Power Sports Bra, I knew that I was eventually going to hack it into a workout top.  I like pattern testing.  It gives you a chance to try a new pattern, give your feedback on the fit, construction, and pattern directions.   At the end you get to show off your beautiful creations, so you feel like a model wearing something that you made.  I like the fit, style and multiple options on the pattern, and knew that it would make a cute workout top!

I used gray Supplex from Phee Fabrics for the bra portion of my top.  Since the bra needs to be comfortable, supportive, and able to withstand sweaty workouts, your fabric needs to be moisture wicking with good stability and excellent recovery.  Supplex is my go-to fabric for workout wear.   I used tricot for the body portion and straps because it comes in fun colors, and is also moisture wicking and abrasion resistant.  It is important to use powernet when making a bra.  The support and smoothing provided by powernet is, in my mind, essential to achieving a high quality finished product.  An added bonus is that I don’t have to use bra cups when I use powernet!  It’s that good at keeping “the girls” in place.

Omitting the band, I cut out my bra per pattern directions, as well as cutting a layer of powernet for all the bra pieces.  I trim the powernet about 1/8″ smaller on all sides (which is much easier if you have a rotary cutter).  Doing this will cut down on the bulk in your seams.  I then baste the powernet to my lining pieces, and treat them as one piece moving forward.

top cutOther than the straps, I sewed the bra together per pattern instructions.  While I love the look of the double straps, they are more time consuming to construct.  So I still cut out four strap pieces, but used them flat (as main fabric and lining fabric) rather than as double straps sewn to each shoulder.  I used powernet in my straps rather than adding elastic.

top strapsOnce you’ve sewn your main and lining pieces together along the top, try the bra on, adjust the straps to length, then push the straps through the openings and stitch.

top strap finishTo avoid bulk, be sure to trim the seam allowances at the back strap openings on an angle before turning the bra right side out.  It’s important to press as you sew.  It helps everything lay more smoothly, and gives your projects a more professional finish.  See the difference pressing makes between the left and right straps in the photo below?

top press

Now you’re at the part where you would normally add the band, but are instead going to make it a workout top.  I used the GreenStyle Lille Tank as the tank portion of my workout top.

I literally used a Lille tank that I had made previously, but never wear because I didn’t do a good job on the binding.  Since it was just taking up space in my workout wear drawer, I decided to upcycle it by cutting the top straight across below the arm openings.  The extra length gave me the opportunity to add ruching to the sides.

top bodyThe Lille body was wider than my bra.  If I were making the body out of Supplex, and wanted it more fitted, I would have slimmed the top of the body a bit.  Since I was going for a drapier fit with ruching, I just matched up my quarter points and eased the body to fit the bra.

top to braI could have added a band with elastic on the inside at this point, but wanted to try something else.  I used 3/8″ swim elastic cut to fit me at the snug yet comfortable length (just like you would trial fit the wider elastic in the band).  I overlapped the elastic and stitched it together making a circle.  Then I matched up my quarter points, and zig zagged the elastic to the seam allowance.  After that, I flipped the seam allowance toward the bra, and top-stitched it in place.
top elasticTo ruche the sides, I cut two pieces of swim elastic a couple of inches shorter than my side seams.  I zig-zagged the elastic to the side seams and ta-dah, instant ruching!
top backWhen I go to the beach to get photographs in my makes, sometimes silliness overtakes me.  But we’ll just say I was jump testing the workout top to ensure that everything stays in place!

top jumptop laugh

This workout top passed the jump test with flying colors! 😉  Working out is more fun when you wear cute, comfortable, me-made outfits.  🙂

Happy Sewing!

Welcome 2019

The sun has set on 2018 and 2019 is here.  Many people make resolutions of things they want to change or accomplish in the new year.  I remember celebrating New Year’s Eve at our brother and sister-in-laws home maybe 25 years ago when we all wrote our resolutions on a piece of paper, and put them in a shoebox.  Our sister-in-law put the box up on top of the china cabinet and said we should read them in a year.  I don’t recall if that’s what we did, but I do remember that my resolution was for us to buy a house.

It’s fun to recall memories of time spent with people we love.  It may or may not be so pleasant to recall the events of the past year.  Perhaps we have lost someone we care about, or lost a job, had a health scare, or aren’t happy with our current situation in life.  We have little or no control over some of these things, but we can work and make changes to help with others.  Everyone knows that they should eat healthier, and probably need to exercise more.  Taking a different perspective, improving our attitude, and putting in the hard work that is necessary can help us to change things.

One thing though that should be a constant in our lives is increasing our faith and reliance on God.  That may not be a particularly “cool” thing to do in today’s society, where popular culture tells us that even if God is real, we don’t really need Him.  You might think that too.  But what do you do when things are tough?  Who do you rely on?  Who do you thank when things are good and life seems to be going well?

I can tell you that I have faced hard things in life, the deaths of my Dad and all of my grandparents.  The unexpected and shocking death of our 35 year old niece comes to mind.  Like nearly everyone, we have faced financial challenges, health concerns, and dealt with all the normal problems and issues that arise in life.  But the problems have not overtaken me, because I have faith.  Sometimes it seems so hard to put it in God’s hands.  We like to try to control everything.  (Insert sound effect of a buzzer here, eeeee!)  Nope!  We can’t!  I have peace of mind because of my faith in God, in Jesus.  No matter how insurmountable our problems may seem, it will all work out in the end.

If you feel like you’ve lost your faith, or don’t think that you’ve ever had it, I invite you to open your heart.  God does not demand faith.  He doesn’t push His way into your life.  He knocks on the door and waits to be invited in.  That tiny little spark of desire in your heart?  Feed it!  Read the Bible, go to Mass, visit a church, pray, and talk to God.  Nourish your soul.

Go ahead and make your resolutions to workout, go to the gym, eat healthier, lose weight, etc.  But you can accomplish so much more and live a calmer, happier life by increasing your faith.  I challenge you to truly open your heart to God.  Invite Him into your life.  Put your troubles, problems, and desires in His hands.  Trust Him, talk to Him, and let peace and joy enter your life.

sunset 12-30-18

The sun has set on 2018, and 2019 is here.  Let the new calendar year be the beginning of a better year with the peace of Christ in your heart.

Good Morning!

It’s Another Beautiful Day

Early morning is a peaceful time to write and reflect.  It brings the promise of a new day no matter what the frustrations of the previous day were.  Yesterday I went to yoga, had just eaten breakfast and finished my chores to settle in for some sewing when the power went out.  Not just a little flicker, but out and didn’t come back on.  Dan was gone on a business trip, and we pay our bill online, so I didn’t have any paperwork to reference for an account number or the phone number to call the utility company.  I used my phone to search and was able to report the outage online, and the power was estimated to be restored in 3 hours.

Normally this wouldn’t be that big of deal, I could go for a walk, read a book, etc.  But it was a windy, chilly 55*F, so a walk didn’t sound fun.  And I am participating in a pattern test, and really needed to get sewing so I could turn in my fit photos on time.  I enjoy pattern testing.  You get to participate in trying a new and possibly challenging pattern.  Your input helps perfect the pattern so that it will fit multiple body shapes and sizes well, and ensure that the instructions are easy to follow and will help give sewists the direction they need to achieve professional results.  I take it seriously and put pressure on myself to do a good job.  Not being able to sew was a bit frustrating.

Fortunately the wind died down a bit and it didn’t get too cold, and the power came on sooner than anticipated.  Things improve.  We experience stressful situations, things don’t always go the way we like.  But every sunrise is a new beginning, a new opportunity for a good day.  I love early mornings.  It’s the perfect time to appreciate life. With coffee in hand and the cat snuggled against my legs I can write, watch the sunrise, and know that it’s going to be a beautiful day!

Lynx 12-6-18

So take a deep breath, forget your frustrations, appreciate your many blessings, enjoy the sunrise, and have a beautiful day!

GreenStyle Super G Tights

Workout Wear Within A Yard

I like yoga.  I love sewing.  Combine these two statements and the logical conclusion is sewing workout wear.  If you’ve looked through an Athleta catalog, or wandered through Lululemon or any other high-end workout wear store, you have probably been a little taken aback by the prices.  There is some justification to their price because high quality performance fabric isn’t cheap.  And you want fabric that is anti-microbial and moisture wicking if you’re planning to work up a sweat while working out.  However, $98.00 yoga tights aren’t within my budget, and the fabric isn’t that expensive!

I go to yoga 4 or 5 times a week, so I need a lot of workout wear.  I’ve made workout leggings out of swim and “Loungeletics” fabric from JoAnn Fabrics, and they are cute and comfortable at first.  But the fabric gets a bit baggy and stretched out after wearing them all day.  And they certainly aren’t moisture wicking.  Which brings me to Supplex from Phee Fabrics.  This is the high quality fabric that the high end stores use for their workout wear.  It is 18 oz./linear yard (400 grams per square meter)!  It holds everything in place, and has wonderful 4-way stretch with excellent recovery.

I recently bought the GreenStyle Creations Super G Tights pattern and was excited to add a new style into my rotation.  I chose the Super G’s because there is a side panel with pocket option.  And we all know that pockets are life! 🙂  Especially pockets that are big enough to hold a large phone in a sturdy case.  I like capri length workout tights because I live in Florida, and Ashtanga yoga is sweaty!  The Super G’s have a gusset that gives the tights excellent stretch and flexibility without irritating seams in sensitive areas.

However, the gusset pattern piece is longer than 36 inches, and I was working with a yard of fabric.  I turned this potential problem into a design element by color blocking my fabric about 3″ at both ends of my gusset piece.  It gave me a fun triangle accent on the inside of my calves.  I used white powernet for the color-blocking and side pocket panels.  It gives my legs a little bit of ventilation as well as being a great accent.

I added an inch to the rise of my tights because I am tall and a little curvy.  Could I have gotten away without the extra inch?  Absolutely!  But I’m sure I’m not the only one who likes a little extra coverage on the tummy!  I also decide to curve in the center back seam a little bit before adding the waistband.  I made sure to alter my pattern piece for future use.

super g cb seamsuper g cb alter

I took larger seam allowances on the contoured waistband to make it a bit smaller as well.  Adjusting patterns to suit your body shape is one of the reasons we sew.  We can customize the fit, and design fabric and color combos that work for us.  The simple gray and white color scheme of my workout tights means that they will match nearly every workout top I own.  And since I only used a yard of Supplex, they are well within my budget!

fold super g
warrior super g

If you haven’t tried yoga, I encourage you to try a class or two.  It’s not only great exercise, but the steady breathing helps bring calmness and focus into your life.  And if you haven’t tried sewing workout wear, give it a shot!  The Super G Tights are a great pattern, and Supplex is a wonderful fabric.  You’ll end up with workout wear that looks like a hundred bucks, but costs you a whole lot less.  And it’ll probably fit you better too!

super g

Now I need to make some strappy workout tops out of Supplex (and perhaps some Tricot).  This ready to wear top with sleeves was way too hot for yoga class!  What is your favorite workout pattern?

A Thankful Heart

What Are You Thankful For?

On this day of giving thanks, it’s not uncommon to reflect on what you are thankful for.  Some families have the tradition of everyone at the dinner table taking turns sharing something that they appreciate.  I am very grateful for the people and experiences in my life.  Even when everything is not exactly how you wish it could be, life is still so wonderful!

For instance, this is the first Thanksgiving that we won’t have either of our children at the dinner table with us.  For the last seven years or so, we have spent Thanksgiving in Tennessee with our daughter and son-in-law and his Mom (and Dad, until his passing).  This year, with the drive being a bit too long to be practical, and flights not working out with Dan’s work schedule, our plans changed.  Our son and his fiancée are out of town for a well-deserved weekend vacation.  So I am grateful that we took them and my Mom (who was visiting us) out to dinner last weekend.

I am thankful that our niece and her family are hosting an extended family Thanksgiving at their home today.  Dan will enjoy the crazy brother bonding time that he doesn’t get to have often enough.  We will be spending time with people we love.  There will be laughter and giggles, food and fun, silliness and seriousness, selfies and photos galore.  We’ll all end up tired, (and perhaps a bit frazzled!) from the noise and inevitable chaos.  But our bellies and hearts will be full after spending time together.

So what else am I thankful for?  I am so grateful for my faith!  Christ has sustained me and my family, and my life is so good because of it.  I think it’s obvious that my family is super important to me!  My husband is my rock, my true love and my best friend.

Dan & I 11-20-18

We have wonderful children (including their significant others) and a granddaughter who brings joy and light into our hearts.  I am also appreciative of every beautiful sunrise and sunset that I am blessed to see in this wonderful, sunny paradise where I live.  The roar and crash of the waves, the gentle breeze, and the soft sand under my toes as I walk near the ocean bring me peace and joy.

sunset 11-20-18

I hope you and your family enjoy a wonderful Happy Thanksgiving!  Take a minute to reflect and please let me know what you are thankful for.

 

P4P SOS Pants Contoured Waistband

Long Distance Pattern Hacking

I received a text from my daughter, “Mom, you’ve completely ruined me for regular leggings!  It’s so much more convenient to have pants with pockets.”  Hahahaha, so true!  I’ve made her Patterns for Pirates Peg Legs with the side panel, pockets and contoured waistband, as well as the SOS (skinny or straight) Pants which have pockets.  While she likes the SOS skinnies, they are a bit too low rise for her comfort.  But she does like the dressier look and convenience of four pockets.

I had ordered some Twill Polartec Powerstretch from Phee Fabrics because it sounded like an interesting fabric, and I thought I would make myself some cute pants or joggers.  But since my daughter actually needed new pants (and I really don’t!) I knew the Twill Powerstretch would be perfect for SOS Pants.

I’ve seen comments on the P4P Facebook group page that the SOS Pants pattern is being updated, but it’s cold now, so I went ahead and cut out her pants.  I decided that making a contoured waistband would be the simplest way to change the rise for her.  It would be easier for me if she lived nearby so that I could measure her, make a waistband, have her try it on, and alter as necessary before attaching it to the pants.  But since she and her family live in another state, I just went with her measurements and requests.

She wanted the pants three inches higher in front and one inch higher in back.  The P4P Peg Legs add-on pattern has a contoured waistband, but are designed with much more negative ease than SOS Pants.  It is a good reference though, to help visualize how to make a contoured waistband.  I laid the pocket on the pants front, and the back yoke on the pants back pattern pieces to help me figure out my waistband shape.

SOS pattern

That helped me get the bottom curved shape of my waistband pieces.  The SOS Pants pattern calls for a 5″ high rectangular piece, which when folded over and sewn gives you a 2″ tall waistband.  Note: I like to use a 3/8″ seam allowance on the waistband, rather than the 1/2″ the pattern calls for, so add 1/4″ to my measurements below if you want to stick to 1/2″ seams.  Since my daughter wanted the front 3″ taller, I made the center front of the waistband 5-3/4″ tall.  She wanted the back 1″ taller, so I made the center back 3-3/4″ tall.  I tapered both pieces to 4-3/4″ tall at the side seams.

Since you are not folding over like a standard waistband you will need to cut out two front and two back waistband pieces on the fold.  One set will be your main waistband and one will be your waistband lining.  I sewed up the pants per the pattern directions, then sewed on the new contoured waistband and sent the pants off to my daughter.

Jen SOS waistJen SOS side

Ta Da!  SOS skinny pants with a contoured waistband and pockets galore!  It’s just what a busy wife and Mama needs.  You can use this hack on other pants patterns as long as you use a quality knit fabric with appropriate stretch and recovery.  I recommend trying your waistband on and making any tweaks before you sew it onto your pants.  Unless of course you are mailing the pants to another state like I did!  🙂

Happy sewing and hacking!

 

Phone Sized Pockets

Because Pockets Are Life!

GreenStyle Creations Brassie Joggers are a quick sew with a comfortable fit.  But they have a small problem- modern technology!  Most women will comment about clothing that “Pockets are life!”  Ready to wear women’s clothing rarely has pockets.  Or if they do, they are tiny little decorative pockets.  About the only RTW clothing item that consistently has pockets are denim jeans.  Real women need pockets!

Menswear has pockets, and I get it that men have to carry wallets, and most women carry purses.  But you can’t carry your purse around all day.  When I go for a walk, I take a house key and my phone (and my water bottle, I get thirsty!)  So I need pockets for my stuff.  And if you have little ones, pockets are a necessity.  “Mama, look at this pretty rock.  Hold it for me.”  Toy cars, snacks, rocks and sticks, you name it, Mama is expected to carry it in her pocket.

The real necessity of course, is your cell phone.  Modern technology has conditioned us to feel lost without our mini-computer.  And if you prefer a larger screen so you can see all those cute photos on your Facebook feed, forget it!  That phone isn’t going to fit in most pockets.  And adding a phone case makes it even more of a challenge to fit.

The Brassie Jogger pocket is a decent size, it just doesn’t feel deep enough to hold my phone securely.  Altering the pocket may sound challenging, but really, it’s an easy modification.  The opening at the top of pocket pieces is around six inches, to give you room to take your hand (and stuff) in and out of the pocket.  So however you alter the shape of the opening, you need to maintain that six inch opening.

Brassie alter

I wanted the pocket opening to start about two inches higher than it does.  The purple pocket edge line shows the original shape.  I lined the pocket pattern piece up under the pants front to maintain the proper hip curve.  Then I took my measuring tape, held one end two inches up from the original spot and curved it up toward the waist.  I maintained the six inch opening for my hand, and traced my new pocket opening.  The new opening is shown in turquoise.

Since I also wanted a higher rise (I am tall, and low or mid-rise pants don’t fit well) I added an inch at the top of my pattern pieces.  The pattern currently has layers for low and mid-rise.  I think I’ve read that GreenStyle plans to update the pattern to add a higher rise, but I want to make this pattern now.  I could have used the slash and spread method to add an inch to the rise, but adding it at the top worked.  Bonus- it also made the pocket an inch deeper!

I also traced my new pocket curve onto my fabric and made a one inch wide pocket facing.  I prefer a facing to just turning the top edge under and stitching.  I think it adds crispness and stability to your pockets.  I lengthened the inseam of my shorts to six inches, as it’s a good length for me.  Other than these simple modifications, I simply followed the pattern directions.

Brassie pocket

When Phee Fabrics started carrying Polartec, I wanted to try some.  It is an interesting fabric, NOT the bulky polar fleece stuff you might be visualizing.  It’s a technical anti-microbial fabric with a moisture wicking “power grid”.

tech-diagram-power-dry.jpg

The power grid design also makes it super easy to see your grainline and ensure that you are laying out your pattern pieces properly!
power grain

The Polartec Powerdry fabric is lightweight and breathable, so I knew that I would be able to make cute and comfortable shorts out of it.  I hope I have enough of this fabric left to make some joggers or lounge pants, because it is comfortable!

If you’re interested, the top I am wearing is made of Phee Fabrics rayon/spandex using the P4P Essential Tank pattern with the curved hemline.

Brassie tank

So go ahead and add some pockets to your life! 🙂