Thursday 7 January 2021

New workout/casual set - merino low back top and Brassie joggers

Do you do new year resolutions? Personally, I don't (mainly because I know I won't stick with it!), but I do believe in making new workout clothes for the new year. Anything for a bit of motivation, am I right? 

I've been trying my hand at sewing activewear for some time. I may not have featured a lot on my blog yet, but you may have seen a few projects on my instagram grid. So far, they've mainly been pole fitness-related, even including a couple of sets for a photoshoot, so it is definitely time to sew something sporty with more coverage! 

Introducing my new set for yoga, pole fitness warm-up/cool down, stretching and just generally lounging about. At a push, I'd be pretty pleased to wear these as PJs, too, I'm sure. 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
It comprises a super colourful pair of Brassie Joggers by Greenstyle Creations (one of the best places to go for activewear patterns, in my humble opinion), teamed with a low back top that I eked out of a rather tiny remnant of merino jersey which I picked up from the Fabric Store in Melbourne a few years ago (cos, you know, what else would you buy from a trip to Oz?). 

Shall we talk joggers first? I'm a huge joggers fan, even though I don't jog (assuming running for the train does not count). The updated Brassies have been on my list for some time, and I jumped at the chance of getting this pattern during the last Black Friday sale. I like how slim fitting this pattern is, and appreciate all the options (for the rise, the pockets, the length). The shape looks exactly like a pair of long-serving ready-to-wear yoga bottoms in my wardrobe, and I couldn't wait to give these a go. 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
And they did not disappoint! I printed the mid-rise option, and cut a full-length version with ankle cuffs and curved pockets in size C (I was in between B and C but opted to size up here despite what the pattern said). The pocket construction is new to me: instead of 2 pocket bags on each side, these are what I would describe as pocket facings. I was keen to try this method, as I have seen the finish on a pair of hubby's ready-to-wear joggers, and I like how little bulk they added. Plus, I had been dying to try out reverse coverstitching! OK, I know that I have not yet blogged about my new coverstitch machine properly, but perhaps that's a post for another time. 

Obviously this splashed paint cotton French Terry from Flamingo Fabrics is not colourful enough, so I decided to use rainbow thread in the reverse coverstitching ;) The fabric has lovely 4-way stretch, and is super comfortable to wear. I think it would make a great base for yoga. 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
Not bad for a first attempt at reverse coverstitching, right?

The only changes I made were 1) shortening the legs both above and below the knees, and 2) inserting 2' elastic instead of the drawstring. I'm a little surprised that the pattern didn't include the elastic as an option (I understand that the update removed it). I find that I tend not to bother tightening the drawstrings on joggers anyway, and don't particularly like the buttonhole look. My daughter also very much enjoys pulling them out, so I try to save myself from having to rethread them into the channels again and again if I can help it! 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
The top required more brain work and careful planning. I had a certain picture in mind (based on an old Victoria Sports top that I really like), which involves a loose (but flattering) fit, a wide neckline and a low back. 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
As mentioned above, I had only bought a remnant piece of this amazing merino wool jersey from my trip Down Under, and I had already used a piece to make winter leggings for Freya as a baby. Does it make me a bad mother when I wish I hadn't used such precious fabric for my daughter, who grew out of those clothes in a matter of months? 
low back merino p4p tulip tee greenstyle brassie joggers
I'm also showing off the straps of my first version of Jalie 3247 sports bra here, though that's still on my to-blog list too (I am starting to see a theme here)!

What it did mean was that I had a very limited piece (around 80cm, not full width) of merino wool left, and I wanted to get something fabulous and long-lasting out of it. Thank goodness I'm rather short! After having this piece laid out on my living room floor for quite some time, trying out different patterns on it, I decided to go with the FREE Tulip Tee from Patterns for Pirates as a base pattern, as the dolman style was relatively efficient on fabric use. 

I made a few design changes to the plain front and back version of the short sleeve tulip tee in size XXS to realise my "vision":
  • I raised the centre front on the neckline by 6cm, and widened the neckline by 9cm (4.5cm on each side);
  • I lowered a whopping 25cm of the centre back, drawing a gentle curve using my French Curve;
  • In terms of length, I only had enough fabric to cut the band line at the bottom, even though I was hemming it;
  • I added sleeve bands to the sleeves, using 85% of the sleeve opening plus seam allowances; 
  • Finally, for the neck, I decided to bind it using my Coverstitch (did I mention that I have a coverstitch machine now?). More detail below on my first ever binding experience! 
low back merino p4p tulip tee megan nielsen binding coverstitch
I was quite scared to mess up this precious project by doing the binding badly, but I really didn't think a band was going to cut it. It's a huge neck opening (around 1 metre long!), and frankly, I only had enough fabric to try binding once, even if by some miracle I do manage to unpick any bad attempt successfully without stretching out the neckline. The pressure was well and truly on! 

I went into a serious research mode. After looking around, I decided to try the Megan Nielsen method. I love how neat the finish is on both sides, and how it appears to work on different types of fabric. I cut the binding piece at 88% of the neck opening, at 7.5cm wide. I then followed the method as described very carefully. And what do you know? It was absolutely perfect! Here's a picture from the back:
low back merino p4p tulip tee megan nielsen binding coverstitch
If I may say so myself, this little set is perfect, and just what I needed to help get my arse in gear. I was a little worried after cutting out the back piece for the top, mainly by how low it was, but I was relieved that it actually ended up being just the right "depth" for me and the shoulders stay on a treat (something that I struggled a bit with my favourite Victoria Sports top). 
Now, I'm off to do some exercise! See you soon!  

1 comment:

  1. One way I secretly resist the boredom of adulthood is by wearing Novelty Socks with unusual designs. Whether they include witty wording, pop cultural allusions, or quirky designs, they liven up my typically somber work clothes. Every day is like throwing a mini-carnival on my feet. Who said being an adult meant wearing uninteresting socks? Certainly not I!


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