Sew Over/Under: Over/Under Activewear

Hi, I’m Tiffany of TipStitched! I jumped at the chance to participate in this month’s theme of Over/Under because I have been meaning to sew so many things that fall into these categories. Underwear, bralettes, sports bras, cardigans, slips, tanks, and more have been on my to-sew list for a while now. So this was a great reason to knock at least one of these off the list.

A woman stands in a quiet neighborhood street, smiling. She wears self-sewn activewear: a gray workout bra and stylish cropped warm-up hoodie jacket in gray with black accents. Her all-black workout leggings have decorative elastic at the ankle. Her sneakers are gray and bright orange.
Feel cute, might work out.

Despite the fact that I work out 4-5 times a week I’ve only sewn one workout outfit, which is wild because activewear is expensive and I’m a sewist! So I decided for this month’s theme I could tackle both the over and under with a sports bra and this cute cropped hoodie from Mimi G’s Simplicity pattern (S8392).

Tiffany stands on a sidewalk between two houses and yards. Her face is serious, as if she's about to show her workout that she means business. She's wearing her activewear: a stylish black and gray cropped warm-up hoodie, a gray sports bra with front ruching detail, and black high-waisted leggings with crossover elastic at the ankles. Her bright orange and gray sneakers stand out against the pavement of the sidewalk.
Ready to show this workout who’s boss

The cropped hoodie is more fashion than function for me. It’s cute but I like A/C (air conditioning) during my workouts so I’m much more likely to be indoors than out, LOL. My version is a pullover as I omitted the zipper and simply sewed the center front seam together. This is mainly due to the fact that I didn’t have the right length or type of zipper on hand. If I were to make this pattern again, I’d likely just cut the front bodice on the fold without removing the seam allowance to make it a little easier to pull over my hair. The hood is roomy, it’s large enough for me to cover all my coils.

A closer, profile view of Tiffany's face and upper torso. Her hoodie hood is pulled up over her natural hair, leaving only a few coils tumbling out of the front. Her cropped hoodie is gray with black accents, and her matching sports bra can be seen.
S8392 hood in action!

I need to make a few changes to make this sports bra supportive enough to work for me. In the pattern’s defense, I was trying to make it be something it is not. I need a bra with moderate support and this bra is not designed to be supportive, as made obvious by the fact that it is unlined. So next time I would:

1. Line the entire bra in power mesh and create an opening to add cups. To create the opening for the cups, I’ll deepen the armhole curve.

Pattern piece #1, the front, of the sports bra from Simplicity 8392 is laid out on a white, gridded cutting surface. A curved ruler sits on top of the armhole area, with a blue pen nearby. The pattern piece is ready to be altered.
The front sports bra pattern piece, ready to be altered

2. Choose a knit with the correct amount of stretch. The fabric I used, an old activewear knit from JOANN Fabrics, has too much stretch to provide any compression or lift. In my haste to sew this up, I didn’t bother the check the percentage of stretch and it definitely matters. Don’t be like me!

3. Size down. I cut and sewed a large based on my 40″ bust, but medium or perhaps a “smedium” (halfway between small and medium) would have worked better. This was even more important due to my poor choice of fabric.

4. Shorten the straps. This may not have been necessary if I had used a less stretchy knit, but I had to shorten these by three inches. I did this by doubling up some of the strap fabric at the back shoulder.

A hand holds a sports bra strap close to the camera; the bra can be seen resting on a white gridded cutting surface in the background. Also in-hand is a sewing seam gauge with a blue slider. The gauge shows that a double thickness of bra strap, measuring 1.5 inches long, has been folded back against itself and sewn down, shortening the strap by double this amount--3 inches.
My make-it-work solution to the strap issue

5. Use wider elastic. I used 1/2″ wide non-roll elastic at the hem but I should’ve used the 1″ width that the pattern suggests. Another option is to omit the band altogether and use soft waistband elastic instead. I believe the latter would do a better job of preventing the bottom from riding up.

Tiffany stands, hands on hips, on the sidewalk between two houses and their yards, showing the back view of her self-sewn activewear outfit. Her cropped hoodie is gray with black accents, and her black leggings are high-waisted. The back of her gray sports bra can be seen, as can her bright running sneakers.
S8392 from the back!

I hope you participate in this month’s theme! I enjoyed it.

Tiffany loves to sew! She’s a thirty-something woman who fell in love with sewing after first trying her hand at it in 2014. As much as she wishes she could sew all day, she works full-time in engineering. In addition to her day job and blog, she’s a wife to a great husband, stepmom to two great kids, daughter of some pretty great parents, sister to a great sis, and doggie mom to an aging Yorkie. In short, you could say she stays pretty busy!

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