Hello friends! I’m super excited to share this post with you – it’s been in the making for a bit now. I had the opportunity to use two fantastic spandex-based fabrics from Pine Crest Fabrics, which are a great choice for making athletic items: Olympus (available on Fabric.com in fun prints!) and Virtue (available on Fabric.com).
First, Olympus. I used this deep pomegranate color to make a pair of leggings – in hopes that soon it will be warm enough to actually wear them outside in my attempt to return to running. I used to run somewhat often a few years ago and since baby boy loves the stroller I am thinking it will be nice to do that together this spring. New athletic leggings were certainly in order!
But anyway, I used the (free!) P4P Peg Legs pattern with the contour waist, side panel and pocket add-ons. The black side panel is Virtue. For both Olympus and Virtue, I knew I could use them with this pattern because they have at least 50% stretch both vertically and horizontally; actually, both have a bit more vertical than horizontal. Both of these fabrics have a pretty high spandex percentage, but the Olympus is slightly higher at 25% (75% polyester). So the leggings are definitely on the firmer side, but I did take a smaller seam allowance to account for this. The result is more of a compression feel, which is very nice for running. The fabric feels so luxe and thick! No see-through rear end issues here. I have a pair of more expensive RTW athletic leggings and they feel very, very similar to these. Olympus has a surprisingly soft feel too, considering all of the spandex. It sews up pretty easily, I didn’t have to do anything special other than adjust my tensions as usual and make sure they were good to go with the very stretchy fabric.
As usual, I used my serger to make these. In the two loopers, I used stretch maxi lock thread, which I would recommend for items which may have seams under higher stress. It also lends itself to a softer feel on the seams; this is also nice for things like lingerie. Since there were a lot of seams along the side panels of these leggings, I knew I wanted to make sure they wouldn’t bother me and the soft stretch thread helps with that.
For my top, I used the Virtue fabric and Ragdoll Raglan pattern (one of my favorite tops!), also by P4P. I’d been really wanting a workout top which has an open back because while my arms tend to get a little cold, I always end up overheated in normal long sleeve shirts. As this pattern is not meant for this particular type of spandex-heavy fabric, I did modify it a bit by doing a binding on the neckline (calculated at 90% of the neck opening) instead of a typical band. But the rest is made as-is and I really like how it turned out! I prefer shirts to be on the looser side, so not too tight and very breathable.
What’s really awesome about this Virtue fabric is that it’s made from recycled plastic bottles! Apparently, more than 5 billion plastic bottles were used to make this fabric since 2007. So impressive! I was listening to the Love to Sew podcast episode on sustainability in sewing recently and it really made me think about what I can do to be a bit more earth-friendly in my crafting. When I saw that Virtue was very sustainably made, I was excited to try it out! I asked for some more information on how exactly it is made and it’s actually pretty cool. They basically melt down bottle flakes into chips, melt them again to be spun into a polyester fibers/yarns which are sold to textile mills, that are then knit into stretch fabrics like Virtue.
A few interesting facts:
- Pine Crest Fabrics is the first activewear fabric supplier on Fabric.com to showcase a stretch recycled fabric
The creation of the Repreve fibers uses a new petroleum that allows for lower greenhouse gas emissions and the ability to conserve water and energy in the process
Their textile mill supplier is also HIGG certified which commits to creating textiles in a sustainable manner along the entire supply chain (less water waste, power consumption, and chemical/dye waste)
In terms of how it looks and feels, Virtue definitely doesn’t fall short of my expectations. It’s crazy it’s made from plastic! Compared to Olympus, it is a little thinner and more “silky” feeling, less dense. I’d say its more like a lighter weight swim fabric and it actually is advertised as such as well. Like some other swim fabrics, it is a little slippery when sewing. So going slowly and basting in tricky areas goes a long! But it’s perfect for a top like this since its very flowy and stretchy. I am sure it will be very breathable and moisture-wicking.
I’m really looking forward to getting outside more often soon and putting these pieces to the test! The fabrics really impressed me and I loved my experience working with them. I don’t sew a ton of athletic things but I am more motivated to now since it’s really quite easy when you have a great fabric to start with. It’s especially key for leggings! The finished products feel so high end and I love how they turned out. Can’t wait for spring to finally arrive!
I received this fabric from Pine Crest Fabrics. My opinion and experience working with it are my own entirely.