Sewing activewear / Video

Ask me questions about sewing workout wear!

Hey! Do you have any questions for me regarding how to sew activewear? If so just tell me your questions in the comments! I want to make a Q&A video where I answer common questions regarding how to sew your own workout wear.

I did a blog post about sewing workout wear back in 2009, and that post is in a dire need of an update. So I would love to get some feedback from you guys on what kind of info you want to know. I have been doing this for so long that I often forget talking about the basics, plus I have a tendency to get lost in the little details sometimes, so any input from you would be super helpful.

Patterns, fabrics, tips and tricks, tools and whatever else you are curious about. Just ask away!


  • Marianne
    January 22, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Hi Johanna. I would like to know how to best use the overlock/Coverlock for making regular sweatpants Adidas style. Like, do you use a regular machine first to sticth the sides together and do you use a zig zag? Any tips on how to get this professional finish. I biugh

  • Marianne
    January 22, 2017 at 5:39 pm

    Sorry. I am in a bumpy train and this message got send before i was ready. I bought some binder for the Janome (belt looper) to make one of the stripes for the side but that didn’t work out so well. I need a binder that leaves room for the fabric underneath and this one didn’t. In Brazil it is a standard accessory of the 2000 cpx (found some movie on youtube) but not here. Any suggestions?

  • Ann
    January 22, 2017 at 8:48 pm

    Hi, Johanna! I’m so impressed by all your workout wear. I was wondering, do you ever have the fear that something is going to split open while you’re working out? I’ve made and worn my own sports bras with no problems, but in the beginning I was afraid that they wouldn’t hold up. I still have that fear a tiny bit, but since they’re underneath other clothes, it would be bad but not a disaster. I want to branch out into tops and pants/leggings but this feeling holds me back somewhat. (The other reason is laziness.) I don’t use a serger (yet), just a sewing machine. Do you have advice about how to be completely confident in your own activewear? Thanks!

  • Kathy
    January 23, 2017 at 1:49 am

    Hi Johanna, I get confused about all the activewear fabrics out there. There are so many now. How much stretch do I need, what fibers are best. Are there some that are better for bottoms so they don’t get too thin when you do your exercises? Which threads are best to use? Is it better to buy wooly nylon for the serger? If a pattern has negative ease, how do you know which size to make? Does it depend on the stretchiness of the fabric?

  • Amy
    January 23, 2017 at 6:12 pm

    I’m using wooly nylon and a no-tension bobbin, but still my twin needle hems on my regular machine (no coverlock) look VNG – very no good. I put starch on the very thin and stretchy cotton knit, but maybe it’s just too thin. Also, what could good be a good modesty-panel for the top part of a swim suit? I swim laps and wear a regular unpadded swimsuit that swimteams would wear. Fine in my younger days but now I want something with some modesty around/over the bust area. But nothing too thick. My ideas were to add some princess-seaming, or use the padding from some bras, but that seems like it would soak up a lot of water and get “floppy”. Thanks!

  • H2ogurl
    January 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Good Afternoon (from where I live),
    I am right there with Kathy. I have as many questions as you can answer. Activewear is so expensive and I have a serger. I am embarrassed to say I have not made any of my items and I have sooo so many.
    How many threads to use for which item/fabric? Do the needles need to change for different weights or does a serger use a ball point or sharp just like my sewing machine? Do you stretch the fabric while you feed it through the serger? Part of my workout is swimming. Do you have any tips on sewing actual swimming suits, (not just fun in the sun and water suits)?
    Thank you in advance. : )

  • Johanna
    January 25, 2017 at 8:15 am

    Thank you for taking the time to ask me all the great questions!

  • Summerflies
    January 28, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Hi Joanna, sorry for a late reply. I would really like to know how to get a professional finish like yours and using the mesh. I love the mesh inserts.

  • JenL
    February 7, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    Hi Joanna, If I’m not too late….
    I just invested in my first serger and I’m an enthusiastic ‘newbie.’ I have made some activewear with my regular machine in the past (using both the Jalie method and overlock stitch on my old Bernina). Two very general questions: (1) Any particular tips for using a serger on activewear? (2) Are there any particular tasks that a regular machine is preferable? Thanks! Looking forward to your video!
    ~ Jen L


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