Sewing activewear / Tutorials

8 tutorials on how to sew your own activewear

sewing activewear

Over the years I’ve done a fair bit of tutorials on how to sew your own activewear. As with most of my tutorials, I try to show techniques that are not already available on tons of other sewing blogs or in pattern instructions. And most of them are the result of a lot trial and errors and examining ready to wear activewear to see if I can mimic some of the techniques. So let’s take a look at some of my sewing activewear tutorials:

how to make adjustable elastic cord drawstrings with stoppers Sewing Activewear

How to make adjustable elastic cord drawstrings

A simple method to add adjustable elastic cord drawstrings to a garment. Perfect for all sorts of activewear, like a windbreaker or ski jacket, fleece sweater or as a way to end the hems of hiking pants.


How to line a sports bra with power net Sewing Activewear

How to line your sports bra with power net/mesh

If you want to use fashion fabric for a sports bra or a built-in-bra, you’ll notice that the stability will be pretty much zero and not all pattern instructions tell you so. Adding a layer of power net (stronger support) or power mesh (lighter support) is an easy way to solve this problem. This tutorial is for those simple tank-top bras that are quite common when it comes to bra top sewing patterns.


How to sew fold over elastic Sewing Activewear

How to succeed with sewing fold over elastic

Sewing fold over elastic isn’t always as easy to sew as it sounds. And it’s a struggle to rip! So I’m pretty meticulous with my prep work when I’m applying the elastic and in this tutorial, I share some of my tricks.

How to sew mesh inserts Sewing Activewear

How to add mesh inserts to your activewear

I’m nuts about adding mesh inserts, perhaps I overdo it sometimes, but I just really love the look. In this tutorial, I go through all the things you need to know when adding inserts.

how to sew eyelets on knits Sewing Activewear

Adding eyelets on knits

I had eyelets popping left and right on knits before I developed this method. But since then I’ve had zero eyelets letting loose, so doing the proper prep work as I describe in this tutorial will save you a lot of heartaches later on.

how to perfect the 3-thread flat lock seam Sewing Activewear

How to improve the 3-thread flatlock seam on a serger

The 3-thread flatlock used to be a nightmare on my old Pfaff serger. Then I decided to figure it out once and for all, and in this tutoiur I share my results. Now on my new Babylock serger with auto tension, I’ve had much better results without tampering with the tension, but if you have a moody serger, then this is the tutorial for you.

how to sew a figure shaping waistband using power mesh net Sewing Activewear

Making a body shaping waistband using power net

Sometimes those workout leggings waistband doesn’t give you the support you are looking for. Using fusible interfacing is a bad idea, instead, add a layer of power net or power mesh. I do this regularly now on my leggings and the difference between the ones where I don’t and those where I do is substantial when it comes to fit. Especially good if you are using more supple fabrics.

how attach a triangle crotch gusset on leggings Sewing Activewear

Attaching a triangle crotch gusset in three easy steps

This tutorial came out of a frustration that many pattern instructions make the assembly of a triangle gusset on leggings and shorts way too complicated So I just stripped the process down to 3 easy steps, omitting sewing with notches and other frou-frou and it works very well! In my upcoming book about sewing activewear, I will cover this topic much more thoroughly and also show you how to add differently shaped crotch gussets if your leggings pattern lacks those.

So these were eight of my sewing activewear tutorials. Hope you find some of them useful!


  • Raquel
    September 14, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    Johanna: do you have this kind of thread in Europe? Eloflex by Coats & Clark
    I saw it yesterday in two different sewing blogs.

    • Johanna
      September 15, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      No I have not seen it! Stretch thread is nearly impossible to get in Sweden even though regular Coats threads are sold at many places.

  • Esther
    September 15, 2017 at 2:05 am

    Hi, Johanna! I have a question on hoodies. I made one using the Jalie 2911 (Shawl-Collar Pullover Hoodie) pattern. Because the hood or cowl is lined, it is heavier than the front of the shirt and so pulls the front of the shirt to the back and leaves it hanging shorter than it should be. I didn’t imagine that a lined hood would do that. Now I’m wondering what to do about it. Should I also line the front of the shirt to balance the weight? Or should I just afix the hood to the shoulder or collar bone area so that it cannot pull to the back anymore? I used a french terry material and it does not seem all that light to me, so I was surprised that the hood would pull the front of the shirt to the back. This is my first time to make a hoodie, and I would appreciate your insights since you’ve done a lot of athletic clothes already. Thanks in advance!

    • Johanna
      September 15, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      That’s a tricky situation! I usually line my hoodies with lightweight jersey, which is what I’ve seen in many RTW hoodies also. Now hearing your experience, the practice of using lighter fabric makes sense! Perhaps you can add a partial facing to the front, attach the hoodie to it and then attach the whole thing to the shoulder seam as you suggest? That would at least anchor it. But yes, a tricky situation for sure!

      • Esther
        September 18, 2017 at 2:56 am

        Thanks for your suggestion, Johanna! I’ll do that for my next hoodie. I made the Jalie hoodie for someone else and actually, when that person wore it, it looked okay and did not pull to the back. It only pulled to the back when I tried it on (hehe). I guess it was just the wrong fit for me, but (thankfully) it was the right fit for the person I made it for. Keep up your very helpful posts! And good luck with your ebook project. 🙂

  • Wednesday Weekly #102 – Helen's Closet
    September 20, 2017 at 9:02 pm

    […] The Last Stitch shares 8 tips for sewing active wear. […]

  • esperanzapw11
    April 26, 2018 at 6:15 am

    My up to date entanglement project:

  • Shravya
    June 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm

    Hello Johanna,

    What’s the next best option if we don’t find Woolly Nylon threads for activewear? Please do let me know 🙂

  • dimas
    December 29, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Dear Writer,

    I’m handling many legging and active wear product, mostly we have same understanding regarding general constructions for the legging but my input is legging should avoid overlock only, if you do overlock then you have to add coverstitch as top stitching to make sure allowance stay during wearing or activity because this is compression product the seam allowance should be manage well, and if you want to avoid overlock to get more stretch ability then flatseam / 4 needle coverstitch 6 thread is best option.

    Best regard,


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