Made by me / My makes / Sewing activewear

Sporty Fleece Jacket

So let’s take a look at the first piece of my latest activewear collection, a fleece jacket made out of a really fun factory second stretch fleece that I found at a local fabric store. This was a project that has been on my mind since I retired my old fleece jacket after almost a decade of wear.

I struggled with finding the right fabric though, plus fleece is not a great fabric for the environment. Not just the polyester, but also the pilling that happens during machine washing. Hence why I’m very restrictive with using regular fleece. But when I found this rejected fabric (it has some snags and irregularities) I gave in and bought it, it was so special and unlike anything else I’ve seen in fabric stores.

I drafted the pattern myself, opting for something similar to the Lululemon Scuba jacket, with lots of little subtle detailing to make it special.

Eyelet tip: Attaching eyelets on stretchy knits can easily end up with fabric slipping out when stretched. Not fun! Luckily I have devised a bulletproof method for doing this, and blogged about it too! How to attach eyelets on stretchy fabrics 

Side view. I’m super happy with the fit, it is not tight, but also not boxy. This is probably the best hoodie jacket pattern I’ve drafted so far!

Pocket zipper tip. I use an RTW-inspired method to install zipper pockets, and as you can see, top-stitching is not required since I’m not using a facing. If I were to explain the method, it’s like a welt pocket method, where the zipper tape acts like the welt.

You can find a tutorial on this method in my book Sewing Activewear (shameless plug, but as you can guess, I use and love the methods I have in the book!)

The jacket has princess seams in the front and back since I don’t like my hoodie jackets to be too boxy. If you look closely you can see that the side and hoodie seams are stitched down.

Topstitching tip. An edge guide presser foot is so great for stitching down seams, close to the edge. I used a regular straight stitch since the fleece fabric is not super stretchy lengthwise. But I would not recommend using a regular sewing machine straight stitch for stitching down crosswise seams on stretchy knits, those seams will pop sooner or later!

Instead, use a zigzag or stretch stitch, or if you have a coverstitch, a chainstitch or a narrow 2-needle stitch will work very well too.

I ended up using black zippers instead of blue. I had such angst over this decision since I had initially bought navy zippers for the project. But at the last minute, I changed my mind and went for black ones instead, since it just looked better.

The brand is YKK (love them) and the zipper is a two-way, which I find essential for workout jackets, I always pull-up the lower zipper once I get warm to let in some cooling air.

Zipper tip: On knit fabrics, I often interface the zipper area when making zip-up jackets. It removes the stress of having fabric stretching out when sewing zipper. One can definitely succeed without it, but it does require more handling skills in my opinion. Using Wonder Tape (Amazon affiliate link) or basting can also be really helpful.

If you want to learn more about different fusible interfacing options, you can check out my post about fusible interfacings for stretchy knits.

Cuffs with thumbholes. I use a method that closely mimics a common RTW-method that has the opening in the seam. If you have my book Sewing Activewear you’ll find a tutorial in there on how to create these thumbholes.

That’s a wrap! As I said, I’m so happy with this jacket and will definitely use this pattern again in the future!

This post contains Amazon affiliate links, meaning that a commission is earned from qualifying purchases.


  • Adrianne
    April 3, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Nice job Johanna! I really like the black zippers too; they pop!

    • Johanna
      April 3, 2019 at 4:20 pm

      That makes me happy to hear that you liked my zipper choice, I was so confused there for a bit on what colour to choose!

  • Karen
    April 4, 2019 at 6:20 am

    I love your fleece jacket! I love the distinctive touches you put to the design. Thanks for the sewing tips! I’m waiting on delivery of my copy of your coverstitch book…it’s due today! Can’t wait to get my hands on it 🙂

    • Johanna
      April 4, 2019 at 8:54 pm

      Thank you so much for getting my book, I love sharing sewing tips in whatever format I can think of, and with knits, it’s often harder to find contemporary info on constructions methods,

  • Julia
    April 4, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Ver nice jacket! What did you use as a drawstring?

    • Johanna
      April 4, 2019 at 8:56 pm

      Thank you! It’s a thick synthetic knitted cord I found in a local store. I just melted the edges with a lighter to keep it from fraying and tied knots. It worked very well

  • […] hard, I decided to go outside my normal palette and give it a go. It also goes really well with the other garments in this collection, which made the decision easier. That said I did have my doubts while […]


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