Made by me / My makes / Sewing activewear

Valérie workout top by Jalie patterns

Is the Valérie pattern from Jalie the ultimate close fitting raglan workout top? I sure think so, and I’m super picky about this stuff. In fact I’ve tried to draft similar patterns myself several times, and have not gotten anywhere close to this draft. It really is that good!

The top has fitted side panels, which both improves the fit and solves the issue with chafing side seams. Of course it’s also great to use contrasting fabric for the panels, but I didn’t since it was not the look I was going for this time.

I added cuffs with thumb holes, which I have tutorial for in my book Sewing Activewear. It’s a method inspired by how they are sewn in the garment industry, but a little simplified to make it easier for us home sewists.

The fabric is a polyester base-layer wickaway fabric, with grids embossed the fabric to better transport the moisture.

The side seams are done using a 3-needle reverse coverstitch seam, as a way to mimic the industrial flat lock seam. It’s actually stitched over pressed apart seams, to create that flat smooth look, again this is a technique I explain in both my books. And the visible thread I’m using is Madeira Aero-Flock, which I highly recommend. It’s similar to woolly nylon, but made of polyester.

I think the fit is good enough in the back. I do get wrinkles always in the back on knit tops, due to my sway back, which you can reduce with some extra pattern alterations. But on a simple workout top, I’m not bothered with that. Also the fit of this top is tight, so you really need to work with very stretchy fabrics, or grade up. I was between sizes and picked the larger size, and the top is still very snug.

So yeah, super happy with how this top turned out! I also used this pattern for my daughter to make her a wool mid-layer top and she also loved the fit of this pattern.


  • Kathleen
    May 3, 2019 at 3:45 am

    Thanks so much for the review and tips. You are a wise and well-informed source. I am a huge fan of Jalie! This pattern is now on my “to make” list. Thanks so much for all you do for activewear makers!

    • Johanna
      May 3, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      Aww, thank you for your kind words! I’m such a big fan of the Jalie company too, they really make solid patterns!

  • Carey
    May 3, 2019 at 5:19 am

    Thanks for sharing your Valerie with us! This top is drafted as a rash guard (hence the very snug fit). Did you go with the recommended Jalie size or did you go up a size? The fit looks great for a workout top, and I would like to give it a try and see how it compares to the fehrtrade Surf to Summit raglan.

    • Johanna
      May 3, 2019 at 1:44 pm

      You bring up a great point that I forgot to address (I will update the post). I was between two sizes and went with the larger one, since I measured the pattern and saw how snug it was. And for my daughter I actually made the pattern one whole size larger since the fabric had less stretch. I have sewn the Surf to Summit and it not as fitted, so for that pattern I actually went down one size and it was still larger then the Valerie.


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