Fair warning… For some reason, I seem to feel like activewear / athleisure posts are a great space to get pretty real with you guys. So if you’re not here for that, feel free to move along… Or simply to scroll through the photos and admire the awesome fabric!
I celebrated my baby girl’s half birthday yesterday – I can’t believe that she has been here for 6 months already! It is truly the sweetest feeling. I always knew that I wanted to have kids someday, but I was in no rush – I wanted to have time to spend with my husband, to excel at work, to spend money on multiple concerts every month, to figure out who I was. Being a mom was certainly on my to-do list, but it wasn’t priority number one. When we decided we wanted to add a tiny someone to our family, I was so happy and excited, but it wasn’t until I had that sweet girl laid on my chest after she came into the world that I realized that I had needed her.
6 months of my sweet girl, 6 months of motherhood. 6 months is a long time that has passed in an instant! When PineCrest Fabrics reached out to me about working with some of their new fabrics, I was so excited to say yes. Of course! I was lucky enough to work with their Olympus Knit fabrics when I was pregnant, and I was so impressed with the quality of their product. I thought that it would be exciting to mark the 6 month mark with this new collaboration – a fun milestone to work around, especially since the last post I’d done with them was about how I worked out while pregnant. I figured that today, I’d be able to tell you guys what it is like working out (and wearing handmade workout wear) with a little one, and how I was able to get back into shape after having a baby.
This isn’t quite that post. Due to having a very long (!!) labor, my doctor didn’t clear me to begin trying to work out again until 8 weeks after my girl arrived. When we hit that 8 weeks mark, I was so excited. I began week one of a post-pregnancy workout series, which involved a couple days or low intensity cardio (walks with the stroller) with a couple of days of resistance training each week. 12 weeks rolled around, and it was time for me to return to work! I was able to squeeze workouts in for about a week after returning to work, but I quickly found my balancing act was becoming pretty difficult and frequently resulted in a severe lack of sleep, so gym visits were one of my first necessary sacrifices. More to come on that, stay tuned in the future.
At 6 months, I still haven’t found the perfect balance. My workouts consist of sporadic walks in the neighborhood and lifting my baby – she’s got to be about 17 pounds now, so carrying her around all day has actually resulted in a little bit of definition in my arms! I’m back to my pre-baby weight, but everything is softer than it used to be. Do I look good? Yeah! Do I look different? Yeah! Do I wish I looked better? Sure, don’t we all?
So although I can’t come here today and show you my cute work-out clothes that I have been wearing at the gym as I get back to my post-baby body, I CAN show you the super cute work-out clothes that I wear when I take my girl on walks through the neighborhood. When I was thinking up what I wanted to make, of course versatility was my first priority. I prefer to make clothing that I can work out in, lounge around the house in, run errands in, etc. I don’t like for anything to have one strict use! Of course, I also need things to be nursing friendly at this time, and I wanted to make sure that whatever I made would look good on my current body, and make me feel comfortable and confident. So here is what I came up with!
These leggings are made using the PineCrest Fabrics Brazilian Lux line, which has a super unique combination of fabrics. This is the white textured illusion knit, and I’m pretty sure the name speaks for itself. I love the illusion nature of these leggings! I made my go-to leggings pattern, the Peg Legs, in my standard size small. I chose the high-waisted option for a few reasons: I’m a big fan of the look of high-waisted leggings with a crop top / sports bra. I’m not sure I’d be confident in that pairing just yet, but I wanted to have the option for that once I get there! For now, the higher waist makes me feel secure when working out, and the softer areas of my belly stay are stabilized. Lastly, the high-waist is great for nursing, so that I don’t feel entirely exposed when pulling my top up to nurse!
The only change I’ve made from previous versions of the Peg Legs was to take about an inch off of the full length. I sometimes feel that mine get bunchy around the ankles and I prefer a smooth look. This fabric is thicker than the PineCrest Olympus Knit I used to make PegLegs during our last collaboration, so I did notice that there was a small difference in fit. These have great stretch, and I might actually recommend sizing down by one size if you’re using this fabric to make something very fitted. I think a full sports-bra and leggings set would look SO cool in this fabric. The fabric is a white base with raised, black stripes – hence the illusion quality of them. After touching them, my husband told me he didn’t realize they were “corduroys,” which I took to mean that he hadn’t recognized that the stripe was raised adding the texture to the leggings. This fabric is such great quality, which is absolutely what I have come to expect from PineCrest fabrics. This fabric won’t be available through retail merchants like fabric.com, but you’ll be able to track it down on their website if you are interested. I’ll link directly to this fabric at the end, as always!
My top is made using a fabric from the PineCrest Fabrics Virtue line, which features fabrics made from fibers created from recycled plastic bottles. How cool is that?? This fabric is one of the most highly certified, earth-friendly fabrics in existence. It is so smooth and soft, and can be used for activewear or swim wear. PS – sewing my own bathing suit is on my list for 2020 – and I will absolutely be using this fabric for that!. This fabric is so fun to wear – it feels smooth and a little slinky, it has a cold hand, and I think it was perfectly paired with this open, crossover back. The way the fabric slides across itself is really lovely!
This top was a big win for me – I have always loved clothing with any type of fun, open back detail. I came across the Ellie & Mac Good Sport Top, and immediately loved the idea of it! However, as you may imagine, my back is one of the areas that is not as toned and defined as I might wish right now. I loved the idea of this top, but I went back and forth on whether I’d be happy wearing it right now or if it was something I’d end up making and storing in a drawer for “later” when I was more toned. I’ve recently realized that everytime in my life that I put something aside to wear “later,” when I looked better / different / more defined / thinner, etc. I ended up never wearing it, and then looking back at pictures and wondering why I didn’t celebrate my body exactly as it was at any given time! So I decided to make the top, and I’m glad I did! I love the open back, I love being able to play with different styles of sports bras to change up the look of the top. This is my current favorite look – a strappy back sports bra from Target many years ago! I chose the smaller of two options for the back opening, and the lower of the neckline options. There is also a version with an added hood and kangaroo pocket included in the pattern, so truly you could make so many completely different versions! I am happy with how mine turned out!
I sewed the size as directed by my bust size on the sizing chart, but I ended up taking some width out from the side seams. I started with a full two inches at each underarm seam (1 inch on either side of the seam) tapered down to nothing 1.5” above where the separate crossover pieces met in the side seam. The original fit was too gapey in the underarm area for my liking, and I’m really pleased with the fit now that I’ve pinched that bit out! The color of this fabric is so perfectly bright and vivid, and I thought it paired well with the black and white illusion leggings to keep me ready for summer! The Virtue line of fabrics is available through online merchants such as fabric.com, so I’ve linked directly to this colorway below.
I am truly such a fan of PineCrest Fabrics. I’ve now worked with three of their different substrates, and I couldn’t rave enough about any of them. If you are interested in sewing activewear that looks and feels as high quality as the high-end ready to wear clothing you’ve been wearing, I would absolutely recommend you give PineCrest Fabrics a try. I don’t intend to ever make activewear in any other fabrics!! On that note, I’m also learning to be a fan of loving myself exactly as I am, and giving myself grace where it is warranted. I hope that maybe I’ve talked you into doing the same today! My body birthed a perfect baby girl, has fed her for 6 months, and looks pretty darn good considering the fact that I can’t barely find the time to do a single sit-up lately. I plan to continue to enjoy my walks with my baby, and try to work those walks up to a jog and eventually a run. As my schedule continues to calm a little bit, I am trying to find ways to fit resistance training back in a couple of times a week. But at the end of the day, I’m going to put my efforts into loving myself exactly how I am. Thanks to PineCrest Fabrics for helping me do that, once again 🙂
Leggings: handmade by me
Pattern: Patterns for Pirates – Peg Legs
Fabric: PineCrest Fabrics – White Textured Illusion Spandex
Top: handmade by me
Pattern: Ellie & Mac – Good Sport Top
Fabric: PineCrest Fabrics – Repreve Virtue Recycled Tricot in Dragon Fruit (available at Fabric.com)
Key Ingredients: Heat & Bond soft stretch lite // Cutting Mat (I use the black 36×48 version!) // Rotary Cutter
A quick reminder that some of the links above may contain affiliate links! When you click these links, there is no additional cost to you, but I earn a small percentage back on any purchases you might make. This helps me continue to bring weekly blog content to you! Though the fabric used in this post was generously provided to me by PineCrest Fabrics, all opinions expressed are my own, as always!
- XX Elizabeth