January 02, 2019

5 Tips for making your own sportswear.

Handmade Sportswear from Amsterdam

There is nothing like the rewarding feeling of making something yourself using your own hands. At LPRD we know that feeling, since we make all of our sportswear in our studio based in Amsterdam - The Netherlands.
Because we enjoy this so much, we would like to share some tips and tricks with you, so you can try to also make your own cycling- yoga or gym clothes.
If you are new to making clothes, we would recommend starting with an easier item, like leggings or a top, before trying to make your own cycling speed suit with zip pockets.
Sportswear tends to be technical, and therefore complicated to make yourself. When you go to your local fabric store it might not be easy to find the materials you need, and get the trims to match. Explore first to see what your options are before you set goals that you can’t meet. You can also look for trims and fabrics online, the only tricky thing is that you can’t touch or feel what you are buying, but sometimes it’s worth the risk.

Here are the most important things to look at when making sportswear:

  • Fit & Pattern

    Most of us have a pair of leggings, swimsuit or top that we absolutely love and want to wear to all of our work-out sessions. Analyse this clothing item, what is it that you enjoy? The fabric, the fit, the details? Use this as a starting point for the garment that you would like to make. You can even try and use that garment as a base for the sewing pattern you need to make.
    No experience with pattern drawing? No problem! You can buy lot’s of different clothing patterns online, one of them should work for you. 

  • Fabrics

    Having the right material for your sportswear is crucial. Depending on the item you’re making and the activity you’ll be doing, you want to find the fabric that works best.
    Fabric stores these days often have a selection of stretch fabrics with Lycra. When making leggings or a swimsuit you’ll need material that is what they call a 4 way stretch, meaning that the stretch is both in the warp and weft of the fabric. The added Lycra will make sure that the fabric will keep its stretch ability longer - after being stretch for instance over your knee, the Lycra will make it move back in its original state.
    When making a top you want to use a fabric that feels good on the skin and is moisture wicking. Since you’ll be working out and probably sweating, a quick-drying fabric will keep you comfortable.

  • Trims

    Finding the right elastics and zippers can be challenging. Leg gripper tape for cycling shorts or activewear zips with special pullers are not often available for consumers. Same goes for cycling chamois / padding. However, look around your your fabric shop, be creative! And also in this case, you might be able to find what you are looking for online.

  • Machines

    The tools you use for creating sportswear can make a huge difference. Invest in a decent pair of fabric-scissors, and ONLY use them for cutting fabrics.
    A standard overlock machine can do a lot! Check tutorials on YouTube specifically for your machine and see what extra features your machine has. For instance making a stretching hem-stitch with 3 threads.
    We at LPRD have invested in industrial machines because it is our daily work, but for trying to make your own sportswear sewing machines for domestic use can do a lot!

  • Practice

    As always, when you’re trying to learn a new skill, you are bound to make mistakes. No problem, undo what can be undone and try again! When trying a new type of stitching or different sewing techniques, you can always make a test to see how it pans out. Not happy with the result, test again until you get the results that you’re looking for.
    There is no easy way to master making clothes, practice makes perfect!

Sewing is a popular activity all over the world, so you might be able to find a workshop near you where you can learn to make your own clothes. It is a lot of fun to participate and learn a new skill.

We hope we’ve inspired you to go out there and try to make your own pair of leggings or cycling shorts! You can check out our YouTube channel to see how we make our garments.
And if you get stuck with your own DIY project, feel free to contact us and we will be able to help you out.