Sewing activewear, plus GBSB live workshop

Sewing activewear, plus GBSB live workshop

I was lucky enough to get booked into a workshop for the Great British Sewing Bee Live. I chose the workshop on making yoga pants using an overlocker and coverstitch machine with Jade Early (aka 'the girl with the bright red hair'). Although I haven't had a burning desire to make activewear, I was looking forward to moving beyond my basic serging and also to use a coverstitch machine. I won't be purchasing one in the near future so thought I'd take the opportunity to use one on a garment and see how I liked it.

Unfortunately the organisers of the GBSB live decided to skip the coverstitch machines and we found this out on the day. So, this activewear has been sewn using a combination of regular machine and serger. I managed to get a fair way through the yoga pants, and was able to finish these at home along with using the remnant fabric for a top too...perfect timing for my fitness goals for the New Year!
Great British Sewing Bee Live Workshop
Getting expert help at the GBSB live!

Pattern and Instructions

As I was taking part in the workshop, I used the pattern that was recommended in the course description: Butterick 6295. This includes leggings and two bra tops. Closer to the course date Jade sent out a different pattern to use but I already had this one. I think that the other one may have had an easier waistband. I didn't have problems attaching this one so would say it's fine. I think I deviated slightly from the instructions when inserting the elastic for the waistband but it all ended up looking correct so must be fine. I used wide elastic and, as always, cut it too big so could really do with unpicking and taking it in more.

I will say it was lovely to have a lovely gift bag waiting at our BabyLock machines for us. Thank you Jade! I did need the seam ripper that was included in there....

Regarding instructions....

Butterick 6295

I was lucky to have Jade taking us through some of the steps for this which made life a lot easier. To be fair though, the construction isn't too complicated. I say that, having left off the pockets because I had sewn them incorrectly. I wasn't too keen on the pockets for my style of work out so happy to ditch them. The rest of the construction (for the top and the bottoms) does need some careful reading and checking before stitching. The bottoms have front, back and side panels with a yoke piece under the back waistband. Jade also showed us how to sew the bottoms with exposed seams (I think they look better with hidden though).

The most useful part of the workshop was having help with fitting the bottoms. I cut a size 14, as ever, as per the measurements on the envelope. I know I always cut this size and it's too big, but not having used this kind of fabric before, thought it would be better to cut big and take in then cut too small and be stuck. Most people needed some fitting help and it was helpful to be shown where to take out excess fabric most effectively (mainly side seams). When I got home I ended up taking in even more from every seam. An excellent opportunity to compare the work from the two machines! The finish from the BabyLock had a lot more thread used, completely covering the edge of the seam. Whilst this looked sturdier, I found that it was looking bulky underneath the fabric. I essentially serged off everything that had gone through the overlocker previously. Out of the two finishes, the one from my Singer has turned out better for this project (it's 10% of the cost of the Baby Locks used at the show).

Sewing activewear, plus GBSB live workshop

As you can see I also managed to make the top from the pattern package with my remnant fabric. I  didn't make it exactly as instructed, omitting the concealed bra pads and elastic, just using the facing pattern piece on the inside of the top bodice. The straps cross over at the back and need a bit of finessing to look sleek rather than a bulky mess, but it is achievable and looks good now. They really didn't at first and I would say this was the trickiest part of the top construction.

If you get a chance to go to the GBSB love,'s more sewing focused than other shows and has lots of lovely fabric to buy. Next time I will sign up for another workshop too. I'd love to refine my hand sewing skills so will be on the look out for one of these.

Great British Sewing Bee Live


I bought 1 metre each of the plain and contrast styles, as per the recommendations on the pattern envelope. I had enough left over to make a top with so could have managed with just 1 metre if I was making the pants only (which was my original intention). There is quite a range of activewear fabrics out there, and all I would say is to order samples if this is new to you. It's quite expensive so a sample is a worthwhile investment. As a knit fabric it is very easy to cut and sew with. I put mine straight through the overlocker which made it really speedy to work with.

I'm happy with what I completed, but am disappointed with not being able to use a coverstitch machine which would have made both items look really professional. As it is, I'm not sure I would make activewear again, as it works out about the same as an outfit from the high street, and not a great deal different. Off I go to get lots of wear from this with my new fitness resolutions for 2018!

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Welcome to Sewing and Other Stories; my journeys with sewing and knitting; pattern reviews, tips and guides for beginners. I'm also the designer behind West Beach Knits knitting patterns and I host a Knitting and Sewing channel on YouTube where you can see all of this in person. Come have a look!

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