Today’s fashion topic is one that I love, but one that has a lot of work to do to become more sustainable. Activewear.
My personal sustainable journey with activewear:
I started running in college, and have since completed several half marathons and full marathons, with smaller races sprinkled in. I also love cycling and other full body workouts. I’ll be completely honest, I love activewear. I love stretchy pants and moisture wicking tops – and while it is most sustainable to wear natural fibers like cotton and linen, that isn’t what this post is focusing on. I am working on progress over perfection, and sharing what I’m learning along the way!
When I first started running, I bought a lot of cheap clothing. Later on, I tried making my activewear to limit my fast fashion shopping, but didn’t have the time to create the kind of active wardrobe I wanted. Fast forward to now, and most of my activewear wardrobe is secondhand. My dad and I recently completed a weekend long challenge of running 48.6 miles in Disney World and almost all my clothing was secondhand! (I did buy two new tops for the shorter races from Raw Threads to show my Disney Love!)
The hardest part of making my activewear was finding the right fabrics. Active materials in the sewing industry only recently started making waves, which is great for the sewers who want to make their own wardrobes! But, like I’ve mentioned in the past, I now try to look for secondhand materials or more sustainable options for my handmade wardrobe – which are not as widely available.
Last year I was introduced to Repreve Fabric through Pinecrest Fabrics, which is fabric made from recycled water bottles! Repreve is becoming a popular option – and many companies are using their fabrics in active collections, and it is also available to home sewists!
Synthetic Fibers & Microplastics:
But with synthetic fibers, even recycled water bottles, we face a new problem: Microplastics. Microplastics are tiny little plastic fibers that shed from synthetic fabrics every time they are washed. These little pieces of plastic end up in our water streams, which then end up in our oceans, then our fish and possibly back into our bodies. This isn’t a new issue, but something we are becoming more aware of – and companies have stepped in with products to combat the microplastics.
I have been washing my synthetic fibers with Guppyfriend bag for the last few months, and it is great! Each load washed with Guppyfriend has captured the small “lint” pieces that come off our clothing in a very easy to implement process. There are multiple products that claim to do the same, and even some you can attach to your water systems.
Today I’m sharing a refashion I’ve had planned for a long time, but just haven’t gotten around to making! I’ve had this pair of leggings in my wardrobe for years! It was one of the first pairs I bought when I started running outdoors in winter, a discounted pair that I didn’t wear as much as I thought I would. The fabric is good used condition with a lot of stretch left, but a pair of pants I knew I wouldn’t be wearing again.
One of the ways I refashion is to let the fabric speak and ignore what the original garment is. I didn’t look at this as a pair of leggings, I looked at this as a piece of active material. I used my current favorite sports bra pattern (the Power Sports Bra by Greenstyle) and a little bit of creative cutting for this final result.
I opened the inseam and the waistband to work with the material. To make upcyling look a little less upcycled, I like to mirror pattern pieces for a more intentional look. The bottom section of the ankle stripes became my sides, the wasitband became my back piece and the top section of the ankle stripes became my center front. The lining, waistband and straps came from the rest of the leggings – leaving very little material left over!
Sometimes it can be a struggle to cut an even pattern piece – here’s how I did my center front! Trace the pattern piece on a piece of wax paper which will help you see through when tracing onto your fabric. You can mark up the wax paper with stripe placement for an even cut as well!
I love this sports bra and am happy to put this piece back into my wardrobe- just in another form! And if you were wondering – My leggings in the “after” photos are made from Repreve Recycled Fabrics!
There is so much more to this topic that I can’t put into a simple blog post, but I hope you will check out some of the resources below if you are also on a sustainable fashion journey!
Active Clothing Companies I Love:
Raw Threads : Read about their fabrics here!
Outdoor Voices : I always see Outdoor Voices secondhand on ThredUp!
Where to Buy Repreve Active Fabric:
Microplastic Filters & Products:
Buy From Patagonia (same price, usually in stock)
Buy from Package Free Shop (more expensive, but great resource for other low waste items)