crafts · Sewing

Focus on Sportswear

The term sportswear has always confused me.  It brings to mind the clothes we wore in gym class, and I was not exactly athletic.  In the 4th grade, the only part of the President’s Physical fitness test that I managed to pass was the “fixed arm hang,” in which you are lifted into place and hang from the bars for as long as you can.  That’s right… I hate running, and I can’t do a decent pushup to save my life, but I can hang fixedly in one place with the best of them!  I was an abysmal failure at every team sport my Mom ever signed me up for, ducking at the sight of softballs and trailing weakly behind the pack in basketball.  Being not at all competitive, I didn’t much care if we won, an attitude that did not endear me to my teammates and resulted in a lot of “not being asked back for next season.”

Anyway, since I assumed that sportswear was a term for the clothes you wear for sports, I never paid the word any mind.   Looking at the definition of sportswear on the allknowing Wikipedia is confusing as well – let me quote from there “Since the 1930s the term is used to describe both day and evening fashions of varying degrees of formality that demonstrate this relaxed approach whilst remaining appropriate wear for many business or social occasions”

So… not beaded cocktail dresses then.  Maybe.  In my mind I’ve decided that sportswear means separates, and that’s what I’m going to focus on for the next few weeks.  Here are my plans (subject, as always, to change!)

Simplicity 2896 (the pants only) in this lovely silvery metallic linen.  I’m making a muslin of these right now.  The jacket is lovely too, but has a ridiculous amount of ease.

Simplicity 2614  in green gingham.  I’m making the version shown in pink above, with short sleeves and no tie.

Simplicity 2451, to go with the green gingham top, and hopefully the top below as well.  I don’t have fabric for this yet – I haven’t decided on a color or material, suggestions are welcome! I want to make the modeled version.

Simplicity 2601 – the first on the middle row in pink – short sleeves and no ruffles.  I showed this fabric before, but I have decided that it will get more wear as a kitschy top than a dress.  Plus it’s pretty sheer, and I won’t mind wearing a camisole under this top.  I think the modeled photo on this pattern is terrible… really, Simplicity?

Finally, I have 2 pair of shorts that I’m planning to make.  We walk a lot in the summer, and I really need some shorts to mix in with my skirts (pants are too hot!)

First is Mccalls 5391. It was really hard to find a basic shorts pattern that didn’t look awful!  I want to make the bermudas in the lower right corner, in madras plaid of course.  I have some fashion magazines from the early 60s that show madras plaid bermudas being worn with cute sleeveless blouses, and that look is what I want (I still need the blouse pattern, and I’m looking for a vintage one.)

I showed this one before… Simplicity 2654.  I want to make the shorter shorts with the waist tabs (in plaid above) out of navy blue twill.  I bought some at Joann, but after washing the fabric it retains a distinct “school uniform” hand.  I’ll probably make them up anyway, and if I hate the results with the fabric I can make them again.  I imagine cute nautical buttons on the tabs (I’ll have to order those!)

I may or may not get to all these… it depends on my attention span, and how many pretty dresses sneak in there!  I need bottoms very badly, tops less so.  I hope to get the muslin for the pants sewn up tonight – it will depend on how I feel after teaching is done.  I have been working a lot on the Dawn sweater – I am a bit worried about the size – it looks ok now, but if it stretches that would probably be bad.  We will see… it is exciting to have knitting motivation again!  I am nearly finished with both fronts.  The knitting has gone very quickly!

13 thoughts on “Focus on Sportswear

  1. That’s a lot on your plate! Though, I’m not allowed to talk, I have tons on my list too! I hardly ever wear shorts, but that Mccall’s pattern looks promising. Look forward to seeing it made up. Your last pair of pants turned out fantastically, so I bet the shorts will, too!
    Love that cherries print! Where did you get it?

    1. I got the cherry print from, but I’m not sure if they have any left now. I jumped on it when I saw it, because it’s so retro, but then I couldn’t figure out what to do with it! I know what you mean about shorts… I don’t wear them much either. In fact, I only have one pair. But I think they would be nice, if I could find some I actually like, at least that’s my theory!


  2. When I hear the word sportswear, for some reason I always picture young energetic women like Jackie Kennedy, in the photos on the sailboat with JFK…very crisp white blouses and capri pants, their hair tousled by the ocean winds. I’m not sure today’s models/celebrities wear sportswear; they are usually in jeans, T-shirts, and sweats. Sportswear sounds so much more lively and creative!

  3. I just signed up for Me-Make-May light and am already stressing about what I am going to wear all month. Maybe some of your dive will wear off on me. Can’t wait to see them finished.

  4. Sometimes planning is half the fun!
    It will be interesting to compare the Simplicity trouser pattern with your high-waisted Vogue ones that you made recently – from memory they are a similar leg shape.

  5. Oooh, that was such fun looking at your plans for a sew-a-thon! Great to have a plan for what you want to make, and I’m so inspired by your increasingly hand made wardrobe!

  6. I laughed at your description of your athletic abilities and could certainly relate. I spent years in gym class trying to climb the ropes and never did. Never joined any team sports and I always ducked a softball coming my way too. But if ther were trophies for crafters – you’d have a showcase full. As the saying goes – know your talent and go with it. You do lovely work.

  7. Re. the backtacking issue… have you tried adjusting the presser foot pressure? I find that often helps– I sew on the 401 which is quite similar. Also make sure your needle is nice and fresh! 🙂

  8. I just picked up S2451 as well, and I can’t decide which view I’ll end up making–this pattern will probably get lots of use!

    Oh…and I was the kid who had to re-do the mile because she couldn’t finish in the allotted time…

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