DIY Activewear – Adding Some Neon to My Workouts

I’ll be honest here…working out is not my favorite activity. It’s more of a necessary evil that takes up valuable time I could be using to sew. So, I’m always up for finding ways to make it more fun. In this case, the fun quotient comes in the form of neon workout wear! I came across these pink and turquoise mesh fabrics at Lincraft and immediately knew they were what was missing from my daily workouts. 

DIY Neon Active Wear- Front View

Let’s start with the top. The pattern I selected is McCalls #M7061, and the fabric is a polyester knit mesh, with a good deal of four-way stretch. I made view A, but swapped the hood for the cowl collar of view C. Other than this swap, the only alteration I made to the pattern was to remove approximately 4” from the sleeves. This was surprising, as sleeves are usually either right on or a bit short on me.

DIY Neon Active Wear - Close-up of Top

The pattern was straightforward and very easy to whip up – from start to finish, it only took me a couple of hours. The finished product is very comfortable, and the mesh makes it feel light and airy – which is perfect for workouts. I’ve had a casual jersey dress in mind for a while now, and I may use this pattern again, making it dress length with the hood…stay tuned!

Now it’s time to talk about my favorite part of this outfit – the pants! I used Simplicity #8424, view B. The main fabric is a wonderful merino wool/polyester blend I found at The Fabric Store. It has a great four-way stretch and a looped back, which feels amazing on the skin. For the stripe details, I again used the pink mesh, along with the same mesh fabric in a bright turquoise. I think these colors go together quite nicely.

I made quite a few alterations to the pattern. First the fit – the length, waist and hips fit perfectly, but I did take in the leg seams about 2”. They were a bit too baggy, especially around the knees.


The biggest alteration was adding the mesh striping detail to the bottom. Since the pattern was for a basic pair of leggings, these pants went through several sketches (and a LOT of measuring) before I decided on exactly how I wanted to incorporate the mesh. In the end I decided on these diagonal stripes of alternating color and fabric, and I am incredibly proud of how these pants turned out. Below is a quick tutorial on what I did:

  • I first determined how high I wanted the striping to go and how I wanted it angled. I decided to angle the stripes downward from the outside leg seam to the inside leg seam.
  • I drew the angle I wanted directly onto my front leg pattern piece. (I cut my actual pattern piece, but I would recommend tracing the pattern to preserve the original. I didn’t have any of my tracing paper at the time and was too excited to get started to either run to the store or place an order!)
  • Once I had the bottom pattern piece cut out, I needed to decide how thick I wanted my stripes. I cut the turquoise and black stripes the same width of 2”, plus seam allowance on the top and bottom. Here is where some precise measuring comes into play. I had to make sure that each stripe was the same width (in my case 2″) the entire way across – I didn’t want wonky looking stripes.
  • After I cut out the pattern pieces for the top two stripes from the bottom pattern piece I previously cut, I knew what was remaining would be the pink stripe/bottom of the pants.
  • When I cut my pieces out of the fabric, I made sure to not only add seam allowances to the top and bottom of the two stripe pieces, but also to the bottom of the main leg piece and to the top of the bottom piece. Without these seam allowances, the pants would have been shorter than the original pattern. No additional seam allowances were required on the sides, as I wasn’t altering the width with this change.
  • Once I had all of the pattern pieces cut out for the front leg, I used them as a template to do the same for the back leg pieces. I needed all of these pieces to be the same or they wouldn’t line up properly.
  • After cutting out all the pieces, I sewed them together, trimmed the seam allowances, pressed the allowances toward the black fabric, and topstitched the seams in place. I wanted all the topstitching done on the black fabric to keep the seam allowances from showing through the mesh.
  • With the four leg pieces completed, I sewed the side seams. I recommend a LOT of pins. You want to make sure to keep the stripes lined up so you end up with crisp stripes on the inside and outside of your pants. I did a machine basting stitch first to ensure the stripes were lining up properly prior to my final stitching.
  • Since some of the fabrics are mesh, I changed thread colors when sewing the side leg seams to match the fabric. This is not necessary, but I didn’t want the black thread to show through.
  • From here, I finished the pants as directed in the instructions.

Please let me know what you think, or if you tried this pattern hack yourself, in the comments below.

Happy Sewing!

DIY Neon Active Wear- Front View

DIY Neon Active Wear- Front View

DIY Neon Active Wear

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