This blog post was originally published on Fabric Mart Fabric’s Fabricista blog on May 12, 2021. I’ve included a bit of extra info and more photos here.
Last year I decided to take up golf again after playing only a handful of times over the past two decades. When I think back to what we were wore for golf when I was playing in the 90s it was basically regular street clothes – 100% cotton pants and knit or woven tops with practically no stretch. Times have changed! Golf wear is now truly athletic wear and those constricting fabrics have been replaced by technical fabrics. But RTW golf clothes are expensive, in boring colors, and the sizing isn’t always inclusive. Time to make my own.
I spent some time going through my patterns and found that I had everything I needed to make a full outfit comprised of a top, jacket, skirt, and little shorts to be worn under the skirt.
If you sew you know that it can be quite difficult to find technical fabric for athletic wear. A couple of months ago I discovered that Fabric Mart has an entire section of fabric suitable for athletic wear! My jacket and top patterns both have side panels/princess seams so I picked out two fabrics that would look good together.
French Wine Pink Polyester/Lycra Techno Knit is a beefy athletic wear fabric in gorgeous cherry pink. There is plenty of stretch and it’s suitable for a top, jacket, leggings or even a dress.
Powder White Nylon/Lycra Tricot Activewear Knit is lighter in weight than the Techno Knit. It drapes nicely and is almost opaque. This fabric feels like many of my summer RTW athletic tops. It would be excellent for tops and lightweight jackets, and depending on your style, for leggings or skirts.
When I received my activewear fabrics from Fabric Mart, I discovered in my stash a piece of Stretch Bengaline (purchased from Fabric Mart/Julie’s Picks last summer) and it had that same cherry pink in the print. Best of all, the bengaline has almost 50% stretch along the length of the fabric. There’s lots of bending in golf so stretch is good! I now had everything I needed for my golf wardrobe.
I selected four patterns:
Top: Butterick 6494 – close-fitting top with raglan sleeves, front and back princess seams and a small stand collar. The pattern has long sleeves, so I cut them short to make the top suitable for summery weather. (In 2017, I made this top in French terry .)
Shorts: Kwik Sew 4044 – elastic waist capris cut to short length.
Jacket: Kwik Sew 3452 (out of print) – quarter-zip jacket with raglan sleeves, side panels and stand up collar.
Skirt: Pamela’s Patterns Magic Pencil Skirt – elastic waist skirt modified to A-line with side slits and pockets. (I wrote about this pattern in 2019 in this post.)
I was a bit concerned about the sizing of both the top and the jacket. I had made the top before so knew that it fit but wanted to ensure that any pandemic-related spread was covered so cut generous seam allowances along the side seams. For the jacket, I read several reviews that said it was ‘close-fitting’ and even the pattern envelope notes that. The seam allowances for the jacket are just 1/4″ so I doubled those and cut 1/2″ seam allowances everywhere except at the shoulders, neck and hem. As it turned out, I didn’t need the added ease on either piece. Both are generously sized. In fact, I took off all of the excess on the front of the top. It’s easier to take away than add.
The top, jacket and shorts were all cut at the same time. All three of these patterns are easy to sew and a beginner could make them with a bit of understanding of how to sew knits. The neck opening on the top is a bit fussy but not horribly so.
For the jacket and the top, I basted the side seams together to check for fit and then used my serger to stitch the seams. There is a bit of hand sewing on the collars for both of these garments.
The jacket has excellent instructions for adding a zipper. I was a bit concerned about sewing a zipper onto stretch fabric but I needn’t have been. The pink Techno Knit is very stable. As always, every project has to have one UGH moment and this one involved the zipper. I bought a decorative zipper pull, had difficulty taking off the original pull and broke it off. So I had to unpick the zipper – topstitching and all. Through all of that, the fabric didn’t stretch and I was careful enough that there were no pulls. Like all of my mistakes, this one counts as practice. 🙄😏
The shorts are a super-fast make: left piece, right piece, elastic. I first traced the pattern onto tracing paper and checked the fit before cutting the fabric. I am still learning about sewing bottoms with legs (i.e., not skirts) and I found that this is a good pattern to play with because there are so few pieces so adjustments to the crotch seams are visually easier to work with. Even with this step the shorts were finished in record time.
The only piece that required design adjustments was the skirt. You don’t usually think of a pencil skirt for golf, however I have sewn this pattern a couple of times and felt confident that it was a great place to start. A note that the bengaline stretched along the length of the fabric. I was careful to layout the pattern so the stretch would be around the width of my body. The fabric print is random so this worked out just fine.
To make the skirt suitable for golf I made a few simple adjustments:
- Created an A-line shape by adding 3″ on each side seam at the hem, then drew a line tapering out from the hip to the hem.
- When stitching down the side seam I stopped 4 1/2″ from the lower edge to allow for side slits. The hem is 1 ½” which means the slits open 3”.
- The seam allowances on the side slits were then turned under and topstitched, and the skirt was hemmed as usual.
- Two pockets were added: On the upper right side there is a small 4” square pocket big enough for tees, a ball repair tool and ball marker. On the left side a larger pleated pocket holds at least a couple of golf balls.
And just like that I have a great new golf outfit 🙂
I wore this outfit to play 18 holes while walking and pushing a cart and this outfit is definitely comfortable. It was coolish when we tee’d off (55F/12C) and by the time we came off the 18th green it was sunny and quite warm (80F/26C). The fabric wasn’t sweaty or uncomfortable, it’s designed to be worn outside when you’re moving around in all kinds of weather.
The athletic knit fabrics were much easier to work with than I expected. I am now on the hunt for more patterns for golf clothes. If only it was as easy to improve my golf game as it is to sew the clothes!
P.S. I talk a bit about this project on my YouTube Channel, Janine Sews.
- If you cut more than one pattern at the same time, use Painter’s tape to mark the pieces so you don’t get them mixed up. I also use Painter’s tape to mark the wrong side of the fabric when necessary.
- A fresh rotary cutter blade makes for beautiful clean cuts on athletic knits.
- Use a fresh needle in your machine. I used a ballpoint needle for all parts of the project.
- If you have a serger, use it!
- If you do not have a serger, these fabrics can be sewn with a narrow zig zag (I use a .5mm wide x 1.6mm long stitch)
- When working with unfamiliar fabrics, test all seams and stitches on scraps before sewing. While it’s possible to pick out stitches on knit fabrics, there is always the risk of causing a pull.