Strawberry Sherbet Exercise Top

I finally made some cute active wear for myself. It’s been a long time coming, as I’ve grown more and more frustrated with RTW clothing of all kinds. I used to think that it wasn’t worth my time to make items that I would just use to exercise in and get dirty. But you know what? I’ve realized that it’s even more important to be comfortable when exercising.

This exercise top with a built-in bra is the first of the active wear items I made. I actually finished it a couple of weeks ago.

IMG_7709IMG_7707This top was made from a self-drafted pattern. I felt like this was the only way I could get exactly the fit I was looking for. If there is enough interest, I’d think about working on a multi-sized pattern for this top.


Drafting in process


My biggest complaint about RTW exercise tops is having to wear a sports bra even when an exercise top has a built-in bra. That’s three layers of material, and I usually still have significant bouncing action. Most tops don’t give the level of compression that I need. This top has a built-in bra and it does a pretty good job.


Told ya’ the tiny racerback bow would show up again. πŸ™‚

I usually exercise six days a week, sometimes just five. I do a variety of different types of exercise including kickboxing, bootcamps, high intensity interval training, running, plus circuit training and toning exercises. So, I need things I can wear and be comfortable in while doing all of those different activities.




The best part about the top is that it actually contains the gals. I did some pretty extensive field testing.

I can do burpees, jumping jacks, air jacks,


jump kicks,


tuck jumps,


and, whatever this is (haha!),


Don’t worry, Newton was not harmed during the taking of these photos. I’m always really aware of where he is because he likes to try to lay right next to me when I’m exercising.

all without the girls spilling out or bouncing painfully. I’d say this was a successful endeavor, and I have several other tops in the works to replace my worn-out RTW ones. I’ll be using the same pattern, with a couple of variations, one of which is definitely going to involve some scallops.

Who says active wear can’t be cute? πŸ™‚


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66 Responses to Strawberry Sherbet Exercise Top

  1. RankkaApina says:

    I love it! I’m all for clothes being functional and comfortable while also cute πŸ™‚ I also need some active wear and was wondering: what pattern did you use? I have similar breast issues, so I’d love to make something like this πŸ™‚ When I get around to it, of course…

    • Becca says:

      Thanks for pointing out the fact that I neglected to mention the pattern. Sorry about that! πŸ˜€ I’ve edited the post to include information about the pattern. It is a self-drafted pattern, but I’m thinking about making it into a multi-sized pattern…

  2. Katie says:

    soooo cute!! love this top, very well done! makes me want to make some of these for myself : )

  3. Lisa j says:

    That is a really cute top. Did you draft a pattern yourself or buy one? I do boxing and jazzercise and usually wear about 3 layers because workout tops aren’t long enough for my liking and I don’t like jiggling around without a tank top underneath.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! It can definitely be frustrating (not to mention, hot) having to wear so many layers. I added the pattern information to the post. It’s actually a self-drafted pattern, but I will, in all likelihood, make a multi-size pattern in the near future.

  4. dandeliondrift says:

    I love it! I would love to make one like this, as long as it is in some kind of breathable fabric. I can’t stand running in cotton. Do they make quick dry fabric you can buy by the yard?

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! You know, I’m not sure exactly what the fabric content is, but I know it’s activewear/swimwear material.It seems like it’s definitely a nylon and spandex blend (lycra). I couldn’t tell you the exact fabric content percentages. I can’t even remember where I bought it. It has been in my stash for many years. This fabric does dry quickly, but I’d have to do a little research about the BTY availability of fabric labeled specifically as quick dry. Hmm. I’ll have to research that…

      • Becca says:

        It seems like most swimwear materials sold BTY would be quick dry. The fabric that I used works pretty well. It’s breathable, but it’s not as thin and slinky as some activewear material available in fabric stores can be. It has a nice weight to it. Your best chance of finding fabric like this is online. Though I can’t remember where I bought this material, I know I bought it online somewhere. It may have even been Ebay. The downside of buying fabric this way is that you never quite know for sure what the material is like because you can’t move it around in your hands and test it out. Anyway, this response is getting ridiculous. I’ll have to do some more research about what’s out there and perhaps do a post about sourcing this type of material.

  5. He he love the pictures!

  6. Joyatee says:

    I love this! Can you tell us how you made this top? I’d love to make one for myself.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! I’m glad you like it. It’s a self-drafted pattern, but I’m probably going to make a pattern and that would include detailed instructions.

  7. Jana says:

    I would totally, totally be interested in a pattern for a top like this, or even just some instructions on how you went about putting it together. I’ve been looking into making my own exercise tops with a built-in bra just recently and wasn’t really happy with what I found. I think I could possibly draft something that might work, but am a little at a loss when it comes to putting it together, with the built-in bra and all that. Quite a beginner sewist with too many aspirations here! I want to try it all and then stumble over construction sequences and such because I just don’t have the experience yet. Still working on that β€œpatience” thing…

    • Becca says:

      It’s great to have so many aspirations! That means your excited about it. πŸ˜€ I’m so glad to hear about beginning sewists jumping right in. That’s the way to go! There isn’t all that much out there in the way of patterns and materials for activewear. Since I really am planning to make a pattern, I will post more construction details in the future. It can be difficult to figure out the construction steps when you’re just starting out, but keep at it and it will get easier. Some of the best learning experiences for me have been taking thrifted items apart to see how they were made. The best way to learn is to just keep practicing and making a range of garments to learn different techniques. Patience is difficult for me, too. πŸ™‚

  8. Sarah Lewis says:

    Well, that was enough exercising for me today….watching you made me lose at least three ounces!! LOL Very cute stuff. πŸ™‚

  9. Love this! It looks so legit! I would definitely make this up if you had a pattern πŸ™‚ Love the seams in front and bow in the back – just great! What kind of fabric did you use??

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! I can’t tell you with absolutely certainty what the fabric is because I can’t remember where I bought it. It has been in my stash for many years. I know it’s activewear/swimwear material. It seems like it’s definitely a nylon and spandex blend (lycra). I couldn’t tell you the exact fabric content percentages. It’s pretty comfortable, though.

  10. Kathy says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE this!! The little bow in back, the print, and the fact that it holds the girls in place. This is exactly what I want, too, because it impossible to get an exercise top that really, genuinely works as a compression bra, too (even when it claims it does!) I don’t even have much to compress and still store bought tops are useless when it comes to the built in bra. What fabric did you use? And I will be first in line to get your pattern if you ever decide to make one πŸ™‚

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! It’s true. The tops that I’ve found that are small enough to fit my shoulders and ribs and still compress are cut too small around my bust, so I either have side boob showing and/or spillage in the front. I can’t tell you with absolutely certainty what the fabric is because I can’t remember where I bought it. It has been in my stash for many years. I know it’s activewear/swimwear material. It seems like it’s a nylon or polyester and lycra blend, or something. Good to know there’s another person interested. πŸ™‚

  11. larakrjacobs says:

    This is awesome – I would be so interested in your pattern – I need full on support to tame the girls! Love the photos btw! xxx

  12. Marie says:

    Eeep, if you made this a multi-sized pattern I would snap it up immediately! I work out a fair bit too, but I’ve never owned or seen a top as cute as this! The fact that it keeps the gals in too is critical for me!

    • Becca says:

      Good to know! πŸ™‚ I think most of us have had a similar experience with what’s out there in terms of active wear.

  13. LLADYBIRD says:

    WHAT!!! You cannot post a bunch of pictures of your super cute top with a BUILT IN BRA and then say you are *thinking* about making it available to people like meeee. Do it do it do it, I want to copycat you! It’s so cute, and I love the side seaming and the little back bow. I actually don’t mind wearing a bra with a top normally (bc, let’s be real, I’m a skanky ho and I end up getting too hot and taking my top off half the time. All right! The bra covers like a bathing suit… yes?), but this is just too much. I want I want !!!

    • Becca says:

      Haha! I know, I’m mean like that. πŸ˜› In all seriousness though, making an active wear pattern is something on my to-do list. Hey, no judgement here. A sports bra covers up more than most bathing suits out there (or even some shirts, for that matter), anyway. I’m glad to hear you’d be interested in making a top like this for yourself. πŸ™‚

  14. Gillian says:

    OMG, I am so beyond impressed with you for drafting and sewing and ass-kickingly modelling this top! It’s awesome. Wow!!!!

  15. I’d have to see the construction to know that wasn’t store-bought! (Although I could probably guess since it DOES fit you so well!)

    Also- you are too cute!

    I love the seaming in the front, and the little bow detail in back πŸ˜€

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! It has all the inside finishes that a store-bought top would, like serged seams, etc. I think it’s going to hold up much better than a store-bought top would, though. The real test is washability for me, and so far this top has made the cut. I’ve worn it and washed it several times and it still looks like it did when I first tried it on. That makes me a very happy sewist. πŸ™‚

  16. mindthatbird says:

    That top is amazing!!!!!! i want! i want!

  17. Julia says:

    This top is adorable! I feel the same way about most RTW workout tops. It never dawned on me to try making a top. Great work!

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! Yeah, the problems that I had with RTW workout tops was something I’d thought about in passing. I’m not sure why it has taken me this long to finally start making my own.

  18. gingermakes says:

    I love this! It’s so cute! I get sick of running and working out in disgusting old t-shirts– this is perfect! I love it!

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! Yeah, I get tired of working out in and working on the house in clothes that are huge and/or ugly. It’s nice to have something cute once in a while, even in those settings.

  19. Kelly says:

    It is super cute, when I saw it I was thinking it was from a Jalie pattern or something…I am so impressed with your pattern drafting skillz!! I am going to add myself to the list of people who want this SOOOOOO bad, please please please make a multi-size pattern πŸ™‚ And if you need any pattern testers I am here for you, hehe.

  20. Alisa says:

    Love this top! Everything you make is so cute. I definitely am suffering from “wish I could draft patterns ENVY”. I have bought some books in hopes that one day I will come up with a garment that actually looks as good on as in my head, luckily I do not suffer from lack of ideas just skillz. Meanwhile, I would be super excited to purchase this top pattern, the luxury of having and exercise top that would contain the girls would be heaven.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! You should totally try out drafting for yourself. Besides the obvious positive of the end product, it can be a really enjoyable process. Thanks for expressing your interest in a pattern. πŸ™‚

  21. Yes please to a multisize pattern – I’d be sewing it up pronto!

  22. photosarah says:

    So cute, especially the details. Most of the time the built-in bras are too small for me so it would be great be able to sew one and make it fit!

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! I totally understand your frustration. Hopefully, I can make a pattern available in the not-to-distant future.

  23. Nay says:

    Hi, I love your blog so I’ve nominated you for an award.

  24. Alessa says:

    Oh I love it! Cute fabric and I like the racerback bow. It’s so cool that you managed to draft a built-in bra that actually works. I’d definitely be interested in that pattern!
    Also: those kicks and jumps look pretty cool. πŸ™‚

    • Becca says:

      Thank you! I appreciate your expressing interest. πŸ™‚ Thank you for being sweet about the awkward photos. Haha!

  25. I am totally unactive but I love this top! It looks really cute and those action shots are are genius way to demonstrate how well the support works. Hope you get the opportunity to put the pattern together because it looks like an interesting project.

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! Haha! I figured since it was activewear I had to include some shots of me being active. πŸ™‚ I’m very seriously considering making it a pattern, although it may be a little while.

  26. Sarah says:

    wow sports gear homemade now THIS is what imatalkinabout!! πŸ™‚ !! Thats so cool, because I dont like buying china made products ….when it comes to the gym where else can you get gear?!? im a kiwi, theres no NZ made brands …I usually go to the op shop but there ‘range’ is pretty minimal. I WANT TO MAKE MANY OF THESE πŸ™‚

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! Yes, it is difficult to find things that are made anywhere but China. I totally understand your frustration. Hopefully, I’ll have a pattern to offer in the near future.

  27. melissa says:

    I followed a link from KathySew’s blog here and I love your top! I’m a distance runner and I sew quite a lot of my own running gear but I’ve never quite been able to find a built-in bra that works anywhere near as well as my RTW ones (and I’m a B cup, so it shouldn’t be such a big ask!). I absolutely love the style lines of this top and I’d really be very interested in buying this pattern should you ever produce it!

    • Becca says:

      Thanks! I’m still tweaking my pattern in an attempt to get the best fit. At this point, I’m at a little bit better than my RTW exercise tops, but I’d like mine to be way better than the RTW ones. So, I’ve still got a ways to go before I’m happy. πŸ™‚ Long distance running certainly presents its own challenges when it comes to suitable activewear. I am not solely a runner, but I do 3-4 mile runs and longer runs (6-10 miles) a few times a month, and even those can become torture when I’m not properly clothed.

  28. Laurel says:

    Your top is SO cute. I would be very interested in a sport top pattern that covered the girls!

  29. Caroline says:

    Hi Becca
    What a fantastic blog and a great workout top! I have recently made a sports top of my own and posted it on my new blog. I have put a link to your top as is one the best I have seen online. It’s at

  30. Laurel says:

    Please DO make this your next pattern! I am in the midst of sewing new tops for exercise and would love one like this! Especially if drafted for full busted gals!

  31. Aveli says:

    I really love this top. I’ve been playing around with the idea of making sports wear myself, but I just keep feeling like a hypocrite (you know, shouldn’t I be working out instead of wondering how to look cute while doing it), I know, that looking pretty and feeling comfortable while exercise is important and really-really motivating, but I just dont feel comfortable with the idea that I’m making myself new workout clothes while I already own a bunch and.. how many thights and shirts does a girl need to run? Anyway, i’ve convinced myself into making some thights and now thinking about whether or not to make a top also and figured that if I found a really fancy good quality fabric and a really nice pattern, I might give it a try. You know, so it would feel like treating myself with something really special rather than just increasing the number of sportswear I own. Anyway, as I said, this top is magnificent and I would really be happy if you made the multi-sized pattern for it available (It might just be the really nice pattern for my really special top πŸ˜‰ ).

    • Becca says:

      Yeah, I can relate to all of that. I just start making myself exercise wear once my old stuff starts wearing out. Now, I have a lot of worn out old exercise gear, but I haven’t had the time to replace it all with handmade stuff yet. :/ Anyway, that top is certainly in the plan for the future. Once I get settled down from our move, I’ll have the space and wherewithal to get to work on some testing and redrafting, etc.

  32. jsews says:

    Very cute top and it looks like it performs well. Keep us posted if you make this into a real pattern!

  33. white17e says:

    I am also planning to sew my own active wear, while I search the net about sewing my own active wear for more reference, I stumble upon your blog. You did a great job on making your own active wear, I really that little bow on your back πŸ™‚

  34. Peyton says:

    So, this is years later, but did you ever get around to drafting that top in multiple sizes? It really is adorable, and I could use some adorable in my activewear. πŸ™‚

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