Refashioning, Work Out Gear
Comments 43

Stretching my sewing skills – The Fehr Trade VNA Running Top

I recently bought the sew independent fabric bundle which includes Fehr Trades VNA running top.

Fehr Trade VNA top

Click on the image to be taken to the Fehr Trade site.

I’ve also taken up the running  challenge of couch to 5k and have nearly finished week 5 of 8.  The elastic limit of my current workout clothes is almost past the point of no return so it’s time to make some running tops that fit.

I’ve got a few pieces of lycra in my stash but for my first attempt I used fabric that I wouldn’t be too upset if it turned out to be a disaster.

Remember this dress… it was made before and after a 10 hour shift, then worn in the evening. Phew! I don’t tend to rail road my sewing any more, mainly due to having less time, but also because I’m trying to sew to a higher standard.  I’ve only worn this dress 3 or 4 times in 2 years so thought it was time for a refashion!


I also used the legs of some gym pants which are now shorts, and a piece of black t shirt type of fabric from my scrap bin.

#VNAtop 171

The pieces are odd shapes and at one point I didn’t think i’d be able to get the upper front and back piece out of the orange fabric.

The back piece just on the front of the dress.

#VNAtop 172

But the front piece was never going to fit with the fabric the right way up:

#VNAtop 173

Luckily the fabric has 4 way stretch so I was able to turn the fabric and fit the piece on:

#VNAtop 174

I cut the bindings from the old gym pants:

#VNAtop 175

The instructions were amazingly easy to follow and I was pleased how the V of the neckline turned out, and also the Vs in the back.  (ignore loose thread!)

#VNAtop 182

The only wobble I had, which was almost a disaster, was that I manage to stretch out the fabric when top stitching the neck binding.  I had to walk away and go have a round of golf to clear the mind!

#VNAtop 187

I posted this pic on instagram and Fehr trade promptly gave me advice on what caused it and how to prevent it happening again.

Looks like your machine is stretching the fabric as you sew, which creates those waves. It could be that your presser foot pressure is too tight – a walking foot will take away all of those issues (I utterly love mine, it’s pretty much the default foot on my machine!). If you can’t press the ripples out, unfortunately you’ll need to unpick & stitch again. Try some samples first before the next lot maybe?

How cool was that!?  I couldn’t bring myself to unpick all those tiny zig zag stitches so gave it some heat and steam instead:

#VNAtop 176

Slightly better, but not much!  Undeterred I finished the top and once worn it stretches out some of the wobbliness with the help of the negative ease.

The hem of the top calls for twin needle sewing or cover stitching.  I don’t own a cover stitch machine (YET!!) so I opted for the twin needle and a zig zag stitch:

#VNAtop 181I used a red and an orange thread.  Mainly because if I’d have wanted them the same I would have had to wind an extra bobbin!

I had a bit of trouble with my stitching using the twin needle.  I followed the instructions but one of the threads kept snapping – it was from the extra spool.  It didn’t seem to run smoothly from the spool.  To over come this I kept pulling the thread from the spool so it was just handing down the front of my machine.  Not ideal, but it worked.  Does anyone have any better suggestions?

Here’s some more pics of my finished top being modelled by Gertrude:

#VNAtop 184

#VNAtop 183

#VNAtop 180

I’m super duper pleased with it!! Only thing I need now is a well fitting sports bra as my old work out tops have built in support.  In the interim period before I go shopping, I’ve been wearing my old plain black top underneath.

Here’s me wearing it – just after a run so a bit difficult to muster a smile.  Not as difficult as getting hubby off the couch to take the photos though!

#VNAtop 179

#VNAtop 178

#VNAtop 177

And to finish with, a shot of my first VNA running top in action, out in public!!

#VNAtop 185

Still looks a bit wavy but who care’s!  I’m running so fast no one will notice!!

This entry was posted in: Refashioning, Work Out Gear
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I sew and play golf. I blog about my sewing as I don't think you'd want to read about my golf. It's bad enough watching it on telly! Contact me via email -


  1. This looks really good on. Well done for not giving up. You and Melissa twisted my arm and I now have a walking foot. Just need to practice now! ! K xXx

  2. So cute! And yes, I’m sure the whistling wind as you fly by causes the ripples! Nice pattern, nice response from Fehr Trade, wasn’t it. And double needles….very impressive indeed. 🙂

  3. corrineappleby says

    It looks fantastic! I don’t think I’m going to be too far behind you. I’ve been very naughty and used college facilities to print out the pattern and instructions and hope to make a start tonight! Did it take you long to make (excluding your interim round of golf)?

    • Thankyou! Need go faster stripes on my next one! Trying to think how long it took altogether as I did it in 3 sittings. Probably about 3-4 hours tops including cutting out and head scratching!! Can’t wait to see yours 😀

  4. Fab! Well done for attempting this one. It looks really good, especially on and loving your recycling efforts too 🙂 Learning to sew sportswear is on my v v long sewing-to-list too so great to hear how you got on with this.

  5. LOVE the top & you did a marvy job overcoming all obstacles! With red & orange, what’s not to love? 😍 HUGE Congratulations!!!

    Speaking to your thread prob ~ I’ve had a spool or two with bits of the rim stuck out & thread would get caught on them and snap the thread instead of running off it smoothly. Threading a machine for a double needle – my old machine has a special channel for that second thread. Does yours? 😉

  6. I love the way you refashioned the top out of scraps and your dress. Looks fab and well done for taking up the challenge! Keep running girl!

  7. Great top. I have that pattern from the Indie bundle, I must go through my stash and make it. Avoid Funkifabrics if you don’t want to spend hours choosing and almost bankrupt yourself – otherwise knock yourself out coz it’s a great source of lycra.

  8. Good job – you look the business. I’m not sure about your problems with the twin needle because when I use mine I use a straight stitch and don’t have any problems. Is your husband going to join you in your running endeavours eventually or is he too fond of the couch?

    • Hubby’s not a runner due to having a bad back, he cycles instead and I sometimes make one in, but he is more fond of the couch than his bike! 😀

  9. Forgot to mention Freeport in Cas have a shock absorber outlet. Lovely shop helpful staff and a really good range. Nice changing rooms too. That’s where I go being another Yorkshire Lass K xXx

    • Unmotivated and under skilled too! Not a good combination! Maybe I should get him to take them before tea and not feed him until I’m happy with the shots! 🙂

  10. Great job on this (and on the running!) I tried the Couch to 5k program and I think got to week 2 before life and injury derailed me, so yay you! And upcycling, too!

    • Thanks! I’m into week 6 and have developed some achy lower legs – don’t think it’s injury tho, well hope not! 😀

  11. Fantastic! I love the fact that you were brave enough to cut up a previous make that you knew you weren’t going to wear again and refashion it into something as brilliant as this. How cool to get advice from Fehr Trade themselves – that shows real commitment to customer satisfaction.

  12. springystitches says

    This looks so good and you were really brave to cut up a previous project! Good luck with the running! 😉

  13. I love the print for your sports top! I also loved the “>” shaped armhole instead of the usual round ones. I had the same issue about thread breaking whilst I am on the groove and the usual culprit is the spool getting stuck! Maybe try to remove the thread and put it back?

    • Thanks, that’s a good idea. I pulled out thread as I went and had it hanging down my machine. Your idea sound a better one! 😀

  14. Well done for taking and sticking with the couch to 5K. The top looks great, really nice combination of colours and materials. I always have the stretching problem with my machine and the comment on your post actually made me buy a walking foot. It’s a revelation!!! Are you going to make some more of this top?

    • The walking foot’s amazing isn’t it! I bought one for my old Janome but my new one came with one. Wouldn’t be able to live without it and I’ve no idea why I didn’t have it on when I stitched the neckline ! 😁. There’ll definitely be more 😀

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  16. This looks great! I haven’t figured out how to get a double needle to work in my machine yet, but I LOVE the double zigzag you did. Every time I wear gym clothes I’ve made, even with all their imperfections, I feel like an amazing seamstress. If only there was a pattern for a cute but effective sports bra with underwires. Then I might finally try bras!

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