Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Running Sleeves

Where does General Washington keep his running armies?
In his running sleevies, of course!
My husband and I are runners.  He has been talking lately about getting some running sleeves. They are ideal for Spring weather--when you get too hot in long sleeves, but short sleeves feel chilly, especially for the first couple miles. These sleeves take that chill off, and allow your armpits to breathe. If you're a runner, you know what I'm talking about. Achieving the ideal body temperature while running is a true feat. So, on a run a few mornings ago,  we had the idea to try making our own.
My dear husband bought me a nice serger for Christmas with very high hopes of us eventually making all kinds of custom athletic and outdoor gear. So far, we've made several headbands, hats, and gloves....and now running sleeves.  
Making these were simple. All you need is 1/2 yard of a polyester-spandex blend fabric. I used my serger, but this type of synthetic fabric doesn't fray easily, so a regular sewing machine would work as well. I got two sets of sleeves out of 1/2 yard!

I made a pattern by measuring the length and width of the sleeve of one of my long-sleeved running shirts. I traced it, doubled it and added a couple inches for seams.

I won't post pictures of every step of sewing these--they are about as basic as it gets. I will give some tips based on my experience:

1. Pin A LOT. This type of fabric is very slippery. Sometimes my feeder foot had trouble grabbing it. Lots of pins will save you lots of heartache.
2. If you are serging, first baste with the sewing machine. It's a pain to be pulling out dozens of pins as you run fabric through the serger.
3. If you aren't serging, I suggest doing a double stitch to reinforce the seams since the sleeves are stretched and tugged to put on and take off.
4. My fabric came with finished edges on two sides, so I used that for my wrists. It looked nice and saved me some edge finishing. 

My pattern. 20" on the sides, 6.5" on the wrist end,  and a curved 13"-ish on the shoulder end. I made my husband's pair a couple inches wider. 

If you can't line up your edges to sew and have it lay flat, no worries!  Your arms aren't straight as a board either. :)

Here's a close-up of the pre-finished edge the fabric came with. It made a nice edge for the wrists.

Here's the underside of the finished shoulder. I did a double top-stitch. 
Not too professional looking up-close, but as my grandmother used to say, "Nobody can tell on a galloping horse!"


  1. What was your seam allowance? Thank you for the pattern dimensions! Just what I was looking for! :)