Cheapest of the Cheap

I’m not sure if I’ll make the top 50 for the annual Tennessean’a Ms. Cheap’s Cheapest of the Cheap contest but submitted my idea anyway.

Been making a lot of my own workout gear of late because 1) workout clothes are EXPENSIVE! and 2) custom always fits better.

I’ve made 4 pair of leggings so far and have enough leftover fabric to make matching shorts or even swim suits.

And my awesome super cheap armband with a POCKET!!!! 🙂

Definitely lots more planned in the future for shirts, etc.

Here is my submission of links and sources gathered from lots of research:

To source my fabric I keep an eye on sales and coupons. Jo-Ann’s always has a nice selection and if you are on their email list always a coupon plus coupons in their mobile app. I’ve made several pairs for under $10 including the fabric, elastic, and thread. Other low-cost sources are the and who send out daily emails with whatever fabric is 10% off that day, also has a mailing list. Or if you want the good stuff and any of the other places located on this list by Fehr Trade: This is a great guide to deciding which fabrics are best: You can sign up for the McCall Pattern Company email list to be notified of their many sales on patterns, always a nice selection of athletic apparel patterns. Part of my foray into making my own clothes has been due in large part to making quality fitted items for a fraction of the cost they would be in store. With all the sales and options out there, making one’s own athletic apparel is definitely a savings! Also checking out thrift stores has some great options.

Free Patterns:





Sports bra:


Yoga pants:,

Yoga mat bag:

Patterns Sites:;;;;;;;



Trials of Creating my Own iPhone Armband

I’ve gone through 2 armbands within 1 year now. One supposedly “the best”. Perhaps I’m just hard on my gear doing so much running but they are not cheap! Well, they can be but those last me maybe 2-3 months. This is for my iPhone 5s.

So I decided I wanted a workout armband that had a pocket for gels and my cards as well as a clear screen so I can see and get to my phone without taking it out. After some searching I found this great tutorial by Maiden Jane. My first idea was the following pieces:


Basically 2 sides measuring 1″ wide, a front and a back. I was going to put a layer of interfacing between the lining and exterior fabrics and a layer of vinyl over the top of the front basically creating two pockets. Pattern piece 1 measures 3.75″ wide and 6.5″ long cut on the fold and the side measures 1.75″ wide by 6.5″ long

Yeah…great in theory. I then changed my mind and just put the front and back together so it would keep it’s nice stretch (using spandex) and decided to skip the sides and fancy zipper pouch idea I had.



Turned it right side out and as I was stitching the sides up I realized 1) it was too long for my phone and 2) it wasn’t wide enough. So take two will be wider and a little shorter. Aiming for 4.25″ wide and 6″ long. Decided to keep it simple and skip adding sides and a zipper and using just the spandex so the fabric can keep its stretch. Then I’ll attach an armband made out of 1″ wide elastic to the back.

Take 2:



Better but still not there yet. I used the same front/back template but took half an inch off the top and put in 1/4″ inseams instead. Almost. Still a little tight. I got the plastic vinyl on but either used too short a stitch or it’s too thin because it started ripping off. Everything else is good.

I think take 3 I will use longer stitches (used 2.5mm, will try 3.5) and add a fabric border. The 1″ elastic was good and sturdy. Also wih this one I had to take my phone out of the case and I really want to be able to leave it in. Almost there!


And Take 3!

Finally got it this time. I made a new pattern piece measuring 4.5″ by 6″, a plastic vinyl piece measuring 4″ by 5.5″, and then the pieces that border the plastic vinyl. The short sides are 1″ by 4″ and the long sides are 1″ by 5.5″. I sewed those onto the plastic, then sewed the plastic onto the case, then sewed the sides together. This creating the two pockets, and then I measure the elastic and sewed it on. I used the method of measuring my arm, dividing by 2, and adding 2.5″. It works!


Fits perfect!    


You can see the detail of the edging. In the end it measure about 1/4″ around the armband.


And the double pocket! I can fit a gel and my ID card in there now, :).



And voila! 3rd try’s a charm, :).