November 29, 2017
Have you noticed that there is a surge in the updated sweatsuit? Whether you call it a tracksuit, sweatsuit or jogging suit, the trend is on an upswing. Many celebrities have dawned the revived trend. Some of the brands from the past are even seeing a new spark of interest in the retail world. Earlier this year, Kylie Jenner was pictured wearing the infamous velour Juicy Couture sweatsuit. Some of the big pattern companies have jumped on that trend and created patterns with different styling and design options. The looks that inspired me most were a BCBG jacket and a Bottega Veneta sweatsuit.
Making a sweatsuit for Fall 2017 was top of my project priorities for the season. I plan on making several versions throughout the season. Nevertheless, I faced a few challenges in finishing this project. For starters, I originally cut and stitched the jacket as per the pattern. My biggest dilemma was finding the perfect ribbed knit fabric. To avoid this project ending up in the trash or the back of my closet, I had to have a serious make it work moment.
What I love about the Bottega Veneta look is the drape and sheen of the fabric. The fabric from the inspiration almost encourages a head to toe look to be styled with dressier accessories. The fabric that I used was a scuba knit from Fabric.com (HERE style 0438078). My fabric does not have the same drape from the Bottega look but does have an amazing sheen and handfeel. One side of my fabric has a heathered texture and the correct side is very soft and luxurious. I think that my fabric is more versatile than that of my inspiration look.
I was also inspired by the BCBG Off-the-shoulder jacket. The BCBG jacket has a cool updated twist to the average bomber jacket. I love the way that they used a gathered self-fabric to make up the shoulder (versus ribbing knit).
FABRIC AND TRIM:
Rib knit and tubular fabric, by definition, is vertically ridged pattern fabric that has a crosswise stretch. It is sold in different widths, depths, and elasticity. I was on a hunt for a thicker, deeper whaled knit (either a 2×2 or more ideally a 4×1 ribbing). Finding the perfect color, pattern, elasticity was a huge challenge. For my project, I wanted to have a dyed to match (perfect color match) collar, wrist, and waistband ribbed knit. In pursuit of a perfect match, I purchased a few different types of rib knit and tubular fabric online to see which one would work best. What I found was that the colors are limited and difficult to match. In addition, the thicker whaled knit was difficult to find in the right combination.
My fabric was a flawless shade of red. The undertones of red are sometimes difficult to match, which lead to a major impasse. Before the ribbed knit fabric that I had ordered arrived, I feared that they would either be too blue or too yellow in undertones. I played around with two different shades of red (one lighter shade of cotton and a darker one made of a bamboo blend) to get a match. I even considered using black as an option. The black ribbed knit did not deliver the look that I was going for with a head to toe red silhouette. Even though the red is not an exact match, I decided to move forward with the darker red knit fabric. The knit was a better match to the sheen and tone of the red fabric.
Another dilemma that I had was that the knit was a very thin 2×2 rib which meant a thinner ribbing and more elasticity. To use it around the waist and cuffs was not as much concern. To use it around the shoulder area, I did not think that it would be able to support the weight of the zipper and the fabric and lining.
I decided to use the rib knit for only the cuff and waist area. For the shoulder area, I used self-fabric cut in the width of the newly cut off shoulder area.
I used Simplicity (8418) for the jacket and Simplicity (1428) for the pants.
- Cut the front, back, front bottom, pocket, and arm panels as is (I made the adjustments to the shoulders after stitching these pieces together).
- Omitted the collar.
- Stitched the jacket together as per the pattern instructions (sans the collar).
(Same steps repeated for the lining.)
- With the jacket flat on a table, I cut about 3 inches down, I drew a straight line across the shoulders from one side to the other.
- Cut the self-fabric 5 ¼” wide and the length of the newly cut shoulder area.
- Created three rows of stitches for elastic casing.
- Attached this fabric to the top half of the shoulder area.
- Inserted and gathered elastic into the rows
- Applied the zipper
- On the front panel pattern piece, I drew a line down the center front (from top to bottom).
- I added a 5/8” seam allowance down the cut front panel piece.
- I stitched the front panel pieces together leaving open the bottom front of the leg about 13 inches from the bottom of the pants. Topstitch the front opening edges.
- The remainder pattern pieces were sewn as per the pattern instructions.
I sometimes find myself extremely stressed when it seems like I am not going to finish a project because I get frustrated. Nevertheless, when I am able to recover a project and not have a new addition to my UFO (unfinished object) stash, it’s a huge win. Despite some of the challenges in this project, I was very satisfied with the end results.
TIP: Use a set-in sleeve pattern for the bomber. I will be the first to admit that the raglan gathered too much up top and was not the most complimentary shape. Check out my previous post where I used a set-in sleeve HERE.