Ok! So I wrote this DIY post about 2 months ago and reading over it now I'm like wow this is really hard to follow but it's been so long I don't really know how else to describe how to make it so anyway this might be a terrible instructional post. Enjoy.
WHAT a journey this diy has been! My quest to make a crazy designer looking tracksuit started when my sister Hannah told me she has been on the hunt for the perfect tracksuit for a super long time. I don't even remember how the topic of track suits came up or what her exact specifications were but ever since we first talked about it I basically freak out anytime I see a track suit that looks remotely interesting in real life or on the internet and send her a photo. And it's actually a lot harder to find reasonably priced and interesting looking tracksuit/street wear than you would think.
The other reason I also became obsessed with the track suit hunt was because at the time I was watching a lot of sewing tutorials online. And because I was watching people make clothing all the time I kept thinking there has to be someone who's recreating really cool kind of almost like designer Gucci looking track suits, right? right?? With Wendy?? But no! I kept pinteresting and looking stuff up on youtube and nothing was quite what I was looking for (honestly where I've ended up with it looking like may not even be her dream tracksuit. It's been a long road guys). The more nothing came up, the more I became obsessed with finally finding the right tutorial. Eventually I found two videos that were super helpful and inspired me to just try it out! First, this Sorry Girls video is pretty much what I followed to make the jacket and I'll be referring to in almost every step. Second, I found this other video which is so perfect and motivating to watch to make matching pants. I just didn't have time to make them yet!
- thrifted skirt suit
- 3 yards of 3" elastic
- metal jacket zipper
This is the skirt suit we're starting out with in all it's oversized tacky glory. The print is really what got me! It reminds me so much of a lot of the patterns I was seeing when I was looking for inspo photos on Pinterest and it isn't too busy that it would look overwhelming if you add more patterns like stripes or even added in some floral patches. I actually bought the skirt suits months before making this project. It wasn't until I was in New York and went to Mood Fabrics and found this amazing striped metallic elastic that I was ready to make this project happen!
My first step was to cut off about 1"-2" at the bottom of the jacket to remove the scalloped edging. I wanted to keep as much length to the jacket as possible so I cut off the least amount possible but you could definitely cut off more to make this cropped. Then I serged the cut edge to prevent any fraying.
Next I needed to remove the existing buttons because I'll be replacing it with a zipper. Now removing the buttons on the one side was no problem but it was the button holes on the other side that created an issue. In the Sorry Girls tutorial they cut off the sides to remove this. However, I was afraid if I removed that much fabric then the jacket would fit too snug and wouldn't be the comfortable, relaxed fit I was hoping for. So instead what I did was cut 3" strips from some excess fabric in the skirt and stitched those over each side. If this was a solid color it might look out of place but this is a more is more type of look so the extra seam didn't both me.
Since this is a thrifted shirt, I took the time to go in and re-enforce any weak seams with new stitch lines before the shape becomes distorted with elastic.
Next I stitched in the zipper. To do this you will need your zipper (duh) and you will also need a piece of elastic cut to the width of your waist! I made sure the elastic on mine was a little bigger and not too tight to make sure it would be comfortable with layers underneath. Honestly, typing out how to install a zipper is confusing for both parties. I get confused writing it and you'll get confused reading it so let's just all agree that it's better to watch a video on how to do this (here's a good one). Also, who is even using this as a real guide to make this jacket. I will give you a couple of notes though.
- Make sure to stop stitching your zipper just before the edge of your fabric so that you have some room to overlap your elastic to the bottom of your jacket fabric.
- What is installing a zipper without messing up and then seam ripping the whole thing out again! The way that I messed up installing this was first by not using pins. I hate pins and barely use them but the zipper really needs to line up perfectly! And second, I should have been pulling the fabric taut as I stitched. The first side stitched on fine but the second one was bunching up ever so slightly as I sewed so by the time I finished the zipper it was totally uneven! Learn from my mistake! Use pins!
- Make sure when you sew your elastic to the second side that it's not twisted and that everything is laying the correct direction.
Ok! Next step, I know I've been referring to the Sorry Girls video for reference but for this step do not follow their directions. They tell you to sew the elastic to the jacket using a straight stitch and bunching up the fabric of your jacket as you go. If you did that your elastic would not function as elastic. You need to do the opposite and stretch the elastic to match the width of your jacket as you sew so that the stitches are flexible with the elastic. It's a bit of a workout but this comes together so beautifully! I switched to a jersey needle to sew the elastic because I found my all purpose was too sharp and it was fraying some of the threads in the elastic. To make sure the fabric is evenly distributed I marked 3 pin points to match the elastic evenly to the jacket. First by marking the middle point of the elastic to the middle point of the jacket and then repeating that process marking middle points on either side until I had workable sections. Then to sew I worked section by section, stretching the elastic until it matched the width of the jacket fabric and stitched it down.
I did the same exact process for the cuffs! Except first I had to add a straight stitch along the edge to turn it into a tube. I also added top stitches so that the seam would be flat and comfortable along your wrist.
We are so close! Lastly, we need to finish off the collar and I'm going to try my best to explain this. But first I need you to know I mostly made this up as I went and because of that I didn't take any photos so here we are (told you this was a terrible tutorial).
OOOOOK. The elastic here is for looks and not for it's elasticity so we will not be stretching this as we sew. You'll want to cut a piece of elastic that is longer than your collar because will need some seam allowance to turn the edges. I also want to point out that I did not sew my collar the way they did in the Sorry Girls video. And that is because the method they use cuts off a lot of the width of the elastic so I was losing a lot of the gorgeous pattern on my elastic. What I did instead was stitched the elastic to the collar right sides facing each other and leaving a 1.5"-2" gap not stitched on both ends. So to repeat that, I pinned the collar and the elastic rights sides together, I left a 1.5"-2" gap then started sewing and as I reached the other end I stopped sewing to leave another 1.5"-2" gap unfinished. COOL. Next I flipped the elastic inside out so that I was looking at the finished side of the jacket. To finish off the edges I folded the top corner of my jacket fabric towards the inside
I kind of pushed and folded the layers until they started to line up and look the way that I liked. I wish there was a better way to describe that! Once it looked good I pinned it in place and then went back to my sewing machine to sew a top stitch to tack down that corner as well as finish off the seam.
Whewwww we're done! Since I was gifting this I didn't want to go too crazy (also I made this the day before Christmas) but if it were for me I would go full Gucci and add floral patches that mirror each other or their snake patch. Maybe add some fabulously gaudy brooches to the front. Really just add on more pattern and texture!