As some of you may or may not know, I was a dancer. I use the past tense because let’s be honest, it’s not exactly something you “never lose” like riding a bike or making the perfect omelette. I think it’s safe to say my days on pointe are behind me. That said, I will always be someone that gravitates towards dance-wear. That’s because I know something that non-dancers might not realize, it’s all secret pajamas. Since the point of most dance clothes is to move and stretch and keep you warm before you strip down to tights, it is often the softest and coziest sweats and knits in the game and whether you’re heading to a ballet barre or your couch who doesn’t want snuggly wugglies next to your skin?! Enter here: the Flashdance Sweatsuit.
We had this super plush heather-grey fleece in the stash at Closet Case and the moment Heather said it was up for grabs I envisioned this tracksuit. We had also been itching to try Cielo and Pietra in knits (just to see) and so I figured this was my chance to put these patterns to the test.
Like many a child of the 80’s, this is the look that defined my ideal. SHE’S A SEXY, DANCING, WELDER, Y’ALL. I still Stan this character so hard. I knew my knock off had to feature:
a) off the shoulder realness
b) raw edges on the neck and sleeve cuffs
c) aerobics instructor vibes
Did I do it? I think so. For the top, I sized down a bit (I made a 6). I also removed the dart with the iron out method Celine details here. From there I sewed the top as per the instructions but using a serger instead of my machine. I would imagine an overlock would be even better, but I don’t have one of those at home. I left the neckline raw as I wanted that off-the-shoulder situation but I finished the bottom hem with my serger and then turned over a 1″ hem and sewed it with a straight stitch that I pulled gently so it wouldn’t rip when I was taking it off and on.
The cuffs I left raw but I pressed them up 1″ and then tacked them on the top and bottom of the sleeve with 1/2″ of some hand-sewn slip stitching.
For the pants I cut View B (tapered legs) and sized down significantly (I am an 8 and I cut a 4) and to be honest I could have done a 2. This fleece has a lot of stretch though and I wanted them to fit pretty tight so if you wanted to try something similar I would recommend baste fitting first since there are a lot of variables here and I can’t make any promises.
Since you can’t interface fleece with a fusible and I was worried about these pockets stretching out I added some lingerie elastic to the tops of the pockets on the wrong side. I watched a tutorial for sewing in elastic which suggests using flat elastic that’s not very strong (the clear stuff is perfect). You sew it in by gently pulling on the elastic in order to add a bit of tension. From there I sewed everything up as normal. I constructed the pockets and pants fronts using a straight stitch and a stretch needle but switched to the serger for all my seams that move (ie: side and inseams).
This fleece is super cushy so I had a bit of a tough time with the back casing and elastic. In the end, I flipped my elastic so it was laying flat instead of turning on itself (if that makes sense). I also graded the heck out of those seam allowances and took some time with the pressing. In a thinner knit I see this being less of a pain but as it is I don’t mind the finish too much.
I sewed casings instead of hems and added some 1″ elastic to the cuffs. I wanted to be able to push these up my calves come spring but I figured I would spare you seeing my translucent winter legs. Ugh, y’all, ugh. So that’s it! All in all, I would say the Cielo top is 100% easy to do in a knit and the pants are a 50/50? I would like to have another go at them in something a bit less thick and a bit less stretchy and also I would lower the rise a bit…but you know how that goes. Always something to fiddle with! In the meantime though, these have already got a lot of wear. Mostly in my sewing room, where the dancing is kept to a minimal bop, but the cozy is turned up to 11.