For the past two months, I have been kicking up my running game to train for the Oakland Running Festival 5k. I also took this as an opportunity to kick up my running-wear game with this fantastic, over the top, head-to-toe Oakland print running outfit. I just couldn't resist.

Pattern: Jalie Leggings 2920 and McCall's Tops 6128
Fabric: 2 yds
Cost: $50

I taught myself some Adobe Illustrator, designed the fabric myself using a vintage tattoo print as a starting point, and added all my favorite Oakland landmarks - the Bay Bridge, the port cranes, the movie theater sign, and of course the Oakland tree. It was quite the project, but I am actually pretty thrilled with the results. Runners can be known for some whacky outfits and I think this brings just enough flair and personality to the local road race.

I had the lycra printed by Spoonflower. While I've had issues with their cotton in the past, the lycra seems to print well with vibrant colors and no fading yet. They print their lycra using white fabric though, so you don't want to use any pattern that stretches too much or you start to see the white. I was careful to make sure my tights weren't too tight for this reason, as I didn't want the print to over stretch. You can see a bit of the stretching at some of the seams, but overall I am happy with the results.

It was a bit scary to finally cut into this precious fabric. I was careful with the cutting layout to feature some of my favorite parts of the print and not have any awkward placements, but it turned out better than I had even hoped for. It ended up quite symmetric and there's an Oakland tree right on each knee! One man said I was his inspiration during the race as he followed this bold print. Ha!

For years I've had no interest in sewing activewear. To be honest, I've been wearing the same running clothes for the past 10+ years and they've held up pretty well, supplemented by some nearly-new things my friends didn't want. But on the few occasions that I have bought new, they suuuucked. The cheap tights I picked up would be too tight at the calf, too loose at the waist, and just all around terrible. Some were barely breathable.

Fitting my own activewear wasn't a walk in the park either. I made three versions of these tights in a different fabric before cutting into my precious fabric, and they're still not perfect. I chose Jalie 2920 because I liked the simplicity of the pattern with no side seams. I often use a foam roller on my knees before running and I like that there are no seams there to interfere, plus less chance of chaffing. But I found that the Jalie pattern required a lot more stretch than the typical activewear fabric, which was a bit disappointing considering that's the audience they seem to market to. I ended up sizing up beyond the biggest size (ZZ) even though my measurements put me around an AA, and I still needed to add extra room for the calves. The waistband is finished with a soft 2" wide elastic to hold everything in place, although it did end up a smidge too big in that area. I will have to fine tune some more, but I'm glad I tested it out first on some other fabric.

The top was made in an evening without as much thought, and there is some wrinkling but overall it performed well without much chaffing. It is made from the out-of-print McCall's 6128 because that's the racerback tank pattern I had on hand.

As for the race itself, I was pleased with my time. It is nothing like when I used to run cross country in high school, but I managed to run very evenly under a 7:30 minute pace for the 3.1 miles. As evidenced by the above photo, it was definitely a push but I felt pretty good the whole time.

The Mr. also ran his first 5k ever along with a bunch of our friends. We celebrated with too many beers and some takeout afterwards. It was so fun to be able to step out our front door and run this race. I might have to do something similar again!


  1. your outfit is so fun and the fit looks great. bonus nice sunny day for your run!

  2. Fabulous running outfit! You look like you are really enjoying that run.

  3. I love this! Very nice job!��

  4. Yessss! This is fabulous! I find the Spoonflower has a lot of white show-through when stretched, too. For custom printed activewear fabrics I prefer Fashion Formula's Active Lycra base, which doesn't have the show-through but is still breathable and with great stretch and recovery (it's what I used for my latest round of kits). I'm about to cut into my shorts for London marathon in four weeks, eep!


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