As blogs go this post is a bit of a footnote. Earlier in the month, even I was enthusiastic about the outcome of my Wedding Jumpsuit project and your responses were resoundingly enthusiastic. Thank you! Riding high on my success I decided to waste no time in having another shot; this time with a lightweight summer jumpsuit. Here’s how I got on…
My first jumpsuit used the ‘Jenna Jumpsuit’ pattern from Cotton & Chalk.
I was very keen on the design – pocketed trousers and cropped, narrow trouser legs. If it had one design fault, that was the tendency of the wrap top to fall open. As one reader commented, a discreet transparent popper would do the job – quite true. However I also fancied something a little different; more casual for daytime summer wear.
I riffled through ClothSpot pattern collection and unearthed Simplicity Pattern 1355 that had arrived with Dressmaker magazine.
The drawstring-halter top in Views C & D looked just the thing. A bit daring perhaps – but hey – it is summer after all. The drawstring top was shown on top of a skirt and shorts but I figured it could equally be attached to the trousers in View A.
However I was uncertain about those trousers. I did want to play with wider-cut legs – but not so much for this project. Plus, the pockets (a girl has to have pockets, right?) were set into the side seams and I’m not so keen on those for trousers – they can tend to flap around and spoil the line. I didn’t have time to toile a new trouser pattern – so what to do?
I recalled that the process of constructing the jumpsuit had struck me at the time as absurdly straightforward. Make trousers, make top, stitch together and thread elastic. Easy!
Surely, I reasoned, the obvious solution would be to combine the top in this pattern with my tried-and-tested jumpsuit trousers from the ‘Jenna’ Jumpsuit pattern. I liked those diagonal pockets set into the ‘Jenna’ trouser fronts – they were neat and helped with the line of the trousers. The key would be to make sure that the width of the bottom of the top part was the same as the width of the top of the trousers.
I had a vague memory that Tilly and the Buttons had recently blogged a similar idea, based around a hack of their ‘Marigold’ jumpsuit pattern – and indeed they had – you can see their designs here.
It’s a great post – and there are specific instructions for adapting their patterns. If you’re one of the many that have their patterns to hand then you’re away.
Me, I needed no further encouragement. It was Thursday evening, I was due to leave for a weekend in London in about 18 hours (including sleeping, eating and work time). Time to crack on!
How did yours go, Alice?
You know how just sometimes, a project comes together? This one did just that.
Fabric choice – easy. I was gagging to have a go with our ‘Arboreal’ draping navy blue and cream leaf printed viscose fabric. It’s a fabulous-quality viscose with a lovely smooth handle and a wonderful drape.
It pre-washed and pressed beautifully, although at the point of cutting out I realised that the print pattern isn’t made up of individually-repeated leaves. I suspect that they’re hand-drawn in groups then repeated in blocks – which means that pattern-matching is a little approximate. I decided that the priority was to pay close attention to the horizontal matching so the whole garment didn’t appear to be lop-sided. The only places where matching became an issue were the centre-front and centre-back seams. However the relaxed, gathered fit of the garment design meant that ‘good enough’ was indeed good enough. Since this is a fabric best suited to more draping designs, I suspect that will generally be the case.
I figured my starting point was the trousers as I knew they worked. Forty minutes later I had them assembled. A bit of measuring and comparison with the ‘Jenna’ wrap top pattern suggested I needed to lose less than 1cm from each of the four top pattern pieces. To achieve this I folded vertically down the centre of each pattern piece so as not to affect the seams or armholes. Top completed, attached to bottom and – hey presto!
The inevitable revision
Well – not quite, as it turned out. The top was waaaay to long. I’d give you specifics (Tilly is very good at that in her post) but since we’re dealing with my short torso, all I knew is what didn’t fit me. By this time I was in a bit of a hurry. Specifically, less than five hours to unpick and re-sew the waist, hem, press, pack, check that all was well with our ClothSpot Friday, get down the A1, round the M25 and up the A3. And guess what – it all happened like clockwork! (Bet you weren’t expecting that…) No unintended indecency or other embarrassing incidents. I walked into the restaurant on time and had a lovely evening. Or at least until the wedge dropped off my posh summer sandal but that’s another story…
So here we go!
Now – I know that a sleeveless halter like this isn’t going to float everyone’s boat (I was just relieved not to have to fit around my swimmer’s shoulders) but the point here is to show how you can do pretty much what you’d like with a jumpsuit mashup, providing you have a way to get in and out. So whether your favourite top has buttons or a zip, you should be fine. As far as I can see, the top just needs to open down to, and gather into, that elasticated waist.
(I’m still not quite sure how I feel about an elasticated waist but as I say, it’s summer and I’m literally cutting myself some slack.)
My jumpsuit had its first outing all the next hot, dusty day in the centre of London. It couldn’t have been cooler and more comfortable to wear; I loved it and felt incredibly comfortable and ‘me’ in it. In fact as far as this project’s concerned I’m not even labelling it as a ‘Style Crisis’ occasion. (That’s not to say I haven’t got plenty more of those lined up…)
A word of caution – as I (almost) discovered, those neck ties tend to disappear into their gathered tubes when you’re wriggling out of the top on bathroom visits. The solution is to make sure you carry a safety pin with you at all times – or simply tie the very ends of the ties together so they can’t get lost. Once they disappear, they’re gone for good – and if the vision of me wandering round the V&A clutching my jumpsuit top to my chest was not an attractive one, it was also a little too close for comfort.
My chum and I spent a stimulating, excited (and sometimes worrisome) couple of hours in the ‘The Future Starts Here’ exhibition in the new Sainsbury Gallery of the V&A. It’s a fabulous exhibition which might be equally at home in the Design Museum or the Science Museum – and which kept us talking throughout and since. Do go if you get the chance – even if you think it’s not your bag. It covers so much, from the environment, to design technology, social and political movements and more.
Oh – and you get to play and take pictures!
Afterwards, my summer jumpsuit had plenty of room for a visit to the Ace Caff (of course) followed by a cool wander through some of the permanent collections and naturally, the shop.
We need to find some of these for ClothSpot!
I can also report that despite being packed moments after completion, worn without being pressed all the next day then transported home again on the Sunday, my summer jumpsuit was barely rumpled. That’s my kind of outfit.
At some point I’ll update you on my jersey layering extravaganza from my Bologna trip (the last one, I promise). I also have my eye on some wide-legged trousers – that’s definitely a Style Crisis in waiting.
Meanwhile I’d love to know about your favourite sewing pattern mashups. What patterns and garmetns can you mess with – and what shouldn’t you ever tamper with? I suspect I got a bit lucky with my summer jumpsuit – and that there are some pattern chimeras that really shouldn’t be attempted. What are your mashup successes and failures? Do tell!