Summer jumpsuit mashup

Summer Jumpsuit featured image

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…

Pattern mashup

My first jumpsuit used the ‘Jenna Jumpsuit’ pattern from Cotton & Chalk.

jenna jumpsuit pattern adapted for summer jumpsuit
‘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.

Simplicity Pattern 1355 - summer jumpsuit
Simplicity Pattern 1355 – Summer Jumpsuit

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.

Till and the buttons jumpsuit design hacks for summer jumpsuit
10 Design Hacks for the Marigold Jumpsuit at Tilly and the Buttons

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.

Cream leaf printed viscose fabric for summer jumpsuit
‘Arboreal’ draping navy blue & cream leaf-printed viscose fabric

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.

Pattern matching my summer jumpsuit
Spot that centre front seam…

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…

The reveal

So here we go!

Completed summer jumpsuit
Easy to make, easy to wear!

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.)

The wearing

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!

Future is sewing a summer jumpsuit
I know – we could have thought of so many other wordsI

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!

Ceramic buttons
Two of my favourite things – ceramics and buttons – what’s not to love?

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.

Moving on…

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!

10 thoughts on “Summer jumpsuit mashup

  1. Let’s Get Sewing says:

    I loved your previous jumpsuit and I love this one too! An elasticated waist is definitely acceptable in summer. I love the fabric, it’s perfect for this jumpsuit, and the bodice is really flattering. I just love it!

    • aliceclothspot says:

      Hurrah! Thank you very much indeed for the seal of approval – I’m relieved to hear I wasn’t deluding myself! ? The fabric is so cool to wear – it’s definitely going to be a summer staple (and it’s just possible we may have ordered another colourway…). I took my time discovering jumpsuits but I’m glad I got there in the end!

  2. Jen Good says:

    Hi Alice I am looking for summer trouser pattern to walk in. Something not to loose and baggy but with movement so I stay cool whilst walking . Would Simplicity 1355 meet that script? If so any ideas on fabric front??

    • aliceclothspot says:

      Hello Jen – I’m with you on the idea of a good trouser for walking in – but I can’t profess any expertise with Simplicity 1355 as I didn’t use the trouser part of that pattern. I suspect that those long, wide legs might be a little impractical, depending on the walking you’re doing. Off the top of my head, I’d suggest going back to the Style Arc trouser pages and seeing which style you might fancy – then drop me a line and I can suggest some fabrics. Alternatively a pattern with a similar style of trouser to the ones I made with my jumpsuit are the Tilly ‘Marigold’ ones The pattern includes instructions for making just the trousers as well as the jumpsuit and I would imagine they’d be good for walking in. When you say ‘walking’ do you mean gentle summer evening strolls or hiking up hillsides? If you want to drop me an email I can come up with some fabric ideas I’m sure!!

  3. Jan says:

    A Bobby Dazzler as my Dad would have said. It looks tremendous on you Alice, casual, comfortable and an excellent fit. The fabric really suits this style of jumpsuit especially the neckline. I drool with envy. Three weeks out of action with a slipped disc has left my sewing machine asking if we have reached that point in our lengthy relationship where my attention has been grabbed by a newer model with more bells and whistles. If only, that would mean getting my head around a new instruction manual and I’ve only just read and understood my existing booklet! However Alice I have to say you have not helped – every Friday a new email would wing into my inbox tantalising my taste buds with wonderful fabrics – if only I could sit at my machine. I don’t know where you find these fabrics but your site has become my go to on line shop. Some ladies love shoes, others handbags, fabrics do it for me. I feel I have found a new friend with your site Alice.

    • aliceclothspot says:

      Leaping around shouting ‘bobby dazzler’ here, Jan – thanks so much for letting me know I hit the mark. The viscose is a good weight for the jumpsuit – not too floaty. I’m so sorry to hear about your slipped disc – ouch – that’s no fun and I hope it mends soon – these things can’t be rushed I know. But making time to read an instruction manual (and watch the videos too, these days) is never time wasted and it ramps up the antici…..pation. So thrilled (and no apologies 😉 that you’re enjoying our fabrics – and that we’ve made a new friend. Welcome to the party and thank you again!

  4. Robyn says:

    Hi, I’ve had the Marigold pattern for a while but I’m plus size with a full bust – do you think it would work in jersey if I omitted the zip? Thanks x

    • aliceclothspot says:

      Hello Robyn – thanks for your query. I have to confess that I haven’t used the Marigold pattern (it’s on my list!). It’s a really good question – one I’d be inclined to ask the lovely folk at Tilly and the Buttons. With all the work they’ve been doing with stretch fabrics recently – plus their knowledge of who’s hacking which pattern & how, they’d be best placed to answer. You can drop them a line at – I hope this helps! (Not a cop-out I promise – I just know when someone else would have a better answer 🙂

  5. Maureen Robinson says:

    I sewed the same jumper in white. Tapered the legs. Wearing it on Saturday. Hope mine fits me as well as yours does!????

    • aliceclothspot says:

      I’m sure it will, Maureen – it seems to be a very easy-to-wear pattern and mine has come out for a second summer now. I hope you enjoy wearing it on Saturday and that you get to feel cool in both senses of the word!

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