So now the wide leg trousers were a success I figured I’d move onto the jumpsuit.
Now here’s the rub. I failed to readjust the trouser pattern to suit a heavier fabric. With the palazzo pants being a lightweight, floaty fabric I felt I could make the pattern as wide as I dared; they would simply get more floaty. This logic does not translate to denim, even a lightweight denim.
I left the pattern super wide at the bottom of the leg. I was a fool. This led to a whole host of problems I did not foresee.
However, completely unaware of this I pottered off to my favourite fabric haven and bought denim for the legs and a ditsy floral cotton for the top. DISCLAIMER: I believe none of the issues which follow are due to Gertie’s pattern or instructions. They are all down to me and my foolishness.
Issue 1) I had to cut my fabric against the grain. As we all know, before cutting, the fabric should be folded selvedge to selvedge, thereby allowing the fold to be aligned with the straight grain. This is important as otherwise it will not hang right when made into a garment. I paid this knowledge more heed and when my (frankly enormous) pattern pieces wouldn’t fit on the fabric the correct way I made a bad decision. I refolded my fabric rather than make the pattern smaller or buying more denim. This was very silly indeed.
Issue 2) I should have narrowed the legs while I had the chance. The pattern I drafted was altogether too wide for denim (let alone denim cut against the grain). They drowned me. the instructions Gertie gives in the book are designed with heavier fabric in mind. I made my pattern much larger than she suggests (due to the palazzo pants), I just didn’t realise how important redrafting would be for denim. If you choose to make this jumpsuit trust me when I say: “Listen to Gertie!” Don’t be a hero, too wide legs in denim look dreadful.
Issue 3) I didn’t adapt the pattern to suit me or the fabric. The summery fabric and colours I picked should have made it look light and easy to wear. Instead it looked heavy and uncomfortable. Because of the trousers cut the wrong way and too wide the bottom half looked overly large. Because of the sleeves (which were the wrong shape for me), the top looked as heavy as the bottom. the wrap front which should have accentuated my waist gave me no shape at all.
Lesson learned: follow your body shape! adapt adapt adapt. Next summer I’m planning on making the changes the jumpsuit needs even if this means making new trousers. I’m committed to this relationship and I have to salvage it.
(and yes to those paying attention to my pictures I do watch films such as the Man in the Iron mask while sewing. some days it’s Riverdance)
Being a lover of vintage styles, and given that my body shape naturally suits the styles of the 40’s and 50’s, a natural starting place was to make something vintage inspired. I requested the book ‘Gertie sews vintage casuals’ for Christmas last year as it was jam packed with cute vintage inspired makes, and above all things I am a sucker for a book which comes with free patterns (hello ‘Love at first stitch’ for xmas this year).
My first make from this book was more of a pattern hack. I liked the look of the wide leg, wrap front jumpsuit, picturing a summer of lounging about in it looking like a cross between a 70s boho chick and Rosie the Riveter. However I decided that first I should familiarise myself with the process of trouser making.
Soon, I had drafted the wide leg trouser pattern (more of a hack really, based upon the gorgeous cigarette pants which I have yet to try, but Gertie talks you through each step). A word to the novice sewer however, pay close attention to the measurements she gives, and do not foolishly think that you know best when it comes to the width of a trouser leg. But more of that later.
After finding what I think is some kind of rayon for £3 a metre in a beautiful turquoise paisley pattern, I decided my test run should be some summer palazzo pants; wide and floaty with a narrow elasticated waist, again conjuring images of a bohemian summer outfit.
I cut them out in my living room. I remembered how to construct trousers (I’m of the school of four piece trousers, where you make up two legs then place one inside the other and sew the crotch). First win. The completed trousers fit beautifully. Second win. They looked good on. Third win.
“You can sew right?” my friend asked. The call was unexpected. Her question more so. “Well I can, but my machine is at home so I haven’t sewn in a while.” “I could really do with your help on the costumes for as you like it”. At that moment, “help” seemed to be a stretch in terms of my skills.
I had no inkling that soon sewing would become one of my favourite things to do. I made costumes for plays and musicals at university, worked in a fancy dress shop doing alterations, and sometimes made fancy dress costumes for myself and friends. I was hooked.
When university finished I was at a loss. What would I sew now that I wasn’t doing plays and musicals. Then it clicked. Didn’t some sewists…. make their own clothes? Could I do that too? I could. But what first? something simple, elegant, easier to fit than the can-can dress I made for my Textiles A-level. I settled on a ‘carrie-from-sex-and-the-city-esque’ tulle skirt as seen in Lisa Comfort’s Sew Over It book. I would make it to wear for my graduation. I had a summer to kill. Why not?
Construction was relatively simple; three layers of fine cream tulle and one layer of mint green lining (to protect my modesty), gathered and sewn to a satin waistband. After cutting (which was a pain, trust me) the construction only took me an afternoon, which was handy as I had left it until the afternoon before my graduation. So much for having a summer to kill.
Sadly I haven’t worn it since. I put this down to me being the wrong body shape to wear this kind of skirt. It was all together too poofy for me and just made me look enormous. But this is kind of a good thing. Now I know that it is not enough to simply like a style or cut of clothing and therefore buy a pattern and some fabric. It has to look good too. I know that making my own wardrobe is totally feasible but I also know which styles to favour and avoid. I was off to an okay start. All pictures at the bottom.