Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Moody Blue Jumpsuit

I'm so fed up of sewing and embroidering jumpsuits for Elvis (seriously, how many sequins and studs does this one Eagle really need dude?!) I decided to take a break and sew my own. He's sulking in the Jungle Room with a milkshake, but I gave him some karate films and promised to name my jumpsuit after one of his songs.

For ages I couldn't find a good jumpsuit pattern until Named came along and set all our hearts on fire with their cool and chic pattern collections.

I've had my eye on the Ailakki jumpsuit for some time but never got round to ordering it or even having  an occasion to wear it, but with NYC approaching, I thought well if there's ever a time to knock out a jumpsuit, it's for drinking cocktails in Manhattan right?!

The fabric is a navy/tealish blue cotton moleskin that I got from Goldhawk Road. This is from my favourite shop, Fabric House. I love Rashid and always have a chat with him when I pop in. He was the guy who sold me my wedding lace, so he'll always be a bit special to me and get my money. He let me have this moleskin for £7 p/metre.

Size wise, I used the 12/14 pattern and cut the smaller of the sizes. I made a muslin first from a medium-weight calico. The fit was near perfect first attempt apart from the zip, which was pulling a little taught lengthwise. After some deliberation I decided to try altering the shoulders first. I think most books, Threads etc, always suggest starting with shoulder alterations, and seen as I am quite 'blessed' in the broad shoulders area, this seemed like the solution to me. I ended up adding over an inch extra to the front shoulders, but it completely solved the problem. In doing so I just had to nip in the side seams about 3/8" on both front and back.

I reckon next time, I could go down to the 10 but I erred on the side of caution because of the thicker fabric. The result is quite a nice relaxed fit, which will be perfect as I start doing Elvis karate kicks after a jug of Margarita.

The pattern is labelled as 'advanced' but I definitely think this is easier. The instructions and illustrations are really good and make perfect sense. The only change I would make is the construction order of the pockets. The instructions suggest sewing up the trouser side seams first leaving a 'hole' to insert the pockets. The pockets in this garment are really cool. They have a little panel made from the main fabric, which connects to the back trouser leg. Therefore, when you stick your hand in your pants, people don't see the lining so much. Neat!

I made the pockets as instructed, but then added them to the trouser legs BEFORE sewing the side seam as normal - that is, stitch one to the front trouser side seam, one to the back side seam and then sew from the waist down to the start of the pocket, around the pocket, and then all the way down to the trouser hem. As I reach the start and end of the pockets, I decrease my stitch length to about 1 for strength.

The wrap front of the bodice with peep hole makes your scratch your head a little bit (especially when sewing shoulder seams) but the illustrations are great and as long as you follow them, you won't have any problems.

The pattern uses a 3/8" seam allowance all over including the zip. I finished my leg seams first on my overlocker, before sewing them up with the pockets. The bodice is fully lined and I used a basic maroon polyester, which would be lightweight against the moleskin. The trousers have front pleats, back darts whereas the bodice just has wide front darts. The zipper used is a standard dress zip as you don't need to conceal it - although I guess you could.

The waistband is faced with the moleskin and connects the front wrap pieces. Make sure you mark your notches on the waistband correctly as you'll need them to ensure you centre the trousers under the peep-hole in the bodice.

The only other change I made was to taper the legs in a bit. The ankle width was a bit too wide and flappy for my liking, so I just tapered the trouser side seams in by just under 3/8". The leg length was spot on for me and I am about 5'9.

So there you have it, my Moody Blue jumpsuit. I don't think Mr Szabo is a fan. His theory: "Girls love jumpsuits, but men don't find them very flattering." What do you think? Would you consider making this?

The money shot

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