An uncharacteristic ditzy-printed garment for me, doing a bit of stashbusting to make a wearable toile of the Closet Case Blanca flight suit that thankfully turned out very wearable indeed!
The Blanca is a hella stylish all-in-one zip-up number with a straight leg, tailored fit and tons of pockets. Most of Instagram has plumped for a solid colour, but I decided to use a long-stashed fabric that I thought might give a bit of a different look.
The fabric is Liberty Lantana in ‘Minako’ print from The Fabric Store originally. Lantana is a perhaps lesser-known Liberty substrate that’s composed of 80% cotton / 20% wool. It sort of feels like a lightweight, drapey cotton flannel suiting, soft but not overly warm – very nice to sew and wear! Shaukat has a few Lantana prints too. I was delighted to find I had the perfect length of zip in my stash with a pretty pewter-coloured pull and teeth.
Sewing it up was pretty fun and not as time-consuming as I was expecting, though I cut corners by leaving off the chest and back pockets as the detailing wouldn’t show up in this print. I followed the instructions for the zip and collar insertion which were straightforward, although I am not super keen on the zip tape and seam allowance showing when the neckline is unzipped and how there is asymmetry between the faced vs non-faced sides. Next time I would consider leaving off the facing side and finishing the zip tape / SA edges together with bias binding.
I cut a size 10 graded to 12 at the hip and found it pretty true to size – it’s designed to be looser in the bodice and slimmer in the hip. The back has some interesting details like pintuck-pleats down the bodice and a curved back waistband – all of which get completely buried in this print. The waistline is designed an inch lower than the natural waist; I think I might pull it up in my next version, although the fit overall is pretty good.
I’m enjoying wearing jumpsuits right now, the ideal blend of comfy enough for the mainly-housebound lifestyle but smart enough to nip out in too. I’ve got some baby pink needlecord to make another Blanca and I’m glad to finally have this fabric out of my stash and into my wardrobe.
I cut a straight size 12 for the toile to fit my hip measurement but the top half turned out way too baggy, so this time I cut an 8 graded to 10 at the hip. It’s actually still turned out quite loose through the leg so a straight 8 probably would have been fine. I could possibly benefit from a small FBA on top, which would be easy to add through the princess seams next time. I love how flat the crisply-faced neckline lies though and there’s no gaping even with only three buttons. (The buttons are vintage milk glass from my endless stash. )
I was going for a relaxed silhouette but tried the suit on partway through construction and decided it did need waist definition. Also the crotch and pockets were hanging very low like it was too long in the body. I didn’t fancy the side D-ring ties included in the pattern – they look a bit awkward and unflattering to me – so I sewed a drawstring channel to the inside waistline and made skinny ties to feed through. The slight blousing effect this resulted in also fixed the length issue!
The only other tweak I made was to level off the top of the pockets to straight rather than slanted, to match the Asos inspiration suit better. I like that the deep hem at the top of the pockets matches the width of the little cap sleeve cuffs. This pattern was lovely to sew overall and unusually for me I followed the given directions almost completely, adjustments aside.
I grabbed the fabric with exactly this project in mind on a recent trip to the wonderful Abakhan in Manchester, a pre-cut piece of slubby cotton-linen blend that reminds me of silk noil costing about £8 for around 2.5m – in Abakhan you pay by weight so I wasn’t sure of yardage at the time. With creative cutting I could just squeeze the Yari pieces on (3m is the recommended yardage).
I got some of this fabric in black too and I’m tempted to use it to make a Yari sister as I reckon this will get a lot of wear as soon as it warms up a little.
I haven’t been sewing a great deal lately: I’m guessing it’s something to do with the upcoming change of season coupled with not feeling too great about my appearance lately and not feeling inspired by any of the fabrics in my stash. General end of summer gloom!
I didn’t push it and instead did a refreshing destash sale and started looking after myself better in other ways, then this weekend my inspiration naturally returned and I made this jumpsuit that I never want to take off.
My inspiration came directly from Catherine of Threadsnips, who snapped up a lovely rare vintage wrap jumpsuit pattern of a similar style to this. She very helpfully pointed out how a similar effect can be hacked from any other plain front jumpsuit pattern by simply extending out a triangle from the centre front and attaching ties.
I followed her example using the fabulous Butterick 6312 as my base pattern (which I’ve made before and still wear frequently). I followed the v of the neckline down to the waistline then reversed it below the waist down to the crotch. It’s always a risk cutting a hack directly onto your good fabric right off, but having made the base pattern before I thought it was low risk in this case.
Construction was pretty speedy. I made self bias to finish the entire neckline including the wrap edges all in one go. At the crotch I pinned the overlap in place while wearing it and topstitched it down for a couple of inches to secure. I made two straps and sewed these onto the points, and finally made a buttonhole on the right-hand side seam to thread the inner strap through. There is no need for any other fastening as the wrap opens wide enough to step into it, woohoo.
I treated myself to the fabric with the destash earnings: It’s cotton ikat from Merchant & Mills, the same fabric type I used for my first version too. I needed 3 metres as it’s quite narrow and used nearly all of it. This fabric is the dream to work with and to wear; I really could imagine a wardrobe composed of little else. I suspect it’ll be fine to wear in autumn and most of winter too.
Next time I plan to alter the fit slightly around the neck as it’s not spot on, and I plan to curve out the v a little so it sits better on the upper chest. I might attempt a swayback too as I get fabric pooling under the tie belt. And hmmm, pockets, it definitely needs some sort of pocket action next time.
Tweaks made, there’s a quite serious risk I could make dozens of these (in an army of ikats?) and wear little else! It’s crazy comfortable and I feel really good in it, which is pretty much all I can ask for at the moment.
I’m having a bit of a moment with lilac/lavender, which is manifesting in my recent fabric choices and sewing. I read recently it’s even being touted as a new contender for millennial pink’s crown, so I guess as sewists we’re far from immune to fashion trends.
I went head to toe lilac for this jumpsuit, which is kind of out of my usual comfort zone but I’m finding it incredibly wearable and I think it suits my colouring pretty well.
Every so often I’ll go on a vintage pattern eBay binge, and this one popped up on my last search. I love that vintage patterns often over-deliver in cute details, clever construction methods or useful instructions. This one came with plenty of fitting tips and the crucial access point is done via shoulder-strap buttons, a practical choice which I haven’t seen used before. I used some vintage shank buttons from my stash.
This was really fun to sew up and the fit of the size 14 was almost perfect, I just had to shave a little off under the arms. The neckline and arms are finished with an all-in-one facing and the seam allowance at the waist forms a casing for thin elastic which the bodice is designed to blouse over.
The fabric I used is tencel-linen blend from Minerva Crafts. It was quite a bargain I think as it’s lovely stuff: it handled beautifully to sew, is really soft and creases a little bit but not madly. I wish it came in some other colours!
I’m definitely going to make another one of these as I think it will layer well for cooler weather too. I have already used the lower half to make some trousers as well, which I’ll try to post soon.
Oooh, this weekend’s project is one of my favourites for a while. It’s a fake jumpsuit, i.e. actually separates made up in the same fabric – Named’s Ninni culottes mashed up with Grainline’s Tiny Pocket Tank.
I wasn’t going to buy the Ninni pattern as it’s so simple and I’ve hacked this sort of wide elastic-waist pant before, but I just love their drafting and it was only 10 euros for the PDF. I was glad for the purchase as everything about the drafting is just right for me: the rise, width, waistband etc. I’m happy to pay 10 euros for someone else to deliver me what I want!
Sewing them up was fast and easy, except the part where I dozily sewed the back to back and front to front at the side seams instead of a back to a front, and had to unpick it all, on BOTH legs. Don’t sew when hungover, kids.
I was going to be extra-lazy and graft the leg pieces together as the outer side seam is pretty much straight, but decided I wanted the inseam pockets. I’ve tacked across the pocket top and bottom to try and keep them facing forwards.
The Tiny Pocket pattern doesn’t seem to be available any more; it was Grainline’s first-ever downloadable pattern and I assume the Willow tank has replaced it in the line-up. It’s a real nice well-drafted basic so I’m glad to have it in my PDF stash.
Guts shot; I’m proud I got the binding so neat and flat because this fabric was so difficult to press. I actually self-drafted an all-in-one facing but didn’t have enough fabric left to cut it and no suitable plain stash fabric; there was only just enough left to cut a few bias strips! I sewed the armhole binding flat before French-seaming the side seams, and the neckline binding was done in the round.
The fabric is a poly crepe from Minerva Crafts. Their description of it is spot on: it’s a dream to sew with (apart from not taking a press very well), has a little comfy stretch, is pretty much opaque but very lightweight with a wonderful drape. I love it! I got my culottes and top out of the two metres with very little scraps to spare.
I’m thrilled with these separates; I can see myself wearing them all summer both together and mixed up with other garments.
The Summer of Jumpsuits continues – here’s one from a wee vintage pattern from 1981, Style 3304, that I got on eBay with the aim of recreating some of the camisole jumpsuits I’ve been Pinning like this and this.
I cut a size 14 but had to take the bodice in a LOT, like 4 inches around the top. I’m not sure how it’d stay up on anyone with the amount of ease built in! The waistline is formed with an elasticated channel made by the seam allowances being pressed down and topstitched. I did consider leaving it loose and unelasticated like my Marigold but decided to add it here for wardrobe variety. I lopped a good 8 inches off the leg length too.
The back is supposed to have a slit and be fastened with a button loop but I added an invisible zip so that I could make it fit snugger – I can’t stand when camisoles droop or gape. Next time I’ll re-cut the pattern down to a 10, the smallest in the packet.
This fabric is a rayon crepe from The Fabric Store. Bit of a backstory here: After admiring The Fabric Store’s range from afar for so long, I finally did an order when there was a free shipping code, buying some baby pink merino, some galaxy printed silk and this rayon. On top of the expensive order I then had to pay a hefty customs charge, but luckily I loved all the fabrics enough to make it worthwhile when I got the package in my paws. Threw them all in a cold/handwash machine prewash together – then nearly burst into tears when I pulled them out and found that this rayon had bled navy ink both into itself, meaning some of the white lines are streaked with pale blue, and worse – all over the lovely powder pink merino jersey, leaving unsalvageable indigo tie-dye all over it. The Fabric Store were amazing about it and kindly sent me both replacement pink jersey and a bonus piece of green too. And after running the rayon through the wash a couple more times with colour catcher sheets I felt that I could use it. I cut around the worst parts of the dye leakage and you can’t really tell from far away that anything’s wrong.
Anywaaaay, the rayon crepe was a really nice match for this pattern and while it was a little shifty to deal with I love the result. So, happy ending to that saga. (I should also add in case you were wondering that The Fabric Store are partnering with some bloggers at the moment to send them fabric but that wasn’t the case with me – I paid out of my pocket!).
I was considering this a wearbale toile both due to the imperfect fabric and testing a new-to-me pattern, but I’m glad I managed to hack around and end up with a pretty well-made and well-fitting garment. It was great to wear to work during the mini-heatwave a couple of weeks ago, and again works equally well for daytime, cycling and going out. I’m going to alter the bodice of the pattern to try and get the fit bang-on because getting a well-fitting camisole top is like the holy grail for my hollow-upper-chested self, then probably hack it into tops and dresses too.