Not so mellow yellow

Last year I made two more Closet Core Blanca jumpsuits to take my total to three. And now I’m working on number four. This one is in dark yellow stretch denim. The colour alone makes it a lot more in-your-face than my previous black, grey and blue affairs, so I doubled down on that with contrast top-stitching. This needs to be really accurate to look good and at first it was going fairly well: the back has come out nicely.

The pattern mentions sewing bartacks to hold the front hip pockets in place ‘if your machine will cooperate’. I didn’t bother on my previous versions, but on this one I needed to hide a top-stitching wobble on one pocket so gave it a go. My machine did not, in fact, cooperate. They’re very uneven – weirdly the width is inconsistent which I don’t understand at all – and you should see the mess on the back. I’m relying on the fact that most people don’t look closely, as unpicking it now will probably not improve the effect.

And I also added a patch to one of the breast pockets. This Medusa is a decent colour match and seemed highly appropriate for me; anyone who’s been following this blog for a while knows I have a bad case of resting bitch face. I realised after I’d ironed it on and sewed it down that the vaguely familiar design is actually a copy of the Versace logo. Not what I intended at all. Too late now.

I’m quite pleased with the buckle I found for the belt though. I wanted metal and matt black, which was surprisingly difficult to track down.

I’ve come too far with this not to finish it now, but I do wonder whether the final effect will be tragedy or triumph. Watch this space.

Blue Blanca

A woman wearing a bright blue denim jumpsuit stands in front of some bushes. The jumpsuit has a zip front, rolled up hems, chest and hip pockets, and a buckled belt just below the natural waist.

I’m still reaching for a jumpsuit when getting dressed more often than not. I’ve currently got two Closet Core Blancas on the go, one in black denim and one in grey denim, and a drapey Burda one in grey tencel . There’s no denying the Blanca is the more practical of the two designs and it’s the one I wear the most so it was time to make a third version. This time I went for a bright blue stretch denim from Fabric Godmother.

Here’s the line art. I made view A but skipped the leg tabs and lengthened the legs considerably, intending to make turnups. Then when I got to the end I couldn’t be bothered and just hemmed the legs and rolled them up. This turned out to be a good decision because I find it needs different hem lengths depending on whether I’m wearing it with boots or trainers and I can just adjust how much I roll the legs. Laziness for the win.

Closet Core Blanca Flight Suit line art, closetcorepatterns.com

I made the size the pattern recommended for my measurements. It’s a close fitting design and for nonstretch denim I would definitely size up. I added length for fit to the bodice, legs and sleeves as is usual for me on almost any pattern, plus the extra to the legs for the turnups that didn’t materialise.

The bodice back is meant to be blousy, but I always also get a big wrinkle just below the back waistband with this pattern, and the waistband is a little loose. The design doesn’t have back darts or a yoke on the trousers to take up the excess fabric. I added elastic to the waistband on my grey version which pulls it in nicely but changes the wrinkles to gathers which I’m not fond of either. Maybe next time I’ll try adding a yoke?

I was surprised how difficult this fabric was to sew with. It’s 98% cotton 2% elastane so I was expecting something fairly stable but in fact it’s very stretchy indeed. I sewed the centre front zip in three times and ripped it out again because the fabric stretched and my zip went all wobbly. Eventually I resorting to adding extra interfacing along the front opening. The pattern says to add a strip wide enough to cover the seam allowances but I needed to double that so that the interfacing extended over the top stitching lines on the bodice front. Anyway it did the trick. And the stretch is nice to wear. No danger of ripping a seam when you reach for something.

I’m glad I picked top stitching thread close to the fabric colour; there are lots of places where I had to unpick and redo bits. This one is the Gutermann Extra Strong thread: not quite as heavy as normal top stitching thread but still makes a nice line.

I couldn’t get zips to match the blue. These are navy. They also had to have silver teeth to match the buckle which reduced the choice even further. I ended up with very chunky ones which were a bit much for the breast pocket pattern pieces. There’s some extra hand sewing holding those pockets together.

This has become a firm favourite already. Thanks to my husband for the photos.

Grey Blanca flight suit

A woman with short hair wearing a grey jumpsuit and yellow trainers reclines on concrete steps

Quite a lot has happened here since I last posted. I had Covid, fortunately a mild dose, I’ve been on holiday, and the normally cool and wet UK is having a record-breaking heatwave. While it’s been a couple of weeks since the peak it’s still very hot indeed where I live.

I finished my 80s wardrobe but wearing any of the pieces is unbearable, even just for photos. So they’re sitting in the wardrobe and I moved on to making a (checks notes) denim jumpsuit. Maybe not the ideal choice. But I’ve been doing a bit of wardrobe tracking and the garment I wear the most in normal times is my Closet Core Blanca flight suit. It’s comfortable, practical, and I think it reads as quite put together, at least when I put on lipstick. And it was great for wearing on holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland, where it was a lot cooler than England.

Here’s the line drawing. As before I made view A, with the long sleeves and legs and the zip pockets. This time I went up a size from the recommended one as I used a less stretchy fabric than before and wanted a more casual fit. I always have to lengthen bodice, arms, and legs on patterns by 5cm, and for this version I added an extra 2cm to the legs and 1cm to the bodice on top of that.

Line art for front and back views of two jumpsuits. View A has long sleeves, view B has short sleeves and cropped legs. Both have zip fronts and patch pockets on hips, back, and chest.
Line art for Closet Core Blanca flightsuit, closetcorepatterns.com

The Blanca has some thoughtful features that help in getting the desired fit without necessarily making a toile or doing a lot of unpicking. I found the back was a bit baggy at the waist this time around, but the hips felt too tight due to the lack of stretch in my fabric. The side seams are sewn last and the back waistband is constructed in such a way that it’s easy to run elastic through it to pull it in. I unpicked the side seams, added the waistband elastic, and resewed taking a smaller seam allowance below the waist.

A woman with short hair wearing a grey jumpsuit stands on a rocky beach with her back to the viewer

I added a patch on the arm. Why a TV test card? I like the colours with the grey denim, and the technical vibe of the design.

A woman with short hair wearing a grey jumpsuit stands side on with her face turned away. There is a colourful patch on the arm of the jumpsuit.

The extra 1cm in the bodice turned out not to be needed and isn’t easy to remove once the garment is in a state to be tried on, so I left it, but I’m glad I added to the legs.

A woman with short hair wearing a grey jumpsuit and yellow trainers walks across gently sloping basalt columns

The fabric is a denim from Fabric Godmother. I originally wanted a stretchy denim and sent off for a few samples from that category, of which this fabric was one. Compared to the other samples I got it barely stretches at all, and I notice it’s described as a cotton and spandex mix but no percentage for the spandex is given. I liked the colour and weight so much I bought it anyway. I also happened to have regular, overlocker, and top-stitching thread to match the grey, which was handy.

For comparison here’s my black version of this pattern, in much stretchier fabric and one size smaller.

Now I’m impatiently waiting for the temperature to go down so I can wear both of them some more. I’m not done with the pattern yet either…I have some more stretch denim lined up for it. Thanks to my husband for the photos.

A woman with short hair wearing a grey jumpsuit and yellow trainers stands on a beach

Closet Core Patterns Blanca Flight Suit modelled photos

A woman in a black jumpsuit and yellow trainers leans against a bench

I posted about this jumpsuit last week but now I have photos of it on me, thanks to my husband, and it’s always easier to talk about fit when there are pictures to look at. This is Closet Core Patterns’ Blanca Flight Suit. I normally stick to Burda and Vogue patterns, with occasional diversions to Style Arc, but I had a clear idea of the sort of jumpsuit I wanted to make and even with ten years of Burda back issues I couldn’t find one with all the right details. Blanca had everything I was looking for, so I decided to risk an unfamiliar block and sizing system, and sprung for the paper pattern. Here’s the line art:

Technical drawing of a  jumpsuit  with various sleeve and arm options
Blanca flight suit line art, closetcorepatterns.com

It comes with several options to change the look up a bit, although nothing radical: short or long sleeves, two belt versions, two breast pocket versions, optional tabs for tapering the leg and optional press studs for tapering the arm. I added the optional tabs and press studs on mine and did the breast pockets with zips, the buckle belt, and the long sleeve. A jumpsuit is a big project so I wanted to be able to wear it a few different ways. Below is with wide sleeves and trouser legs.

A woman in a black jumpsuit and yellow trainers sits on a bench

I think one of the cleverest features about this is the back. There are top stitched pleats to give a little interest and extra reaching room. And it does need it: this is designed to be fairly snug, especially on the hips. (Excuse the keys in the pockets in the picture below).

Now obviously it would have been sensible to make a toile before diving into a big project with a pattern company I’d not tried before, especially as they have their own sizing system. But my sewing time is limited, so instead I carefully consulted the very detailed table of finished garment measurements provided to choose a size and decide on adjustments.

I ended up making the sizes my body measurements put me in (sizes plural because I am more pear shaped than the Closet Core block) but that was because my fabric is slightly stretchy; it’s Empress Mills’ 7.5oz premium denim. I added 5cm length to the bodice and sleeves, and 6cm to the leg. The body length has come out fine overall but the waistband is lower than I expected; definitely below my natural waist. And I wouldn’t want the legs any shorter.

I was slightly surprised by quite how close fitting it turned out. I knew there wasn’t any ease at the hip, but from reviews I’d read I’d expected the bodice to be more blousey. It’s not a bad thing, but I’m still debating if I can safely wear it to work. And if I made this again in a nonstretch fabric I’d size up one. As it is, it requires a slight wriggle to get on but once there it’s comfortable.

Here it is with tapered arms and legs. I wasn’t expecting to like this look as much as the wider option but in fact I think it works.

Despite the sizing surprise I’m very happy with the way it’s come out. I even found myself browsing the Empress Mills denim section to see if any of the other colours the fabric comes in caught my eye for a second version. But as I’m still slogging my way through my wardrobe sewing plan, that’s going to have to wait a while.

All the hardware: Closet Core Blanca flight suit

This is the Blanca flight suit from Closet Core Patterns. It wasn’t on my original wardrobe sewing plan, but it fits in well with the other pieces. And I wanted a project that would make use of one of my birthday presents: a hand press. This gadget makes installing press studs (or rivets, or grommets) absolutely painless. Each type of hardware needs a different set of dies which screw into the press, but once they’re on, installing hardware takes seconds and requires very little strength. No more loud hammering noises, and it sets the studs perfectly straight every time. The only problem is that it’s so simple it’s all too easy to get overconfident and install a press stud on the wrong side of the garment. Luckily there were no disasters on this project.

Blanca has press studs on the sleeves which can be used to turn the wide sleeve into a tapered one.

And tabs on the ankles which can be used to taper the leg. The pattern calls for buttonholes and buttons here but I wanted to keep things consistent, so more press studs.

It’s a very well thought out pattern with a lot of options. I went for all the bling with the zipped breast pockets and the buckle belt.

I struggled a bit with the zips on the pockets and my topstitching is distinctly wobbly. I probably would have done better with lighter weight zips. But these were a good match for the teeth on the centre front zip.

It took me a lot of searching to find the buckle. Once I figured out the right search term (surcingle, if like me you didn’t know) they’re plentiful on eBay. They seem to mainly be used for horse blankets of all things.

I was complaining about my inability to sew good belt loops the other week. These ones aren’t bad. I made them as flat as I could with the folding in three method, and kept the turn under short. I didn’t hammer them but pressed them as hard as I could before sewing them on. Still not perfect, but better than the last lot.

There’s just one thing I’d like to change about the pattern, but I’m not sure how. The underlap for the front zip has an overlocked edge that’s visible when the collar is open. That edge needs to be pretty flat so replacing it with another seam wouldn’t be great. Perhaps bias binding on the edge?

Modelled photos coming soon I hope.