Impractical shoes

6199642Remember the not entirely successful 1970s jumpsuit project? Elizabeth and Inkstain gave me some great advice about how to fix the problems, and here is the new improved version.

I’ve taken in the side seams a lot between the waist and knee, and also shaved a bit off the inside leg above the knee. I also took the centre front seam in a bit below the zip.

I found a pair of chunky platform sandals lurking at the bottom of the wardrobe. It’s amazing what a difference the right shoes make with this garment. I tried it with wedges and they looked very strange. This very square heel seems to be just right. And the extra four inches of height probably doesn’t hurt either.


Thanks, everyone!

Attack of the not quite 50 foot woman


Here is my finished 1971 jumpsuit pattern in all its glory, next to the original. It’s Simplicity 9369. Simplicity’s model looks like she’s nine feet tall; just compare her with me (a mere 5 feet ten inches). The fact that the picture on the envelope photo seems to have been taken from knee height is probably helping her a bit. That’s my excuse anyway.

And here is the back view:


I’m glad I made this because it was fun, and I’m very pleased I managed to finish it despite the fitting problems, but it hasn’t turned out as glamorous as I’d hoped. I think I’ll keep it for lounging around the house on very lazy weekends!

Hack and slash

At the weekend I was wondering what to do about my jumpsuit that had come out hugely too long in the torso. After sleeping on it I decided to go with cutting it in half at the waist and lifting up the bottom half. It’s not brilliant but it seems to have worked well enough that the results will be wearable. Here it is before the adjustments:

And here it is after. Chopping the whole thing in half was quite fun once I’d convinced myself it was the only possible fix.

Sorry about the photo by the way. We tried and tried but they all came out pretty badly. This one had to be lightened a huge amount to show the detail which I think is why the colour is off.

It still needs to come in a bit at the side seams. You can see there are some gathers under the sash at the waist. I’ve already taken about two inches out from the centre back seam at the waist and pulled the front up nearly three inches! Thank goodness it’s black fabric so the strange distortions of the grain aren’t too obvious.

It’s all just basted together at the moment, and you can probably see the pins holding the end of the zip if you look hard in the photo. I need to take it apart and sew things like the darts and zip in properly now, then do another fitting. However I’ve tried it on about ten times tonight already so I’m stopping for the moment. I’ll have another go at it in a few days.

Fitting puzzle

On Saturday I basted together the pieces for my jumpsuit project to check the fit (with the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack playing for extra inspiration!) This is my first attempt at trousers. However I’d measured and adjusted the pattern really carefully, and I don’t think I have any huge fitting issues with RTW trousers other than length – at least I can usually find jeans that fit me. So I figured it would probably work OK and so didn’t take extra large seam allowances. You can guess what’s coming. Here’s what it’s meant to look like:

Imagine my complete amazement when the crotch curve of the jumpsuit turned out to be about four inches too low – but only at the front! The back was a little low but nothing compared to the front. I should not only not have lengthened the front pattern pieces, I probably should have shortened them a bit. Here it is on me:

I am really failing to understand how this happened. I don’t have this problem with dresses. I’m sure I’d have noticed my hems being four inches too long in front. The fit on the jumpsuit shoulders seems OK, which was where I was expecting problems. And other than being a bit big on the waist (which I expected) it seems to fit OK elsewhere too.

I think the situation might be savable by cutting the jumpsuit in half and creating a waist seam. Then I can lift the front more than the back. I’m not sure what that’s going to do to the grain, but since I appear to have cut the back slightly off-grain anyway I guess it can’t hurt too much. And if all else fails I can probably make the top half into a wearable tracksuit top.

I’m definitely going to sleep on this before taking the scissors to it though. Maybe I’m missing something here!

Jumpsuit adjustments

A while ago I fell for this amazing 70s jumpsuit pattern

I’ve never made trousers before, never mind a jumpsuit, so this is a slightly ambitious project. I ought to make a muslin but there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as a cheap heavy weight knit fabric available round here; any muslin would cost as much as the real thing. Probably not worth it for such a costumey garment. In my experience knit fabric hides a lot of fitting issues anyway so I think it’s not totally reckless to dispense with the muslin.

The first problem I have is how to alter the pattern to fit my decidedly non-standard frame. Here’s the pattern size chart and what I measured from the tissue (inches). In passing, is there a better word for crotch length/depth? I’m sure I’ve seen some clothing catalogues use ‘rise’ which sounds slightly more elegant. For the moment I’ll stick to the terms used in A Perfect Fit.

Measurement Chart Pattern Ease
Bust 36.0 37.5 1.5
Waist 27.0 34.3 7.3
Hips 38.0 41.5 3.5
Back waist 16.8 16.8
Crotch length 30.8
Crotch depth 13.3
Side leg length 40.5 40.5

There's a lot of ease at the waist in the design and quite a bit at the hip. This isn't clear from the pattern picture! I don't normally like a very large amount of ease, and also the pattern sizes are slightly bigger than my actual sizes, so I suspect I may find myself taking the side seams in a bit.

I added length at all the lengthening lines to make the pattern's back waist, side leg, and crotch length match mine. Thank goodness for tape dispensers. I also had to lengthen the arms although I wasn’t really sure how much. The pattern size chart didn’t have arm length and it was hard to tell with the raglan sleeves where I should measure from. I just held up the tissue against myself and guessed.

The other thing I ought to do by way of adjustments is to take account of my extra-small chest. Although the pattern should fit my bust OK it will be far too big for my chest and shoulders. I'm not really sure what to do about that as I normally start with the size that fits my chest and do a full bust adjustment. I'm hoping that as the pattern has a centre back seam and a front zip fastening that'll give me enough scope for dealing with any problems round the chest when I baste it up. I should be able to take the centre back seam in at the top a bit. Fingers crossed.

So that’s the pattern adjusted. Now I just have to find a large flat surface to cut on.