While midi and maxi dresses have taken centre stage in recent years, I’ve also clocked the quiet advance of the jumpsuit. Once a rare and bold choice, jumpsuits now seem to be present in most wardrobes, while still remaining an eye-catching sartorial option.
The appeal of a jumpsuit is much the same as a dress – an entire outfit in one garment, no need to worry about matching tops and bottoms, and can easily be dressed up or down. But there’s something just a bit more cool and unexpected about a jumpsuit. Then of course there is the hope that you might look half as cracking as Phoebe Waller-Bridge in that jumpsuit in Fleabag (and maybe bag a charming yet troubled Irish priest while you’re at it?). The only downside is of course having to get completely undressed when going to the loo, but personally I think that’s a price worth paying for a good outfit.
There’s something effortless about a jumpsuit, so I wanted to make one for myself that enhanced that look – one with clean lines and in a navy fabric, naturally. I decided on the New Look 6446 pattern because I loved the square neckline and the ankle-grazing culotte-style trousers. For the fabric I went for a navy peachskin bought at a Fabric Godmother open day.
The pattern was relatively easy to follow and it all came together pretty quickly. There were a few tricky parts, which I think I just about managed to cope with. Fitting a jumpsuit isn’t easy, as there are a lot of places you can get it wrong, all of which are dependent on each other! I made sure to try it on at every stage, but was also careful not to make any drastic amendments out of fear of creating problems further down the line. I’d extended the crotch by about an inch at the front and the back, and was grateful to be able to shorten the straps to adjust the fit of the bodice. The result is a jumpsuit that mostly fits, but there is certainly room for improvement next tine.
Another challenge was making a lining for the bodice, a skill I had skilfully managed to avoid in my sewing career. I was quite nervous about having to hand stitch the lining to the outer layer, but I made sure I was slow and careful, and it’s now my favourite part of the whole jumpsuit, and I love that the inside looks as neat and tidy as the outside.
The fabric provided an additional challenge. It’s the perfect weight for a jumpsuit and was mostly easy to work with, but it was tricky to press as I had to have the iron at a cooler temperature. A good press is the key to making homemade clothes look more professional, so this was a bit of a shame.
Despite the challenges, I enjoyed following this pattern and am pleased with the jumpsuit on the whole. It’s exactly the look I had envisaged and the pattern was just challenging enough to stretch me without making too many mistakes. The jumpsuit is works on its own with heels or worn over a t-shirt for a more casual look.