WHA?! Your eyes do not fool you dear readers. I, Jenny Cashmerette, am wearing a jumpsuit. A onesie. An all-in-one outfit.
I did not ever expect to see the day. However, when I got the chance to pattern test with By Hand London (I say “got the chance” but in fact, I asked), I couldn’t pass over the opportunity to help evaluate their patterns for curvier figures and get a more diverse set of outfits out there at launch. I expected another lovely dress. Then… I found out it was a jumpsuit. Eek! To say I was hesitant is a massive understatement.
However, I decided to give it a go, and worst comes to the worst, write a short comedy post about it. What I did not expect was to LOVE IT TO BITS. Oh my goodness. If this doesn’t prove that anything can look good on curvy figures if it actually FITS then I don’t know what does. And can I just saw how comfortable it is? VERY COMFORTABLE. Gosh, the caps are getting a bit much.
Now, before I go any further, one critical thing to point out: this isn’t the final jumpsuit that’s now on sale. As the By Hand ladies already pointed out, there was a snafu uncovered during the pattern testing process – namely that the original top half of the jumpsuit was very similar to another pattern already out there. Therefore, it’s now been changed to a Studio 52 vibe cowl. That said: I loved my original pattern-testing jumpsuit so much, I wanted to share it with you anyway. Just please bear in mind that if you order it now, this isn’t the version you’ll be receiving!
Thanks to the lovely Mary, I was totally inspired by these amazing photos of women on the beach at Deauville in the 1930s. Those massive airy linen white trousers must be mine! And then during my trip to Grey’s Fabrics (who most generously provided the fabric for testing) I knew it would have to be paired with a gorgeous Dear Stella ikat-inspired quilting cotton.
Overall, I love the look, the pattern was excellent, and the instructions worked well with a couple of exceptions that BHL have now changed for the final release.
I made a few adjustments, partly for fit, and partly to achieve that dreamy 1930s look. I made a bodice muslin quickly first, and then whipped it up in the final fabric.
– I started with the size US 16/UK 20, and added 3 inches FBA to the bodice – a pretty standard adjustment for me on every pattern. I used the Fit for Real People approach, as per usual.
– The FBA added 2 5/8 inches to the waist, which as it turns out, was perfect to put a bit more ease in there that I needed
– And I added 2 inches in total to the hips and then down the entire trouser leg to get maximum floaty effect
For those of you wondering about me making changes while pattern testing: pattern companies need to test lots of things during the development process, including fit, the instructions, the markings on the pattern pieces etc. Fit is best done by fit models, so the type of testing I was doing for BHL was more on the instructions and pattern itself, as well as how wearable it was for plus size women – therefore, even while making making changes I was able to provide helpful input.
I was surprised by how fast this went together – the FBA was very straightforward, and the whole thing was completed in 2 evenings (even with extensive testing notes). I am thinking about making a few little adjustments to the garment: adding white belt loops at the waist to hold my gold belt in *just* the right place, and also moving the straps about 3/4 inch out to cover my bra straps. I should have really tried on the bodice before I attached the straps… learn from my mistakes, people!
In terms of construction, the only thing I did differently to the instructions was to add a petersham ribbon to the inside waist seam allowance to stop the linen stretching out over time – there’s a lot of material in those trousers…
If you’re wondering about the location, guest star Rebecca and I went down to the beach in South Boston one Sunday evening – I actually forget I live about 2 miles from a beach sometimes because Boston is so inward facing, geographically. Down by the beach is also Fort Independence on Castle Island, which is no longer an island thanks to the new docks, but has a really cool walkway that juts out into the sea and provides for very pleasant breezy walks.
So the verdict: yep, you can wear a jumpsuit even if you’re curvy. It combines all the swooshiness of a maxi skirt and all the comfort of wearing trousers…. I’m sold. I’m also psyched to effectively have a princess seam block for strappy tops. So yay for BHL, yay for jumpsuits and yay for yet more boundary-breaking!