September 2, 2014

Jump! Jump! Jump! The (almost) By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit

Hell –> frozen
Pigs –> flying
Jenny –> in a jumpsuit
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.
Inspiration source
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!

63 thoughts on “Jump! Jump! Jump! The (almost) By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit

  1. Beyond fabulous – you look like you should be drinking gin with the Fitzgeralds (during which Zelda would be secretly hating you for out shining her!). The easiest belt loops in the world for little thin belt can be made with a few threads and a zigzag stitch – there’s an awesome old tutorial somewhere on the coletterie – super quick, minimal faffing.

    1. that first sentence, can’t say it better than that!

    2. Jenny says:

      Thanks!! I will channel the Great Gatsby AT ALL TIMES while wearing this. And in fact the first time it got worn (after these photos) was on Nantucket which I feel was entirely appropriate 🙂

  2. Jane says:

    Love it, you look absolutely gorgeous Jenny! I’ve been trying not to get lured in by this pattern as, like you, the thought of me in a jump suit has me laughing long and loud! But…. I’m in danger of falling at the first hurdle here! Great job. x

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Jane! I won’t deny, it’s a major mental jump.. but I think if you make it up in two fabrics it definitely makes it a lot more wearable for those of us who aren’t 21 year old models 🙂

  3. L says:

    I love your jumpsuit, Jenny. You have wonderful style and it shows in everything you make. I still don’t think jumpsuits are for me, though. I can’t get past the ‘man, I really gotta GO but I can’t get out of this thing fast enough’ idea. =)

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks, L! Jumpsuits are *definitely* not for everyone, and I must say you do not want to be rushing to the bathroom in this!

  4. lisa g. says:

    i think for any style, fit is the thing that makes or breaks it… regardless of size. this looks fantastic on you! great job on the fit.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Lisa! You’re right, fit is everything.

  5. Debbie Iles says:

    Just fabulous! I love it! Perfect pairing of colours. You just look so cool and elegant!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Debbie! The two colour thing definitely made it more wearable for me.

  6. puu says:

    beautiful! also, such a helpful review. i completely agree with your comment that anything can look good on anybody as long as it fits properly – and this is a winner on you. lovely work.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks very much!

  7. Katie says:

    Utterly stunning! I’m wracking my brain trying to think of the supposed bodice doppelganger – the Colette Hazel? Anyway this version is so good on you and I love the variations in the final pattern as well.

    1. Jenny says:

      Colette Lily…

      And thanks!

  8. Dana Belasco says:

    I love the idea of one piece dressing, like your wrap dress, and done! Out the door! Looks great, Jenny.

    1. Jenny says:

      I’m all for the easy-wearing, Dana! Cheers

  9. Laurwyn says:

    In French we say it’s “raining frogs”.

    Sometimes, it is super rewarding to step outside of your boundaries and try something different. It really worked in this case. I am particulary impressed by the trousers part. It looks very nice and there does not seem to be any weird pulling or crotch issue.

    1. Jenny says:

      Hahahah 🙂 Yes, the trousers fit me straight out of the pattern – I need to have a look at the crotch curve and try to transfer that to my future trouser experiments!

  10. Amanda says:

    Oh my gosh, Jenny, I adore your jumpsuit! I desperately want a proper jumpsuit for summer, and now it must have linen trousers. I’d need to grade up Holly a size or two, though, not sure I’ll find the time right now. I’ll be dreaming about wide leg, linen trousers tonight.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Amanda! The grading was actually really simple – I did a straightforward princess seam FBA (Fit for Real People approach), and that pretty much made all the alterations I needed (as it adds to the waist too). Go for it!

  11. I love this so very much. You look incredible! I was going to buy this pattern, but make the trousers/maybe play around with putting a skirt on the bodice, now I’m feeling inspired to take the leap and make the jumpsuit too.

    1. Jenny says:

      Give it a go, Cari! Using two fabrics is definitely a way to ease yourself into the full-jumpsuit look 🙂

  12. Morag Oates says:

    You look utterly fabulous in this. I am a UK 20 and have just ordered the pattern, and was starting to doubt the sense of plus size + jumpsuit. Now I have NO worries !! Thank you ;0)

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks Morag! Effectively mine was a 22 by the time I graded. Can’t wait to see how yours turns out!

  13. sewexhausted says:

    This looks beautiful! And so do you. When I saw the pattern the other say I was disappointed because I thought it would look AWFUL on me as I am not a slim girl… but you “wrecked” that notion and in a good way! Now I want one for myself! The wide legged trousers are wonderful and I just love the vibe the jumpsuit has. Thanks for changing my mind!

    1. Jenny says:

      I’m glad that I was able to change your mind! I think the wide legged trousers make a big difference – I wouldn’t want to wear it if it was entirely slimline.

  14. Anne Szabo says:

    love, love, love your jumpsuit. You inspire me. I want the end result you get but hesitate to go through all the work of refitting patterns and muslins. You look so awesome in your jumpsuit!! thank you for sharing your results.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thank you, Anne that’s very kind. Muslining definitely takes a bit of effort, but it always pays off for me!

  15. Michelle says:

    I’m firmly with you on the any-body-type-can-wear-a-style as long as it fits and is proportioned properly. When you’d hinted that you’d tested a jumpsuit a while back, I went poking around on a few indie pattern blogs and had a feeling that this was the one you’d tested. 😉

    I really like this pattern, and I love how this looks on you. I might have to give this one a try.

    1. Jenny says:

      You guessed right! It’s worth giving a try – it’s definitely a bit out of my comfort zone but i really liked the result.

  16. Vicki Kate says:

    Out. Of. The. Park!
    Holy smokes you look beyond amazing in this. I’m so glad you’ve tested it as it’s given me the confidence to think I could wear that pattern next summer (post baby gestating!).

    1. Jenny says:

      Aw, thanks Vicki Kate! Totally worth it for next year 🙂

  17. Annika says:

    you look amazing! and those pics are just super beautiful!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks, Annika!

  18. Heather Lou says:

    You stunner. Great inspo and perfectly interpreted for today. Lurrvvvvvveeeee.

  19. Reana Louise says:

    Just found your blog thanks to Sew Busy Lizzy linking – and I’m in love with your style and this jumpsuit! Pigs should definitely fly more often, and now I need a white jumpsuit.

    1. Jenny says:

      he he, thanks 🙂

  20. opalspeacock says:

    Also just came over from Sew Busy Lizzy. You are so rockin’ that jumpsuit, love it.

  21. Ladan Ladanu says:

    It’s sophisticated, very 30s, so cool. What a shame they changed it. The new straps are way too thin, it just doesn’t work for my body type. I will be buying it and pattern hacking Lilly onto this baby, it looks absolutely amazing.

    1. Jenny says:

      I reckon hacking it would work well 🙂

  22. Not sure if the computer are my earlier comment or not – but I really love this on you. I love your fabric choices. I think pigs should be genetically engineered to grow wings because we should all try things outside our perceived comfort zone, sometimes a lovely surprise is waiting. Just love it.

  23. Helen says:

    This looks amazing on you. So classy!

  24. Melissa says:

    I love how sewing opens up the most unexpected doors to great silhouettes that we would probably never wear otherwise! It looks totally fab on you!

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks, Melissa! And yes I totally agree – I don’t think I’ve even *tried on* a jumpsuit before, let alone worn one in public!

  25. toferet says:

    Awesome! I think the contrasting fabric really makes this jumpsuit pop for you

  26. Love this on you! I really like that you channeled separates in this style- it looks really cool! I haven’t planned to give this one a go as wide-legged trousers aren’t usually the friend of a rectangle shape (and, let’s be honest… I wore them into the ground in the 90s when I spent most of my time in a totally unisex, oversized wardrobe… yuck!) but you’ve made me think twice about trying it.

    1. Jenny says:

      Cheers, Sonja! I didn’t think for a minute it would look good but somehow it worked… one to try muslining, at least 🙂

  27. Cadi says:

    You look ravishing in this! So chic! I ran right over to BHL and bought this after seeing it on you – I fell in love with being able to make plain old trousers too! I’m so excited to make them and wear with cropped sweaters this fall and winter.

    I think I’ll try out a Frankenpattern version with a Colette Hazel top, too, once I crank out 10,000 pairs of the pants. I think with the right combo of fabrics the inverted V top would be a really slimming silhouette for my dangerous curves! 🙂

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks, Cadi! I LOVE the idea of mixing it with the V Hazel top – I don’t fit in my Hazel anymore but I really loved the shape of it, and I think it would go really well with the wide legged pants.

  28. I just stumbled on to your blog today via Sew Busy Lizzy – hello to another fellow Boston area blogger! Great idea to mix fabrics – this jumpsuit is just fabulous, and you look great in it!

    1. Jenny says:

      Welcome, Lucinda! And thanks!

  29. Stacy says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Stacy says:

    The perfect combination of white and print. Great job 🙂

    Stacy from

  31. Clio says:

    You, Jenny Cashmerette, are looking divine in your jumpsuit. Onesie. All-in-one outfit. 😉

    Awesome call on the print top and white bottom!

  32. You look amazing, Sold! ��✂️��

  33. GINGER CHILD says:

    OK, really now… do you get out of it in a public restroom, keeping everything off the floor which can be dirty? I made and wore many jumpsuits back in the 80s……and mine all opened in the front. I finally gave them up because of the bathroom issues. Not fun. You look great, and so did I!

Let me know what you think!