Oh hai peops! Here's a little something that I made a whole bunch of weeks ago. It's my version of the new By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit pattern. Those crazy cats asked me, along with a great pile of other awesome sewers, if I'd like to test the pattern to help them with its development. Seeing as I have yet to act on my playsuit/jumpsuit dreams I, umm, jumped at the chance (sorry, I couldn't avoid that). Please note that this is NOT a review of this pattern, as a tester I was obviously sent the pre-tweaked beta version of the pattern, so what you get if you buy it now will be a bit different.
I greatly admire the By Hand London girls, their attitude and their business. But usually I find the style of their patterns to be too contemporary for my personal taste so I haven't sewn any of theirs before. However, I could see the retro potential in the sleeved and shorts version of the Holly (pictured above, image from the By Hand London website). To start with I made a few of the standard pattern alterations that I always make to give myself a fighting chance of a well fitting garment. I made the size 12 but graded out to the 14 at the waist. This probably wasn't necessary but I HATE feeling restricted round my belly. Secondly, I extended the back rise by 1.5 cm to accommodate my junk, as usual. And thirdly, I reduced the length of the bodice by about 1.5 cm due to my short-waistedness.
After a mid-way fitting sesh, I noticed that the waistline was coming up VERY high, so clawed back as much of my bodice-shortening adjustment as I could by making the seam allowance as small as possible. If I were to make this again, I'd probably actually add a little bit to the length of the bodice. I also found the bust darts to be VERY high. Like, at least 6 cm too high. I know I have slightly saggy mum-breast-feeding boobs now and the application of a decent fitting bra will probably do wonders, but I feel that all but the most pert among us would have found these darts pointing north of your bust points to some degree. I'm not sure if the final version of the Holly pattern addressed these two issues, but I'd keep an eye out for them.
The final issue I found was that the shoulder/neck area is very wide and quite 'gapey', making my bra straps visible a lot of the time. I think you can see the gapiness a bit in the picture at the top of this post. I haven't done it yet, but I intend to move the top few buttons over a touch to see if that closes up the neckline and reduces the gaping effect. If I make this garment again, I'd be tempted to 'fill in' the neckline on the pattern a little around the shoulder/neck area.
One change I do know that By Hand London made since the testing process of this pattern, extra room was added to the butt area. I didn't find any issues with that on my version, but then maybe my additional 1.5 cm to the rise negated the tightness that other testers must have found.
But that's the negatives out the way. There is a lot I love about this pattern. You can't see too well in the pictures of my version because of the busy print, but it has a delicate row of tiny buttons down the front. Those buttons are functional as well as decorative: you need them along with the side zip to get in and out of the thing. I also love the proportions of the little turn ups on the sleeves. In general wearing this garment feels fun and a bit cheeky! But it's not great for quick visits to the loo, just sayin'.
So that we testers didn't need to delve into our fabric stashes to make the Holly pattern, we were very helpfully paired up a fabric purveyor who supplied us with fabric to sew our versions in. I was paired with the UK based Fabric Godmother. I got to hunt through their stock and had my choice to make my playsuit in. Oh. My. Goodness. That was a fun process. As I've mentioned in previous posts, in normal circumstances I try to sew exclusively from my fabric stash or by sourcing second-hand textiles, often from unwanted clothing. But when I do get offered free new fabric, I'm not mental, I say thank you very much.
My first choice was out of stock so I went with this Tui Bird & Pohutakawa print cotton (close up below, image from the Fabric Godmother website). Seeing as this was free fabric, I wanted to go with something outstanding! The lovely lady at the Fabric Godmother got in touch with me a little while later and offered me a length of my first choice of fabric for free when she received a new delivery, as long as I mentioned where it came from when I blogged about my creation, which I promise I will.
Although the fabric I used for my playsuit was my second choice, it has more body than the Aloha fabric and therefore worked better for this project which I feel needs a bit of structure. The buttons I used for my playsuit were some little fabric covered ones I'd had in my stash for a squillion years. Their turquoise colour is the same as the main part of the little birds in the print. So this project only required me to buy a zip. Hurrah!
Thanks both to By Hand London and the Fabric Godmother for helping my finally get round to making a wearable playsuit!