Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Jill Jumpsuit: It's Officially Summer!

It's unlikely to come as a shock to learn that I do not shop at Primark. (For readers who haven't hear of Primark, it's a fast fashion, high street clothes shop selling cheap, low-quality clothing for adults and children. The company is regularly accused of using garment factories whose workers have few rights, receive very low wages and work in unpleasant and dangerous conditions.) However, last summer Primark displayed a child's playsuit in the window that my daughter loved. No, I didn't buy it for her. I made vague noises about how I would make her one similar, and I counted on a rapid turnover of window display to help her forget about it and get me off the hook. 


Shortly after, the sewing pattern company, Rebecca Page, released the Jill Jumpsuit pattern for women and children. The style is the spit of the playsuit that we saw in the Primark window: same ruffle round the shoulders, same shoulder ties, same blouson top. Actually, I think that the Primark version was made from something woven and the Jill jumpsuit is designed for knits. Anyway seeing as I had a couple of lengths of suitable slinky jersey in the stash, I had no excuse not to make it for her! 

(image source: Rebecca Page)

For this, my first attempt at this pattern, we went for the short length option and size 7-8 (she's 6.5 years old at the moment), hoping that she'll get two summer's worth of wear from it. I constructed it during a series of small windows of opportunity using both my regular machine and overlocker and it was easy enough. I wasn't keen on the method they suggested for binding the armholes but did it anyway, and in hindsight I don't think they look the greatest, not that you can see them really when its being worn. The pattern also includes pockets in the side seams, but I hate the way in-seam pockets tend to look in jersey (in fact in general), so I left those out. 


My lovely friend Lisa had a recent clear out of her fabric stash, and I was the very grateful recipient of lots of kid-friendly pieces, including this one. This summery jersey with a flamingos/pineapples/butterflies print on a stripe-y background is perfect for this hot weather style garment, and there was just enough for the short length version. I'm really pleased that this pattern was designed for knits rather than woven fabrics, because there are few garments less comfortable than an ill-fitting playsuit!


Honestly, I wouldn't have chosen to make this style of garment for her if I had full control. I was a little concerned initially that this style could be viewed as 'flirty', which is not an adjective I want applied to my 6yo's clothing. But I feel strongly that children should be given an age-appropriate amount of autonomy on certain decisions that apply to them, and clothing is an important method of self-expression and experimentation. I'm hoping that this particular playsuit falls on the side of 'cute' rather than 'flirty', but either way, it cannot be denied that she LOVES it. During the recent heatwave she wore it almost every day, and drew pictures of herself wearing it, which were eye-wateringly adorable (to me). 

Finding a middle ground between what I'd like to make her/dress her in, and what she'd like to wear is important, and something that we're evolving with time. I can see a time in the very near future where she helps with the actual construction, and will, no doubt, play a bigger role in selecting styles and fabrics. 

As for this pattern, I plan to use it again, but with some tweaks. There's a slight bit of pulling/tightness at the side seams, and I need to have a look at the pattern pieces to work out if it's the shorts/trousers side seams that need elongating, or if it's the side seam at the top that's creating the issue. I'll also lengthen the rise on the front and back by a small amount, and possibly remove some of the fullness of the top section. In this version, I ended up removing and repositioning the shoulder ties further in because they kept falling off her shoulders (they still do on occasion), and I think that reducing the volume in the top will allow me to make a ruffle-free version more easily also. 

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