Monday 17 October 2022

Denim V-Neck Jumpsuit: Adult Babygro?

For yonks I've been coveting a denim jumpsuit. A kind of 'uniform' item that I can throw on whenever I can't really be bothered, and just look put-together and casually cool. My main role at Fabric Godmother is ordering sewing patterns, so I'm well positioned to judge the merits of the various options. The question remains however: have I made the most comfy garment ever, an adult babygro, or both?!


After a long hard think which involved a lot of hashtag stalking, I landed on the V-neck Jumpsuit pattern by The Assembly Line to make my jumpsuit dreams a reality. I liked the modern, casual style, but I decided to make some tweaks. Like others before me, I decided to go with buttons to fasten it rather than concealed press studs. I also shortened the bodice length by about 3 or 4cm because I heard it's very long in the body/low in the crotch. I didn't make a toile, but I did muster the patience to baste/tack the main garment together (minus sleeves) before final construction to check the fit. Based on my findings, I chose to make the top part smaller, and slightly closer fitting. I also added patch pockets to the front instead of inseam side pockets to break up the expanse of fabric a bit. 


The fabric I chose for this project is a 9oz mid blue denim made from recycled cotton fibres from Fabric Godmother (not sponsored but I get a staff discount). It also has some stretch content to really double down on the comfort factor. I did a bit of additional top stitching here and there on this garment because I love how after laundering denim fades a bit and the ripples start to show. I absolutely love this fabric and am now eyeing it up in the other colour ways. 


Yes it is comfy. Yes it looks like a giant babygro. It's not quite the sleak, modern mum-uniform I envisaged but there you go. I've still been wearing it heaps, and having fun layering it under and over other garments. 

Friday 7 October 2022

Free Pattern Friday: Neck Warmers for All

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one . I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. I also firmly believe that pattern designers deserve to be properly paid for their work, so if you enjoy using a pattern and can afford to do so, make sure you support that designer. Some designers' websites offer the option to make a donation, alternatively you can buy one of their paid-for products. If you can't afford to do so, you can support the designer by sharing your project via social media to help draw more attention to their work. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

You may or may not know that I recently made a two-part mini series on my podcast, Check Your Thread, about sewing and saving. In it I explored both how sewing might save us money AND how we might save money with our sewing. It soon became clear that two episodes weren't enough, and another specific theme of how we might use sewing to keep us warm started to emerge. You can hear that episode from Monday 10th October. So many people in the UK plan to keep the heating off as much as possible this winter in reaction to the dramatic hike in fuel and energy costs. So I looked at garments, accessories and homeware projects we can create to hopefully keep the chills at bay. In the show notes you'll be able to find all the links to everything I mentioned. 

Preparing the episode gave me the nudge I needed to try a project I've had in mind for a while: neck warmers made from upcycled knitwear and sweatshirt scraps. Sometime ago awesome sewing lady Kerry, AKA @kestrelmakes on Instagram, helpfully sent me the link to a template and tutorial that she's previously used with success. It's by Applegreen Cottage, and the tutorial part is in the form of a blog post, but if you sign up their newsletter, you get access to the template (also in the form of dimensions so there's no need to print anything out). Thanks to Damjana at Applegreen Cottage for sharing their work for free. 

(image source: Applegreen Cottage)

Pattern type:

Designed specifically for fleece, this is billed as a basic, reversible neck warmer that is suitable for beginners that can be sewn on a regular sewing machine.

Sizing info: 

There are three measurements/templates included: Toddler (1T - 3T), Child (4 - 10 years) and Teen/Adult. I made the child size for my daughter (who is nine) and it fits her well. I tried it on my son (who just turned 6) before cutting his out, and decided the Child size would be a bit big, so I made his the midway between Toddler and Child sizes. My own is the Adult size. I haven't managed to get a photo of me wearing mine yet, but it's fine, if a little loose, which I think is related to the just of fabric I used. 

Fabric info:

The supplies list for this project specifies fleece fabric for this project, but one of the versions photographed on the site used jersey for one half which they recommend for not so chilly days. I've been seeking out uses for my stash of moth-eaten and felted knitwear and scraps of sweatshirt fleece, so that's what I used for mine. Plus, I want to encourage people to find uses for their own unworn knits and scraps as a more sustainable approach. In the same vein, I want to discourage people form buying new polar fleece because it is made from synthetic fibres (i.e. fossil fuel extraction plus lack of biodegradability). But if you have some unwanted, tatty fleece garments, this could be a good way to extend the use of the fibres already in existence. 

I encouraged my kids to pick their own materials from my stash. Lola chose a scrap of leopard print sweatshirt fleece and plain black knit harvested from a misshaped old wool jumper. Frankie chose blue knit harvested from a felted old wool jumper of his dad's, and chartreuse knit harvested from a moth-eaten wool jumper I've been slowly dissecting for years. For mine, I used some leopard knit from a damaged jumper donated to me by my friend Ilana, and some red knit harvested from another moth-eaten jumper. I had to cut sections of the red and piece them to avoid the holes. I could have cut it in one piece and stitched up the holes, but moth holes really creep me out. I once discovered a knitted hat that basically disintegrated in my hands due to moth larvae...

Unsurprisingly, the looser knits create more drape-y and looser neck warmers, and the tighter knits (particularly the sweatshirt fleece, and I imagine polar fleece) stretch the least and retain the original dimensions better. 


The tutorial is simple and well explained, albeit on one of those blogs that bombards you with ads from ever angle. Getting access to the template was a bit pointless, because the finished dimensions are given in the tutorial, plus the seam allowances, so working out the dimensions to cut for the pieces wouldn't exactly be difficult to calculate, and the download offers nothing else. However, I understand that this is a transaction: free tutorial in exchange for joining their mailing list. 

The finished neck warmers are great and very useful. Both kids wore theirs repeatedly during the chilly week that followed the creation of these. I think they make a lot of sense for kids because they can't get unwound, caught up in some way, or dragged along the floor like kids' scarves so often seem to. I've been wearing mine a lot around the house, which has been great since I got my hair cut short and I can no longer rely on it to keep my neck warmer. 

This project has great scrap busting potential, and I love how you can easily tailor these to the recipient with the choice of colour, pattern, fibre and fabric choice. They would also make wonderful gifts that are super speedy to make. 

Customisation ideas:

  • Alter the dimensions to make them deeper/narrower or looser/tighter. 

Would I make this pattern again?

Absolutely. I'd consider changing the dimensions a bit to either exaggerate the cowl or create a tighter, less draft-y warmer, but I'm already thinking about who I know that might need one of these to get them through the winter...

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