If there is one look that always catches my eye it’s a good jumpsuit. I have made a few for myself but always end up struggling with the same problem I have with dresses. That problem? You are probably familiar with it yourself. My body is a whole bunch of different sizes! I’m one size in the bust, another at the waist and another in the hips. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not disparaging this fantastic collection of muscle and bone that has the ability to create life. Not at all. I’m just saying that sewing anything consisting of one piece involves lots of fitting. Especially if that one piece is supposed to fit well like an Ailakki Jumpsuit from Named, for example.
Fitting is all fine and good but it gets tedious. It requires me to take this big deep breath and find this big chunk of time and dive into sewing the way a writer dives into the great American novel. Some of this “effort” is probably a psychological barrier but still I FEEL it.
With all of the time I spend as the one-woman operation behind the espadrilles kits; I don’t always have the energy for that novel. Know what I mean? Instead I get my sewing fix by making a quick top or sweatshirt. I write a poem, so to speak. But, I decided to dedicate time this year to sewing some jumpsuits and I started with the aforementioned Ailakki Jumpsuit from Named Clothing in Animal Print. Ah-huh. Why not?
I am so glad I did. Please remind me next time I complain that the effort is worth it? Please. The fabric is a rayon-y twill with some structure but great drape from Blackbird fabric. It looks like they don’t carry it anymore. Sorry! I think their tencel twills would make a great substitute.
As for sizing, I was a 36 in the bodice, a 40 in the waist and a 42 in the hips. I cut the 36 for the top and graded it out to a 40 and then graded the pants from a 40 to a 42. I did make a first attempt at this jumpsuit (I’ll discuss that later) and that prompted me to make a few alterations.
- Lifted the crotch rise approximately 1″. My first attempt was basically “sagging” low in the pants but was the correct width in the hips so I lifted it up.
- Added in an invisible zipper at the back. The original pattern calls for an exposed zipper and while I love the look of an exposed zipper I need the top bodice just a wee bit tighter and the invisible zipper was just the right amount of added difference.
- Widened the leg hem. The pattern is for a ‘carrot’ leg and I really feel this emphasizes my already-wide hips. So, I made the leg silhouette wider.
- Hand-stitched the cross front together. It seems like it was just too easy for the cross front to gape open so I hand-stitched it closed lightly. I will see how well it works with real-life wear.
- Removed about an 1″ from the torso length. I didn’t like how long the torso was (and I think it added to the saggy feel) so I eliminated about 3/8″ from the top of the pants and about a 1/2″ from the middle of the bodice at the ‘cross’ portion.
These alterations made a huge difference and I’m mostly pleased with the results. You can see, though, that the bust darts are a little overly pointy and I probably should have done a small bust adjustment. It’s just something I didn’t catch on the first attempt. Boo.
That said, I made a jumpsuit. I did some fitting on it and it turned out pretty great. I will absolutely wear this to a date night or out with friends. I’m going to need to make the perfect strapless bra, however, because the one I have needs adjusting or it’s visible. Fussy clothing isn’t really my jam but I think this Ailakki Jumpsuit is worth it!
My first attempt is actually really cute but doesn’t fit very well. I made it in a rush before heading to the opening of Madalynne’s (of the bra-making fame) new studio opening in Philadelphia. I had a great time but totally realized I just didn’t love the fit of the jumpsuit.
I love it enough, however, that I think I will rip open the guts and attempt to get a better fit. It’s so clear looking at these photos that my fitting improvements really helped! I love these two fabrics together, though! I’m not gonna quit you jumpsuit!
Melissa Q. says