Why you should have a jumpsuit in your wardrobe!
Claire-Louise looks at fashion’s enduring love affair with the jumpsuit and explains why it’s actually a wardrobe staple!
You can download this Sewing Bee jumpsuit for free on our site! It comes with all the instructions you need plus there is an A4 tiled version for printing at home and an A0 copyshop version!
Why is the jumpsuit now a wardrobe staple?
Back in 2014 when I wrote The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric (the book that accompanied the third series), I pitched the concept of pattern hacking with a jumpsuit, which I dubbed the three-in-onesie pattern which could be used in multiple ways.
The jumpsuit had been on-trend then for a couple of years and I thought it was a trend that would last just another couple of years. Cut to 2019 and the jumpsuit is a key piece of most of our wardrobes, transcending trends and suiting all age groups. Whether you’re looking for a pinafore style, a wide leg, or an elegant evening ensemble, there’s a jumpsuit for you. It’s akin to dresses as you need only to make a single choice to create an outfit.
The original jumpsuit inspiration for my book option was a tropical print strappy version. I was keen to create a frill on the camisole top hack, that was added to the final jumpsuit sample by mistake. This was a happy accident and I kept the frill on both cami and jumpsuit options as it was an interesting feature that looked feminine and offered lots of options for further hacks.
Sadly, we couldn’t find this kind of print in a dressmaking fabric at the time, as it would have been printed exclusively for a ready-to-wear brand. My assistant Chloe and I searched high and low, but it seems it took a while longer for the tropical fabric trend to hit the sewing community (there are gorgeous options available now). My ‘wild card’ cotton and steel graphic print option was finally approved at the 11th hour!
When working on the fourth series of the Bee in 2016, I was hoping to add a jumpsuit as a made-to-measure challenge before the trend tailed off, but sadly that wasn’t to be. As the sewing producer, I thought a jumpsuit made an excellent fit challenge as there are curves around the body, as well as the fit to consider up and down the body! Seeing how the contestants might cope with fitting a jumpsuit to a live model would have really showcased their fitting skills (or indeed their lack of skills).
The jumpsuit has proved to be a favourite piece we aren’t letting go off. In fact it features on trend predictions way past 2020. There are so many patterns for home dressmakers to create the perfect jumpsuit, whatever size or age you might be! I’ve rounded up a few different styles to inspire you:
Fancy a traditional utility style jumpsuit with a bit of a twist? Take inspiration from Stella McCartney’s latest black denim version but recreated at a snip with McCalls 7330 in chunky denim. Choose fabric with a lot of drape like cupro, tencel denim or chambray for a softer look. I love Fiona’s denim with flawless top-stitching but think it would also look great in black Tencel from www.fabricmagpie.co.uk.
Fancy the classic bib style dungaree/jumpsuit? Well you’re in luck as there are lots of pattern options. One of my favourites is the Roberts collection by Marilla walker which includes a dungaree dress too. Don’t you just love Katie’s chic black version below? Bib styles work well in classic denim as well as in some fabulous prints; the ice cream pink check washed linen from www.empressmills.co.uk would look gorgeous.
Maybe you’re looking for an elegant jumpsuit for occasion-wear or nights out? Try the Named Patterns Anni building block jumpsuit which features a cute cut-out detail with princess seams and lots of options for multiple variations. I’d pair this with luxury fabric like crêpe, sandwashed silk or viscose. Atelier Brunette make high quality fabric with great prints so take a look at the Moonstone viscose in blue over at www.sewmesunshine.co.uk.
Need a super comfy (secret pyjama) jumpsuit that will see you through the day and into the night too? Check out the Sallie by Closet Case Patterns. This jersey pattern works really well as a cute romper style for hotter weather, but has two elegant longer length options; either cropped or ankle length. Plus the elasticated waist is comfortable and easy to fit. Stay safe in a dark colour or go bold with 2019’s Pantone colour of the year and choose a coral solid spandex cotton mix from www.girlcharlee.co.uk
One of my current favourite jumpsuit looks has to be the wrap front style which is elegant and like all jumpsuits can be worn as workwear, beach wear, as well as at more formal occasions. The great thing about a waist seam is being able to colour block, and I love this sophisticated black and white version which looks like a top and trousers, but won’t untuck!
And this gorgeous floral number is great for more frill action! Try Kwik sew 4180 or McCall’s 7099 for the same effect. Fabric with a drape would be the best option for this project, think crepe, viscose challis or some stretch fabrics.
There are as many jumpsuit patterns as there are ready to wear styles, so if these options aren’t for you, then do look about as there’s definitely your jumpsuit out there. Don’t discount vintage patterns either, with a bit of a tweak a 90’s pinafore style I bought in an Australian op shop will make an on-trend pinstripe version for me. Happy hunting!
Don’t forget you can download this Sewing Bee jumpsuit for free on our site! It comes with all the instructions you need plus there is an A4 tiled version for printing at home and an A0 copyshop version! Simply click the image below to jump to the pattern download!