Sunday, 24 December 2017

Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit

Merry Christmas guys! This is probably my last post of the year and to celebrate the festive season I thought I'd share with you the party outfit I made a couple of weeks ago. I had a Christmas party and a press night to go to and despite having a fair few handmade party outfits in my wardrobe by now I couldn't resist the excuse to make something new! My berry Ailakki Jumpsuit is my absolute go to garment for parties. Its incredibly comfortable, feels stylish and unique and I love the fact that it is trousers rather than a dress. I've worn it around most people I know and have worked with now though and as its quite a statement piece felt like I could do with another of its kind in my arsenal. Then I came across this Gina Bacconi shoulderless jumpsuit and fell a little bit in love with the cut of it and the fact that it feels like a feminine tux with the combo of matte and satin black. At £290 its a little out of my price range so what was I to do but recreate it!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

At around the same time the Cloth House contacted me to see if I would like a gift voucher to spend in their recently reopened Camden Warehouse Shop. If you haven't been for a visit yet its well worth the trip. Open only on Fridays the reasonably small shop is packed with their out of season/last season fabrics at drastically reduced prices. Some for as little as £2/m! Armed with a list of projects I had in mind I hot-footed it up there one Friday afternoon and came across an ideal piece of wool suiting with a bit of stretch and a lovely weighty black satin which was a good match for the black. I can't remember off the top of my head how much either was but I know less than £10/m. I had a large chunk left over of my 2m of suiting but squeezed the collar, waistband and pocket bags out of half a metre of the satin. I love how the satin feels when I put my hands inside the pockets.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

So to recreate the RTW jumpsuit I used a couple of patterns I knew worked for me plus a bit of drafting/making it up as I went along! At first I was thinking of using the trousers from the By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit as they fit really nicely around the waist and hips but ultimately decided the wide leg combined with the style of the bodice might not feel very me. I feel really happy in the pegged leg style of the Ailakki and the proportions of those trousers work well as part of a jumpsuit so I stuck with what I knew I loved. I made up the size 38 again and took 2" off length of trousers so they hit just above the ankle which seems to be most flattering. This was just taken off the hem. They do seem to fit slightly differently in this fabric as its quite a lot lighter than the triple crepe so hangs differently. I think I probably prefer the fit in the crepe as I get less wrinkles but they certainly feel very chic in suiting!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

I needed a simple, sleeveless princess seamed bodice so returned to my favourite fit in the form of the Rosie Dress from Sew Over It. I cut between the size 8 and 10 with a small amount shaved off the top of the side seams for a closer fit as I did with my green party dress. This dress stays up so well without the aid of straps that I knew it would be a great choice for this shoulderless design. This version actually stays up even better and is incredibly comfortable for a strapless outfit due to the stretch in the fabric. Its snug but moves with you. I opted to self line the bodice to retain the stretch as I had plenty of fabric and am really glad I did.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

The collar took a little bit of thinking through. I did at one point think I might fold in half and sew a long strip right sides together, turn it through then hand stitch it to the top of the bodice. But I decided I'd rather machine sew it where I could. To enable this I sewed the long strip wrong sides together and finished that long edge on the overlocker. Then I sandwiched the centre of the overlocked edge between the shell and lining along the front edge. I turned down and hand-stitched the overlocked edge by the width of the seam allowance along the rest of the length. This was easy to do invisibly because of the double layer of satin. I originally left the strip nice and long so I could play around with making the collar the right length; the sleeves needed to be snug enough to stay up without being so tight they restricted too much movement. It was a bit tricky but I pinned them in place on myself in the mirror. Once trimmed to the right length I finished the ends of the collar by overlocking, turning under and hand-stitching again. Then I simply slip-stitched the collar to the back neckline by hand. I'm really pleased with the finish and its nice and strong. I had to tack the end corners by the zip down by hand so that it laid nice and flat against my back when worn.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

The RTW inspiration jumpsuit doesn't have a waistband but the Ailakki pattern does include a slim one which I decided to incorporate as it gave me the opportunity to use more of the contrast satin. I think I probably could have done with shaving a smidgen of length off the bodice pieces to accommodate this as the trousers sit slightly lower on me than my berry version but its certainly not noticeable as the Rosie waistline is pretty high. The decision to add a waistband actually worked in my favour as I didn't have to faff around making sure the seams of the bodice lined up with the seams and darts in the trousers...I could have still done it but was short on time and not overly bothered about it. Matching the waistband along the zip at the back was essential though as the contrast of the satin would really show that up!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

As usual despite having a plan to make this for ages and having the pieces all cut out and ready to go I ended up with about a day to sew it up before one of the parties! I tried really hard not to rush myself though and am really proud of the finish I achieved. Of course I decided to make my life more difficult and add the boning in too! I use a plastic boning which comes in a fabric casing that I bought in bulk from Mood a couple of years ago and is surprisingly quick and easy to install. You simply cut pieces the length of each seam you want to sew them behind, then push back the casing to trim away a little over the width of your seam allowance from each end. I use a lighter to then melt the ends slightly so you can round them off and loose any sharp corners which might work their way through your fashion fabric. You can then sew right through each side of the casing to secure the bones to the lining. I might do a quick little tutorial with photos to explain it better if anyone is interested?

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

The fabrics were really lovely to work as they both responded so well to a good press. I used a size 80 microtex needle for both and washed them on a gentle 30 degree cycle in the machine. The only thing that proved tricky with the satin was cutting as it wanted to shift off grain but the slight crinkly nature of it made that a little easier as it has some grip. I interfaced the external waistband piece with a lightweight fusible but not the collar as I liked the body and weight of the satin it as it was. I also wanted to retain any natural give in the fabric to enable me to move around a little easier. I had a few people ask me if the satin was stretchy...it doesn't really have any stretch and I can't lift my arms above the shoulder without things going a bit awry but thats totally fine for a party.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

The most trouble I had with the fabrics was dealing with the stretch of the suiting when it came to inserting the zip! I have often found inserting zips into stretch fabric tricky and I think what I should have done was fuse a strip of interfacing along the seam allowance to prevent it stretching out as I sewed. I had no trouble with the regular seams but the zip was a bit of a disaster and still isn't perfect. I got the top of the bodice and the waistband seams lined up first attempt but I had a weird rippling effect below the waistband. I didn't want to unpick the bodice when I'd got it aligned so well so just unpicked the bottom half and redid it, really trying not to stretch it out as I went. I shortened the zip as much as I could get away with which helped and then it took a couple of do-overs before I felt it was wearable.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

The only other issue I had is the pockets which don't seem to sit as well as my first Ailakki (although can I get a high five for pockets in party-wear?!). I think this is to do with the fact that I under stitched along both the front and back openings so because of the way the trousers are constructed the rear piece wants to pull towards the back. The pocket construction of the Ailakki I actually find a little strange and did it my own way this time which is the way I've always done side seam pockets; sew the pocket bags to each leg then sew up the side seams and around the pocket bags. Despite these little issues I'm absolutely delighted with the jumpsuit and can see it getting a lot of wear. Its already had two outings and I felt so comfortable and happy in it all night. Friends who know I sew most of my clothes still couldn't believe I'd made it and though it looked like it could be part of a Reiss or French Connection collection. I feel really proud of being able to reconstruct something I'd seen and loved without there being one pattern to use and follow. Isn't it great to be able to tweak things so they suit you better?!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Black Tuxedo Jumpsuit in suiting and satin from the Cloth House

I think thats about enough wittering on about construction and fabrics from me, I'll leave you all to enjoy the festive season. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas surrounded by the people you love and get some well deserved rest (and perhaps a little sewing time?!) in. Thank you all for your comments, support and encouragement of this little blog and my sewing over the last year. It really does spur me on to make each project a little better and to try new and more complicated things. Wishing you a very happy and creative 2018!

30 comments:

  1. This is stunning! Have a lovely Christmas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, I'm delighted with it! Hope you had a wonderful Christmas

      Delete
  2. This is so great on you, Fiona, and it's brilliant that you did the pattern combining and fiddling to create the design yourself! I actually like yours better than the £££ RTW version. By the way, I can't remember if I ever thanked/cursed you for introducing me to the Cloth House sale shop - I went during their summer sale and also got some lovely black stretch wool suiting for £5/m (I haven't sewn it up yet but have a couple of things in mind). Have a lovely festive season! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dare I say it, I think I like mine more than the RTW too! I'm really proud of managing to recreate it and the fact that making it up as I went along worked!
      It is a bit dangerous in there isn't it...more so for the ever increasing size of my stash than the bank balance as the prices are so reasonable! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas

      Delete
  3. This turned out beautifully! It’s so professional! You should definitely be proud. Merry Christmas!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much! I'm really pleased with the finish. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

      Delete
  4. This is absolutely gorgeous! Merry Christmas!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shirley, I'm really delighted with it! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas

      Delete
  5. Truly gorgeous Fiona, particularly love the neckline, classy and sexy. Happy Christmas and a wonderful 2018 will enjoy being part of your journey.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Mags! It was the neckline which drew me to the RTW one so I'm pleased I could recreate it. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. All the best for 2018, it was brilliant to get to meet you this year, let's hope we can again this one!

      Delete
  6. What a project! It turned out so beautifully too - sometimes these types of projects can go so terribly awry :) You can so rock this style too Fiona - gorgeous! Happy Holidays and all the very best for 2018 to you and your loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite a project indeed, especially with the time restraints as I left it until the last minute as usual!
      I love a jumpsuit, I feel really comfortable and confident in them. Thanks for your lovely comment. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas

      Delete
  7. This looks amazing on you! I so enjoy reading your posts with all the construction details and tips you include.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kathryn, its wonderful to hear that as I feel like I sometimes waffle on too much but reading all about the nitty gritty of construction is what I most enjoy on other people's blogs so I always hope people like that here too

      Delete
  8. Replies
    1. Thanks Catherine! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!

      Delete
  9. I love this. It actually looks better than the expensive original. The pegged trousers are cuter than the straight leg. I always your posts and I feel like I learn something new every time. Happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a compliment, thanks Caroline! I was wary of the pegged leg when it came into fashion but am fully on board with the style now. Its lovely to hear that my posts are so enjoyed, comments like that keep me writing!

      Delete
  10. This is one of my favourite makes of yours. Its beautiful and incredibly flattering. Really fabulous work.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much Katie. I think its one of my all time favourites too! I feel really proud of being able to recreate something, and even tweak it to better suit me

      Delete
  11. I truly enjoyed reading your post. I never was able to sew clothes well. You look wonderful in the jumpsuit. Happy New Year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Donna, it gives me such a boost to hear that people enjoy reading my blog! Sewing is all about practice, I do it an awful lot and notice little improvements every time. Give it another whirl and I'm sure you'd create some fantastic things. A very happy new year to you too!

      Delete
  12. What an amazing outfit, you look stunning!!! Happy holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Très chic! Hope 2018 is good to you!
    And thanks for the tip about the warehouse. That will be on my list for my next trip to the city!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And to you Evie!
      Definitely get it on the itinerary...best to check opening times beforehand though as they can chop and change

      Delete
  14. You are so talented! This looks beautiful on you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah thanks so much! Its all trial and error...and a lot of error sometimes!

      Delete
  15. a very simple design yet it looks so great, really suits you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much Julie! Simple clean lines are my favourite

      Delete

I love hearing from readers of my blog so please feel free to leave a comment letting me know what you thought about this post/make! Any hints or tips to improve my sewing are always much appreciated too!