Monday, 8 September 2014

Pattern Testing: The Holly Jumpsuit from By Hand London

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

Today I've got a finished garment to share with you which I've been absolutely bursting to share with you for what felt like months! It's the most recent release from By Hand London - the Holly Jumpsuit. Now before we get into the nitty gritty details I do need to explain that this version here is what I made when testing the pattern, after which this variation of the bodice was redesigned completely so if you purchase the pattern you will not be buying the pattern for the bodice you see here. The BHL ladies took the decision to redo this variation of the bodice, not because of any drafting or pattern related issues but because they had unknowingly replicated another pattern designer's work and wanted to release something fresh and new. This however is not going to stop me from making many more versions of this particular bodice as I absolutely love it!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

As previously with my test of the Flora Dress I was provided with the fabric for my pattern test by SewBox. Susan was as helpful as ever and I had my pick of fabrics from her wide range of Liberty, John Kaldor and Michael Miller prints. When I picked my fabric I wasn't yet sure which variation I wanted to tackle so I wanted something with a bit of body and drape and something which would withstand my pretty active working day without wrinkling too much. As we were just heading in to summer I had bright prints on the brain so opted for this stunning French Crepe from John Kaldor. It's a lovely weighty crepe which was so enjoyable to work with; cutting, pressing and sewing. I was so delighted with how well it worked for the pattern and the lovely smooth, crisp finish it provided.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

I always like to sew up the pattern exactly 'as is' when testing so I can give accurate feedback on the pattern without questioning whether any issues I come across are to do with my alterations. I cut the size UK10 as I always do with BHL patterns and this fit me pretty much like a dream straight out of the packet. In fact the first thing my boyfriend said to me when he spotted me in this was 'Wow that fits you so well!' and if that's the first thing he notices, in fact if he even notice the fit at all, it really must! There are in fact a couple of little things I would change next time fit wise. Firstly this version is slightly loose around the top of the bodice so the side seams are gaping away from my body a little. It'd very minor but I'd probably trim a little off at each side seam next time. Secondly, I did shorten the straps by 1" as I knew from previous experience with BHL patterns that they tend to be long on me in this area. Next time I'd take off maybe an inch more as, as you will be able to see in some of the pictures, they slip and sag a little when I stand in a particular way.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

You may have noticed that this is pretty short! It's actually shorter than I think is intended as I kept trimming and trimming until I felt like the proportions looked right in this bold print. I ended up taking off about 3" in length which actually is pretty standard for me with patterns from this company as I'm such a short ass. The waistband sits in the perfect place on me though so you might want to consider lengthening the bodice if you are tall.

I personally love the way the shorts fit me for this quite figure skimming version but I know one change that was made after testing was to give a bit more room in the bum. I think this would give more of a relaxed fit which would suit the short sleeved bodice of variation 1, plus if I had made the trousers they would have hung differently and perhaps have required more ease in that area.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

Construction wise it was super enjoyable as it has such a lovely clean finish.  I only had one head scratching moment when I was attaching the band to the neckline and convinced myself that seams were going to end up on the outside. In fact all the seams are wonderfully hidden beneath the band and I should have just trusted the instructions! I finished all the seams on my overlocker which produced a beautifully neat edge on the crepe, it's strangely satisfying to look at all those tidy and even intersecting seams inside!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

I'd say this was a slightly trickier sew than By Hand London's other patterns as there's more to it but it's still a fairly straightforward make as I think the shape of the trousers/shorts is quite forgiving and princess seams are the simplest to fit. There is an invisible zip in the side seam but I've always found their zipper instructions to be particularly good.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

Because of the length, summer style and loud print it's not the most easily wearable garment I've ever made but I absolutely adore it for beach/holiday wear and a spot of sunbathing in the park. I also came up with a little trick to make it A LOT more wearable on a daily basis which I'll share with you very soon. I feel fantastic in it which I think is down to the great fit and and clean and tidy finish. I'm really keen to use this bodice to make a dress but I also want to try the variation 2 bodice as released with the cowl neck as a dress in the style of Sew Busy Lizzy. For me one of the best things about this pattern is the scope it gives you for creating almost an entirely new wardrobe. You've got jumpsuit, playsuit, two very different bodices to mix and match with simple self drafted skirts plus separate trousers and shorts! I wish I'd had more time on my hands to sew this summer and I would have made every single one.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

Just in case you were wondering I did test the new bodice too. I only had time to whip up a quick muslin with no bottoms attached in some slinky poly crepe I had in my stash (and sorry I didn't get any photos) but that was enough to tell me that I definitely NEED to make that one up for real too. I was a little sceptical about the design at first as that cowl neck style is not something I would usually go for but this sits really beautifully. For me it has the perfect amount of drape as I don't feel like I'm at risk of exposing anything I don't want to. The bias binding used for the straps is a little fiddly and time consuming as I always find binding to be but is another great trick for a clean and professional looking finish.

The only question left is which variation do I make up next?!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit/Playsuit in John Kaldor French Crepe

22 comments:

  1. I really like your bodice. What pattern is it similar to?

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    1. Sorry to take so long to reply to your question! It's similar to the Lily Dress from Colette, and I'm sure I saw mentioned somewhere that there was also a Big 4 pattern with similar style lines. Fingers crossed you can find something!

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  2. Ooh, I love your short and playful jumpsuit! It makes me want to order the pattern and then make a countdown for next summer! x

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    1. It's got me wishing that summer wasn't coming to a close too! It's very unlike anything else in my wardrobe but I love it!

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  3. oh this is beautiful! and it does fits you beautifully! i love love love the cowl variation and cannot wait to see your version. i am also super intrigued by you trick to make playsuits more wearable! jumpers are not quite my thing, but i do like jumpsuits. i have shied away from them though, because of the impracticalyty factor. and now summer is kind of over...

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    1. I don't think they need to be just a summer thing at all! You could definitely wear the longer version in autumnal colours all year round and I think it would make a fab Christmas party outfit! And the shorter version would be really cute with tights and boots layered with a thick cardigan! I do hope you try it out!

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  4. You look stunning! The fit IS perfect and it is wonderfully summery! I can just imagine you in a jewel toned dress with the cowl neckline for the winter!

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    1. Oooo you've set creative wheels in motion there Vicki Kate! I'm keeping my eyes peeled for jewel tones now!

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  5. This jumpsuit is so beautiful, now I really want to make one myself. Too bad summer is over! I like the look of jumpsuits but the retail ones never fit me because I have a very long upper body. Too bad that they changed the look of the bodice I like that one more than the new options.

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    1. You could definitely recreate this bodice from a princess seamed block...and make it nice and long in the body to suit you! I don't think they are necessarily just a summer look either so I hope you do find an excuse to give it a try!

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  6. fiona, i love this on you! you just look perfect and the work you put in on constructing it beautifully really shows. looking forward to your next variation on this one!

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    1. Thank Puu! Once I realised how much of a winner this pattern was going to be I really put some effort in to making it as perfect as it could be! I'm looking forward to my next one too :)

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  7. I really like the original bodice - I probably would have purchased the pattern had they left this option, but the new one just won't work with my ample bust. :-( Yours looks awesome though! So jealous you have access to the original pattern!

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    1. I do feel pretty lucky as I am probably going to make this version up again as it fits so well! Have a little look at the Colette Lily if you're really keen on this bodice style

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  8. This is absolutely adorable! I LOVE it on you!

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    1. :) thanks Sonja! I just wish I lived on a beach now and could wear different versions of this every day!

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  9. So cute! The BF is right it does fit you perfectly!

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    1. Who would have thought that he had an eye for that sort of thing?! Maybe I need to teach him how to use some pins!

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  10. OMG - you look too cute in this !! Gorgeous :)

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    1. Thanks so much Lizzie, it's definitely one of those outfits that I put on and feel great in all day

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  11. I just love this fabric!! Super cute outfit.

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    1. Thank Jennifer, it was dreamy to work with as well as look at. Had a lovely amount of body to it for a crepe

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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!