Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Navy Sallie Romper (and giveaway winner!)

The garment I'm sharing with you today is probably the most successful of this summer's handmade wardrobe despite me having various doubts about how much wear I'd get out of it the whole way through making it. In what appears to be quite a common occurrence for me at the moment I've had the Sallie Jumpsuit pattern from Closet Case Files for quite some time; I think possibly since it's release! Shortly after the release Heather Lou posted a fantastic hack for turning the jumpsuit variation into a shorter romper style and I was hooked. I loved how it looked but had concerns about how much wear this would see in London. Even during our couple of weeks of proper summer heat I was worried about how exposed I might feel trotting around the city. My recent trip to the South of France was just the push I needed to finally make it and I'm very happy to report that the amount of wear it has seen has proved all doubts unfounded!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The other thing which pushed me into finally getting around to making this was the lovely team at Sew Essential getting in touch to see if I'd like to try out one of their fabrics just as I was weighing up whether my summer wardrobe needed a romper. Their site has an absolutely huge range of all things sewing right from all your bits and pieces of haberdashery through to sewing machines themselves! The selection of dressmaking fabrics covers all bases. I wanted my choice to be chic and simple but didn't necessarily want black for such a playful type of garment. Instead I went a little nautical with a classic navy. It seemed a shame to pick something so plain when there's such a lovely variety of prints but I knew if I was stepping outside of my style comfort zone going bold with a print was going to be a step too far!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I'm no knit expert and while I knew in my head the qualities I wanted in the fabric for this garment, relating that to the descriptions of the different knit weights on a website I find hard. Luckily the descriptions on Sew Essential are thorough, including fabric content, direction of stretch, weight and care instructions so I was able to whittle my choice down. The majority of knits on the site are John Kaldor so I had no doubt as to the quality but was still concerned about ending up with something too lightweight or sheer when stretched. I was torn between the Roanne viscose jersey and Ritual soft jersey and turned to the team for some advice. Lucy was really helpful and offered to send me some samples, also to help me make up my mind about the colour! I was really pleased when the samples arrived as they were nice and big so I could properly test the stretch and drape. I surprised myself by going for the Ritual as I had thought the thicker the better but I couldn't resist the silky smooth finish of Ritual which has proven so lovely to wear. I was keen to get something that wasn't too fine; partly because I wanted it to be completely opaque but also because I wanted the romper to have a nice shape and not look too limp or clingy. The bodice is self lined so that does give a bit of body and support but I'm glad I didn't go any thinner for the sake of those shorts. I could not be happier with my choice.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: John Kaldor Jerseys from Sew Essential

I had 1.75m of the fabric and pretty much used the whole lot cutting the size 8, including using my fashion fabric for lining the bodice pieces. Even if you want to use a print for your jumpsuit I'd highly recommend using the Ritual jersey for the bodice lining as it holds such great shape and feels so nice against the skin! I think the sizing is spot on with just the right amount of ease/negative ease. I feel really great in it; it's not hiding my figure in an unflattering 'I'm just wearing my pyjamas out' kind of way but it's not clinging or exposing too much flesh either. I love the neckline with the deep v at the front and back. It's subtly sexy. I did think that pulling those skinny little ties through to the right side would be a bit of a painstaking task but it was actually fine. I simply tied a knot in each end to finish them off.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The hack is super straightforward and requires just a few adjustments the the trouser pattern pieces; namely cutting them off to short length, adding width at the new hem and lowering the crotch curve a little as you don't have the weight of the trouser pulling it down. All super speedy and well explained in the tutorial. I cut my shorts to the length of Heather Lou's version (4.5" below the start of the crotch curve). This is just about spot on for me but I'm pretty short and would want any shorter. My favourite thing about it is that the limited changes mean you can still include the pockets! It might just be the ultimate no nonsense practical outfit in one.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

It was amazing in France for throwing on over swimwear to head to the beach, then felt pulled together enough to head straight out for lunch and still comfortable enough to explore the town in in 35 degree heat. The following week I spent some time at Center Parcs with my family (a holiday park in the forest with all kinds of activities for those of you not in the UK) and it proved itself to be an invaluable part of my wardrobe yet again. I wore it to be comfortable during the car journey there, to play badminton in and to wear over swimwear to the pool and spa. It held up beautifully no matter what I needed. All of that says as much for the quality of the fabric as it does for the design of the pattern itself. It's washed up so well and the recovery is fantastic. It held it's shape despite being filled with sand, thrown on over a wet bikini and run around in and not once did I feel sloppy or underdressed in it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I employed my usual methods for knits; sewing all the seams with a narrow zig zag stitch on my machine and finishing everything on my overlocker for a professional look. It's worthwhile mentioning at this point that the instructions that come with the pattern are packed with tips for making a well finished and long lasting garment and so when instructed to use a straight stitch or wide zig zag stitch I most certainly did so! The neckline and pocket openings are reinforced with clear elastic and under-stitched. I cannot emphasise enough how important this is if you want your jumpsuit to keep it's shape. No droopy necklines and saggy pockets around here!

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

The construction process wasn't without it's issues. There were many moments of confusion and the quick unpick was in use a fair few times. But I do have to hold my hands up and admit that this was all to do with my still fairly limited experience working with knits and simply trying out a new construction process for the first time and not being familiar with the most effective techniques to achieve a beautiful finish. I'm a bit of a perfectionist with my sewing nowadays and this is probably the most complex knit garment I have made to date.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

One thing to bear in mind is that you should make a careful thread choice as there is a row of stitching above the waistline which shows on the right side. It's the top line of stitching of the channel for your waist elastic. my thread was slightly paler than the dark navy fabric and it bugs me a little bit because I know it doesn't quite match but you can't notice it at all when on! While we're on the subject I really like the recommended thickness of elastic used around the waist. I'm not normally a fan of an elasticated waist as they never seem to sit right on me but this nice thick bit of elastic holds nicely.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Closet Case Files Sallie Romper in John Kaldor Ritual Jersey from Sew Essential

I think the fact that I don't have any wider leg trousers in my wardrobe and was therefore unsure of how the style would look on me is what held me back from making it sooner. It's safe to say that making this little beauty has alleviated all my fears about trying the full length style, plus the maxi dress and other bodice variation too! I am so delighted with the fit and design of this portion that I can't wait to get sewing. If I had endless pots of cash and a lifestyle which required daily glamour I'd definitely be making a full length jumpsuit in black silk jersey. Can you IMAGINE.


And rounding up this post with some good news for one of you, I've got the winner of my giveaway for a copy of the Rosie Dress pattern from Sew Over It. Picked by random number generator out of a whopping 85 entries the winning comment is number 75 and the lucky recipient is Rhonna Jerauld! Thank you for reading Rhonna and I hope you enjoy the chance to try out boning with this dress. I'll send you an email shortly to get your postal details and the pattern will be on its way soon.
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10 comments:

  1. The playsuit looks lovely on you, it makes me want to give it a go as well :)

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    1. Thanks Katie. I've never found a ready to wear one which I feel really great in, turns out I should have just made my own from the start. I highly recommend giving this pattern a try!

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  2. This is really really cute. You have a great ability to see the potential in a pattern. I'd overlooked the jumpsuit initially but maybe I'll try it now!

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    1. Thank you Olivia, that's such a lovely thing to say! It's often other bloggers projects that give me inspiration of how to make a pattern I hadn't necessarily looked twice at my own. I hope you do give it a whirl

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  3. Thank you for your detailed, technical review. I love specific advice, such as taking care on the color of the thread used for the elastic channel, how you finished the seams, etc., as I, too, endeavor to make everything look refined, inside and out. You have inspired me to try this pattern in the very near future.

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    1. You're very welcome Ann. Sometimes I feel like I waffle on but I always want to include everything I think I might like to know about making a pattern before trying it. I love it when it turns out as clean and neat as possible too! There's nothing more frustrating than one little slip making a garment not quite perfect. I hope you do give it a try

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  4. You look amazing in this, the solid gives it a classy look and it looks perfect, I wish I have nice legs as rarely go above knee height. Great tips and info, might try this in a full length version.

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    1. Thank you Lynsey Jane. I've always worried that little playsuits like this look a bit childish so it's great to hear that you think it looks classy. Get those legs out! I never used to show mine but Im beyond caring now! The full length version is next on my list though

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  5. Hi there, your jump suit looks great. I also made it for the first time with limited knit experience and carefully followed instructions for the neckline but mine sort of curls out a bit. I guess I still managed to stretch it but any further tips greatly appreciated?!

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    1. There are various reasons why that might happen, and I think sometimes it's just luck! It might be to do with the fabric you used as some knits do like to curl up on themselves. Does giving it a really hot steamy press with a press cloth help? You have to be so careful handling areas like this, not to tug it as it goes through the machine or stretch it out when ironing. I'm no knit expert at all so I just say give it another whirl!

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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!