I loved my Sallie from Closet Case Files so much and wore it endlessly during the heat of summer here. A full length version was immediately added to my sewing queue. Around that time the lovely Mark from Girl Charlee got in touch to see if I'd be interested in reviewing any of their fabrics and I thought bingo! Whilst Girl Charlee stock some great prints and colours I'm still fairly new to the jumpsuit trend and wanted to stick with something classic to guarantee it got a lot of wear. What's more chic and classic than black? Heather Lou looks amazing in her solid black sample so why try and better that. I settled on their Black Solid Cotton Spandex Knit. Described as a fabric staple it had the right amount of stretch for Sallie and a mid weight is ideal for this pattern as it holds a shape rather than clings, is opaque yet still has a nice drape which you want for the wide legs of the trouser. You don't want anything to thick as you'll end up with too much bulk around the waist. The high cotton cotton was great for wearing in the summer when I wanted to be a bit more covered up than shorts or a skirt.
I usually very much prefer buying fabrics in person as you can more accurately asses the suitablity of it's weight and drape for your project by feeling it. However, I actually like to buy knits online because of all the specific information provided about content and stretch which you couldn't necessarily tell by hand when feeling an unlabelled bolt in a shop. I do though still recommend getting samples as there are some things you can't tell from a picture and description. Although I'd say I have a pretty extensive knowledge of fabric types and properties because of my work, I must admit I'm still working on getting to grips with knits as there is such a variety in them depending on fabric content/stretch/recovery which can make them perfect for or totally wrong for any given project. It's a minefield!
This fabric is in fact a great match for the Sallie but does feel a lot more casual than my first version, I think because of the snuggly soft feel and matt finish. Both fabrics have their benefits and it depends on what you're going for with your garment. My romper feels dressier somehow despite being short; there is something about the slinky nature of the John Kaldor jersey I used that makes me feel pulled together. I was concerned that the glamour of this wide leg would make me feel very dressed up and I was after something I could get a tonne of wear out of day to day so in actual fact the more casual fabric choice worked out just perfect. They're like secret pyjamas because the fabric is so soft!
I'm always lamenting that the physical nature of my job and how the fact that I'm constantly running around London, on and off public transport, carrying lots of stuff means I have to dress practically and that often means not as stylishly as I would like. This is has been absolutely perfect for work. I've felt pretty gross at the end of a long day running around in 30 degree heat and walked in to rehearsals to a chorus of compliments on my outfit. A couple of the girls in the cast were after one of their own! My last show has just opened down in Plymouth where I was for a few weeks for the technical and dress rehearsals. The jumpsuit was also in regular rotation down there as it's so easy to layer up with jumpers and so comfortable to wear on those long work days and sitting around in the auditorium.
Sewing-wise the quick unpick came out a lot less frequently than the first time around with this pattern! I'm not sure how I got so confused with the bodice assembly the first time around as the instructions are great but I guess to get that lovely clean finish there's a lot of turning things through and figuring out which are the right edges to sew together. Now I've worn this a lot I would say I think I did a better job on the neckline the first time around. I followed exactly the same methods, adding in clear elastic and under stitching but it's every so slightly stretched out and the point of the v isn't quite as crisp. I would say the jersey I used for my first was probably slightly easier to handle and less prone to stretching out under the heat of the iron.
This cotton spandex is an absolute staple fabric as described and would work fantastically for t-shirts or t-shirt dresses. It has good recovery, is no trouble to sew with a ballpoint needle and presses really well because it's cotton. The edges did curl a little when cut and I did have to be careful about stretching them out but I've found that to be common with any cotton rich knit Ive worked with so far. The knees stretch out a bit once I've worn it for a while but that's probably more to do with what I'm doing in in than anything else (crawling around on the floor trying shoes on people or pinning up hems in a fitting anyone?!) and a quick wash sees the fabric spring back into shape just fine. It does then wrinkle up and need a good iron which is a bit of a pain with this design. Worth the maintenance though in my opinion!
Sewing often gives us a greater understanding of our bodies and their quirks as we learn to fit our individual shapes. Making this has pointed out to me that I have one leg longer than the other! When it came to hemming I pinned the legs up and put it on as I was keen to hit the perfect floor skimming length without having the trouser actually touch the floor. It soon became apparent that no matter how straight I tried to stand one leg was floating higher above the ground than the other. I settled on taking 3" off the hem of the left leg and 2.5" off the right as I couldn't believe the difference between legs was any more than that! However now I've worn it a bit I feel I should have gone with an inch difference as while it's not very noticeable to look at I can feel the difference in length when I'm walking. It's odd that I've never noticed this in RTW trousers or when making my Ginger Jeans but I guess with a wide leg the trousers hang directly from the hip so the length has more of an impact.
I can't get over the fit of this baby every time I put it on. The amount of ease is just perfect; I don't feel swamped in fabric nor do I feel too exposed. I never would have earmarked this style as flattering but I don't feel self conscious about any part of my body when I'm wearing it. And I usually hate an elasticated waist so I don't know what magic is going on there! I think fabric choice with a knit project can drastically affect the fit and is really important. When choosing for your Sallie, or any other knit project do make sure to read any advice that the pattern designer has to offer you. I've noticed a lot of indie patterns include a stretch guide in the instructions so you can check with a sample of your fabric that it has the right amount of stretch.
This project and pattern is definitely going to be on my list of sewing highlights from 2016. I can't believe I waited so long to make it but would never have thought at the start of the year that I was going to spend my summer living in knit jumpsuits! All I need to do now is figure out how I can wear this through winter too...what London-Winter appropriate shoes work with a wide leg?!