Thursday, 16 April 2020

Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit from 'Sewing Basics for Every Body'

The project I'm sharing with you today is from Wendy Ward's new book 'Sewing Basics for Every Body', published by CICO Books. It is a beautiful book of clean, modern garments packed with interesting design details. It includes 5 patterns for core basics providing 20 different garments - although with the variety of options on offer I think you could make a lot more! I think what I love most about it is that all the garments are unisex and are modelled by both men and women in the garment photos. It is so wonderful to see this kind of inclusivity and it is a refreshing way to look at garment design and sewing. Why do garments need to be gendered? Clothes are for 'Every Body' as Wendy says in the title and we are all free to make our own fashion choices and style them how we like.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

I chose to make the Kim Jumpsuit; opting for the long-sleeved boiler suit style variation of this pattern which you might recognise from the front cover of the book. I just can't resist a jumpsuit. I loved the classic details of this and how it looked styled differently on the models. It is actually a combination of the Rowan Shirt and Harper Pants patterns from earlier in the book, with a few tweaks. I made this with the plan to add belt loops at the waistline as I didn't think I'd ever wear something as roomy as this without some definition around the waist. However, I love it both belted and not so have left the belt loops off for now to see how I wear it most. Wendy's pattern cutting is ace. This is roomy but fits just the way it should.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

The fabric was kindly provided by Fabworks, who I haven't ordered from before. I was really impressed with their service and the wide range of fabrics available. I had a hard time choosing! The process was made easier by the very generous sized swatches they sent out. It was so nice to be able to get a real feel for how the cloth feels and moves with an 8" x 5" sample. I found the online descriptions give a very accurate idea of what to expect. I was toying with some blues and some lighter-weight almost shirting type fabrics but in the end plumped for the Peachy Soft Stretch Twill in Caramel. This is actually the fabric I was initially most drawn to as theres nothing else like it in my wardrobe and I could envision how well the jumpsuit would sew up in it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

The fabric is perfect for this kind of project. The caramel tone with the pronounced twill weave screams vintage workwear. I'd say it is a mid weight twill which has some structure but still retains a softness. The right side of the fabric has this lovely soft sort of brushed feel to it but I actually used the reverse as the right side as the colour is slightly richer. It has a little bit of stretch to it which didn't matter for this jumpsuit but might come in useful for comfort in other styles. It sewed up absolutely beautifully; the stitches sort of sink in and it holds a nice pressed edge well - essential when sewing all those crisp shirt details.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

I'll be honest, once I had my pattern and fabric chosen I was excited about making this but I had some doubts about how 'me' the finished article would be and how much wear I would get out of it. But I absolutely love it! I feel like a 1940s land girl and can definitely see myself down the allotment or rummaging through a costume store in it.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

I don't often sew up garments from books so the unfamiliarity of this process really made me slow down and engage my brain which I actually enjoyed as I'm so used to sewing without really thinking nowadays. One of the things that puts me off of books is tracing out the patterns from the chase of the overlaid pattern sheets in the back. This time around I actually didn't mind it. It was certainly no more time consuming to trace this pattern off than it would have been to print and assemble the PDF. The pieces for each pattern are printed in different colours which makes it easy to identify which bits you need without missing details such as notches. Each sheet is clearly labelled with which pieces it includes too. A hot tip for you if you are tracing off patterns from layered sheets like this is don't forget to trace off the grainline! I did this a couple of times as it is easy to miss amongst everything else going on on the pattern sheet.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

To achieve the plethora of variations included with each pattern (and to combine the two patterns to make this jumpsuit) you often need to make some alterations to the pattern pieces. The alterations are all fairly simple and are clearly explained with written instructions. I actually really enjoyed this process as it makes you feel involved in the creation and design of your garment instead of blindly following cutting and sewing instructions. There are A LOT of choices to make with each pattern (from collar styles and sleeve lengths all the way down to seam finishing techniques) which means you can really make these garments your own. The garments are definitely worth the prep work and thought at the start.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

Throughout the process you need to flip back and forth through the book quite a bit. Something I made more complicated for myself by diving right in with a more complex pattern which combined two of the previous patterns. I was flipping between instructions for the jumpsuit, instructions for the shirt, instructions for the pants as well as the instructions for the standard sewing techniques (such as pockets, collars e.t.c) at the start of the book. I found it useful to put a few post its in as page savers to make finding the right section easier. As you work through the instructions it does say which page you need to turn to for more information. If you've got a bit of sewing under your belt I don't think this will prove problematic and not writing out the same instruction for each pattern in turn is certainly a space saver in the book. However, a beginner might find themselves a bit lost along the way and potentially missing a step without the instructions being written out in order.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

When writing a book like this you are limited on words yet this one is jam packed with tips to make you a better sewer; things like shortening your stitch length around curves and how to mark the spacing of buttonholes correctly rather than relying on the markings on the pattern piece which might not be right for you. It seems there is always more for even experienced stitchers to learn - why had I never before tried marking my stitching line to follow around that tricky collar stand?! Wendy's construction methods, tips and Rowan pattern make shirt sewing feel so straightforward. It was such a pleasure to work with a pattern which came together just as it should, no problems.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

I particularly liked the way the tower plackets on the sleeve are constructed. The pattern piece for these is marked with notches and marks for tailors tacks so you can use these to accurately mark all your folding, cutting and stitching lines. I've never been a fan of using carbon paper and a tracing wheel which is what I usually have to resort to for these markings so it was refreshing to be able to neatly draw it out in a different way. Wendy also has you do all the folding and pressing before the placket is attached to the sleeve rather than as you go. This is so much less fiddly! There is a ready pressed line waiting for you and everything sort of falls into place when you turn the placket through to the right side. If you're after a classic shirt pattern I can highly recommend trying the Rowan from this book.

Diary of a Chain Stitcher: Caramel Twill Kim Jumpsuit Boilersuit from Sewing Basics for Every Body by Wendy Ward

I love a wooden button and like how these add to the practical vibe of this boiler suit. I believe I got these in John Lewis. They came on little cards of three. I was into the swing of making unique design choices by the time it came to sewing on the buttons so chose to sew the last button on with red thread for a touch of individuality. I added a bit of topstitching here as most workwear garments use flat felled or topstitched seams for strength. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing as I wanted to keep some of the softness in the fabric.


I'll definitely be sewing more from this book, perhaps even more Kim Jumpsuits as there are still so many more options to try out! I'm also very interested in the Felix Sweatshirt which can be turned into a hoodie, bomber jacket or t-shirt too. I'm second on this tour of reviews of the book and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else makes now I've seen the creative freedom the patterns and variations provide you with. Make sure to check out the other projects!

14 comments:

  1. Love your jumpsuit! I've been looking at this book for ages but the unisex thing put me off because I am a D cup, do you need to do a FBA for every top pattern?

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    1. Hi Alison, sorry for my slow response! I wouldn't say you do because of the style of the patterns. I'm a D cup too and had no trouble whatsoever with this one. I'd recommend making a quick toile first though just to be sure as it depends slightly on the fit you want. This is quite roomy so not a problem but if you wanted it more fitted you might need to do the adjustment

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  2. Hello! Long time reader, first time commenter (!) I found this post really interesting as I want to learn more about drafting and alterations, and the book seems like a good way of dipping your toe in. I clicked the link and can see that my measurements are smaller than the smallest size option, do you think the patterns are easily altered to size down? Like many, I got back into sewing as RTW doesn't fit me well, but I need to learn more about drafting and alterations as I find that sewing patterns are being expanded for larger sizes, but not smaller, and my skill set just isn't there yet to be able to make the patterns smaller. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

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    1. Ah hello! Thank you for your first comment!
      Yes the book is definitely a good way of dipping your toe in to playing around with patterns
      I've never sized a pattern down so it is difficult for me to say. There aren't any instructions in the book for grading a pattern down but there is information on fitting. Some of the patterns like the sweatshirt and trousers I'd say would be pretty straightforward to size down depending on how much smaller you need to go. The jumpsuit, shirt and coat would be more difficult as they have more interconnecting pattern pieces.
      Have you taken a look at the Palmer Pletsch 'Complete Guide to Fitting' book? This might have some useful information and has a section on grading if the pattern doesn't come in your size

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  3. Fiona thank you soooo much for taking the time out your sewing schedule to do this. I absolutely love your boiler suit and it suits you so well!! I hope you do make more, you've definitely made me want to make more. X

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    1. You're so welcome Wendy, I am so pleased I said yes as I absolutely LOVE how this has turned out! Better than I even expected. The book is really fab and your patterns are wonderful as always x

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  4. This looks amazing! I keep admiring boiler suit patterns and this seems like a really good one.

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    1. You'd look great in a little boiler suit! If you do fancy making one this is a really great pattern

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  5. My first reaction was "this is so Fiona"! I like the belted waist definition on you, and LOVE the rich caramel with your coloring.

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    1. O I'm so pleased to read this comment as while I was making it I wasn't sure if it was very me! I'm so happy with it and yes I think I prefer it belted too. Finally making some progress with understanding 'my colours' thanks to Jasika's posts as well!

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  6. What an inspirational post! I want to say thanks for keeping up the blog so well at the moment. I'm a hospital doctor and sewing is my usual way to de-stress. I haven't got much time for actual sewing at the moment but reading your blog gives me a little window out of the hospital! Also massive thanks to any of you sewing scrubs out there! Much needed and all very welcome! In good news, the lock down is certainly helping to slow the spread so thanks everyone for staying in and sewing!

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    1. This is up their with the all time best ever comments on this blog! THANK YOU SO MUCH for everything you are doing right now. My mum is a nurse so I know how hard it is at the hospital. I'm so glad to hear that sewing is providing you with some sort of escape even when you don't have much time. You've spurred me on to post more...and get back to sewing those scrubs!

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  7. Yay - please post more!! Thank you for the lovely reply and I really hope your mum is ok and managing to get some down time away from the hospital. Best wishes to you and her and hopefully one day soon I'll manage to sew up the dress I cut out 6 weeks ago!

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    1. I have got everything crossed for you getting some sewing time soon! You deserve it more than most. Thanks again for all you are doing

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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!