Does anyone else name their handmade clothes? Even if I don’t start with a name in mind, by the end of a project I’ve almost always come to think of each garment by a special moniker.
When Liv asked if I was interested in sewing a special vacation piece to showcase this amazing block printed deadstock, I immediately was excited but didn’t know exactly what I wanted to make. A tiered sundress? A pair of palazzo pants? A maxi-dress? Then, like a wave crashing on the shore, it hit me, this fabric was destined to become my Beach Moon (faux) Romper.
Last year I bought vintage McCalls 3147 on Etsy with the intention of making an adult version of a sunsuit. Timing is everything and when I visited A Thrifty Notion a few weeks ago, all the stars aligned for a lunar playsuit of my dreams.
Pattern > Originally, I intended to make the shorts and top as designed in McCalls 3147. The pattern is a size 12, which works for my bottom half, but is generally too big for my top half. However, when I made the shorts, the fit was completely wrong for my body. To achieve the faux-romper I subbed in Simplicity 2218, a shorts pattern that I had success with previously and am incredibly happy I had just enough fabric to try again. I graded the Simplicity pattern from a 10 at the waist to a 14 at the hips. For reference, I am 5’ 6”, weigh about 135, I have a 34B bust, 28” waist and 40” hips.
Fabric > Block printed 100% cotton dead stock from A Thrifty Notion. The fabric is a bit lighter than a quilting cotton and has a slight rumpled texture. I washed and dried the fabric on the highest heat settings and ironed before cutting the pattern.
I always try to abuse my fabric before I start cutting to make sure the finished product can withstand the daily wear and tear of my life.
Construction > Because the fabric was a bit lightweight for both bottoms and my intended braless wearing of the top, I decided to underline both pieces. I think that underlining is a great way to make lighter weight fabrics work for bottoms.
For both the top and shorts, I cut all main pattern pieces in both the moon print and unbleached linen. Underlining, from my understanding, is the process of adding weight, opacity, or structure by attaching a layer of fabric to the primary fabric by sewing along the perimeter. I’ve found that starting from the top left corner across and then sewing down the sides makes the smoothest combination. I usually leave the bottom open until the end thus allowing a certain amount of flexibility as I sew. Once the two pieces are sewn together, they act as one piece of fabric and I follow the general construction instructions.
The instructions for the top were quite clever and result in a beautifully finished garment, especially with the underlining. The top includes basic sewing techniques: using a facing, sewing on a curve, and making darts. A confident beginning sewist could easily feel successful with this pattern. I used flat fell seams, which resulted in clean and durable finish.
My one issue was the sizing – the pattern only included one size – and I realized on fitting that I needed to grade in the side seams to adjust for my small shoulders and bust. If I make this pattern again, I will adjust the pattern prior to cutting. And as previously mentioned, the shorts with this pattern were a disaster for me. I followed the construction order of the Simplicity 2218 shorts pattern with the addition of underlining and grading the size to account for the difference between my waist and my hips.
Final thoughts > I’m a matching separates convert and am planning another set to transition through the hottest months into fall. I love the idea of this top and think with a few tweaks I will have the fit perfected. I may even make a more covered version with pants. However, I don’t think the bottoms in this pattern are right for me.
While I’m definitely late to the faux jumpsuit game, what are your thoughts? Have you made matching separates? What would you make with this fabric? Do you name your makes?