I normally tend to sew very sensible things. I try to keep my wardrobe small and not to follow trends that I’m unsure about. Still I’m not completely immune against some of them. Two of these trends are the jumpsuit and the culottes. Both of them I’ve followed and my attitude towards them has changed from very sceptical to “must have”. For jumpsuits the main drawback is that they are relatively impractical, and that I prefer wearing separates, so I didn’t know if I would get a lot of wear out of one. For culottes, I’m really not sure if the width and length would be too flattering.
Then one day, I was in town and I saw the most perfect culottes-jumpsuit on a girl. It was an electric blue jumpsuit, with a fitted sleeveless bodice, moderate, calf-length culottes and a sash around the waist. When I came home, I immediately sketched it out, and filed it under, “if I ever have an occasion and the time”. I wasn’t overly optimistic that I would ever tackle it. But then I went to the Sewing Weekender and at the fabric and pattern swap stumbled upon the exact pattern that I needed: the Prima June 2016 Jumpsuit (whoever, donated it, thank you very much!). I also had the perfect fabric in my stash. A linen remnant with a slightly metallic/shiny coating that I got for free at my favourite fabric shop. Together with some gifted silk for the lining, an invisible zipper from a thrifted dress and a spool of matching thread from the Sewing Weekender goody bag, I had all the materials needed for this experiment and all of them for free. So who was I to deny this jump-lottes to come to life? On top of that I was invited to an October wedding, the perfect occasion for a new frock.
Excited I quickly put the main pieces of the garment together, to get a feel for what it would look like. In my opinion it didn’t look too bad, but as expected my boyfriend hated it. And I was unsure about the colour and whether I could really pull it off. So it sat there for a week, the wedding creeping closer. Luckily a friend of mine stopped by and convinced me to finish the thing. And the more I worked on it, the more I liked it. I didn’t have a lot of time to actually finish it, and there are some major fitting issues with the bodice, which I just didn’t have the patience to resolve (does anyone else wish they could just duplicate themselves and fit their own bodies?). Still I managed to finish it in time, even with a hand-finished zip and thread belt loops.
The finished jump-lottes actually look pretty cool, (when worn with heels, otherwise it feels more like clown territory). It looks pretty much like the inspiration jumpsuit (or at least like my memory of it). The only changes that I had to make to the pattern was to add a centre front seam (which also helps with sewing a neat neckline) and to add a sash. I finished all the seams with my overlock and put an invisible zip in the back. The zip was slightly too short, so I added a key-hole design at the top, fastening the neck with a hook and eye.
The neckline is a lovely v-shape and I have to say that I absolutely love the fit of the culottes. Exactly the right width of leg to not feel too culotte-y. I cut a size 10 for the top and graded out to a 12 at the hips, however, in the end I had to take the trousers slightly in around the hip.
I adore the length of the legs, in my opinion it hits exactly the right spot at the calves. It’s not a length I would normally go for, and first I considered to shorten it to just below the knee, but when I put it on the long length definitely looked cooler. I thought about adding pockets (I unconsciously tried to put my hands in the non-existing pockets, when I first put it on) but then was afraid that it would disturb the sleek silhouette.
I did decide to wear it to the wedding in the end, paired with this black blazer. It was comfortable and practical for dancing, climbing stairs and crouching on the floor (which actually happened, thanks to a drunken wedding guest, smashing their wine glass on the floor). The only issue really is going to the bathroom. The last 5 centimetres of the zip are almost impossible to reach. But that’s what boyfriends are for right? As expected, the fabric does wrinkle a bit and the knees bag out slightly with too much sitting down. Nothing major though, that couldn’t be solved with some dancing ;-)
It was definitely a standout piece, among all the skirts and dresses, cool and unusual. The bride and groom afterwards commented that I was able to “pull it off”, so that’s a win in my books.
So what’s the verdict? Overall I would say this zero-cost jump-lottes experiment was a success. It’s definitely fun to sometimes follow the fashion trends. I’m not sure how many occasions I will have to wear it to. I might want to sort out the fitting issues first or chop off the bodice and wear it as high-waisted culottes, maybe that would make it more versatile. In any case, this was fun! Until next time, with probably a more “sensible” project ;-)