I went into a deep dive of the work of Addie Masters in this post so if you want to read more about the original designer this jumpsuit is a dupe for, please check it out!
First things first, I think this make has total WOW factor and I am so pleased with how it has come out. I had high hopes for the pattern (ME 2027) and it truly didn’t disappoint! I am already planning my second, more casual version of this make in a combination of pretty, summery linens and I am looking forward to a little more ease in the making experience now that I have already made the pattern once. Although I absolutely love how my fancy version came out, I used some tricky materials that required a bit more care and thoughtfulness than linen will.
All the silks I used in this garment are from The Fabric Store– the green and deep maroon are silk crepes, which, though a bit shifty, were relatively low maintenance, and the middle pink is a satin, which was- surprise!- very high maintenance! Early on in the make I realized my iron was too hot for the satin after I burned it so that it had that awful shiny effect on it. It probably wouldn’t be noticeable to anyone not looking for it, but I had enough scrap satin leftover that I could recut that piece and I vowed to pay better attention to my iron settings after that. I haven’t worked with satin in a long time so I also forgot how weird it can be with iron-on interfacing! Because it’s so incredibly smooth on the back, the texture doesn’t want to adhere to interfacing as easily as other fibers, so I had to use a lot of steam and higher than normal heat (which didn’t ruin the fabric, as I ironed it on the interfaced side) to get it to adhere properly. Not a big deal at all, but something to keep in mind when working with this kind of textile.
I knew I was taking a risk by choosing such different textures for one garment, but the colors just seemed so right that I found it hard to settle on anything else, and even though the satin did make me curse a couple of times, I am really happy with where I landed. This color combination feels extremely vintage and pairs well with the silhouette, which is definitely very vintage- honestly the garment looks a little like a uniform, something you would imagine a waitress in a diner wearing in the Mad Men era, but it doesn’t feel too costumey to me, it still feels wearable, and very ME!
As I have said before I am a big fan of a lot of the Mimi G for Simplicity patterns I have made over the years- they have way less ease than normal big 4s so the garments actually fit your body when you complete them, the techniques and construction methods always make sense, and sometimes I even learn something new that I have never done before with a sewing pattern. This pattern started out as I expected it would and seemed smooth sailing at first, but I did have some issues with the way the instructions were written/illustrated when it came to the collar. They used an illustration where they bolded some of the stitching lines and left the other stitching lines unbolded to show the difference between a basted stitch and a regular stitch, but as you can imagine, tiny bolded stitching lines on a black and white piece of newsprint is extremely difficult to decipher, and by the time I realized the error I made by misinterpreting the illustration, I had already inserted the collar incorrectly and had to unpick it and recut the entire collar piece. It was super annoying as I was literally on the last step before completing the garment, but thankfully I had enough scrap satin (yet again!) to recut the pieces.
While I understand now what the instructions were trying to say, I am still miffed at the tendency of Big 4 patterns to give as few directions and explanations in their instructions as possible. Sometimes reading them feels like you are trying to solve a puzzle, simply because they are trying to save as much space in the direction’s pages as possible. They even shrunk the zip fly method illustrations down so that they had something like 9 images squished into the space of one instruction block , again I assume in an attempt to save page space. This frustrates me so much because they aren’t really setting sewists up for success by skimping on the directions, which is one of the many reasons that I tend to prefer working with indie patterns. Indie patterns tend to give generous amounts of information in their construction steps, lots of good illustrations and/or photographs, and oftentimes a sew along to help guide you through any particularly tricky steps. I would much rather pay the price of adding an extra instruction page to a big 4 pattern if it would ensure that the steps were clearer and I would have a higher likelihood of success.
Speaking of, I noticed that on the pattern envelope of this design there was a QR code for a sew along, so in the midst of my confusion about the collar construction, I clicked on it so that I could hopefully figure out what I had missed. Unfortunately the QR code just took me to a video of Mimi G explaining what the Know Me pattern brand was- no sew along anywhere to be found. Turns out that the sewalong (filmed by Know Me “designer” Marcia) does exist, you just have to search for it specifically on youtube, but that kind of defeats the purpose of having a QR code printed on an envelope, ya know?
When I make this again, in addition to paying attention to all the notes I had to take clarifying the instructions, I will most likely also change the shape of the collar into something more rounded and less dramatic. As it is I think the collar is cute, but I am generally drawn to smaller collars with a less exaggerated profile, and I think it will modernize the look a bit.
As for the rest of the garment, I was really intrigued by the way the stripe panels come together on the bodice. I’ve never sewn anything with details like this before so I learned a lot about how to engineer them and it was probably the most fun part of the whole thing- seeing the bodice come together from so many disparate parts was so satisfying! The garment has pockets that make sense and are anchored at the waist seam (yay!), the fluttery sleeves are SO fun, and I absolutely love the look of the covered buttons on the center (side note: the pattern calls for 1 inch covered buttons but when I tell you I could not find that size anywhere! Not on etsy, not at big box stores, nowhere. I ended up using 1 1/8″ sizes which was a mistake because my button settings on my machine dont go bigger than 1 inch. Next time I will use the 7/8″ standard size buttons but this is important to note for anyone who wants covered buttons for their version). I also appreciated the inclusion of a zip fly, which I didn’t even realize was part of the design til I got to that point in the instructions. It would have been easier to just continue the buttons down the front of the jumpsuit, but giving it a zipper elevates the fit a lot- there is little worse than a jumpsuit that bulges open in between the buttons, and the zipper makes the front crotch seam lay nice and smoothly. I love this detail so much!
The only detail that I am not a fan of is the belt- slide buckles are nice in theory, but they do NOT stay closed on me- they slide further and further open and the belt gets so loose that it’s hanging off of my frame within a matter of minutes. To remedy that on this make, I sewed some snaps on the end of my belt to anchor it closed to itself, but on a future make I will likely either use D-rings or a proper belt buckle with a bar that will allow me to install grommets on the belt to keep it closed. In this same vein I am surprised that belt loops are not included in the pattern design because the belt tends to move around a lot. I will likely add just a few to this piece at some point in the future and definitely include them in my next make.
Finally, let’s talk about the memade shoes! I can’t believe how well these go with this garment- the style and color just feel so right! I made these shoes last year with a pair of lovely heel components from Gracie Steele’s Gracie’s Heels (however her online shop for shoe findings seems to be closed at the moment). I love how cute they came out, but if I had to make them over again I would change the shape of the leather over the toes a bit so that there was more coverage). I
had this oxblood colored leather in my stash for so long and had a comparable purple-y leather that I used for the lining. I used my hole puncher to give the upper leather a little decorative flair and I love the effect! These are super comfy heels as I made the insoles super cushiony, so I need to wear these lots more, it’s just that I don’t get dressed up much these days. Writer’s strike in full effect (WGA STRONG!) and potential SAG strike looming, so not a lot of fun premieres to go to anyways. Not to mention Covid! Parties are much less fun when you’re the only one wearing a mask indoors and you have to shout through your mask to be heard- it’s just easier for me to stay home.
But hey, at least I look cute. Addie Masters would be proud 🙂