09 December, 2015

The AA jumpsuit - a successful knockoff!

AA? Sure! except in this instance it refers not to the evil brew, but 'Murrican Apparel.
A jumpsuit isn't the sort of thing I'd ever think of for myself.  And yet....

The backstory here is that my daughter modeled for me a new garment she'd just bought.  And she looked deliciously adorable in it.  So, being that we're very close in size, I tried it on.  Better than that, I examined it inside and out, and... you guessed it:  decided I too could not only wear one but make it too.

Copying a garment typically involves tracing each part, sometimes with cling film (plastic food wrap, whatever you call it these days - the stuff used to be called saran wrap back in the days).  Instead of doing that (with one exception*), I simply sketched the garment and then described its dimensions. In  four pages of excruciating detail.

Then, based on these measurements, I drafted the pattern pieces.

*The exception is the pants leg:  I traced the outside pants leg from waist to hem and the inside leg from crotch to hem.  I still had to describe some of the dimensions, but this gave me a very good basis for the overall shape of the trouser part of the garment.

Pleats abound in this suit, front! back! top! bottom!  So in describing it, I was careful to note not just the placement of each pleat but also its length, depth and direction.

For example, three deep and long pleats on each shoulder - front and back.  Bodice pleats at the waistline.  Four front pleats on the trousers.

Three long and deep pleats at the back shoulders, and shirred back waist. 

Two deep side seam pockets; the top of each is caught in the front waist seam.  

The left side seam is one long zipper, all the way from the armscye to about mid-thigh.  The zipper runs behind the side seam pocket.  Figuring out how to put these things together was quite a trick of mental gymnastics ... the pattern I drafted obviously didn't come with any assembly instructions!

I made a few small but important changes to the garment that improved its fit and overall proportions:

I shortened the bodice by 1 cm and the trouser crotch length by 2 cm, but lengthened the trouser leg.

I narrowed the outside shoulder line by about 2 cm and shaped the armscye. The original had a very unattractive straight armscye that created excess of fabric puddling around the armpits, especially in the back.

I oriented the front pattern pieces so the CF diagonal crossover is on the straight grain (i.e., no bias stretching or rippling) , plus I took out a gape dart, shifted to the bottom of the pattern piece, from the CF diagonal.  This really improved the fit of the CF in comparison with the original, in which the bodice noticeably gaped open. The original was also a bit too long waisted for me and my daughter - we're borderline petites - so that also contributed to the original's gaposis.

There's no gaposis in my bodice at all

I'm just about ready to tackle my new coat now.  So stay tuned...


  1. Nice jumpsuit!

  2. This jumpsuit certainly is adorable. You look great!

  3. Great looking jumpsuit. The fit is perfect. It would have been interesting to see the fit of the original compared to the one you made. It always amazes me that a couple small changes to a garment pattern can improve fit so much.