Tangerine Dream: My New Summer Uniform
Linda’s note: Malia actually submitted this tutorial to me last spring! Before I had a chance to post it, it seemed like similar orange jumpsuits were showing up on various blogs, so we decided to hold off for a while! Malia brings her couture training into the mix, guiding us through some techniques that will bring your finished product up a notch! Please be sure to click through the process photos for visuals: Instructions are given first, and then a series of process photos follow for each step. –Linda
Fabric: Modal/Bamboo/Tencel Woven Twill in the Bittersweet colorway
Pattern: Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory
This jumpsuit, I am never taking it off! It is so comfortable yet at the same time looks really put together. I’ve styled it to be a bit more dressy for a friend’s wedding, but will also wear it more casually all summer. The Zadie jumpsuit is such a versatile style and the Modal/Bamboo/Tencel Woven Twill fabric skims the body in a soft and flattering way. With the added touch of french seams, it is a pure pleasure to wear.
Up Close Details Gallery
Fabric Tips & Process
First let’s talk about the fabric. This fabric is wonderful to wear, feels very cool to the touch and is available in a number of colors. The color I chose is this beautiful muted tangerine. With a pattern like this one, sleek and simple with the interesting wrap feature, I find a solid fabric really shows it off best. The only thing you have to watch out for while working with this fabric is the iron: it does not like high heat. I pre-washed my fabric on delicate/cold cycle and put it in the dryer on low for only about 10 minutes and let the fabric air dry after that. Always try washing a scrap of fabric first, especially if you are washing in a different manner than recommended. The manufacturer recommends hand washing and line drying, but I find it really difficult to hand wash and line dry a full length of fabric, and often there are other options! Be sure to test a sample as different detergents and washing machines can have varying results.
Pressing: Use very low heat while ironing. Cover your ironing board with flannel, this will help to prevent making your seams shiny with the iron. Try to press from the wrong side as much as possible, and always use a press cloth on the right side. I found a scrap of the actual fabric worked best.
Alterations: I lengthened the pant by 1.5″ at the hem (I am 5 ft. 5″ and I wanted a slightly longer pant). I shortened the front and back bodice by 1/4″ on shorten lines. I shortened the pant crotch front and back by 1/4″ on shorten lines. And finally, most importantly, I added 1/4″ to all seam allowances. Why? Because this particular pattern has 3/8″ seam allowances but 5/8″ is needed for the french seams.
Layout and Cutting: I found that the pattern fabric requirements were pretty tight, and I know that they were meant to prevent waste, but for me it was really not enough fabric to cut out my size, especially with the extra 1/4″ seam allowance I added. Therefore, if you are doing french seams, you may want more fabric than suggested. I chose to swap the fabric waist ties for grosgrain ribbon. I couldn’t find a good color match, so I dyed it myself! If you choose to use ribbon as I have, remember to cut the ends at the angle the pattern indicates. I like to use trace tacks instead of cutting notches, especially when I am doing french seams, since I don’t want a notch to be cut out of my seam on the inside of the garment. Don’t forget to stay stitch neck edges, as this will save you so much trouble!
Tip: Tear a straight edge along cut edge of fabric, this will help to line up fabric perfectly on grain. Since we don’t want to tear a straight line through the fabric every time we need to rearrange or pull more fabric onto the cutting table, I use my gridded cutting mat, pick a line and line up my yard stick to create a straight line. Pop in a few pins along the line and you now have a straight edge to line up the grain again for the next layout of pattern pieces.
French Seams: I chose to substitute the overlocked seams with french seams, for a cleaner finish. If you choose to do so, don’t forget to add 1/4″ to all your seam allowances! The pattern only includes 3/8″ seam allowances, and it is much easier to do french seams with a wider seam allowance. Start by placing your pieces wrong sides together. Stitch at 3/8″. Press flat. Trim to scant 1/4″. Press the seam open (remember to use a press cloth since you are technically pressing on the right side, even though it doesn’t seem like it yet). Now fold at the seam so that right sides are together, and press. Stitch the seam at 1/4″. I find that a presser foot with a guide makes this process super easy, but it is not necessary. Press flat once more. Now from the right side of the garment, press the seam in one direction, again using your press cloth, and being extra careful not to press the seam through because that is when you will get shine. Work each seam separately from start to finish of the french seam, otherwise the fabric will start to fray and all the little threads will get stuck in the seam and will be a nightmare to pick out.
Pocket: Start by fusing the pocket opening on the wrong side, as this prevents the pocket opening from stretching. I used a lightweight fusible interfacing: I cut it 3/4″ wide, then pinked the edge. Stitch the pocket to the front pant. Trim both layers of the seam to 3/8″, then grade down the pocket seam allowance only. Press and edge-stitch (I chose to edge-stitch the pocket opening, rather than do an under-stitch as the pattern suggests. I found that it created a more crisp edge with this drapey fabric). Now finish the bottom of your pocket with a french seam. Match markings at the waist to create a pleat, pin the pocket in place, and baste. Baste the pocket down on side seam as well.
Bodice Side Seams: This seam has to be done quite differently than the pattern suggests, if you are choosing to do french seams as I did. It just requires a few more steps than a regular french seam because of the opening for the waist tie. The first thing to do is check that your waist tie will fit the opening. Since I was using ribbon that wasn’t the exact width of the pattern piece, I moved my marking up a bit. Next, chalk a line where the opening will start (at the thread marking), mark the seam allowance (5/8″) and finally draw a diagonal line that will be clipped. Stitch the first pass of the french seam on side seam, ending your stitching just above the diagonal mark. Clip in to the corner. At the underarm, the seam will not want to lie flat because of the curve. So after the 3/8″ seam is sewn and trimmed to scant 1/4″ for french seam, clip into the seam allowance along curve. Continue the french seam in the normal manner, ending your stitching exactly where your chalk mark is (at the point that was clipped). Chalk the seam allowance (5/8″) on the side seam opening. Press along the chalk line. Turn the pointed ends in, and press the seam under one more time. Add some fray check to the clipped point, being careful not to get any on the rest of the garment. Once dry, edge-stitch the opening.
Front Wrap: Mark where the stitching will end on the front crotch seam (marking on the pattern). Start the french seam in the normal way, starting from the back, but only stitch to about 1.5″ below marking on the front. Then, only trim the seam to an inch below that stitching. Press open and right sides together in the normal way, but again stop stitching the final 1/4″ about 3″ below the marking this time. Now apply the binding to the neckline (see notes on binding below), running it right off the edge at marking. Once the binding is complete, go back and finish the french seam on the front crotch, stitching it right through the bindings.
Binding: Don’t forget to attach your waist ties before this step! I always test a few bias strips in different widths before I cut my long binding pieces. Some fabrics will stretch out thinner than others and it may be necessary to cut it slightly wider or slightly narrower. For this fabric the width the pattern suggests is just perfect for the 3/4″ bias binding ironing tip. Once the bias is made, press it in half, making sure one side is longer than the other, this edge will get caught on the inside when the binding is topstitched. If necessary, seam two pieces of binding together and line up at CB. Lay the binding on the pattern and mark the right length for each section. Pin the binding right sides together with bodice neckline. I even checked with the pattern again after I pinned my binding on. Ease in a little extra binding around the sharp curve at the waistline, it will need it to make it around smoothly once the binding is folded to the right side. Stitch binding just a hair to the outside of the fold line. Fold over the binding and pin. Edge-stitch the binding, making sure to flip your waist ties out so they get stitched down in the right direction.
And finally I gave it a good steam, put it on and never took it off!