Sunday, 7 September 2014

When a dress is not a dress: checked playsuit and wrap skirt

Now this, I have been wanting to make for a long time.....






 
In looking around for inspiration for things to make in the last few months, I have come across loads of amazing vintage patterns. One style that really caught my attention was the playsuit and wrap skirt combo, which I love (some examples here, here and here). I think they would be great to wear for a picnic or on holiday, when you might have different sorts of activities in a day. But they seem not to have been resurrected from the middle of the last century.

I was a bit wary of using a proper vintage pattern, as I thought it would take me longer to understand differences in the sizing and instructions. Instead, I bought a modern playsuit pattern – Burda 7233 (half price at the time) – and decided to make my own basic wrap skirt from a semi-circle shape. The fabric is a really simple, lightweight cotton gingham, which was also a bargain at just £2.50 p/m.
 


















The playsuit: the pattern was rated as more advanced than most I have done before (3 out of 4), but the instructions were clear and I found it really quite straight forward. The only ways that I adapted the design were to leave off a bow, and basic square pockets on the front (which no doubt contributed to me finding it easier than expected!). I did also decide to resequence some of the steps: when instructed to stitch the side seams, I instead basted them and returned to them after doing all other steps, except for the facing around the top and the hems of the shorts. I find this the easiest way to adjust the fit, and so tend to do it whenever a pattern permits. It turned out to be a good call here, as I did need to make it quite a bit smaller at the top and the waist, and smaller, but less so, at the hips (as ever!). I had been going to add some simple straps, but decided not to in the end, as the top now stays up no problem!








 











Wrap skirt: this was from a very simple half circle of fabric, cut on the fold (as in the photo). I hemmed both side edges, and the bottom, and then added a much longer waistband, so there was enough excess to tie into a bow at the side. That is the only closure on the skirt, though you could add one or more poppers as well or instead of the tie. I allowed for some overlap on the skirt waist, so that the wrap break wouldn’t be obvious. And so, the actual waistband stops on one side before the edge of the skirt, to allow for the overlap.



I am really really pleased with the result, but I did perhaps wait until a little late in the year, as most of the picnic weather is now behind us. But I am sure there will be a time soon that a convertible playsuit to dress will be just the very thing that is called for!

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