Lockdown sewing: Safiya jumpsuit

Many moons ago, right at the beginning of lockdown, the ex-Zara viscose that’s been doing the rounds caught my eye. I promptly snapped up a few metres, then wondered what on Earth I was going to do with it. Another summer dress? A blouse, perhaps? I couldn’t put my finger on it. And then, as lockdown drew on I realised I didn’t really have any clothes that were both comfortable and presentable. I believe they’re known as ‘secret pyjamas’, in sewing lingo. And it came to me: a wrap jumpsuit.

Now, I think I’m one of about five sewists left who haven’t yet made the Zadie jumpsuit. I don’t know why, but it’s just never quite taken my fancy. I knew if it was going to be a wrap bodice I wanted a high neckline; I knew I wanted an elasticated waist for comfort; and I knew I wanted cropped wide leg trousers. Well, it had to be Safiya from Tilly’s latest book, Make It Simple, didn’t it?

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In the book, Safiya comes as trousers, dungarees or a playsuit, but it’s a simple enough switch to add the playsuit bodice to the trousers and ta-dah, you’ve got yourself a jumpsuit. I’d previously made a wearable muslin of the trousers in a size 7 and knew they a were pretty decent fit: I did my bog-standard big butt adjustment (I believe it’s more formally known as a ‘full seat adjustment’), adding 1″ into the seat which worked well, although on my next pair I’ll add 1″ to the rise all over so that the elastic sits on my true waist, rather than slightly below.

After toile-ing a bodice that I could wiggle over my hips, I went ahead and got to work on the real deal. Originally, I’d cut a size 3 bodice to eliminate gaping over the boobs, but ultimately I went for a mash up of a size 3 neckline and a size 7 side seam to account for the aforementioned booty. This resulted in a finished garment that looked great, but which I practically had to dislocate my shoulder to get in and out of. Not ideal when you’re desperate for the loo. So I unpicked the wrapover at the front, and moved each piece out by about 1.5″ to give me an extra bit of wiggle room (literally).

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The end result of that adjustment means getting in and out of the jumpsuit is a much happier affair. Alas, it meant my lovely gape-free wrap was a thing of the past, and I ended up with quite a lot of spare fabric around the bust area. In the end, I decided to keep it simple and just stick a popper on the front to stop any unintended bra displays, and I have to say I’ve ended up with a really comfy outfit. It might have taken me a touch longer than Tilly’s advertised 3 hours but the sewing itself was so straightforward and enjoyable that the time flew by regardless. And as with any project, the more used to a process you are the quicker it becomes – I imagine any future versions will come together quick sharp now that I’ve made it once.

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The fabric I used is a viscose twill which I love: by the nature of its fibre it’s so light and breathable to wear, perfect for the summer. But the twill weave gives it a touch more structure and actually meant it was a real dream to work with, which I can’t say for most viscoses I use. There was very little slippage and it’s pressed beautifully, giving me really lovely crisp clean edges. It’s just as well it takes an iron so well really, given how quickly it also creases, as you can see on these pictures… ahem. I really love the print and the almost sage tone of green with the touches of pink and yellow – it’s just really gorgeous. 10/10, would recommend. I picked this up at Sew Me Sunshine and Harriet has restocked it a few times, though I think it’s currently sold out. I have seen it stocked elsewhere too, so I believe it’s still available if you’re after some for yourself.

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All in all, I’m dead chuffed with how Safiya turned out – I’ve got myself a jumpsuit I can wear for work, play, holiday, day, night, you name it. I’m already dreaming up future versions – this won’t be the last you see of Safiya.

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