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How to Franken-Pattern a Playsuit

It’s time for another edition of the Watermelon Playsuit Chronicles!  Today we delve into the wonderful world of vintage sewing patterns.

Unfortunately, I don’t exactly have a surplus of inspiring playsuit sewing patterns in my cabinet waiting to be made.  So I worked with what I had!

The Bodice

For the bodice, I combined Simplicity 4395 and Vogue 3282.  The patterns are very close in size, and the bodices are shaped very similarly, except the Simplicity pattern has a high neckline and two darts for bust shaping while the Vogue pattern has a lower neckline and one diagonal dart.  I’ve already made the Simplicity bodice a few times, so rather than muslining the Vogue bodice for fit, I just swiped the neckline:

Like so.  When I made my blue playsuit last summer, I kept the center front seam and notched neckline from the Vogue pattern and put the zipper on a side seam.  This time, I cut the front piece on the fold and put the at the center back, which I think worked better for the busy watermelon print.  I also extended the front and back pieces a few inches past the waist so there’d be something to tuck in!

The Shorts

For the shorts, I combined Simplicity 3688, a modern reprinted pattern, with Butterick 7761.  When I made my first playsuit (on the left) I just used the Simplicity pattern, although (obviously!) I shortened it dramatically.  I wasn’t a huge fan of how the wide-legged shorts looked, though, so I decided to try something different this time.

I got a copy of the Butterick pattern from a friend, and loved the peg-legged pants with their extra-high waistband.  The pattern was the right size for my waist, but the hips were much too narrow for me.  I ended up matching up the waistline markings on the two patterns and tracing out a combined piece that used the length and dart placement from the Butterick pattern but the hip width from the Simplicity one.

The Skirt

The skirt was simplest of all— just two full widths of fabric of the appropriate width, plus a zipper and a simple waistband.  I was inexplicably worried about the skirt not being full enough and initially was considering three widths of fabric before I talked myself down and decided to reserve the last segment for another bodice.  The blue one clearly has the extra panel of fabric, which adds some impressive volume.  If the happen to have another yard of watermelon fabric at the store, I may yet expand the skirt for extra swish.

So there you have it!  The why and how of combining patterns for a playsuit.  Do you tend to rework patterns to suit your needs, or do you buy patterns for exactly the projects you want to take on?

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