I’m not entirely sure I know where this story begins…
Maybe my story starts in July of 2017 because that’s when the Fringe pattern was in testing and I met Dana in the testing group. I was introduced to Harts Fabric as they offered a “tester discount.” You probably know I haven’t met a fabric discount I didn’t love, so I ordered two different Cotton and Steel rayon prints.
Or does this story start in May 2018 at Quilt Market, PDX? Because here, I can actually say I met Dana. Physical, in real life, flesh and blood met. Not internet, social media stalking, fan girl met. We happened upon each other at Jessica Swift’s Art Gallery Fabrics booth. I had sewn Jessica a Fringe dress with her Sirena rayon! Serendipity, my friends!! Serendipity. I remember Dana was wearing an awesome cardigan which I mistakenly guessed was a "Driftwood.” I meant Blackwood, but my star struck brain combined Driftless and Blackwood. It was neither of those, but rather a Jalie pattern. I digress!
So hey, the year is now 2019. And it’s February. It’s Harts Fabric’s month of self love sewing, #SewnWithHart, and I’m the caboose on the blogger train. My project was inspired by my need for an outfit for a ladies night event in early March.
With a “Miami Heat” theme for this year, I knew I wanted to make something sassy. Enter Named’s Ailakki jumpsuit!
I NEVER thought I would make a jumpsuit. EVER. But suddenly it seemed like the perfect project for my event. It called for a new hashtag! #lonisewsajumpsuit
Right. How did I even wind up at Quilt Market in PDX? It’s crazy. But that story also starts with an internet friendship formed over fabric. I have the Cleverest of Colleens to thank. She also goes by Gwyn, The Fabricsourcerer. If there’s ever a very specific fabric you need found, she is your woman. I met Gwyn after falling in love with the fabric line she designed for Raspberry Creek Fabrics in early 2017. I’ll share more details when Gwyn gets around to writing the exposé, but it all started here:
So I went to PDX to irl meet The Gwyn, wearer of buffalo plaid and drinker of vodka.
OK. Yes, you’re here for the JUMPSUIT. I was completely intrigued by the tencel gabardine in Harts’ selection and it sounded perfect for Ailakki. (Named’s cover sample is made from cupro twill.) When I received it, I was instantly in love. It’s the holy grail of tencel twill. Soft, thick, drapey. In one word: DELICIOUS.
I pulled an odd-shaped scrap of rayon for the lining, one of the two Cotton and Steel prints I had purchased during Fringe testing. (It never became a Fringe, but rather another Chalk and Notch design, Farrah!) It didn’t really occur to me until I was starting to think about writing up this blog post, but the lining fabric had also traveled through Harts’ hands, albeit over 2 years earlier. Kismet!
Now, a detail-oriented sewist doesn’t just cut striped fabric all willy-nilly like. (I mean I used to. before I knew what pattern matching was. I’m sure if you scroll far back enough on my insta grid you’ll find some examples… #neverstoplearning ) So, I fussy cut the Ailakki bodice to match the stripes across the front, back and sides. And this is when I decided this Cotton and Steel beauty couldn’t just be the lining. It needed to also be SEEN!
Long story short, I ended up with a reversible Ailakki top! (#lonididntsewajumpsuit)
The fitting was challenging. For one thing, it’s rather hard to pin a bodice to one’s own back. I asked my husband for some help at one point, and it didn’t end well. (He snagged the rayon!) I’m glad our marriage survived! I don’t have a proper dress form that approximates my shape and size. I have a simple mannequin I bought secondhand from a woman who used to use it to model LuLaRue. She’s great for general modeling, but she’s not a form one can use for fitting. (Her name is Tina, btw. And I’d like to think Tina is much more well-dressed now.) To make things easier, I ended up removing 2.5” from the center back, skipping the zipper, and sewing the seam shut.
I tried to eliminate some of the gaping at the keyhole by removing a wedge from the bodice edge starting at the dart. But the waist darts are quite large and probably in the wrong place as far as my apex goes, but only you, me, and the sewing community at large will notice. Certainly none of the inebriated ladies at my ladies night event will care!
I am also slightly concerned I might experience a Janet Jackson halftime show moment while dancing in this top, so I plan on affixing my lady lumps up in there somehow. The Sparkly Ladies have already assured me that they won’t mind! *snort*
I added a long tie that finishes at 3” wide to the bottom. The rayon had to be pieced. We’re talking 5 or 6 seams in that puppy and there are essentially no usable bits left!
I love that with the long ties, there’s a bit of versatility in styling.
One last look at the scrumptious tencel gabardine. That twill weave! Swoon.
I have about 2 yards of this tencel gabardine left and I’m in the process of transforming it into coordinating bottoms for my “fauxsuit.” At the time that this post was due, I hadn’t finished, but I’m sure I’ll be sharing them soon!
Thank you, Harts!! It’s always a pleasure being part of your celebrations and sewing your fabrics (even if sometimes it takes me 2 years)! #stashhappens