If there’s an article of clothing besides suits I really love, it’s jumpsuits. They have the practicality of a dress – one item, and you are done – but pants! Yes, some awkward toilet moments are inevitable when donning a jumpsuit, but to me the positives outweigh the negatives. It’ no surprise that when I saw the infamous Rachel Comey Steadfast Jumpsuit being licensed as a pattern I had to make it. I am always keen to see what Vogue Pattern releases as part of their designer line and as a lover of style for everyone I absolutely welcome the increased access to top-notch designs these patterns provide.
On the other hand, the reviews of this pattern are in some instances calling it a nightmare to sew, with some reviews stating they were at some point reduced to tears by it. Even I received some comments on the nature of the instructions when I posted them in Instagram. Oh my.
Anyhow, everything aside, it is done, the jumpsuit to end all jumpsuits. Please enjoy my review.
I was adamant that the garment had to be made using a fabric with some texture, and specifically I was after seersucker. People who know me personally and have ever shopped for anything with me know I am the very definition of a picky shopper: I have clear ideas at the inception I am not often willing to reconsider, assess all option, think about it, compare and contrast, think some more, generally in front of a by that time exasperated shop assistant. Anyhow, after much deliberation and many shops later, I finally found a lovely black cotton silk seersucker which fit the bill perfectly. This was at the same time a great call (no ironing) and a terrible one (jagged edges galore), but overall the fabric behaved magnificently. It has a dry hand and a subtle shine thanks to the silk, and being all natural fibers will ensure great comfort. I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes when I found it and immediately snatched it upon seeing it. I found this fabric at MOMO, which is number 7 in my Tokyo fabric shopping guide.
This pattern is quite interesting, and I applaud the creativity of Rachel Comey’s pattern cutters. It’s nothing short of a puzzle you need to solve, which can be a vexing experience especially when you end up with a long strip of just legs stitched together. Overall, the distinctive construction makes for an exciting sewing experience and a truly unique end result. Brav*.
Coming to the instructions, I want to preface this by saying I am by no means a novice sewist, however I am perplexed by the quality of these instructions and the lack of attention to detail evident in both text and pattern pieces (talking to you, missing notches), and I say this as somebody who’s absolutely not a lover of lengthy instructions and excessive handholding. I have made several Vogue patterns to date, and I have found that the instructions are generally sparse but complete. Not in this case! Don’t get me wrong, this booklet contained all the information you needed to know in order to assemble the jumpsuit, but the writing and the diagrams were inconsistent across the board and at time a bit hard to decipher. Definitely had to read twice at times. I don’t take issue, unlike others, with the order of the steps, because even when I disagreed I could see the train of logic behind it, just with the lack of attention paid to the finer details. I wish Vogue would just commit to one of the other, either no instructions at all like Marfy, of full instructions.
Complaints out to the way, let’s get technical.
I made size S, and the day of cutting my toile my measurements were 88-63-92 cm. The toile revealed a decent fit, as it’s been the case for me and the Vogue designer patterns I’ve made to date, with zero to none diaper effect while still allowing me to sit, which is great news for a jumpsuit. I have to say that I found fitting to be a bit of a challenge: I have a small waist and barrel chest, so ended up with lots of wiggle room in that area, which I partially solved by taking in the back darts and removing a wedge from the front pieces and facings from the shoulder seams post hoc (I know…facepalm). In addition, I wanted to do an FBA to give my chest some additional room, but that would have meant redrafting the entire front pieces, since they are made of one single unit rather than bodice+pants, so I gave up on that. The fronts still gape a bit, which is unfortunate but unexpected when it comes to wrap designs.
Coming to the specific modifications I made:
- changed the extended shoulders to almost sleeveless
- taken in the back darts slightly more (~1 cm/side)
- lengthened by 5 cm
- risen the sides by 2.5 cm
- shortened the belt by 5 cm
- omitted the armhole facing in favor of bias facing which extends to the darts
- didn’t cover the buckle
- didn’t topstitch the facing and instead herringbone stitched it by hand
- made facings instead of turning up the hems
The most obvious change are the sleeves, of course. Personally, I am not a fan cap sleeves/extended shoulders, as having broad, square shoulders paired with a thin long neck means that style makes me look like the love child of Gul Dukat and a member of the Tal Shiar (yes, this is a very arcane Star Trek reference, sorry not sorry). On the other hand I thought the jumpsuit would benefit from one horizontal line to balance out its vertical lines smörgåsbord, so I didn’t cut the new armholes very deeply at the shoulder. I think the end product guarantees increased mobility while still providing a strong silhouette.
Considering how much bad things I had read about this pattern, I didn’t struggle that much. Vogue marks this pattern as Advanced/Plus Difficile, though honestly I don’t believe in patter levels, because I think anybody can tackle anything with some patience, and giving a pattern a rating based on arbitrary ideas of what the end user wants and their abilities is not only preposterous, but also smells of gatekeeping. Having said that, if you are a fan of I’m not saying handholding, but just decent instructions, you may want to think before tackling this pattern. I loved making it but all the strangely shaped pieces can be a challenge so I would approach it with caution, keeping in mind it’s not you, it’s the pattern.
Overall the fit was quite good off the bat on me, which is always nice. I am, however, shocked this pattern is only available up to 117 cm hips, for a total of 5 (!!!) sizes, split across two differed envelopes, so if you are between an M and an L you would have to effectively purchase two patterns. A brief online search on Rachel Comey’s website revealed things are not much better over there and I’m left wondering…why?! Surely it’s not lost on them size inclusivity is a smart business decision, besides the obvious fact that all bodies deserve to be clothed…? Meh.
Finally, I enjoyed the process and had only minor frustration mostly due to the many many pieces and my “I want this for yesterday” attitude. I am quite happy with the final result and can’t wait to wear the jumpsuit this summer. I do believe it’s a lot of the same fabric and especially stark looking in black so styling wise I would probably recommend wearing it with a little tank underneath – useful also to avoid wardrobe malfunctions as the V neck is deeeeeep – or a little scarf.
That’s all folks.