Draped Bull Denim Jumpsuit

Late last summer, I had a sudden desire for a white bull denim jumpsuit with a fitted bodice and wide leg pants. It came out of nowhere (that I was aware of) but I didn’t have room in my schedule to make it. I wanted it so intensely that I actually tried to draw it to keep it in my memory. I never draw my planned makes and I’m not a skilled artist so it didn’t look like much, but it was enough for me to keep it in mind. I purchased this natural bull denim from Blackbird Fabrics in the fall and ruminated on it over the winter until an unexpected warm spell this April encouraged me to get started.

The natural bull denim jumpsuit from my summer 2020 vision, brought to life in 2021 (with my new sandals)

My original intent was a fitted bodice that I draped myself and fitted pants like my Lander Pants, but then I came to my senses and realized a fitted bodice and pants in a non-stretch material would be more restricting than I wanted. So I went for comfort and decided to base the pants off of my previous Len Coveralls instead and am very happy with that decision. I look like a chic painter and I’m here for it.

Back view of my new jumpsuit – it’s not as fitted at the back as I’d originally planned but it is incredibly comfortable so I really don’t mind.

This was my first bodice draping effort on my dress form. It worked decently well but I had to finish the draping on myself because the original dress form drape ended up too small. I think I need to learn to drape with ease rather than a skin-tight fit. I made two bed sheet toiles to refine the shape and focused on the strap placement (to cover my bra straps – I’m wearing it with one of my recent Watson Bras in these photos) and getting just the right amount of ease around the top line (a shoe-making term but I think it makes sense for sewing too).

Front bodice close up showing the bodice darts and the front pleats and pockets f the pants

The bodice has bust and waist darts at the front and waist darts at the back. I finished the top edge with a facing. I wanted a lapped side zip and agonized over how to do it with a facing. I read every resource online I could find and was so nervous that I forgot to document it as I did it. It turned out to be incredibly easy though so I wish I’d taken photos of the process. I would like to do it again soon and document it so I can refer back to it in the future when I undoubtedly forget and stress myself over it again. The bodice ended up spot on to my original vision. I love the shape. It is fitted without being at all tight and feels great on.

The lapped zip and facing was the part I agonized over most and turned out to be quite simple. I think I should add a hook and eye though, to close off the top of the zip flap.

For the pants, I used my previously modified Len Coveralls as a base and widened the out seam by 1.5″ at the hem, tapering to nothing at the hip. I used the Len pockets (which are huge and lovely) and re-drafted the front pleats and back darts to line up with my draped bodice. I made two toiles of the pants and ended up significantly adding to the back crotch extension and the rise. I basically added back all of the rise that I removed on my original mods. After two toiles, I had a fit that I was happy with and then, somehow, the final pants turned out larger than both toiles. I think I added more rise than I intended after my second toile and took a little less in the darts and pleats. I’m not mad about it. I like the comfort of the relaxed shape. They’re just a little further from my original vision than the bodice.

Side view showing the ease in the pants. They’re not very fitted but are super comfortable and I like the relaxed contrast to the fitted bodice.
Back bodice close up. The darts extend to the stitching line of the facing and line up with the darts in the pants at the bottom. I probably could have brought in the ease a bit more at the back on both the bodice and the pants.
The pockets are lined with linen rayon left over from my first Archer shirt. The pockets from the Len Coveralls are fantastic – well constructed, deep and functional.
My completed jumpsuit. It feels so good to have this one finished and in my closet.

What I like most about this jumpsuit is the tailored but relaxed fit that I managed to achieve. The bodice in particular fits me incredibly well but isn’t tight or restrictive in any way. The fabric is soft but structured giving this make the refined relaxed look that I was going for. I will wear it as often as I can this summer with a jean jacket and sunglasses or a ball cap and sandals with my pockets loaded up with anything I need to carry. This was a make on my 2021 Make Nine list and it feels great to have it finished and waiting for me in my closet when the warm weather returns. I hope I get many, many years of wear out of it.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Lindsay

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