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Gemma’s Intrepid Boiler Suit

Gemma had 2.5m of September’s waffle cotton jersey to play with and made an Intrepid Boiler Suit by Alice and Co

Let me start by saying that this month’s fabric has to be one of the most interesting I’ve ever received in a box! Waffle textured fabric is something I’ve only just come across in regards to sewing, and this really packs a punch – the print is fab, just the right mix of busy without being too bold. The texture gives it a good weight, adding structure without being too heavy, and the added elastane content means that it has a little stretch to it. Because of this I knew I should take advantage and make trousers of some sort, as it would lend itself nicely to making them a really comfortable fit. This fabric deserves to be a statement piece, and to me that instantly means jumpsuits! I love a jumpsuit, the ease of having an entire outfit in one go, looking great with minimal effort. They are my go-to when I’m not sure what to wear. I also think they are great for really showing off amazing looking fabric, and not to mention comfortable!

My pattern pick was totally swayed by a picture I saw someone else post on Instagram! I follow an amazing lady called Nefertiti (her instagram handle is @thecornyrainbow) who makes the most incredible bright, bold pieces (which is right up my street!) and for some reason, despite making it in September 2020, her version of the Alice and Co Intrepid Boiler suit came up on my feed. I instantly wanted to make one too, so I took it as a sign that it was meant to be!

That being said, the pattern has been on my radar for a while, but I hadn’t decided to try it as of yet for several reasons – I wasn’t sure if it was something that would suit my shape, or whether it would feel restrictive to wear. However, taking a closer look at the line drawings I saw that there were several options for adjusting it to your preference, for example adding a waistband casing to allow you to cinch in the waist with either elastic or a belt. I also wasn’t sure if it would totally work with the waffle fabric, as all the versions I saw used more structured fabrics such as denim. But I just couldn’t shake the feeling that the print of the fabric would look as good as this pattern, and that is what I love about the subscription boxes – it allows me to experiment!

I’m actually quite surprised by how well this came together! Although it isn’t a quick sew, it certainly wasn’t as complicated as I thought it would be, and I enjoyed working on this over a couple of days. The instructions are really clear, although one thing to mention is to make sure you print your pdf on a colour printer, as the file isn’t size layered and the sizes are colour coordinated!

I decided to make a sleeveless version, part personal preference and part based of the amount of fabric I had. I made the size Navy (which says is a UK 20) and had to make several adjustments to the fit. As always I had to shorten the legs, but I also had to shorten the bodice/raise the crotch as it was sitting rather low. Luckily I was able to do this simply by sewing the bodice and trousers together with a much bigger seam, taking around 5cm off altogether. Because I didn’t add sleeves I also had to take in the bodice side seams at the armholes as these gaped, which tells me that I needn’t worry about feeling restrictive in a sleeved version as there is lots of room! I had to add the front pockets as we always need pockets, and I did add front ones to the bodice but due to the busy print they are a little blended in! I added a label from a previous SewHayleyJane box underneath one, which is the only way to spot them! I also went with the waistband with added elastic to cinch in the back, and this was the pièce de résistance, as it really made the fit perfect, adding shape where I needed it and making it super comfortable on my waist/hips.

I am so, so happy with how this looks, and really glad I took a chance and experimented. Not only is it lovely to wear, but fulfils my need for a ‘statement piece’ look, being functional and fashionable! I would highly recommend the pattern, and you know what I’m like – I’m obviously already planning a couple more of these boiler suits! I’m intrigued to see if it would work in a lightweight fabric such as cotton or even viscose…. But more interested to see what everyone else makes of this amazing floral print waffle fabric!