Vintage May: A Pleated Culotte Jumpsuit


First of all, many, many thanks to Kristin and Jess for putting together another Vintage May.  I'm excited to be a part of it and even more excited to see what everybody has made.  Personally I had a hard time deciding which direction I wanted to go.

Kids clothes or adult clothes?

A true version of vintage clothes or simply vintage inspired?

An entire vintage garment or just an inclusion of some vintage techniques.

Needless to say, I can be a bit indecisive.

After a couple of days of hemming and hawing, I decided to make something for me - because I'm the most grateful recipient of my handmade goods - and I also decided that I wanted to make something that was very wearable rather than something that looked more "costumey."  In the end that meant that I wanted to adopt some aspects of vintage style while (hopefully) bringing it up-to-date.  This, however, is where I should you that I am not the person you should turn to if you have any questions about current (or even past) fashion trends.  I like what I like and if that happens to overlap with what's in style then so be it, but you'll probably never see me on the forefront of any fashion trends.  That said, this outfit is definitely on the trendier side of anything that I've ever made.

So for Vintage May I decided to embrace my inner 70's child and sew a jumpsuit.  That's right - a jumpsuit.  There are several options out there from the Big 4 pattern companies (and even from some indie companies) but I chose to go with Vogue 9075 which is not only a jumpsuit but a culotte jumpsuit.

So perhaps this is both 70's and 80's inspired?  In any case, I knew that I wasn't going to go with 70's colors.  Brown and yellow together?  Um, no thank you.  Instead, I went with a really basic navy blue (that my daughter later described as "boring").  While the color is pretty basic the fabric is anything but.  It's a Kauffman linen and rayon blend and it's perfect for projects that need some drape without being overly difficult to sew (I've had some bad experience with rayon challis in the past).  In fact, I liked this fabric so much that I even made a muslin before cutting into it.  My lazy butt almost never makes a muslin so let's all take a moment to acknowledge what a momentous occasion this was.

It was actually a really fortuitous decision to make a muslin because I ended up having a lot of excess fabric around the chest area.  I remember having a similar problem with this project and while I was able to fudge a solution after the whole garment was sewn together that time around, it was much more helpful to take out the excess fabric when cutting the pattern out this time around.  I'm also slowly coming to terms with the fact that I think I have a rounded back so I put little darts in the back bodice panels to try to take out excess fabric from that area.  In making the muslin I also found out that the crotch depth was too short so I added an inch to the crotch and took off two inches from the leg length since so many people commented on just how long these pants are.  The legs right now hit at what is traditionally an odd point on the leg but I kind of love it (even though my husband kind of hates it).

Nothing was particularly complicated about this project although there were a lot of pleats to mark and sew (hello again 1980's!) and while I love the way that they came out, I'm usually over marking pleats by the third one.  The pattern calls for you to baste the pleats down while you're sewing the garment and then to take the basting stitches out, but I ended up liking the look of the sewn-down pleats so I went back and top stitched them all down.  I'm not sure how they would have looked had I taken the basting stitches out, but considering that I'm  pear-shaped I don't think the pleats would have done me any favors.

You know what I had the most trouble with on this project?  The zipper!  The pattern calls for just a regular old zipper but I haven't put one of those in for ages.  I find invisible zippers way easier to install so I substitute them in almost all garments that I make but you can't put one in this garment because the zipper goes down into the pants portion.  In any case, it turns out that I've completely forgotten how to install a zipper and I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I put this zipper in no less than five (!) times.  I tried following the pattern instructions, then hand-picking the zipper, then following the instructions off of a free Craftsy video, and I still had to rip parts out and resew them.  It's definitely not the most beautiful zipper that I've ever sewn in but it's done and I'm calling that a victory for the time being.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a wrap!

Now go check out what Abby has made for her version of Vintage May!

VM Large


  1. That is just ridiculously stylish, sophisticated and cool and yes, probably right 'on trend' although I hardly have a clue about that either. But you wear it really, really well.

  2. I like this one a lot! I really thought it was a dress! Jumpsuits are not my thing at all, but this one I would consider! Like the fabric as well. My mother (who used to be a seamstress) will be visiting here in a few days and then we will go to Pacific fabrics finally... :-)

  3. Anonymous28.5.15

    i love the fabric and the look of the culottes! you couln't tell it from the front view! stunning!

  4. That is a really, incredibly, WEARABLE garment. Which is not what I usually say about jumpsuits. Or culottes for that matter! Ha!! It's really gorgeous on you! I love your shoes too. :-)

  5. I loved this post, and this project. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing your *amazing* outfit--it's definitely something to be proud of. Well done!

  6. I think your jumpsuit is Very cool! It's pretty much perfect. Great job

  7. oh my god, this is so great. so. great. if i could get away with this for my body type i would probably wear that every single day.

  8. Wow! this looks great!

  9. I love this. It's vintage inspired for sure but it's definitely of the now as well. The fabric is perfect for it and "boring" navy has turned it into a perfectly wearable garment. I'd wear this all summer long too! Brilliant.

  10. I love this, Carolyn. It looks great on you! I am so impressed with your self sewing. It still intimidates me! I have loved seeing all of your Me Made May makes on IG. So seriously impressive!

  11. Yeah! I love this! Thanks for taking a risk, I don't think I ever would've guessed you'd make a culotte jumpsuit, but it looks amazing on you!! And I'd totally wear it too!

    Thank you so much for joining us for Vintage May this year, buddy. :)


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