It’s February, and that means it’s time for the Black History Month Pattern Designers Challenge hosted by Nateida Lathon (sewnaturaldane.com) 🎉 Click over to her website for more info on the challenge and all the fun involved.
This is the fifth year of the challenge and it’s the first real opportunity I’ve gotten to actually plan AND sew some things up. If you read my last post, you would know that I’ve committed to sewing 3 garments and 1 bag this month as my entries.
Today, I’m sharing my version of the Lilato Jumpsuit by Monde’s Threads.
With my personal dimensions (extra large bust, short waist, short height, narrow shoulders, rectangle body shape), I’m very skeptical of any patterns that don’t incorporate separate waistbands but Lilato was too cute to pass up. Especially when I had the perfect Ankara print in my stash to use. #StashBustingWin
Size & Fit
Now, instead of a Body Measurement Chart, Monde only provides a Finished Garment Measurement Chart for her patterns. Most independent pattern companies provide both charts.
My full bust measurement is 46 inches and full hip is 45 inches, so accounting for ease and the Ankara fabric that I wanted to use, I figured that the Size XL would be a good starting point. But to be safe (and not waste more paper and ink), I printed out Medium and Large layers at the same time, as my actual body measurements fell into the Size Medium. This was smart thinking y’all because when I assembled the pattern, it was clear that both Size Large and XL would be too big for me in this pattern. To be sure, I even checked the Lilato pants pieces against my favourite Saguaro Set Pants (from Friday Pattern Co.), which made it even more apparent that Medium was the best option.
Size confirmed, next task was making the pattern adjustments, which for me are a mix of fitting adjustments and personal preference changes, based on 10 years 🤯 of making my own clothes:
- FITTING ADJUSTMENTS
- Shortened the front and back pants length 3.5 inches
- Shortened front and back pants rise 1.5 inches
- 1 inch full bust adjustment on bodice front
- Angled the shoulder slope on the front and back bodices by dropping the sleeve hem point 5/8 inch
- PERSONAL PREFERENCE ADJUSTMENTS
- Straightened out the pants’ side seams from thigh to hem to remove the flare from the pants’ design
- Shortened the sleeve length by 3.25 inches so that both bodice pattern pieces can fit the width of the Ankara fabric
- Increased both front and back bodice length an additional inch to get waist at preferred height
- Raised front bodice V-neckline point by 1.5 inches and modified front facing accordingly
- Replaced back bodice V-neckline with a standard crew neckline and modified back facing accordingly
- Cut back bodice on the fold for purely the aesthetic reason of not breaking up the print on the fabric across another seam
Recommended fabric is the flowy Ankara/ African Print cotton fabric, and the designer also suggests chambray, linen, and rayon woven fabrics or stable knits like Ponte, stretch crepe and sequins.
I obviously chose the Ankara route because #AnkaraIsBae. This particular beauty was purchased locally at Abeds in 2017, and I have had it in 2 colourways, although the pink colourway shown below was purchased at Sewing World the year before. In general, the Ankara prints sold locally at Abeds or Sewing World are the lighter weight 100% cotton as opposed to any Ankara I personally import from Etsy shops, Tess World Designs, or Afrique Clothing Store, that feel almost like cotton twill weight.
The included seam allowance for the pattern is half inch, and I sewed the sleeve and pants hem allowances at 1 inch. All seam edges were finished separately on the serger before assembly, except the waist seams on both the bodice and pants, which were finished on the serger after that seam was closed.
Looking at the pattern cover and my photos, you’re probably wondering, how the heck does this jumpsuit open? Well, the pattern calls for an invisible zipper, and I had a 20-inch black one on hand that was perfect. Note that a regular zipper can be used as well and sewn up exposed or centered.
It was actually after I installed the zipper that I realized my changes to the front neckline offset the position of the centre front seam so it falls away about 1 inch from my chest. Not too noticeable in the pics, but definitely so from my viewpoint when worn. Guess I’ll have to go back and fix that at some point, but for now, I’ll just wear it as is. 🤷🏽♀️
The waist is defined using half inch elastic, which the designer suggests to cut 3 inches less than your waist measurement. However, I placed the elastic about 1 inch away from the centre front and ended up cutting my elastic a total of 6 inches shorter than my waist measurement. I could probably have taken another inch off honestly, just to cinch in the waist a bit more, but it’s completely wearable right now. Unlike the order of construction given in the instructions, the elastic was my last task, simply because history has taught me that I find it fiddly to deal with the zipper installation after this method of waist elastic installation.
And the pockets… 🤩 I just love the designer’s way of inseam pocket installation, with my own little modifications. I always sew inseam pocket pieces to the garment at quarter inch less than the pattern’s side seam allowance – so for this pattern, the pocket pieces were sewn at 3/8 inch seam allowance instead of half inch. I find that this allows for the pocket opening to be truly invisible until your hand goes inside. After that, it’s also a must for me to topstitch the pocket piece on the right side of the fabric to help keep the pocket piece from popping out with your hand movements.
Sewing Level – The designer rates the Lilato Jumpsuit pattern as Advanced Beginner, which I find accurate. The most challenging tasks are the zipper and waist elastic installations. The designer also has a sewalong video that can help if you find the instructions on the light side.
Fabric & Notions Usage – About 3 yards of this Ankara print cotton, with light woven interfacing only for the neckline facings and to stabilize zipper seams (this is not included in the tutorial but is a necessary step to me when using lighter woven fabric and invisible zippers). Other notions needed were 20-inch invisible zipper and half-inch elastic.
What I Love – even though I straightened out the pants’ legs some, I love the palazzo pants volume that was designed. It’s just superb for a maxi length relaxed fit jumpsuit. And the dolman style sleeves mean there are only 4 pieces to sew, plus the pockets. Lilato is a quick cut and sew, about 2-3 hours, if you don’t have adjustments or style changes to make.
What I’m Not A Fan Of – The most confusing task is the size selection, which may be more of a personal fit preference than drafting. Will have to check some other sewists’ reviews to get their take on this.
If I Made Another One – I’d want to try out a knee length version in chambray or a solid colour perhaps 🤔 and hack a maxi length knit version, but use the original front V-neckline and lower the original back V-neckline to avoid installing a zipper.
Wardrobe Rating – Versatile Everyday Addition that can be dressed up or down, depending on jewellery, shoes and hair style. Depending on the fabric chosen, can go from day to night or lounge wear to formal wear.
Where To Purchase – Lilato Jumpsuit by Monde’s Threads can be purchased for US$15.00 at the designer’s website here.
DISCLOSURE: Monde Chisenga, the pattern designer, is a friend and sent me a free copy of the pattern last year when it released. However, my opinions remain my own.