17 May 2020

Fitting the Alexa Jumpsuit or Playsuit

Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Alexa jumpsuit or playsuit and want some extra tips on how to get a good fit? Well, look no further. This blog post is going to cover some of the most common fitting adjustments you might want to make to this sewing pattern.

Please don't feel like you need to do many of these adjustments, or even any at all! Our bodies are wonderfully unique and you'll probably find that only a few (or none) of the following adjustments will apply to you. We've covered the most common adjustments so they're there to help you if you need it.

In this post we're going to cover:
  • Making a (wearable) toile - or not! 
  • Choosing your size
  • Lengthening or shortening pattern pieces
  • How to combine pattern sizes
  • Bust adjustments
  • Trouser fitting adjustments
Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

Making a (wearable) toile - or not!

The great news about the Alexa jumpsuit and playsuit is that it's relatively easy to fit. The blousy waistline and low crotch provide more ease than a more fitted garment, meaning they're a lot more forgiving in the fitting department - hooray!

We sometimes recommend you make a "toile" - a practice garment made in a similar weight fabric you don't mind using for testing purposes - to test the fit, but you may not want to bother making one here. Instead, you could make a "wearable toile" in an inexpensive fabric that you don't mind using to test the fit, which you'd also like to wear if the whole thing works out great :)

If you decide to forgo any (wearable) toile-making and crack on cutting out your intended fabric, it's a good idea to check the fit as you go. Tack (baste) the bodice, leg and waistline seams together using a long stitch length before sewing them for real, so you can unpick if you need to. Yes, it'll take a bit longer, but you'll be thanking your past self for helping you out (so thoughtful!). If you try on your garment and decide that the fit is perfect (hooray!) then you can stitch over these in a regular stitch length - we won't tell anyone if you don't unpick them ;)

Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

Choosing your size

Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of your:
- Bust - take the measurement at the fullest point i.e. around your nipples
- Waist - where you bend at the side
- Hips - the fullest part - it helps to turn to the side and look in a mirror to see where this is

Check the tape measure is sitting level with the floor all the way round - it can help to turn to the side and look in a mirror to check.

Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

Circle your measurements on the ‘Body Measurements’ chart in the pattern instructions. If your measurement falls between a size (for example, if your bust is 43in rather than 42in or 44in), it’s usually better to choose the larger size as you can take it in more easily than you can let it out.

If your measurements fall into one size on the body measurements chart, that is your size - yay!

If your measurements span two or more sizes, this is completely normal. I will explain how you can join up the pattern lines to “grade” between sizes.

But first, you might want to...

Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

Lengthen or shorten the pattern

Our patterns are drafted for a height of around 5"5 (165cm). If you are particularly taller or shorter than this or have particularly long or short legs or torso, then you may want to lengthen or shorten some of the pattern pieces.

We have included three sets of lengthen or shorten lines on the pattern pieces:

1) Bodice

To decide whether to lengthen or shorten the bodice, you can compare your own nape to waist measurement (nobbly bit on the back of your neck to your natural waist) to that listed on the "Finished garment measurements" chart in the instructions. The bodice is designed to be longer than your torso, partly to allow for wearing ease when sitting down in your jumpsuit, partly to create a flattering blousey effect when you're standing, and partly to allow you to get into the jumpsuit easily. So don't be tempted to shorten it too much without testing it first, or you may find it uncomfortable to sit down in or difficult to get in and out of, which is no fun.

If you do go ahead and lengthen or shorten the bodice, you will also need to adjust the front facing to match.

2) Upper legs (crotch or hips)

If you usually lengthen or shorten the rise on a pair of trousers or shorts, you can add or take away some length using the lines on the upper part of the front and back leg. However, don't do this too hastily! As mentioned above, the crotch is designed to sit lower and be a bit roomier than a more fitted pair of trousers or shorts to provide maximum comfort when sitting and to allow you to get the garment on and off easily, without the need for much wiggling or jiggling.

3) Lower legs

We've included an inside leg measurement on the finished garment measurements chart, indicating the length of the jumpsuit or playsuit leg from its crotch to hem. You can compare this to your own inside leg measurement before you decide whether to lengthen or shorten the legs. Bear in mind the crotch on this jumpsuit is designed to sit lower than a more fitted pair of trousers so you can sit down comfortably, so measure from around 3-4cm (1 1/2in) below your crotch to where you would like the hem to fall.

To make any of these adjustments, take a look at our post on how to lengthen or shorten pattern pieces.

Fitting Alexa jumpsuit playsuit romper - Tilly and the Buttons

How to combine pattern sizes

If your measurements fall into different pattern sizes you can draw a new line ("grade") between pattern sizes to get a tailored fit to your body. We have a blog post with step-by-step diagrams to show you how to do this in more detail.

If your bust and waist fall into different sizes, you can draw a new side seam on the front and back bodice between the waist and bust. Start your new side seam line 5cm (2in) above the bodice waistline - this way you'll keep the waist size intact so the waist channel piece fits on it perfectly - and join it up with your bust size at the notch on the underarm curve. Please note though that if you have particularly large boobs, you may need to make a full bust adjustment instead of grading - see the next section below for more on this.

You can also grade between waist and hip sizes if your hips are a smaller size than your waist. On the front and back leg side seams, start your new line at your waist size at the top of the legs, and join it up with your hip size at the first notch down, blending and curving the line as needed.

If your waist is a smaller pattern size than your hips, please don't grade between sizes here or you may struggle to get your hips into the waistline of the jumpsuit - just go with your hip measurement for the hips and waist. We designed this pattern without a fly opening on the trousers to make it easier to sew, which means that you will need to be able to get your hips through the waist opening. The beauty of the Alexa jumpsuit is you can cinch the waist in to fit you with the waist tie, so it won't matter if the waist is a bigger size than what's indicated on the body measurements chart.

Whatever grading between sizes you do, make sure the bodice and legs end up being the same waist size so they join up nicely when you come to sew them together.

Fitting the Alexa jumpsuit and playsuit sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Bust adjustments

If you usually need to make a full bust adjustment to a sewing pattern, check out our dedicated blog post all about how to do this on a dartless bodice.

Not sure if you need to make a full bust adjustment? If you often find that your clothes are tight across the bust, with excess fabric pooling above the boobs, then you may well need to make one. Bear in mind that this pattern is more forgiving than a fitted garment though, so it might not be necessary.

Because of the easy-fitting design of the Alexa jumpsuit, it's unlikely you would need to make a small bust adjustment to the pattern.

Fitting the Alexa jumpsuit and playsuit sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
Trouser fitting adjustments

Again, one of the good things about the Alexa pattern is that the legs are on the looser side, so aren't as tricky to fit as a pair of jeans, for instance. But if you think you need to adjust the legs of the jumpsuit, such as to create space for a fuller booty, or adjust the crotch length, take a look at our dedicated post on common trouser fitting adjustments.

And that's it, folks! I hope this post has helped you to create a nicely fitting jumpsuit that's right for your unique figure. Please don't get too stressed about getting a flawless fit though. Sewing is meant to be fun and we believe that life's too short to worry about it being perfect - good enough is good enough :)

We love seeing your finished makes and progress shots. Tag us on Instagram @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingAlexa.


Author: Nikki Hoar
Photography: Jane Looker
Models: Selena Singh and Alice Irvine