Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

A Reeta playsuit hack

On a recent lookout for new patterns, I found one I really liked from République du Chiffon – the Yvonne playsuit. Which was unfortunately out of stock (and also not in English).

I’m a rather impatient person so instead of waiting for it to be translated and/or come back into stock, I decided to take matters into my own hands and hack my own!

And I decided to hack it from a pattern I already had – the Reeta dress from Named Clothing.

This dress was all the rage last summer – I saw dozens of iterations of it all over my social media feeds! And with good reason! It’s a gorgeous midi length shirtdress, cinched at the waist with short body sleeves. It had the perfect retro vibe going on. I made one too which you can see here!

The top half of this shirt is somewhat similar to the Yvonne playsuit – same retro vibe, notched collar etc. – and I felt it would make a good base for the playsuit I was making.

How I did it!

I cut the pattern off a few inches below my natural waist to serve as the bodice.

The Reeta dress has a lot of ease built into it already. Part of my design plan required me to be able to pull on the shorts without an opening so I had to make sure the bottom of the bodice would be wide enough to fit over my hips/ butt easily.

For the shorts I measured out half the back bodice hem (CB to side seam) and the same on the front (CF/button marking to side seam) and I drafted a simple shorts pattern to fit this. Essentially they’re large rectangles with a curve on one side.

(Tip: Use a pants pattern you already have to trace one out if you’re not sure how deep to make the curve and the rise!)

(Tip 2: Don’t forget to add on a seam allowance if you haven’t done so already!)

Once that was drafted I was ready to sew!

I started sewing the in and outside leg seams together (include a pocket here if you want. I did!) then sewed the crotch seam. I ended up with a very oversized pair of shorts at this point!

The top half I sewed exactly as the Reeta instructions ask for, bar the facing. There’s no need for the finishing treatment they use so I trimmed my facing piece to match the length of my shirt exactly.

Once the shirt was complete, I overlaid the button fronts to their finished positions and pinned it into place.

I then attached the shorts to this, right sides together, with a 1cm allowance. At this point I tried it on to gauge how much excess I had at the waist.

The answer was quite a lot!

But the excess length is a necessity to be able to get the thing on and off so it was a case of trying to judge how much I could get away with!

I ended up sewing another waist seam 2.5cm inside the original. I figured I could then use this to case my drawstring!

Which I did and it worked out really well!

Before sewing the casing down I had to get some holes in place to get the drawstring through. On either side of the button placket I made a small buttonhole (tip: don’t forget to interface the back of them!) big enough to allow a drawstring to go through.

I finished off the buttonholes and sewed on the buttons and voilà!

It’s a cute summer playsuit though perhaps not as fitted as my original intention. I still really like it though!

I used a printed floral viscose which I got from The Fabric Godmother last year and had stashed away.

It’s super comfy (definitely comes under the secret pyjamas) and I’m tempted to make more!

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