When I started working on the pattern for The Sisterhood, I definitely underestimated how much time it would take. But I’ve had this as a ‘to do’ (releasing the patterns, that is) on my list of future projects for a while and that sense of satisfaction at moving things forward in my business feels really palpable. I’m so excited!!
When I first dreamed up Leim I wanted to make the jumpsuits as accessible as possible.
In whatever form that took - initially I only really thought about sizing and the fact that I am yet another skinny white woman making clothes. Not particularly representative of the wider world!
However, life is life and making clothes is expensive and has got more expensive, despite what some brands would like you to think.
And so I have been searching for ways to make them more accessible. Than having us make one for you, that is.
Making your own clothes is a skill I would like to think everyone should learn. It teaches you a respect for the craft (although obviously you can be respectful without knowing how to sew) but also a respect for your own body - it’s curves and oddities and how you want to experience them. There’s a power in making something yourself, for yourself and only you.
So - for those of you who can’t wait to get started on your very own MeMadeLeim, here are some ways of hacking the pattern. I’ll be updating this blog to include things others have found (with their permission!)
Notes on a toile
The (not-great) picture above is the very first toile of The Sisterhood! This was my flat in London and I promise we got a bed frame eventually 😅.
Anyway, I'm sharing this to say: please make a toile first!! I have wasted so much beautiful fabric by being lazy and not making one. Although I wouldn’t have started Leim if I had made a toile first, so maybe it’s a good thing 😂😂
But see how tight it is across my bum? I wouldn't have been able to sit down without ripping the fabric or splitting a zip!
My advice when making your toile - do not add the zips, the trouser facing (the curved strip of fabric that will hide the raw edge at the top of the trousers) and if you’re feeling very lazy you only need to make one piece of the bodice (so you don’t need to make the lining) - that will speed up the process considerably!
How to lengthen or shorten the jumpsuit legs
On the trouser pattern pieces (both front and back!) there is a line marking the approximate location of the knee. You will want to cut at this line and either add in some length or remove some.
The inside leg measurement on your unmodified finished jumpsuit should be 72cm once hemmed. If you would like to lengthen that to, for example, 80cm, simply cut a piece of paper to roughly the right length (8cm) and tape into the gap between the top and bottom halves of your trousers. Don’t forget to copy exactly for the front and back trouser pattern pieces!
To remove some length (for example, to make the inside leg measurement 65cm) you will need to remove some of the trouser leg piece, either side of your cut. Remove an equal amount from each half. Tape together the 2 halves to make a full trouser piece again. You will most likely need to adjust the shape of the trouser as there will be some overlap. Take your [French ruler] and reduce the width of the trouser leg as shown in the picture.
How to adjust the bust measurement
This is probably the second most popular adjustment that I make for The Sisterhood jumpsuit.
When we first started working on The Sisterhood (I had help developing the first few styles for my collection!) I had bigger, firmer boobs. Time and a baby have happened and my boobs went up to a FF cup and then when I stopped breastfeeding, they went down to a C cup (i.e. smaller than they were before I had Bo 😂.) That TMI-sharing-story was really a long winded way of saying - our bodies change and so you'll probably want to know how to adjust the bust measurement!
The Sisterhood jumpsuit pdf pattern is sampled to fit a C/D cup. If you are bigger than that, you probably won't need to adjust the bust measurement (although, as always, please make sure you make a toile so you know for certain!)
If you are smaller than a C/D cup, you'll need to adjust by doing the following:
- Mark up to 2cm (or however much you need to remove) along the bust curve at the top, where the bodice would sit by your armpit.
- Using your french curve ruler, match the mark up to the first notch and draw a new curve.
- You may need to extend this new curve to the second notch, if you need to remove more of the bust curve.
- Mark where the notch(es) should be, so that you can match to the bodice front pieces.
- Clip along this new flatter edge - it will be a tighter fit, so you may need to give the pattern pieces some ease.
- You also want to repeat this process for the bodice front piece - but only cut to the first notch.
- Don't forget to repeat for the lining pieces!
How to adjust the torso length (for petite)
The most exciting thing about Leim is how much I learn about our bodies. This is one of those things I didn't know before I started - that if you want to adjust a top for a shorter frame (I am 178cm, for your reference!) you need to adjust the top of the pattern, not the bottom! Pretty cool (or I think so 😅)
To adjust for a shorter torso, measure from the fullest part of your bust to your shoulder and work out how much you need to remove (measurements are on page 4 of the instructions). Don't forget that the measurements on the instructions are finished garment measurements, but the pattern piece will include 10mm seam allowance!
Fold the pattern to remove the amount to need to and tape the fold down.
You will need to neaten up the curve of the arm hole, so that it is a smooth line.
Measure the arm hole to make sure that it won't be too tight (again, remember to take the 10mm seam allowance into consideration!)
How to adjust the darts (for hourglass and pear shape figures)
One thing I have noticed when wearing The Sisterhood myself (and seeing my friends wear them) is that, despite the trousers being a relaxed, loose fitting shape... sometimes they are a little too loosey-goosey.
To combat this, I have started to take in the darts at the back of the trousers if someone has a defined waist with a bigger bum. Someone with an hourglass or pear shape will often need this, although really it's an adjustment anyone who prefers a tighter fit on the bum might need!
Simply increase the notches for the darts by however much you need - I sometimes take them in by as much as 4cm. You will also need to increase the length of the dart - you will notice some puckering on your toile if you've not added enough length!
You will need to shorten the trouser facing (the curved strip of fabric that you use to hide the raw edges of the trouser waistline) by removing the same amount from the centre of the facing piece (eg if you've increased the darts by 1cm each side, remove 2cm of the facing)
That's all as far as hacks go! Please let me know in the comments if there is something that you feel could be added - or if you'd like some tips on how to adjust a hack for your own body!
Happy sewing, I can't wait to see what you make - please tag @leim_jumpsuits or use the hashtags #leimthesisterhood #memadeleim in your photos if you feel comfortable 🧡