Hack Lite: DIY Combination

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It took me a while, but I finally got on the jumpsuit trend! Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows me, I prefer a looser fit in a jumpsuit; As with overalls, fitted styles seem to be a special form of torture. For me, the trick was finding the right balance between a comfortable, oversized silhouette and something I wasn't absolutely swimming in (with a saggy crotch and all).

There are many wetsuit patterns available now, from the Big 4 and independents, but ultimately, due to my high level of rigor and love for pattern hacking, I decided to create my own pattern. You can do the same thing!

Choose models

For this version, I started with a loose shirt pattern with cut-out cuffs and sleeves, the Kallé shirt by Closet Core Patterns, and an overalls pattern, the Roberts Collection Overalls by Marilla Walker. I like to use overalls or even another jumpsuit for the base, as the necessary crotch extension will be built into these pattern pieces.

You can also create a similar look using an elastic waist pant pattern, like the Shavano pants or the Pagosa pantsfor the bottom, but you will want to extend the inseam length enough to be able to sit comfortably in the completed suit.

When in doubt, muslins are your friend!

Creating new pattern pieces

First, trace out the pattern pieces you plan to use so that they can be handled easily. Yes, even I did a bit of tracing for this project! Then work independently on the front and back of the suit.

Front of jumpsuit

To get the right length for the front, I measured the length of a finished overall from the top of the strap, where it wrapped over the top of the shoulder, to the waistline on the pattern. In the original overalls pattern and in my hack, the top front and bottom front are two separate pattern pieces.

I didn't make any changes to the bottom front, but I used the top measurement to determine where the length cut line should be on my Kalle shirt front pattern piece. I then made sure the upper front and left pieces were as wide as the lower front pieces. The upper fronts overlap at the front placket, but not the leg pieces; you will need to take this into account when determining the correct width of the upper facades.

In my case, the bottom was a little wider than the front of the shirt. I extended the side seams of the shirt and created a more shallow underarm curve, as I didn't want to alter the length or shape of the sleeve.

Back jumpsuit

For the rear, the process was a little different. The back of the overalls pattern is created with a single pattern piece and center seam, with a slanted center where the straps are attached.

I decided to keep the angular shape and mimic the bottom hem of the back of the shirt to match that, as well as match the overall length of the front of the suit. I also omitted the back yoke of the shirt and determined the correct width of the shirt (to match the bottom), adding a center seam.

Assembling the suit

I assembled the left and right sides of the back individually and sewed them together along the center back seam. I then completed the button strips on the left and right front panels of the shirt, attached them to the back at the shoulder seams, and installed the collar.

Next, I basted the left and right front panels of the shirt together at the hem, sewed the center seam on the front of the pants, and sewed the top and bottom together at the waist .

The side seams came next, followed by the inside seams and cuffs. I added an inner elastic wrap to the back waist to create a little shape as well as a simple wrap and ties along the front waist.

This hack was the most involved yet, and it was a bit of a headache. I find this to be a perfect fit for a lightweight fabric like the thrifty linen I used here. I tried a similar hack in mid-weight twill, but the heavier fabric didn't work as well with the gathered/elastic waist (and is an unfortunate shade of UPS brown). This WIP is on hold, even though it served its role as a Halloween costume well!

I hope you enjoyed this hack and are inspired to try it! If you create your own suit template, be sure to use #hacklite and tag @sewnews on Instagram so we can see your version.

More combination inspiration

This article was originally published on November 11, 2020 and was updated on October 24, 2023.

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