Altering a jumpsuit

Recently I was asked to alter a jumpsuit for some women from a pie baking company.  They always wear jumpsuits to protect their clothing from the messy job of baking. She had found Berne jumpsuits to be the closest fitting for women, but they still needed alterations to look more girly and less boxy. Here’s the original jumpsuit, designed for a man:

mens-jumpsuit-front-altering-a-jumpsuit

mens-jump-suit-back-altering-a-jumpsuit

We decided to take width out in the chest area, taper the legs and shorten the leg length. Here are the step by step instructions on altering a jumpsuit.

Steps to altering a jumpsuit:

altering a jumpsuit

We started with the chest area. The armpit seam is the easiest place to begin when altering a jumpsuit or a shirt. While the jumpsuit was on the wearer, we marked with safety pins which areas needed taking in and how much. Make sure to have the wearer move around to make sure they can still move comfortably after the changes have been made. I’ve found that safety pins work better than straight pins when marking because they won’t fall out when the garment is being taken off- unmarking your place and they won’t stick into the wearer either.

altering a jumpsuit

Once the markings have been made, use a ruler and chalk to mark the exact amount to be taken in. I measured in at least 3 places in this case- by the sleeve, the armpit and just above the waist.

altering a jumpsuit

Take note of the measurements- you will need them to mark the other side of the jumpsuit and when you turn the jumpsuit inside out and remark where the actual sewing and trimming will take place.

altering a jumpsuit

altering a jumpsuit

Once you have taken note of the measurements, remove all of the safety pins.

altering a jumpsuit

Turn the jumpsuit inside out and re-mark with the chalk the previous measurements and where the side seam will be taken in. Do this on both sides of the jumpsuit.

altering-a-jumpsuit-3

Once the markings have been made, flatten out the front and back sides of the jumpsuit to make sure the existing seams are flat and to avoid any puckering as sewn, then pin along the chalk line to be stitched.

altering a jumpsuit

Follow the chalk line removing the pins before you sew over them (sewing over pins in very bad for sewing machines!)

Tip: It’s more important to sew in a nice straight line than it is to follow the chalk lines exactly.

altering a jumpsuit

When you are satisfied that the new side seam is exactly where you want it, trim away the excess fabric, cut so that you leave about 1/4 of an inch of fabric from the new seam.

altering a jumpsuit

If you have a serger, it’s a good idea to serge the new seam to reinforce it and avoid fraying when the jumpsuit is washed.

altering a jumpsuit

If you don’t have a serger, use a zig zag stitch on a regular sewing machine to finish off the new seam.

Tapering the legs at the side seam

altering a jumpsuitWe marked (also with safety pins) where we wanted the leg width to be at the ankle and also the final hem length.
altering a jumpsuit

We marked with a safety pin, close to the ankle, where we wanted the pants leg to be tapered. Using the measurement that we took on the outside, we turned the jumpsuit inside out and marked that measurement on the inside of the leg in roughly the same spot.

altering a jumpsuit

Using chalk and a ruler, place the top of the ruler at the bottom of the pocket at the existing seam and the bottom of the ruler to the marking you made closer to the bottom of the leg and draw a straight line down.

altering a jumpsuit

Mark on both sides and pin to hold in the layers in place while you sew.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew along the chalk lines, removing the pins right before you get to them.

altering a jumpsuit

Trim off the excess fabric, and serge or zig zag the new edges.

Shortening the leg length

altering a jumpsuit

Move the safety pin marking to the inside of the leg, and mark with a chalk line. In this case, the chalk line represents what we want the the final, finished length to be. Cut the excess length off, leaving 2 inches of fabric below the finish line.
altering a jumpsuit

Remove the safety pin and fold the raw edge over 1/4 of an inch, press flat with an iron.
altering a jumpsuit

Now fold the fabric over again until the edge lines up with your final length chalk line. Press flat with an iron and pin into place.

altering a jumpsuit

Sew around the bottom of the pant legs. The raw edge is hidden leaving a nicely finished edge.  Turn the garment right side out and it’s all finished!

Thanks for following along, if you have any questions or comments please pass them on, I would love feedback on this tutorial. Cheers!

 

American flag quilt

American Flag quilt by Noelle Olpin

American Flag Quilt by Noelle Olpin, 36″ x 31″

I made this pattern up myself, I’ve had the idea of an American Flag quilt tucked away in a corner of my brain for awhile. A few elements that influenced it’s making: First of all, I dislike throwing any scrap of fabric- no matter the size or shape, so I had plenty of scrap fabric ready to go. Second, I admire the quilters of Gee’s Bend (this is an extreme understatement). And lastly, my love for flags has been growing throughout the years as I’ve traveled, participated in humanitarian work in Nepal and Cambodia and sent my kids on foreign exchanges and adventures of their own.

All kinds of flags have caught my eye- country flags, nautical flags, Native American Indian tribe flags– all intriguing and beautiful in their representation of solidarity and national pride. And the useful (sneaky to land lubbers) messaging aspect of nautical signal flags in the coolest. Through these aligned preferences and concepts, this quilt was born.
american flag quilt1I started by collecting up all of the tiny scraps of red, white and blue fabric I could possibly find, and began randomly sewing them together.

american flag quilt, making the stripesAs I pieced things together, I tried to roughly create the shapes I needed- long narrow strips for the red and white sections, then blocky blue and white strips for the star section.
making an american flag quiltAfter continuing to piece together reds and whites into long skinny pieces, I starting sewing them together. My goal was obvious imperfection and wavy lines- which is a lot harder than you would think. I put the rotary cutter away and cut everything with scissors… in my lap and not on a flat table.
stars on the flagI made the ‘stars’ section in strips of white and blue squares.  A tiny bit of basic math went into this part because I was striving for 50 white pieces or stars in there. I tried to make the blue and white sections about 1-2″ squares. Nine rows of 5 or 6 white chunks, semi-lined up and sewn together with blue strips in between.
making the stars for flag quiltI found this actual star fabric while searching through my collection of blue fabric scraps and decided to incorporate it, a strong mental suggestion for those who aren’t compelled by abstract patterns.

american flag quilt, abstract starsLooking at the back… very messy and in my opinion it’s intriguing to see the process and framework. As you can see, I still did plenty of ironing throughout the process.
building the quilt stars back
building the quilt starsIf you look closely, you can see that some of the selvages (unfinished fabric edges) have been left exposed on the quilt top and sewn with visible top stitching. I want the exposed edges to be visible and the slightly frayed aspect to add texture and imperfection of the finished quilt.
stars and stripes quiltIn laying out the three pieces, I found that the blue and white section was too small and needed more white stars too. So I pieced and added another small blue and white section.
american flag quilt, making the starsHere’s the added-to blue section (the part to the farthest right)- finally making the entire section the right size.

american flag quiltHere are all three pieces ready to be trimmed and sewn into one.
stars and stripes

stars and stripes quilt

And, of course,  a view of the backside.

flag quiltAnother look at the back as the pieces come together.

abstract american flagHere’s a backlit look at the finished pieced flag quilt top, showing off all of the tiny pieces that combine to make up the color portions.
american flag quilt topI love looking at the light coming through the fabric, before the batting and the back fabric get put on.
american flag quiltNow, I’ve got to decide how to quilt the top. I’m picturing simple, but hand stitched… This is going to take some time, but the end result with be worth it with a very organic, homemade and home grown feel.
red and white top stitchingI did a bit of machine top stitching to hold layers in place, then finished up with an easy running stitch with embroidery floss and pearl cotton thread in coordinating colors. Mostly straight, uneven stitching with an occasional swirl built in for some fun and curvy lines.
am flag top stitch
american flag details
topstitching on american flagI added an occasional embroidered star over the white star blocks with a couching or double running stitch.
flag quilt signature

With a final embroidered signature in the corner on the back, the American flag quilt is finished.
back of flag quilt

Here’s a view of the full back side. I always sew a sleeve for hanging at the top of all of my quilts. A flat, thin piece of wood (or metal, I’m using a yardstick in this picture) cut to the just under the width of the quilt helps the quilt hang straight across the top and keeps the quilt from eventually sagging in the middle like fabric is inclined to do.

Note: A hole is drilled into each side of the pole or stick, close to the ends. Then the holes are placed over nails in the wall to hang it up.

back of quilt

funny things kids say

funny things kids say
I love hearing and telling funny things kids say.  We’ve all heard this line a million times- they grow up so fast- well, nothing could be more true. Like it or not- that’s the way it is. So, let’s remember the goods times, baby pictures and clever lines that come out of the mouths of our babes (because let’s face it my memory is like that of a goldfish) and make sure the words get preserved forever.

Here’s a good one from this week at our house. C was walking around without his shirt on, carrying Pierre the cat.
Rubbing Pierre back and forth across his chest he asked the cat, “Pierre- do you like my body??”

Fast forward a few years and after the release of the newest Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens, this very same cat and boy combo were found to be cuddling on the floor. I happily watched and listening I overheard C say, “Pierre, you’re my Chewbacca.”

 

rainbow chip cookies

I was making lunches for the kids to take to school today when I asked my 8 year old daughter which kind of cookies she would like in her lunch.
She pointed to the Rainbow Chip bag and replied enthusiastically, “Oh, this kind please, I had them in my lunch yesterday and they were delightful… -pause-… they changed my life!”