Ballet, Birds and Bodysuits

Hiya Stitchers,

Not sure about you guys, but I seem to have a lack of tops that fit well and are the perfect length so I thought maybe I actually need to revisit my early 90s past and try a body suit! Enter the Nettie pattern. (again!)

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I love the art on Heather Lou’s closet case files pattern envelope, usually I’m suspicious of patterns that don’t have photos, but the Nettie pattern illustrations look like they are drawn on a real person (rather than a giant, with 3m long legs, and a body the width of a blade of grass!). They are essentially an illustration of the photos you see on the web link.

The body suit pattern calls for a 4-way stretch so I went to my favourite local – fabric vision – that always seems to have 4-way stretch on their $3m table. In keeping with my 90s theme I went for a ‘Jerica’ (think Jem and the Holograms) style lavendar and turquoise stripe.

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While I was there they had a one day 25% off sale and I happened upon a scuba knit covered in Toucans, the dress only needs a 2-way stretch… for $10m – what’s a girl to do?

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I purchased the suggested 1.5m for both patterns and ended up with a lot of excess on both. I’m pretty sure you could get away with a narrower width of fabric than the 150cm requested. Toucan knickers anyone?!

And here I am with one pattern two ways.

The toucan dress came together easily – I would recommend a longer stitch length with the fabric. Scuba knit really marks where the holes are too if you have to do any unpicking.  I overlocked the inside of the neckband which in hindsight makes it a bit scratchy on my ‘scoop’ areas. The overlocking  on the arm holes also seems to make the shoulders a little stiff.

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In fully embracing the bird theme I wore my bird-leg coloured tights – and caused something of a stir at school drop off. (It was definitely a combo people commented on). I can confirm the stretch works for biking in though. 😉

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The body suit was rather more complicated. The snapper crotch – in blue polka dots for a little undercarriage joy – caused much head scratching. The lining pieces are rectangle but the pattern asks you to iron them into a square, and then fold them lengthways? I read and re-read and eventually once I got to it it all worked fine…. I’m not sure if it was my problem or that the pattern seemed kind of obtuse?

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You’ll be pleased to see I have modelled it, in all its (my) glory. Are there rewards for bravery? I am even like a proper little 7 year old ballerina with my knicker bands poking out the bottom on one side!

I like the low cut leg line and the bands feel comfy – not too lose, not too tight. The low leg line also means you’re never going to get leg line hanging over the top of a waistband either.

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Obvs, with this kind of wear the undergarments are important too – one wants to avoid too many lines… not sure I’ve nailed that yet.

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clearly I wouldn’t be wearing a snap crotch version for ballet!

With this pattern it’s really important to use a stretch stitch throughout, (you can straight stitch the top stitching on the neck if the scoop is deep), because every seam needs to have some give.

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I’ve seen some lovely iterations of the body suit in merino and can imagine that would be a hardworking garment for winter… there may be more to come!

Now I need to turn my thoughts to the next make… can I complete any more of the IPM challenges? I do hope so… here’s to more sewing my friends.

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and more embarrassing poses on the internet!

May your bobbin make it all the way to the end of the seam, your sewing light see you right and may the sewing force be strong with you all….at least until the end of June when we all collapse in an unfolded heap!

Miriam x



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