Within 2 weeks in the month of March, I’ve sewn up 3 versions of the Hallon Dress by Paradise Patterns – that in itself shows how much I love this pattern. I love the dress so much that I needed it in the form of a jumpsuit as well, so I hacked it!
Before we jump into the hack, let’s spend a few moments admiring how brilliant it is in its original dress version. Kudos to Sanna of Paradise Patterns for gifting the world with this beauty. This would probably be the top dress pattern for the Summer of 2021! I made View A which has a gathered low back. The skirt section is also more voluminous (compared to View B) as it tents out into a ruffled hi-lo hem. The neck, back and armhole seams are closed with bias bindings. This is the perfect summer dress, when the sun is shining its brightest and hottest. The low scooped back provides perfect ventilation for those sweaty days, while showing off the shape and contours of your back.
To contrast the low back, the neckline rides high, and it sits where my collarbone is. I understand that this may not be a good pattern for those who are more fully endowed in the chest, and I can’t give any advice on adjusting it since I have a pancake chest. However, there is a D-cup option that is provided in the pattern, and I suggest wearing this dress with a well-supported bikini top for ultimate beach glamour vibes.
Sizes for the dress go from 0-16, and I sewed up a size 2 based on bust measurements. Since the dress is drafted for a height of 170cm or 5’7’’, I knew I had to shorten the dress at the lengthen/shorten line for my 160cm frame. The dress is midi-maxi length, so I decided to reduce the length by 5cm (2’’), since I don’t mind a more maxi look. This adjustment would also raise the scooped back line, and I was totally ok with that because I saw from the pictures of other makers how low that rides on the back. And I was concerned that I might be revealing my undies. With this in mind, when it came to the moment of gathering up the scooped back, I also gathered it up more than the suggested length. Instead of 62cm, the overall scooped back length (not counting the length of the arm straps) is around 56-57cm.
The second adjustment is adding pockets! Yes, every garment should have pockets in my opinion, especially this one because I will need a place to store my hotel room key card when (and if) we go vacationing in Greece. The face mask will need pockets to store it as well. Any in-seam pocket pattern can be used, and easily inserted to the side seams. I chose the pocket pattern from the Peppermint Magazine Wide Strap Maxi Dress (designed in collaboration with Elbe Textiles) because I like how it looks with a cut-out opening at the side seams. The pattern is also free (with suggested donation), and is neatly closed up with French seams.
The third adjustment I made was to create a centre front seam instead of cutting the front piece on the fold. This was done to incorporate more prints into the dress so that I can submit it for the @sewover50 #so50patternmixing on Instagram. I used 5 different fabrics of Indian indigo block prints, and really like how the dress turned out.
As I was putting in the centre front seam, I got the idea that the dress can be hacked into a jumpsuit. With the help of the pants portion of the Avenir Jumpsuit by Friday Pattern Company, I managed to mash up the dress and the pants pattern into the summer jumpsuit of my dreams. My first wearable jumpsuit muslin was made in a Shibori tie-dyed light viscose, and has full length pant legs. The length of it can actually be whichever length you choose once the “pants” portion of it is drafted to the dress pattern to make it a jumpsuit. The final jumpsuit I made incorporated leg ruffles to give the garment some extra disco vibes.
I received from Minerva a Dashwood Studio Rayon Challis in a geometric print as a part of the Minerva Brand Ambassadors Program. This version is listed as “Pink” but it actually has dizzying shades of red, pink, purple, lilac, orange, yellow and a touch of sky blue. What a mesmerising piece of gorgeousness! The colours are bold and kaleidoscopic. It is a 100% rayon, lightweight, and drapes like a dream. Since the jumpsuit has a lot of gathers and volume, the fabric allows for maximum flow and movement. I highly recommend sewing this fabric with a smaller needle or a microtex needle. The fabric feels soft, light and feathery, and it needs a more slender needle to keep it from snagging.
When I put on the jumpsuit with leg ruffles, it gives me these 70s disco vibes, and I can’t stop enjoying the swish and swirl of it. It’s giving me permission to be the ultimate dancing queen. All I need now is for the weather to get warmer so that I can live in this. I wanted to write down my complete sewing adventure of this hack so that you may also make some Hallon Jumpsuits for yourselves. But I was in the middle of writing it, and realised it was hard to put these instructions on paper. So I decided to make my first Youtube video – which turned out to be another odyssey trying to put it together. But that’s a whole complete topic for another post. Hopefully, the instructions are clear enough in the video, and please forgive me in advance for all my rookie video-making mistakes.
The video took a while to make, and I had to figure out how to set up a YouTube channel, which involves more than what I imagined it to be. Anyway, there were all these teething problems that I encountered. The whole process gave me migraines, anxiety belly aches and deep belly laughs all at once. The videos I plan on making will complement the blogs, to give a deeper insight on the sewing process that I am going through. Please subscribe to my channel! Your support is greatly appreciated.
Finally, I am attaching the instructions of the suggested sewing order below so that it’ll be easier for your sewing reference.
Suggested Sewing Order:
- Prepare the front of the jumpsuit:
- Sew up the centre front seam with a French seam. Press the seam towards the right side.
- Sew up the darts.
- Stay stitch the armhole and neckline curves.
- Install the neckline bias binding
- Insert the inseam pockets. I use a pocket pattern (from the Peppermint Magazine Wide Strap Maxi designed by Elbe Textiles), which will result in both pocket pieces to be sewn on the front jumpsuit.
- Prepare the back of the jumpsuit:
- Sew up the centre back with a French seam. Press the seam towards the right side.
- Stay stitch the armhole curve, and the backline curve (from the point closest to the shoulder to the notch)
- In order to gather up the low backline, sew 2 rows of basting stitches within the seam allowance (1cm, or ⅜’’). These rows start from the notch on the left, passing the centre back line and continuing to the notch on the right.
- Gather up the basting stitches till the length of the curve of the backline reaches the suggested length of the chart in the pattern instructions. For me, the suggested length for size 2 (with 5cm or 2’’ shortening adjustment already made to the back pattern at the lengthen/shorten line) produces a scooped backline that is the lowest that I feel comfortable with. I suggest gathering up the backline more if you want it raised up higher on your back, but keep in mind that this opening (when combined with the neckline) has to be wide enough to accommodate the width of your hips when you step in and out of the jumpsuit to put it on.
- Install the back bias binding.
- Attach the front of the jumpsuit to the back of the jumpsuit.
- Sew up the side seams with French seams.
- Sew up the inseam with French seams.
- Install the armhole bias bindings on the left and right sides.
- If you are sewing up the jumpsuit Version A (without the leg frills) then hem up the pant legs by folding up the raw edge twice. I fold it up twice with a ½’’ hem.
- If you are sewing up the Jumpsuit Version B (with leg frills):
- Sew up the side seams of the front leg ruffle to the back leg ruffle. I use French seams. This will create a circular tube
- On the bottom end of the ruffle, hem it up by pressing a ½’’ fold up, and then folding once again to close up the raw edge completely.
- On the top end of the ruffle, sew two rows of basting stitches within the seam allowance. Gather up the top edge by pulling on the threads until the circumference of this edge matches the bottom edge of the pant legs. Make sure to match up the side seams between pant leg and ruffle. Pin and sew. Finish the seam with a serger or with a zig-zag stitch. Press the seam up towards the neckline. Repeat on the other leg.
YAY! You’re done! Try on your new jumpsuit and dance!