Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 roundup: sparkle romper

Ooh, this was a fun one. Ever since I made my mini summer collection, I'd been wanting to make a summer romper based on the crop top pattern. I figured the tie back would lend well to getting in and out, and I really love the having shorts instead of a skirt for general ease of wear. I didn't know what fabric I wanted to make it in, and then I went to the fabric store near my house and saw this gorgeous cotton with gold metallic threads running through it, and I was sold.

one of my better attempts at capturing the metallic sparkle

My first muslin attempt included the double tie back that the crop top has, with shorts added to the bottom, plus a center back zipper to get into the shorts. While it's technically possible to put it on, both ties have to be fully undone and I can't cleanly tie the upper one by myself. (The crop top is easy enough to slip on over my head that I can leave the top tied and just tie the bottom once it's on - not possible with shorts attached.) Ok, two person job, definitely not ideal, but I could have Tim help me into it before I go out. Then I thought about the eternal romper/jumpsuit issue - bathroom breaks. Definitely not going to make something that requires a friend coming into the bathroom stall with me to help me get dressed when I'm out at a bar. So, single tie it is! And a side zip that goes up to the armpit, making it possible to get in and out without untying at all.

As a side note, it's been interesting to discover how many of my clothing design issues combine both technical and design tradeoffs like this. Just because something is possible to draft or sew doesn't make it feasible, and this very often leads to design compromises in order to get the fit or wearability to an acceptable place. I tend to get really frustrated whenever something like this comes up - I finally had an idea that I like and I don't want to compromise on the aesthetics! But more often than not, I actually like the later version better than the original, and it's not something I would have come up with if my hand hadn't been forced. So there you go - single tie, low back romper, and easy off and on to boot. I'm a fan.

Construction-wise, I bought some black sheer cotton to use as lining for the bodice and waistband and left the shorts unlined, since my outer fabric is opaque. The main fabric, a stable cotton, was easy to work with, and I'm happy with everything except the slightly pointy darts in the front, but that's not enough to keep me from wearing it.

I feel like the fabric makes it fairly dressy - I wore it with bare legs and platform clogs to an outdoor fashion show this summer, and I think it would look great with black tights for the holidays (as styled in the photos). I would want to make it in different fabric if I were going to wear it to a picnic in the park or a casual bar. This is another one of those no-bra outfits, which I have a tendency to design unintentionally, but the fabric is thick and dark enough that I don't feel like I need one, and there's no risk of anything shifting out the neckline or sides. I thought about adding pockets, but I didn't want to disrupt the clean lines of the shorts, and the side zipper prevented me from adding inseam pockets on both sides. So for now it's pocketless, but it's something I'll think about more for possible future versions.

I've only worn this once so far, to the aforementioned fashion show, but I'm hoping it gets some more wear this holiday season. Looking at these photos is making me antsy to make another that's more casual for day to day wear - it would be the perfect throw-on-and-go piece for next summer.

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