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Sirocco Jumpsuit by Deer & Doe

The Sirocco Jumpsuit by Deer and Doe is my very first knit fabric jumpsuit, and I’ve been on the hunt for months for the right knit fabric for the pattern. Then I saw this black and pink plaid Ponte Roma Double Knit from Minerva, and that was my green light to GET IT MADE!

The fabric was gifted to me by Minerva as part of the Minerva Brand Ambassadors Program. Lucky Me! What drew me to it is the plaid pattern which is made up of blocks of different sized houndstooth checks together with black, grey and pink colours. The sewing pattern called for at least 60% stretch, and that there should be elastane in the composition. This fabric has 2% elastane in it, and a stretch test confirmed that it has a little more than 60% stretch. So I was good to go. For a medium weight stable knit, it has excellent recovery. It is also great to work with, and extremely easy to cut and sew.

Sizes for the pattern run from EU34-52, and I made a size 36 with few modifications. The first adjustment is trimming off 9cm at the pant legs because I am a shorter human compared to the model used for drafting. The second modification is cutting the neckband and waistband pieces on the bias. This is purely to provide visual interest to break up the orientation of the plaid at these places. And I like how it turned out. However, in future Sirocco makes, I may continue doing this for the neckline band. This is because when I was attaching it to the bodice, there is some stretching of the band while sewing in order for it to fit the bodice. At that moment, I was thinking that if I hadn’t cut this on the bias (which provided more elasticity), then there might be some serious stretching that would have to be done, which would lead to some serious puckering at the neckline seam. This is also the moment when the thought that perhaps the fabric is not stretchy enough for the pattern began to arise, which led me to break out in a sweat.

And it wasn’t a pre-menopausal hot flash - it is the kind of sweat that breaks out when I realise that I might have made a big boo-boo that cannot be salvaged at the sewing machine. There are these cautionary tips in the sewing pattern instructions that warn against choosing a fabric that doesn’t have enough stretch. The finished measurements at the waist have negative stretch, and I began to worry big time that the size I cut out might not leave enough room for my hips to fit through the waistband. So I obsessively did the stretch test again and again - hoping the fabric would get stretchier. Of course nothing changed. It’s just my way of coping with what I think was going to be an impending disaster. I carried on sewing but it felt like I was watching a horror movie through the gaps in my fingers. The only thing I could do was to reduce the width of the seam allowance at the side seams from ⅜’’ to ¼’’.

That move was the saving grace. As you can see from the pictures, the horror movie has a happy ending, but I just about managed to get through to the other side by a hair’s breadth. Literally speaking - because stepping in and out of the jumpsuit requires some careful shimmying to get that waistband over my hips.

Even though I checked that the stretch percentage is correct for the pattern, every fabric behaves differently. And for the Sirocco Jumpsuit, I should have sized up to 38 when paired up with this fabric. That would have given me the right amount of ease to pull it up and down effortlessly. The other option would be to grade from 36 at the bust to 38 at the waist. My guess is that this sewing pattern would probably work best with a knit fabric that has stretch going in four directions. It is not impossible to use a 2-way stretch knit like I did, but then extra attention has to be paid to the sizing of it.

Even though the fit is not entirely perfect, I still have big love for my new Sirocco Jumpsuit in this handsome Ponte Roma double knit plaid. It was actually quite an easy sew, and it took me about half a day to finish it at the sewing machine. The plaid gives it a distinguished look but it feels like I’m wearing secret pyjamas. A jumpsuit in a knit fabric is a great addition to my collection of jumpsuits, and it is a great outfit for me when I do eventually get back to work. It allows me full freedom of movement when I teach more physical workshops; and it gives me the appropriate “office” look when I have to go for meetings. I will definitely make more Siroccos soon. In the meantime, I laugh because I made another garment and it wasn't a disaster!

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