Vintage Simplicity 1173 – Playsuit Ahoy!

Happy Monday! I hope everyone out there had a nice weekend. I certainly did: we had great weather here in Ohio, and I got an unexpected day off yesterday. I’m pleased to say that I used my time wisely. 🙂

After getting frustrated/intimidated by my blouse pattern of choice, I have mostly shelved that project without making any additional progress. I feel confident that I’ll go back to it eventually, since it’s one of my favorite patterns and because all of my notions are ready, waiting, and look great together. I just didn’t want to spend my first healthy day off in over 6 months working on something that was frustrating me! I cleaned up my sewing area a little bit, and decided that I was ready to tackle vintage Simplicity 1173: the playsuit to end all playsuits (for me, at least).

The pattern, fabric, buttons, and belt buckle I had picked out for Simplicity 1173 months ago have continued to haunt my dreams, and I felt like this was my best chance to get to work on it. I got started on Saturday night while Tom was out at a concert; I took everything out of the pattern envelope (what’s left of it, anyway!) and traced the necessary pieces directly onto my muslin fabric. With an ink pen. Because I can. I knew right away that I had to make some changes: this pattern is a size or two bigger than what I need in certain areas, mostly the waist. I measured in about 1 5/8″ from each side seam on the bodice, and the same amount from the side and center seams of the top portion of the shorts; my waist:hip ratio is about 0.7, so I knew I couldn’t afford to remove much or any from the rear region, so I left that area alone! 🙂 I also avoided any changes to the dreaded crotch curve area–I figured if that became an issue, I would deal with it after I got all the easy stuff fixed. After my inappropriate tracing was complete, I cut everything out and went to bed, prepared to sew it all together on Sunday.

Sunday ended up being more active than I had hoped: we had an errand to run (UGH lawn maintenance) and a lost neighbor cat to look for, but I did get lots of sewing time. Before I started putting stuff together, Sane Mads convinced Rash Mads to trace the muslin pieces onto my tracing material, just in case my gonzo drafting resulted in a good fit. Out came the ink pen (WHATEVER, I DO WHAT I WANT) and all pieces were traced. Then I sewed. All the sewing I did took about 2-3 hours, or thereabouts (between snack breaks, checking in on my movie, and chatting to Tom, I lost track!). Here’s what I ended up with:




We’re gonna need a bigger zipper. (Also, less-visible underpants.)


My hands are trying to flatten out the back closure AND cover my goodies. =/


Flat front view

It’s damn-near perfect!!! I was so excited when I got it on and it fit this well. I had tried on the shorts before the zipper went in, so I knew those would be a good fit, but the bodice was a lot of guesswork and couldn’t really be tried on separately. Please excuse my hands in every photo: since my zipper isn’t the right size, I had to pull up on the bodice to keep the back closure from sagging where the gap was between the zipper and the hook and eye; doing that also helped me get a better idea of how good (or bad) the fit was.

I need to add a little bit back in at the very top of the bodice, since it is too tight there but big enough for my bra cups in the actual cup area. So, all things considered, I have very little to change. I made a stupid mistake when joining the bodice to the shorts: I folded over my seam allowance in the shorts to create the zipper opening, but forgot to do the same on the bodice. Since the instructions said to ease the shorts into the bodice, I figured it was normal that things weren’t lining up exactly. This big “DUH” moment hit me after I’d sewn them together, so I just inserted the zipper anyway and made a mental note for the real thing.

The zipper is sloppily handpicked for fitting purposes only; I ripped it out of a UFO, but if it were a little longer, I’d use it for this playsuit–the color is great for the purple stripe in my fabric! I also had to sew in the hook and eye at the top of the opening, since my zipper came up several inches short and I needed to know how this was going to fit. How the hell do people attach those cleanly?!? I struggled with a capital “S,” folks. I got stabbed, and the sewing looks like shit. But they’re on there, and they did their jobs. (Let’s have a moment of silence for Victorian women, who had dozens of these damn things all over their clothes.) I omitted the pockets, but might try adding one to the muslin before I put my shorts together in the real fabric, just to see how much I struggle with it. I also have to stick the straps on this thing and see if they’re the right size. I made one but was too excited to attach it (and a button–after that hook and eye nonsense, I was tired of getting stabbed), but I can sew it down quickly and see if/how it changes anything. I’ve decided on a narrow machine hem for the shorts. Honestly, I can’t afford to make them much shorter than they already are!

I haven’t decided yet (I need to test the fabric), but I may underline the actual playsuit. I don’t want to have to bust out flesh-colored undergarments just to swan around in an outfit that’s supposed to be easy and casual, you know? I also need to figure out how I want to “face” the bodice. I think the pattern calls for using a full-sized piece as a facing that ends up functioning like an underlining, so maybe I will add an extra 1/2″ or so of height to the top edge of the bodice and just attach my underlining inside that seamline, turn it, press the top edge, and then it can function as an underlining AND a facing to finish the top edge. Any thoughts on that? I don’t think I will like the look of an invisible bias facing, since that will leave visible stitching along the top edge, but I will test it on the muslin before totally writing it off. And then there’s the small matter of making a belt, which I’ll sort out once the more important stuff gets done.

This project has really given my sewing mojo a boost–I’m so excited and motivated to get it finished! I think it helped that I had the entire thing together in only a few hours; with a schedule like mine, that’s a big help!

What do you guys have in your queues at the moment? Any must-have summer items that you’d like to get started on?

2 thoughts on “Vintage Simplicity 1173 – Playsuit Ahoy!

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