Jumpsuits – the good, the bad, and the onesie

Let’s talk jumpsuits! Would you wear one?

I know that they can go horribly wrong. Like this one from ASOS.

ASOS Jumpsuit

It’s called the ‘Sexy Boiler Jumpsuit’ but really it’s a mechanic’s overall with lapels. It looks like something the Kwik Fit fitters might wear for their annual dinner dance.

But jumpsuits aren’t all like that. They can also be sublime. Check this out:

pucci jumpsuit

This is a vintage Pucci stretch silk jumpsuit. It can be yours, if you have £600 and a lifestyle to match. Wish I did.

There’s a lot of semantic confusion about jumpsuits. Here’s a handy guide:

  • If you can wear it on the sofa while eating takeaway, or if it’s been spotted on a member of One Direction, it’s a onesie
  • If it ends above the knees, and you could wear it with a floral headband to Glastonbury, it’s a playsuit
  • If it’s made of terry-cloth and sized for a 6 year old child, it’s a romper
  • If it’s made of denim or canvas, and you could wear it for damp-proofing your house, it’s a boilersuit

Then there are the jumpsuits that are properly named, but still a bit dodgy-looking. I think the key is the trousers. If they’re cinched at the ankle, like this Burda pattern, you’re on dangerous territory:

burda jumpsuit

But if they’re narrow-legged all the way down, now you’re talking. Or if the legs are wider and 30s looking, that’s even better, like this truly amazing blue jumpsuit by Paul & Joe, which I really, really want.

paul and joe jumpsuit

I think I’m going to tackle sewing a jumpsuit this summer – I’d love to wear one to a wedding (not my own wedding, although I did try on an interesting wedding jumpsuit in a vintage shop in Brighton).

How awesome would it be to rock wearing something like this blue number? I realise that visiting the loo after a few beers could be slightly problematic, but Iooking good is worth it, right?


I have to confess I’ve never actually worn a jumpsuit, and I’m a bit hazy on the mechanics. I can just see myself cobbling one together and ending up not being able to get in it. I assume zips are usually involved somewhere?

An initial trawl on Etsy has turned up all kinds of patterns, not all good, including an ill-conceived empire line jumpsuit, and a pattern that includes an ‘evening-length skirt’ option.

If you know of any amazing jumpsuits (to buy or to sew), let me know! I have a board on Pinterest where I’m collecting them.


35 thoughts on “Jumpsuits – the good, the bad, and the onesie

  1. Chanta' April 9, 2013 / 3:56 PM

    You should check out a designer from Dallas Tiffany @shopmypinklucy. I bought a Vintage style jumpsuit from her that people love! Its kinda her thing!

  2. jumpsuits April 8, 2013 / 6:42 AM

    Oh..I love jumpsuits, so easy to dress up and down, and I have fall in love with this vintage Pucci stretch silk jumpsuit. Omg…its so gorgeous, I really want it!

  3. Hazel February 13, 2013 / 9:17 PM

    Hey! I’m Hazel and I’m a fan of your blog.

    Recently, I was awarded the Liebster Blog Award. As part of the award, I get to choose 11 bloggers to pass the award on to. I have chosen you as one of the recipients because I love your blog, and I think you deserve some recognition for all the hard work you do! I would love it if you were able to accept the award and pass it on! There are more details about the award on my blog, as well as an “award” button that you can copy for your blog if you would like to.

    Thanks for creating such a great blog and inspiring me as a part of the online sewing community!


    p.s. I’d recommend this McCalls pattern that I’ve made, use the crossover top with the trouser! http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/m6533-products-22724.php?page_id=843

  4. Kerry February 13, 2013 / 4:13 PM

    I like the idea of them (well, the right one that is) but I think they need to be worn with heels to be truly stylish and I wear heels so rarely. I think you’d be able to pull off a jumpsuit no problem, you’ve got the height and the figure.

  5. Elise Lin February 13, 2013 / 11:45 AM

    I like jumpsuits! Not that I have one, though I am still thinking of making one (the Burda pattern is already traced). My biggest worry is that it may look like pyjamas. The last blue one is my favourite. Here’s my jumpsuit board: http://pinterest.com/snowylion/jumpsuits/

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:27 PM

      thanks for the link to your Pinterest board! Look forward to seeing your jumpsuit.

  6. Laura Davis February 13, 2013 / 11:38 AM

    I once bought 2 jumpsuits from ASOS thinking that it would be the perfect summer look for me. They were not. Definitely a hard look to wear for a girl with large hips and a spare tire round the middle. I’d say try some on in a shop before committing to make, although I think you’d look stunning in the blue Paul & Joe number.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:27 PM

      Thanks for the tip – I’m not sure if they are kind to the pear shaped, you’re right… I should get to some shops and try some on. I’m just a bit allergic to shopping (except for online), think I’ve just had too many traumatic trips to Westfield.

  7. prttynpnk February 13, 2013 / 10:53 AM

    Im firmly anti-jumpsuit, they are always about 3 seconds away from looking costumey- in the bad music video way. Also, from the back they make me look like Eyeore….

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:26 PM

      That is an area of concern, even the svelte Net-A-Porter model has a hint of Eeyore-ishness around the back, which is worrying.

  8. Helen February 12, 2013 / 11:21 PM

    Ooh, I’m loving the Paul and Joe and Issa ones. I do like a good jumpsuit. I found a lovely one in Dorothy Perkins last summer. Bought it and everything. Wasn’t until I tried it on again at home that I realised I couldn’t do it up myself and so visits to the ladies would be somewhat problematic! It went back the next day.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:25 PM

      I wonder who is designing these things?? You’d think they’d at least consider the fact that people are going to wear them (and need to take them off).

  9. Clare February 12, 2013 / 10:52 PM

    My problem with jumpsuits is that no matter how fabulous they look from the front, the rear is a totally different matter! Highly unflattering!

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:24 PM

      Ha ha! Yes, and trying to disguise the area with pockets on the bum just leads to the whole ‘Challenge Anneka’ look which isn’t flattering either.

  10. Almond Rock February 12, 2013 / 9:57 PM

    My friend has a jumpsuit that buttons up the back… you may know where this is going… yes she’s asked me to undress her in the toilets before. But it does look bitching on her.
    I think the paul and joe suit is totally achievable! Especially to a woman who can make jeans.

    By the way I’ve nominated you for an award on my blog
    Keep up the good work.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:24 PM

      Ah thank you! that’s really nice of you.

      I have dresses with back zippers that require contortionism to unzip, but back buttons really are a level too far…

  11. theperfectnose February 12, 2013 / 9:23 PM

    I reckon if you’re into the ones with full pants-you can use the top part of any cool looking evening dress fused to pants. Also poppers along the crotch-just use closely placed ones on pre-made tape (children’s wear stuff) or, if you’re really into it (and the crotch extends to the low waist) an invisible zipper that closes up the back.
    Poppers will work better for the shorts style and zippers for the pants style. I’m trying to make one out of the Knipmode shirt-dress I sewed recently. No ‘effin’ hammer-ons for me though X( Had my fill of that stuff..
    I’m pretty sure I’ve got a vintage pattern for a knit one.. will check this evening.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:23 PM

      Great suggestions as ever, you’re a mine of information! Didn’t think about using poppers along the crotch. The Paul and Joe one seems to have a kind of fake fly, possibly there are poppers there? I really must go and try some on for research.

  12. craftylittlebugger February 12, 2013 / 9:10 PM

    That Paul and Joe number is gorgeous! I keep flitting between yes and no for jumpsuits. My old boss had a denim one which looked awful, however when they are done right, they are so right. I have a pyjama onesie though, and is warm yet extremely irritating to get on and off. Extremely.
    Salme patterns on etsy have a nice playsuit pattern which could potentially be lengthened.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:22 PM

      What’s your onesie like? Those ‘one-piece’ Scandie ones seem to have a zipper all the way down the body and along the crotch, which must help with getting in and out of it, does look slightly odd though.

  13. Calico Stretch February 12, 2013 / 9:08 PM

    Oh to Jumpsuit or not. I wouldn’t wear one because I like the idea that I can wear a top and ‘matching’ trou/shorts together or wear them as separates. I used to wear body suits a lot many moon ago and I second the inconvenient factor …..

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:21 PM

      I like the idea of a fake jumpsuit consisting of matching tops and trousers. Hmmm. Body suits/leotards are definitely the most inconvenient garments on earth, I have one for ballet but I never wear it because it’s such a pain.

    • Calico Stretch February 13, 2013 / 10:13 PM

      And then there are the body suits with snaps on the crotch piece! Agony …. nasty invention.

  14. kokorimbaud February 12, 2013 / 7:58 PM

    I’m old enough to be guilty of having owned (and worn) one in the 80s, and as Gingermakes pointed out – it’s a bit of a hassle to follow your body’s calling. Too much for me, as it turned out, I’ve worn mine once 😀 No garment that requires me to strip down completely for a loo run holds any appeal for me, sadly. I’m just too cucumber sandwich, I guess 😀

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:20 PM

      I think that is the main issue to be honest. But I”m still tempted…

  15. joelle February 12, 2013 / 7:30 PM

    ha! i really don’t see what is sexy about that first jumpsuit. i’m usually not at all into jumpsuits (i am also a bit scared by the adult one-piece sweatshirt hoodie-thing trend), but i have to say you found some quite nice ones. not that i would wear them, but if actually find them pretty!

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:19 PM

      Thanks! I was so tempted to buy a onesie this winter, it’s been so cold. Luckily they don’t seem to be made for tall ladies or I probably would have succumbed.

  16. Jane February 12, 2013 / 6:34 PM

    Fabulous post and thanks for the handy guide! I like the idea of a playsuit but am sadly aware it may be a mutton step too far. I would KILL for that powder blue 30’s style Paul and Joe jumpsuit though, god I love it!
    I confess that I did wear a jumpsuit back in the day, it was black and in those days (about 1985), the fashion was to wear both sleeves and legs rolled up. I finished off this cutting edge look with Chinese slippers and a perm…!

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:18 PM

      Oh Jane that sounds amazing, I want to see photos! I can totally see you pulling off a playsuit.

      I really want to find out where I can try on that Paul & Joe jumpsuit in real life just to see if it’s as amazing as it looks. The lace back is incredible.

  17. gingermakes February 12, 2013 / 6:14 PM

    Ooh, fun post! I’ve never worn a jumpsuit, but they do seem kind of inconvenient for everyday wear (I mean, they seem like they’d be a real situation in the ladies’ room). But I’m intrigued by the idea of a cute summer playsuit.

    • yesilikethat February 13, 2013 / 2:17 PM

      I like playsuits but I have a personal embargo on shorts, I think they’re adorable on other people though. Just can’t face getting my legs out unless I’m on a deserted beach somewhere.

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