Hello Sewists,

Finally I am back to work. Along with bars and restaurants, hairdressers are now allowed to open in the UK. I’m lucky that at Hunter Collective (the studio where I work) we have a lot of space and the owners have managed to reconfigure the layout for maximum distancing and comfort… it feels great to see my clients and colleagues (and be earning) again!

I started back on Saturday; you’d be right to think that I was up all night the day before getting ready and checking all my checklists… well, I was up all night, but mostly because I wanted to finish this amazing boiler suit to wear the next day! – I’ve wanted to make myself one since 2016 when I made one for my CousinA instead – and I left it right up until the day before to finally get it done!

In the back courtyard – I’m pleased with how well it matches my SneakerKit shoes!

I’ve had the pattern some time, but the thought of going back to work in a boiler suit (… and seeing how cool Blanca looks in her namesake flight suit on Instagram!) must be what finally gave me the push!

The pattern is Kwiksew 3389, I knew it came up quite roomy from the last one I made, so I cut out the ‘small’ even though my measurements matched the medium size better. (I don’t believe this is a flaw in the pattern, it’s designed to wear your ‘real’ clothes underneath… I only needed room for underwear and a T-shirt!).

I was quite the novice when I made it before and I remember having to read the instructions a few times through on certain parts. I hadn’t remembered the techniques from before, but I was pleased to find that I understood the instructions straight away… nice to know there’s been some improvement!

Convinced that the fit would be terrible, I bought some good quality but inexpensive cotton from Dalston Mill to muck it up on… but it all turned out rather well in the end! I made a few changes along the way: I french seamed the front pockets, which is an easy hack if you know how – the basic principle of french seams is: you sew once with the WRONG sides together, then again with the RIGHT sides together. That keeps the seams on the inside. With the pockets, you want the seams to end up on the ‘outside’ of the bag so you have to flip them out, away from the trousers to do the first sew (I use 1/3 of the full seam allowance) …

1st sew – pocket pieces insides out – 1/3 of seam allowance.

Then, when they’re flipped back the right way round, I sew them again (at the remaining 2/3 seam allowance) to seal the raw edges within the stitching.

2nd sew – pockets right sides round – 2/3 of seam allowance.

I also wanted to add elastic to the back waistband (again) to give it a bit of shape, so I cut out an extra piece to make a channel. Once that was sewn in I fed the elastic through with this little gizmo (that I can never normally find when I need it!)

Practically invisible elastic-pulling-gizmo.

With the elastic through, I anchored it to the side seams so it could all be sewn up together. I tried it on and was amazed at how well it seemed to fit; It was still a bit full, especially the legs – so I sewed again, widening my seam allowance from the given 1.5cm up to as much as 3cm at the widest part of the leg. (Later, I noted this down and altered the pattern to match).

I tried it on again and this had worked a treat. So I finished off the side seams, rolled up my sleeves and hems and I was done… except I realised that I needed a bit of elastic round the front too…

I’m sorry to admit that at the 11th hour and desperate to finish, I was loath to start unpicking, so I cobbled together a solution… I cut a piece of elastic to size for each side and managed to stretch and sew it to the front waistbands by stitching over the second row of topstitching (catching the edges of the elastic underneath). As you can imagine, this was quite a contortion and as such there is no photographic evidence of the technique/ wrestling match! The orange elastic (#usewhatyouhave!) is a dead giveaway on the inside…!

But from the outside, it’s done the job!

After my first day back at work – bleach stained already!

I put it on as soon as it was finished. I’ll be honest, it felt a bit odd at first – I’m not used to looking down and seeing the same outfit all the way down but I’m pleased to report that within about 10 minutes I felt amazing in it… Invincible!! I have definitely found my new favourite make… and it’s definitely inspiring more… In fact, I’ve sat up late the last few nights making a pale blue linen version too!

On this version (I shortened the collar – maybe a little aggressively! and…) attached the inner waistband casing – and the elastic – in one piece. You can see in the photo below where it is pinned from the outside and the inside.

This mostly worked and I only had to hand stitch a couple of inches that didn’t catch in the stitching. The linen feels really great to wear, but you’ll have to wait for the sun to come out again before I get a photo in it.

After my first week back at work and a few big nights of sewing, you can bet I’ve been sleeping well! I’ve been dreaming of all the other boiler suits I want to make; more cotton ones for sure – and linen, but I’m looking forward to owning an ‘executive boiler suit’ made from some beautiful fine wool… but that’s all for another day.

Happy sewing,


In the back courtyard before heading off to work – Feeling ready for anything!

Notes to self:

  • Well done for transferring the alterations to the paper pattern before forgetting them!
  • If you want to make something for yourself but aren’t sure it will suit you, don’t wait 4 years – it’ll only take a day or two to find out!
  • Be mindful of fabric choices – the linen one feels great but is just on the right side of ‘jumpsuit’!