Monday, 19 May 2014

Vintage Playsuit Sew Along - Styles

1954 playsuit

I was very excited when I read that Stephanie Lynn from the Girl with the Star-Spangled Heart was planning a sew along for a vintage play suit. For such a long time I wanted to sew a playsuit for me, but never had time or the right "occasion". I was afraid to participate, as last time I wanted to be part of a sew along, I broke my toe, so I really didn't have any chance to make my planned dress. And it's still unfinished, sadly...

This time will be hopefully different. I have some time to chose the patterns and materials, and I hope that I will also have time enough to tidy up my studio a little bit before starting this project, as it currently looks a little bit - uhm, well, messy untidy.

I will not write about the playsuit as a typical garment of the 1930s until the 1960s. Sewing vintage, everyone runs in a playsuit pattern sooner or later. I have some in my collection as well, not many, as most of them are incredibly expensive. Most of the patterns available consist of a one- or two-piece suit, the latter could be with a short skirt or short pants, and usually the outfit could be completed by a blouse, a bolero, or a jacket, and a loner and wider skirt. Of course the length and fullness of the skirt changed a lot in the course of the decades, as did the rest of this iconic garment. On the other hand, there were always many different styles of fashion at the same time. Obviously, it will be very difficult to make a choice. In the end, I guess, I will build my own playsuit set from different patterns, according to my liking.

So I will have to plan carefully, what type of playsuit I would like to sew. Should I make a one-piece short suit or some short pants with a halter top? Both will certainly be accomplished by a matching skirt, but I guess the latter version would offer more possibilities. With the short pants, I could wear a halter top, a bustier, a blouse. Made from the same material or a matching contrasting fabric.

Let's start with the "under garment". A two-piece playsuit would be best, but should I make shorts or a short skirt? Well, not THAT short, I don't want to expose my legs too much. And then, my belly should be covered, after all, I'm a mother of two, and I would like to keep some decency.

Love MM's pants...
...but definitely too short for me!

Different styles of tops

A detail I love here about this pattern is the buttoned bolero and the wrapped band of the long skirt.

The pattern on the left has a gorgeous halter top, and I was happy to see that longer pants like these "pedal pushers" were an option for playsuit sets as well.

A knotted blouse or an asymmetrical halter top? A skirt with darts, pleats or a gathered one? How full? It will certainly be a buttoned skirt, as for me, the sense of a skirt to wear over the playsuit as such is to change your "sporty beach outfit" in a decent day dress, so there's no way to display a bare leg.

There are countless possibilities...! I will certainly have a close look at my pattern collection to get some more ideas.


  1. Do you have thes patterns? I love Simplicity 1980 and Hollywood 1600! Maybe I will join the sewalong too! I"m not sure yet, i'm a little bit behind with my sewing projects and I surely want to finish some UFO's before starting something new.

    1. Anthea, no, I don't have these patterns. Sadly, as some of the ones shown here are absolutely fantastic. Simplicity 1980 is one of my favourites too, for some patterns I just don't have the right shape, but they're still adorable.
      Playsuit patterns are currently very expensive, and difficult to come by. You can find also some that are available as digital copies which are much cheaper of course.

      I just looked through my collection to see what I actually have, and it's quite "a lot". I mean, enough to torture my brain which one to chose. I will write about them in a second VPSA post later. I have some UFOs as well, but I desperately need some new pieces for my wardrobe, and as playsuits are versatile and summer is approaching, this sew along is an excellent opportunity. Hope to see you there too!

      ♥ Doris


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