HELLO everyone! My name is Michele from WinMichele. I am thrilled to be part of this year’s contributor team. My wish for this post is to bring you something approachable and fun. So I hope I can deliver just that. As a mother from the desert landscapes of Arizona, I crave patterns that are lightweight and versatile. The Orchid Midi Dress pattern is for sure one of my favorites. It can be made with lightweight woven and I’m going to show you how versatile it can be by sharing this tutorial for making your own Orchid Bodysuit.
One day I was shopping and decided I would pull all the garments that caught my attention to try on. Out of all of the cute trendy clothes, one really stood out. It was this bodysuit, but not just a plain bodysuit made of knit. This bodysuit top was made of woven fabric and the bottom brief portion was made of knit. Instantly the top reminded me a lot of the Orchid Midi Dress. Well, I tried it on and there were a few things wrong with it. It didn’t fit right and had some sewing errors. That’s ok, I told myself. I know how to sew and the Orchid Midi was to my rescue. Take a look at my Pinterest board and you can get an idea of what I had in mind.
I headed over to the Style Maker Fabrics website to check out their wide selection of fabrics. Some key points for fabric choices are that I wanted a lightweight fluid fabric for the top bodice portions and sleeves. The Floral Rayon Poplin in the rose color scheme really seemed like something I would like.
Then, for the bottoms of the bodysuit, I needed to aim for a knit with at least a 75% stretch factor. You need something really stretchy to gather up the woven bodice and yet stretch over shoulders when putting on the bodysuit. So I chose the Bamboo Jersey Knit in black. Make sure that the knit has good stretch recovery as well. You want it to recover back to its original shape once placed on.
For this tutorial you will need the following supplies
- 2-3 yds (2.5 meters) of lightweight woven fabric with a good drape. This will be for the bodice and sleeves.
- 1-2 yds (1.5 – 2 meters) of knit fabric for the bottoms. Aim for a 4-way stretch knit with a stretch factor of 75%. Must have a good recovery.
- 1-2 yds (1.5 – 2 meters) of 3/8” wide (1 cm) lingerie/Picot elastic.
- 2 – 2.75” long, 5/8” wide (7 cm x 1.5 cm) wide twill tape or grosgrain ribbon. This is to stabilize the area where the snaps will be installed.
- 2 sets of 1/2” (13mm) snaps.
For this tutorial you will need the following pattern pieces:
- Front and Back bodice of the Orchid Midi
- The sleeve of choice of the Orchid Midi
- Underwear pattern or tracing of your underwear. We going to want to look for a brief that has a high rise around 1” below your waistline.
- Before you start I would highly recommend making a mock-up of the pattern to address any fit issues you may have before continuing onto the bodysuit.
The bottom of the bodice pattern pieces is intended to hit at the waist so we will add 1.5” (3.8 cm) in length to both the front and back bodice pieces. This will allow enough length to give a slight blouse effect and prevent the brief portion of the bodysuit to peek out from above the waistband or any bottom garment you choose to wear. Make sure you have all notches on the bottom of the bodice, especially the center front notch. By doing this, we will be able to know how much to overlap the front bodice and baste.
The bottom briefs:
You have a choice to either use an existing underwear pattern, use a ready to wear underwear brief, or trace your own brief underwear for the bodysuit. In this tutorial, I will be tracing my own brief underwear as my pattern. I also want to give you a tip on how to create a no show panty line look as a bonus tutorial at the end of this blog post.
I went ahead and traced the front and back of the brief. Marking around 2” (5cm) from the front gusset line. This will be the middle of the brief and where the snaps will be installed.
We will need to add length to the ends of both front and back to give enough room for the installation of the snaps.
- Front underwear pattern: extend the crotch length 5/8” (1.5 cm)
- Back underwear pattern: extend the crotch length 1 1/4” (3 cm)
- Elastic length for leg holes: 90% of leg opening length.
1. Follow the instructions as instructed in the pattern to construct the bodice and sleeves.
Step 1-2 (The only thing you will do in step 2 is interfacing one of the back yokes)
Steps 5-24 for view A
Steps 49-68 for view B
2. Construct the brief underwear pieces together. Take both the front and back brief piece right sides together and zig-zag stitch or serge the side seams.
3. Attach the elastic to the leg opening. Pin mark the elastic in half and the leg opening in half.
4. With right sides together match both the pins of the elastic and leg opening together. This will allow you to evenly distribute the stretch when sewing on the elastic to leg opening.
5. Serge or zig-zag stitch the elastic with the right side together. Stretching the elastic to the length of the fabric.
6. Turn over the elastic to the wrong side of the fabric and topstitch the elastic with a narrow zig-zag stitch. Slightly stretching the elastic as you sew.
7. Serge or use a finishing stitch on the short ends of the crotch extension for both front and back.
8. Fold 5/8” (1.5 cm) over the crotch extension, wrong sides together, on both front and back of brief underwear.
9. Stitch on the twill tape using a straight stitch 1/8” (3 mm) from the edge. Turn under the short end of the tape as you sew to keep raw edges enclosed.
10. Install your snap as instructed in your snap kit. Having front overlapping on top of the back crotch extension.
11. Pin mark waistline on the briefs center front and center back. Do the same for the bodice.
12. Pin together the briefs and bodice with right sides together at the waistline. Matching side seams, center front, and center back pin marks.
13. Serge or straight stitch them together. Stretching the knit briefs to the bodice length as you sew. Use a finishing technique of your choice if you did not serge.
And you are all done!
The Final Look
Bonus tip no show panty line look:
To create a no panty line look but still keep the edge of the briefs strong we need to use binding install it flat. To achieve this we will need to use a double-sided webbing adhesive to fuse the binding flat to the leg holes. It’s washable, stitch-able, and it prevents the edge of the fabric from rolling when worn. My favorite one to use is Wonder Under Stretch Webbing.
What you need:
- 1 yd of Wonder Under Stretch Webbing
- Cut strips of knit fabric for binding (same fabric you used for the briefs). Dimensions to cut are:
Length of leg hole x double the amount of seam allowance for width.
Once you have constructed the side seams of the briefs continue on with the following instructions below. This should be done before you install the snaps.
- Cut your strips of fabric for the binding. Make sure to cut them along the stretchiest grain of the fabric (Crossgrain).
- Cut exact dimensions of strips out of the Wonder Under.
- Per the instructions of the Wonder Under, fuse the strips of Wonder Under to the wrong side of the strips of fabric.
- Let is cool and peel off the paper backing.
- Now fuse the strip of fabric (binding) to the wrong side of the leg opening of the briefs with the iron.
- Once both legs holes are fused with the binding. Trim off the seam allowance. This creates a smooth edge to the leg hole.
- Install your snaps as instructed.
Thank you to our sponsor Stylemaker Fabrics for collaborating on this post. Use code: “NOTCH-0420” for a 10% discount valid through April 30th.