Holly Jumpsuit, By Hand London… my first two anyway!

This was one of those pattern tests when I just went bananas. I’ve made three… so far… yes there are another two in the works. I think I have a new BFF.

I’ve mentioned I was working on this several times and I’ve been BUSTING to share – I love this make and it’s very different everything else I’ve ever made here.

Today I’ll show you the first two – because the third is something completely different (patience is a virtue – apparently).

Yes, it’s the By Hand London Holly pattern.

The three faces of Holly! A jumpsuit, a playsuit and trousers!

The three faces of Holly! A jumpsuit, a playsuit and trousers!

When the By Hand London girls contacted me about Flora… I was cheeky enough to ask if they would mind designing a jumpsuit… and funnily enough it was already in the works! So when they asked if I would like to pattern test… I was completely and utterly unable to refuse. They had me at ‘hello’. I chose to make the jumpsuit as I had been obsessing about jumpsuits – and I seriously don’t think I could pull off a playsuit in my grand old age.

As they have previously blogged, By Hand London completely redesigned the bodice during the testing phase due to tester feedback. So I started all over again… and this time I was beside myself with excitement… BECAUSE IT WAS A COWL BODICE. Apart of my recent jumpsuit obsession – I also have a mad passion for cowl anything. I rocketed past 7th Heaven and into Sewing Nirvana…


My first version was a black ‘sandwashed’ cotton linen. I was having some weird confidence crisis and cut a size larger than I usually would, I didn’t think there would be enough ease around the hips. I’m glad I did as I needed it for the length through the body. The hip in the test pattern hadn’t been graded correctly – this has been fixed. I would recommend that you follow the pattern measurements – then again everyone has a different preference when it comes to fit. That said, I’m longer through the body than average.

Sadly this lovely version is a bit too big through the waist and hips (widthwise) as a result of my decision to upsize. My pattern testing approach is to make up at least one version of the pattern exactly as drafted. I could have graded out the hips etc however my personal approach is to make the pattern up as is. I prefer to see how the original pattern fits first in comparison to other patterns (and there is the notches & all that business to consider) – then I alter on the second round. That’s just the Sew Busy Lizzy way. No better or worse than others.

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - front view

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – front view. Had to crop this to death as the camera strap flopped over. More doh!

So this lovely outfit is slightly too large as you can see (and could have done with a better iron, doh!). It creases through the body as I walk due to the slight oversizing (well hello Christmas lunch outfit I guess!). But heck. I still like it.

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - side view

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – side view

I’ve been considering how to alter it. I did run it in quite a bit through the side seams. However, there is only so much width that you can take from the side before it looks odd. I think the solution might be to unpick the back waist seam and fiddle with the centre back seam and bodice seams etc. Then again this pattern is not a difficult or overly involved sew so it might be more rewarding to simply make another in black.

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - front view

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – front view. I think I should lengthen the straps…

Argh – how I love it in a solid. It doesn’t feel obviously ‘jumpsuit’ and ‘fashion-y’, it’s lovely and classic (well I think so!). Sorry any up-close detail photos were a big fail… it’s just so very black…

I’ve used a belt to create a defined waist and dress it up – it’s more ‘going out’ wear than Holly the Second.


With Holly the Second, as I had done the pattern testing business, I added about 1/2 inch crotch length to the test pattern and cut a size US2/UK6 at the waist and graded out to a US4/UK8 at the hips. I took about two to three inches off the legs (I’m 5 foot 4). I cut the bodice as a size US2/UK6.

I was curious how Holly would look as a mad print… and here she is…

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - side view

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – side view

I really should have posed with my ukulele (yes I play one – badly). This is a very soft drapey rayon… feels like heaven – looks like a Hawaiian riot!

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - back view

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – back view (somewhat wind whipped)

She’s a little mad, crazy and birthed from my fabric ‘library’ – but amazingly comfortable and I love the fit and feel of this one. She’s going to be lovely on a hot summer day. As you can see the legs are too long – I’ve hemmed it for heels.

I feel like I could hang out with Oonaballoona in this one.


It’s really easy to sew together. Like really easy.

It’s got a side zip (no front fly and all that business that often goes with trouders). I added a hook and eye above my zip.

The front bodice is cut on the bias (think about this when choosing your fabric) and the back is in three pieces. For the jumpsuit version, I would recommend a fabric with drape.

The straps are bias and sewn to the inside then turned over to the front and stitched down. I did this by hand, including sewing the straps all the way along by hand. I don’t mind hand stitching later at night (although black-on-black stitching kinda sucked).

I’ve like my fit slightly looser. Given the softer fit of the bodice and the wide, wide legs I personally would steer away from a mega snug fit through the body – that’s my personal preference. It’s got a bit of ‘swoosh’ about it.

I had to take about 3 inches off the leg length as I’m 5 foot 4.


  • Wide, wide legs
  • Shoestring bias straps
  • Bodice pleats not darts
  • Gentle fit
  • Side zip (I do like underarm zips, you barely see them)
  • and clearly… the COWL. Kill me now.
By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit - I just love this bodice

By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit – I just love this bodice

Overall I do really love this pattern – it’s not often I sew the same things three times in a row so that does say something. I really like the bodice, I love softly fitted bodices. I also adore wide-leg trousers. Overall I think the shape is quite lengthening and slimming on my frame.


Now if you are thinking that a jumpsuit ain’t for you because you have more curves than me – well go check out the beautiful Cashmerette who has just blogged her version (featuring the first designed jumpsuit bodice). She looks fabulous. And she’s also beachside 🙂 gotta love that!

The straps are fine so it’s letting the girls hang as nature intended or wearing a strapless bra if you can’t live with ‘peek-a-boo’ straps. As you can see I am wearing a normal bra with Holly the Second. I pulled this jumpsuit on after snapping my Hello Summer Dress while walking the now world-famous Banjo (also on a tight timeframe as my husband was leaving the country for two weeks). Pulling the jumpsuit up under the dress was modest enough but I wasn’t changing my underwear in public even if the beach was very quiet that day. That said, the bra isn’t unbearably obvious. Thin strap bras could look quite cute if they blend in with your fabric.

If you shudder at the thought of strapless, let me tell you Calvin Klein makes some amazingly comfortable ones (for me anyway), I wear mine all day without any discomfort. Good underwear is worth every penny (note: personal opinion here).


BHL offered to help cover the cost of fabric or find someone to provide fabric for this pattern test. However my stash is big (I consider it a ‘library’ these days) and can accommodate the odd pattern test… instead I suggested something for my readers instead – I get enough stuff and like to share the love when I can.

So I’ve got the giveaway provided by By Hand London – you can indulge yourself in Charlotte, Georgia and Flora, note: Holly wasn’t printed when they sent me this package during the testing phase. Plus it’s in a cute tote bag with stickers!

blog giveaway from BHL

blog giveaway from BHL

This giveaway is open to everyone – anywhere in the world. NOW CLOSED.

Competition closes Wednesday 10 September 2014 (now closed)- winner chosen by random number generator and notified via email (winner has been notified).


I pattern test. I’ve always been quite clear about that.
I completely understand & respect that some people have issues with the process.
Here’s my take on me doing pattern testing… I simply wanted to say a few things about the subject (kinda why I blog LOL).
I’m OK with doing pattern testing, I once edited craft patterns – making, editing and writing is a passion for me, personally and once-upon-a-time professionally. Yes it involves receiving a pattern – it’s hard to test without one. Pattern testing sits comfortably with me. I enjoy it – even with deadlines and changing details.
Sew Busy Lizzy is about me (whoa – self-centred moment). I sew and blog about sewing because I love it – it really is that simple. I started sewing because I needed some ‘happy’ in my life at a very difficult time. Blogging came next as I had no one to talk to IRL about sewing (I started talking to myself in this space and people started reading and talking back – no strategy at all).
I have a fulltime career and this is my ‘yoga’. It doesn’t mean I’m not serious about my sewing – in fact I’m very OTT about my sewing!
Yes, I sometimes receive patterns and I blog for Mood Fabrics (still pinching myself about that one), I disclose these things. I pass patterns, fabric etc onto my followers when I can.
That’s the plain, simple, unadorned truth. If you think otherwise, chuck me on a lie detector and prepare to be disappointed. I’m really that dull. Sorry about that.
I’m just here for the sewing 🙂

Heavens, that’s probably going to ignite a debate here or elsewhere but seriously people, I just like to sew…

… on a lighter note… and here’s one for Banjo’s loyal followers… yes, my blog photos are most often taken on our family outings when walking – or running with – the adorable little hound known as Banjo.

Banjo hot on my heels...

Banjo hot on my heels…

You can meet Holly the Third tomorrow 🙂 I promise…

105 thoughts on “Holly Jumpsuit, By Hand London… my first two anyway!

  1. I was so excited to see Holly released that I went searching for pattern tested versions – little did i know you’d be on that list! (I am SOOOO behind in my blog reading lol) Way to go! I love both versions of your Holly but I really adore the classic black one – that could be worn to death in so many ways 🙂 You’d be right at home in a fancy cocktail bar with some jewellery and killer heels added to it, but it looks just as appropriate on the beach 🙂 Can’t wait to see your third version! What a stunner of a pattern – thanks for asking the BHL ladies for it!! ^__^

  2. I love that last one – he’s so fast!! Your jumpsuits look great! I am nearly positive this pattern isn’t for me, but that neckline is pretty much perfection…

  3. Oh gawd, will you all stop showing off your gorgeous Holly jumpsuits please?! Seriously, I was a firm “over my dead body” when I first saw the pattern thinking it wouldn’t flatter curves, until I saw Cashmerette’s version…. ! Now you’re tempting me again with not one but TWO! It looks like a great pattern and a very elegant, flattering fit on both versions. Love it! x

    • I used to be very hesitate to try any new shapes until I started sewing – now I’ve embraced new things and I’m often surprised by what I like. I think blogging, taking photos and reading other blogs and seeing makes on different shapes and sizes really does help. Cashmerette’s is fab!

  4. I wasn’t sure about this one to be honest but I like the look of the belted black… Maybe I should keep holly in mind…
    PS – love the floral number on you! Now make a playsuit for the summer 😉

  5. Wow! These two Holly’s are so different from each other that I don’t know what to expect for version number three! Entering the giveaway now. The Georgia dress is on my list of things to make, so I’m crossing my fingers that I win!

  6. Dang. I really wasn’t sure about the whole jumpsuit thing and was basically eyeballing the fabulous trousers. You and Casmerette have basically made me think this is a look I could do! I’m definitely a fan of the solid version but mixing a print into the top half could work too…
    In short, you look fabulous and all kinds of sophisticated in the noir mk1!

  7. II don’t know if this pattern is for me but it really does look fantastic on you! and the combo of the wide legs and cowl top are kind of enticing me to try it

  8. I don’t know if I’m a jumpsuit kind of gal, but these look amazing on you! Such breezy and cool outfits. Perfect for a lazy day strolling the beach, or out for drinks, great job! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity as well. I am headed there now… 🙂

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  10. Love your black Holly — so classic. I’ve always been anti-jumpsuit but I think I’m going to get this one, I like that there’s a pants option of I decide I just can’t swing the one-piece 🙂

  11. I hope you do either take in or remake the black one. It looks so elegant. Actually doesn’t look too big to me but it’s hard to tell with black fabric and I’m reading this on my phone so the pics are tiny. Anyway it’s lovely.

  12. I love the black one! I’ve been drooling over jumpsuits the whole summer, but being pregnant I’ll have to wait till next year to make one… But this pattern/your version(s) are just gorgeous!

  13. I absolutely love your jumpsuits! Especially the second one! And the bodice is so good! I thought I didn’t need a jumpsuit… oh, well, maybe next summer (it’s almost autumn here) 🙂

  14. I haven’t ever seen a RTW jumpsuit/playsuit that I liked. Mostly because when I try it on the proportions are all wrong and it seems to hug in the wrong places (I’m not even big!). I certainly wouldn’t have thought a long and wide leg jumpsuit would look good on me, but you have me wondering… I’m interested in the sleeved version though. I always like wearing sleeves in the summer to protect my shoulders.

    • I think the legs create a great sense of balance and I also feel that it’s not so obvious or cutesy if that makes sense? I always try on a wide variety of styles in shops – because you just never know! I once had a strapless jumpsuit with harem style legs and it was rather awesome. I wore it camping a lot!

  15. As soon as I saw this pattern I loved it, but now I see your actual iterations of the pattern I love it even more. Oh yeah there’s the practical down side about a jumpsuit – going to the loo, but it will be just fine in summer. I remember owning a couple of playsuits about 20 years ago and loved them, probably a bit too old to pull them off now but it might look okay with a bit of length added.

  16. Gorgeousness!! I especially would love to make the sleeved bodice version. Curious though…, what length is the zipper? I have found that having a small waist and blessed hips, the zip has to be longer.

    • I also have a small waist so I can relate to the need for a long zipper. For this version of the jumpsuit the zipper is 18 inches. The legs are wider which helps but I think you could get away with longer, depends on your fabric choice.

  17. Fabric Library. Love it, I’m going to take that turn of phase and pass it off as my own 🙂

    Gorgeous makes, after reading this and Cashmerette maybe I will rethink my “jumpsuits are not for me” stance.

  18. Gorgeous!! Gorgeous Hollies, of course and as always beautifully written up. Love your sewing blogging loveliness, even if I don’t comment all the time 🙂 xx

    • Heavens – never mind that – I’ve been terrible at commenting this year. So tired and so overwhelmed with family things… life is improving and I’m making a conscious effort online at the moment… need to get back into the groove.

  19. before i got to the hanging out sentence i was all GIMMIE THAT HAWAIIAN RIOT RIGHT NOW.
    your assumption is monumentally correct. in fact, i want to copy all of your hollys (dress?! YES).

  20. Love both Hollies on you… (And I just spotted the “dress” too!) The black one looks very sophisticated! Too bad it is a little big BUT it looks good in the pics- and I guess you can make another one! I think the black definitely looks more dressy than the print. But the print is awesome and fun!

  21. Wow, those look great! I’m not a jumpsuit girl but they look fab on you! I lurrrrrve a cowl neckline too – just so flattering! Thanks for sharing the info and also the scenery. Lived there when I was little for a time and am so hoping to go back for a proper visit one day 🙂 Your blog is definitely a favourite of mine. Keep doing what you’re doing! It makes you happy – which is the most important thing 🙂 x

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