Hi, it’s Amanda from DerivingMommyhood and I’m here to share a fun hack on the Road Trip Bodysuit!
The pattern as is has plenty of its own adventure, but I wanted to try to recreate a bodysuit I’d seen online. Specifically, a backless one with lace accents. And velvet. Because why not be a little extra? I’ll stop and mention now that my dear husband feels this leans a little gymnastics or ice skater. I say that would require a bedazzler, but maybe it’s a perk. Maybe you need that in your life. I’m affectionally calling it more of a Mullet Bodysuit in my mind….imagine showing up to your holiday parties in a sleek, velvet top. Business as usual. Then you remove your sweater/coat/parka and backless and lace?!? Party time.
So enough preamble, lets get down to how I created this. First, let’s change our front pattern pieces ever so slightly. This is optional, I mean really this whole project is optional, but I preferred to have a wider shoulder and higher neckline since the back is so bare. I added about an inch to each, redrawing and smoothing the curves. Make sure you start out horizontal on the neckline and then blend up to the shoulder.
Now the back will change a lot more. Start with the lower half. I measured from where the seam of the bodysuit is up the back of my body to see how low I was willing to make mine, and it came up around 13” for my size 6. That measurement will be very different from size to size, so I suggest measuring your self. Just keep that number in your mind. Now, using the shorten/lengthen line as a reference point here, you will make a new back pattern piece that is that height at the sides, and curves gently down to your magic number. You could choose also to just go up to your bra line if you’d prefer, or anywhere in-between I suppose, but at least have the height on the sides to that lengthen/shorten line. I also chose to just cut on the fold here since most of the shaping for the back happens above this line for my size.
For the lace portion of the back, I started by tracing along the back armscye and extending it to where a back center would be if it wasn’t a scoop on the pattern. You could trace your favorite high back pattern for help here if you choose. Don’t forget that extra inch I added on the shoulder also. Starting at the bottom of the armscye, I angled in down to that lengthen/shorten line (or about ½” past). Then connect from the back center to the bottom with a diagonal line. Your galloon lace will have its pretty edge along this line.
A couple more notes here….if you are using mesh or lace without a finished edge, you’ll need some fold over elastic to finish that raw edge. This might be a good thing as you can adjust the pattern to fit your back easier by just snugging up that elastic. Also, if your size makes it so that the lace isn’t wide enough for your pattern piece, you could layer two pieces of lace over each other to make a wider piece.
I’ll mention here that it is a good idea to baste up your project or make a toile to make any adjustments you might need, since nothing was ever successfully one size fits all. I had to tweak that back piece to make sure I didn’t get any gaping on the sides for mine.
I cut the sleeves and leg bindings as usual. For the neck, you’ll cut a narrower binding piece and will need a small piece of elastic and button with shank, but we will get to that in a moment.
Okay, let’s sew! Start by finishing the top edge of the bottom back. I serged ¼” elastic, stretching it as I went. Your elastic will need to hold that top edge in so you’ll want it comfortably snug, an inch or two smaller than the width.
Then, carefully fold that top edge down and stitch in place so that the elastic is fully enclosed. Use a stretch stitch, like zigzag here.
Next, attach the shoulders and sleeves as usual. You might want to use clear elastic to stabilize the seams of the lace. Now we will sew down the sides. First, pin the bottom half to the front right sides together. Next, start at the sleeve and pin all the way around and you should end up with the lace ever so slightly overlapping that bottom half. Go ahead and tug that lace down a teeny bit more even, easing in on the sides. Sew that up, using clear elastic again on the side seams if you want.
Now you can bind the legs as usual, doing the snap option or not. For the neck though, we will add a closure to make it a little easier to get on and off. Start by taking a measurement of the neck opening, from lace end to lace end and multiplying by 85% to get a new binding length. Add ½” to that for seam allowances at the ends. Cut a strip of fabric 1.5” by that measurement, along the stretch. Now, sew the binding strip to the bodysuit right sides together, stretching to fit the neckline and leaving ¼” extra at the ends.
Fold that seam up towards the binding, and fold the raw edge opposite down towards the seam you just sewed.
You will then fold in half to encase all those raw edges but first, let’s finish the ends. Grab your 1” piece of elastic. Fold your elastic into a loop and baste it on the inside of your binding, raw edges aligned. Fold your binding in half, right sides together, and sew along both of the short ends. You can snip inside the seam allowance to reduce some bulk if you need to.
Next, fold your binding and pin or clip all the way around the neckline.
Stitch this in place close to the last folded edge you made, and sew making sure to catch that folded edge on the inside. Then, hand sew a button to the side opposite your loop. You can search for double fold binding neckline tutorials if you’ve never done one like this before.
Done! Go and be fabulous!!