The Pattern Probe #6: Simplicity 8513 Bodysuits

Simplicity 8513


It’s been a minute, in a matter of speaking, since my last post. Not going to lie, I’ve never been very good at keeping a diary in my youth so keeping up with a blog was never going to be different, lol.

But then the Year of Satan 2020 happened, and things have been going crazy all over the place. I’m doing okay with all of it, channeling my anxiety into more useful pursuits. While some people took up bread-baking to keep their minds off of the Troubles, I have found my way back to sewing.

Simply put, I’ve bought a TON of fabric. My basement is starting to resemble a fabric store so I’m diving back into my sewing bucket list trying to be rid of it before I find more fabric to buy. It’s a vicious but pleasurable cycle, lol. 🙂

Also I’ve purchased a bunch of new patterns because the companies have been doing very well keeping track of fashion trends and the Fashion Industry has been doing well recycling old trends into new ones too, lol.

Since I’ve first learned how to sew, I get a real sense of joy making clothes that mimic high-end designer stuff that fits me and my measurements. Maybe someday I’ll be able to put it to good use, who knows? For now I’ll just add my voice to the burgeoning DIY Fashion community in my own way, starting with my little blog and this post on Simplicity 8513 ‘Bodysuits’ collection.

Ever since I purchased two of American Apparel’s leotards in grad school, I’ve been itching to make my own bodysuits in my current size. Anytime I search for them online their sizes seem to be pretty stagnant with their proportions only working for certain heights, which is typical of retail since they can’t obviously cater to EVERY figure out there. Finally, pattern companies have started to publish a few bodysuit designs and I can assure you I have bought ALL of them. Bodysuits are great to wear when you want a top tucked into pants/skirts for that streamlined look and it’s easy to adapt for whatever trend the Fashion business cycles in & out of.

Design A – Front & Back
Design C – Front & Back

For this pattern pack, I chose the lace-up neckline design A for my practice one and the faux-wrap design C for my real one. What I mean by this is that there is no equivalent to muslin fabric in knits; if you want to figure out size and proportion you basically have to dive in and make the garment with whatever knit you can buy on the cheap and save the chosen knit for your real version. I had some 4-way stretch brown knit fabric that was twice the amount I needed for this project so this was used for practice in case I wanted to try this lace-up design again in this fabric later. The pink jersey knit I bought on one of my past fabric store trips because it looked opaque enough to use and I can’t tell you how hard it is to find pink jersey knit that ISN’T translucent. I love a pink leotard but they always have a translucent issue showing off just enough to show every roll.

So after making both pieces I am very happy with both designs, even with the practice piece, so I’ll be wearing both in my daily life. The instructions were clear and simple to follow, so this is a good pattern for novices who aren’t total beginners. However, I have come away with some important lessons from the experience:

  • This pattern has a 3/8″ seam allowance so DON’T do the usual 5/8″ seam allowance these patterns tell you. That note is written before design instructions begin and I missed that when making the lace-up bodysuit. Fortunately that brown knit is 4-way stretch so the garment still fitted me the way I wanted it to, but it would have been a different story with that 2-way stretch pink jersey knit. Remember, 3/8″ seam allowance all around unless said otherwise in the instructions
  • That said, the lace-up neckline on Design A is wide so any of you who are self-conscious about nip slips may want to make it shorter when modifying the pattern. I haven’t tried it yet but I will the next time I make this piece.
  • The one area I struggled with is the elastic band insertion into the leg opening seams. I didn’t bother with sewing straight stitches and just did stretch zig-zag ones all around. Both times I dealt with wavy aftermaths on those seams and they don’ lie as flat as store bought bodysuits. It may just be that I need more practice and perhaps some modifying the pattern size in that part of the garment.
  • Once again, the pink jersey knit had a slight translucence to it so my journey continues. It also wasn’t as stretchy so if you want to use this type of knit to make this bodysuit, it is imperative that you pick a size that is a bit bigger than your natural size and stick to 3/8″ seam allowance to accommodate it.
  • This pattern suggests using tricot for the crotch lining but I just used the same fabric from the bodysuit for that piece and it worked out fine. If it’s good for store-bought underwear, it’s good for handmade bodysuits too.

I’m glad I took the time to try this pattern out. These designs are my favorite out of the whole pack so far and I’ll have to try the other 3 out in the future. Stay tuned! 🙂

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