1940s Playsuit With Sun Top
Sewing,  Vintage

1940s Pyjama Playsuit Take Two

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After I finished my 1940s Pyjama Playsuit, I had just enough fabric left to make an alternative top to match the playsuit shorts. I wanted to create another sun top, like this one I made before. That way I would have two 1940s playsuit outfits in one! So I started cutting my sun top, a different style this time but from the same pattern, Simplicity 1462*. Take a look at the process below.

Making the 1940s Playsuit


For some strange reason, this pattern called for the main fabric for most of the lining, but not for the cups? I’m a little puzzled by this and can only imagine it must be a comfort thing. But anyway. I started by darting the cups as instructed.The cups with the bust darts

Also unfathomably, every piece of this pattern was interfaced except for the cups. ??? I really didn’t get this bit. Surely the cups are where you want most of the support? Then again, I’ve never done any bra making so maybe I’m wrong.

Anyway, I fused my interfacing to all the pieces that needed it and then made up the front flaps. These were to go along the top of the cups. This was a simple case of fold it in half and machine around the edges. No bagging through so the stitching must be hidden by the lining.

Then, I attached the front flap to the top of the main fabric cup, easing in the curves and matching the notches.

I repeated this process for the second cup and then joined the two main fabric cups together at the centre front.

Next, I matched the notches and tacks to add the bottom band (main fabric only). Then, I joined the fronts to the back at the side seams (again main fabric only). I pressed the bottom band seam up and the side seams open.

The Fitting

With the basic construction complete, I decided that this would be a good time to do a fitting. I didn’t make the straps up I just safety pinned them on flat. That way I would get an idea of how the sun top would sit.

The top was HUGE. I’m not kidding. It hardly touched my body anywhere, not what I was after from a fitted bralette. I am a 35.5″ bust so I had chosen the 36″ bust size but the top ended up being 4″ too big. Take a look at this sneaky fitting photo and you can see how much I had to take it in. I know BIG 4 patterns have a lot of ease but really?

Anyway, moving swiftly on wards. I pinned the top to fit, took it off and started figuring out the alterations I wanted to do. I took it completely apart, marked my new sewing lines and transferred those to the lining pieces as well.

Method Continued

I reconstructed the top and made the lining up to match. This was going to be a relatively simple case of bagging out, as in putting one on top of the other RST, stiching around the edges leaving a small gap, then turning the whole top inside out through that small gap. The pattern suggested leaving a small gap in the side seam of the lining which you can just about see in this photo.

Making the Straps

The original design had detachable halter neck straps but I didn’t want mine to be detachable. So at this stage, before the bagging out, I made up my straps.

I really HATE loop turning, which is essentially what these straps were. But with lots of patience, and only a little cursing, I managed to turn my straps right side out.

I made the decision to top stitch along the edges of my straps which wasn’t in the pattern instructions. I did this because I like the finish, but also because it helps the straps keep their rectangular shape.

Now I had to add them to my top.

This bit is a bit of a mind warp because for the straps to be on the outside of the top after bagging out, they have to be inside the top when matching the main and lining. Hopefully, these pictures help. I matched the tailors tack for where the straps were meant to go and matched the raw edge of the top with the end of the strap. This means that the long end of the strap is tucked inside the top between the main and the lining.

In this photo you can see the length of the strap is inside the top between the two layers.

Then with both straps pinned in place, I matched the rest of the edges of the lining and the main and stitched around the entire top. Then I turned the top right side out through the little gap in the side seam I had left earlier.

It was then I realised I had been an idiot. When I altered my pattern, I hadn’t moved the marks for where the straps should go. As a result they were much too close together. So I had to turn everything inside out again, unpick my stitching and move the straps, before doing the whole bagging out thing all over again.

Once I was happy, I did a little bit of hand slip stitching to close the gap I had left in the side seam.

Then all I needed to do was add the fastenings. The pattern called for buttons and buttonholes, but I don’t like doing buttonholes and beside, trying to do up a button behind your back is HARD. So I went for some big hooks and eyes instead.

And then just like that, the top was finished!

The Finished 1940s Playsuit Top

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When I first finished this project, I really wasn’t happy with it. You can see in the first photo that there is a little bit of a fit issue with the right cup which I’m not entirely happy with. I also think that the straps are much too skinny. Compared to the width of the front flap they seam so inadequate.

However, having taken these photos and come back to the top, I like it much more. Sometimes all you need is distance from a project. What seems like a huge issue when you are working on it, often turns out to be not that important after all.

What do you guys think of my 1940s playsuit? Which top do you prefer? Personally, I’m excited that I now have more options and another me made outfit. Working on this project has also inspired me; I am now desperate to make a bra! Any tips or tricks for courses or tutorials please send them my way.

But right now I’m off to do some sunbathing in my new outfit.

Claude xx