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Sean and I were planning our adventure to Burning Man in 2012 and preparing creative things to wear when adult-sized onesies were just starting to appear but existing options were costly and didn't offer quite the fit or style we were looking for, so we set out to create our own. If you use the pattern we've included as-is, you will create what you see us wearing. You'll need to be comfortable making adjustments if you have different proportions. I'm 5'7" 145 lbs, and Sean is 5'8" 150 lbs. The finished onesie is super comfy and fun to wear. If you enjoy being a bit ridiculous like we do, you'll discover how awesome they can be at a theme park, party or other outing.
Step 1: Creating the Pattern
We knew that we wanted a better fit than what we found, something more similar to an 80's sweatsuit. We searched and found a vintage jogging suit pattern that looked perfect! The original pattern was by Kerstin Martensson of KWIK SEW. We examined the original pieces of the pattern featuring the hood. In order to connect the top and bottom halves into a single piece required changing the construction of the top, moving the seam from the sides to the center. This is only apparent with the addition of a center seam on the back. The front requires the addition of a zipper. The pattern was cut apart and reconnected to accomplish this. Then, before committing to the final product, we checked the fit and measurements using some bargain-bin jersey fleece fabric. This resulted in several adjustments to the pattern.
Step 2: Materials
If you can find a sweatshirt fleece (or other jersey or fleece fabric ) you love, then get it!
You'll need about 4 yd. (3.65 m) of 60 in. (152 cm) width.
If the material isn't particularly stretchy, like most sweatshirt fleece, you may want to use ribbing material for the sleeve cuffs. You'll need less than 1/4 yd (22 cm) of 22 in. (56 cm) width.
Our fabric search experience in 2012 could not turn up many bright colors, locally or online. We purchased white sweatshirt fleece and dyed it. I'll detail the fabric dying in the next step which you can skip if you found the fabric you want to use.
Thread to match your fabric. If you are dying your fabric, you may want to select your thread after it is dyed.
Non-separating zipper about 24 in. (61 cm)
Hood drawstring. You can use a shoelace or a length of cord about 54 in. (137 cm)
1 in. (2.5 cm) non-rolling elastic for the ankles. You'll need less than a yard/meter.
Step 3: Dye Fabric (Optional)
Skip the Rit and Dylon unless you want a really pale shade. No amount of these dyes will produce a vibrant hue on cotton or other natural fibers. You'll want to use Fiber Reactive Procion Dyes, which are available at many art supply stores and online. Understand that dying fabric is not difficult, but requires a several hours, effort and patience. The reward is something uniquely yours. We selected purple and green. Check out Dharma Trading Co. for a wide selection of colors, supplies and more detailed instructions. We dyed in a large clean plastic trash container sitting in our bathtub, stirring often with a broom handle. If you purchased ribbing, be sure to remember to dye it as well, along with anything else you may want to toss in while you're at it, such as shoelaces, socks or a t-shirt.
Step 4: Prepare Your Pattern & Cut Your Fabric Pieces.
Print the included pattern at 100% scale. You may do this on a home printer by using the tile function, or if you have access, with an oversize roll printer such as an inexpensive blueprint copier. Larger copy shops often have these. Cut all the pattern pieces and pin them to your fabric paying special attention to the grain of fabric and any other considerations we've noted on the pattern and below. A 3/8 in. (10 mm) seam allowance is included for all seams unless otherwise specified. Using a sharp pair of scissors, carefully cut all of your fabric pieces:
Torso and Leg: Cut 2 of these on opposite sides of the fabric, for the left and right sides. (Each leg individually gets stitched up the inseam, then the pieces are stitched together down the center of the back and around the crotch to the bottom of the zipper)
Arm: Cut 2 of these on opposite sides of the fabric.
Wrist Cuff: Cut 2 of these, adjusted to your wrist size. (Sweatshirt fleece is not very stretchy so you can make them slightly large or use cuff ribbing or another stretchier fabric)
Hood: Fold fabric in half, lay straight edge along fold and cut 2 layers.
Pockets: Cut 2 on opposite sides of the fabric.
Step 5: Begin Construction
Make the Legs:
Stitch the inseam of each leg by folding wrong side out, matching up the edges and stitching from the hem to the crotch. Then turn one leg right-side out and leave the other inside-out.
Sew the halves together:
Insert the right-side out leg into the inside-out leg, match up all edges of both pieces, and pin in place. Starting where the neck comes together in the back, stitch the center seam from the the top, all the way down the back and around the crotch, about 6-8 in. (15-20 cm) past where the inseams meet. This will be where the bottom of the zipper meets and can be adjusted to match your zipper length later. Pull one leg out of the other and leave the garment inside-out.
Step 6: Add the Arms
Stitch the underside of each arm together by folding inside out and stitching from the wrist to where the arm attaches to the torso.
Turn each arm right-side out, lay between each half of the torso and match up the edges and notches. The underarm seam should match up with the bottom of the “V”shaped armhole in the garment. Pin in place and stitch all the way around. A small section of each arm piece should make up part of the neck of the garment.
Make and attach the wrist cuffs:
Fold each cuff in half the long way with the right-side of the fabric out. Bring the ends together and stitch along the edge. Flip so the seam is on the inside of the cuff. Insert into wrist of arm piece, folded edge first, so the 2 rough edges of the folded cuff meet the edge of the arm piece. Cuff seam should also meet up with the underarm seam. Pin in place and stitch around wrist.
Step 7: Finish the Legs
Trim legs to correct length, with enough extra for about 1 1/4 in. (3 cm) hem. Sew hem and cut a slit on the inside for elastic. Cut a piece of 1” (2.5 cm) elastic long enough to fit around your ankle with about 1” (2.5 cm) of overlap. Slide elastic through the slit around the ankle and sew overlap together. Slide the seam back into the slit and whipstitch it shut. Repeat for second ankle.
Step 8: Make and Attach the Hood
Fold the hood in half along the TOP edge with the wrong side of the fabric out. Stitch along each curved edges of the fabric leaving the bottom with the tabs open. Turn the fabric right side out, then fold one half into the other half, lining up the tabs at the bottom and the stitched seams. You should now have a a double-layered hood with only the right-side of the fabric showing. (Note: You may want to adjust the size and shape of your hood based on fit, and how it matches up with your sized garment.) If you want a drawstring on your hood add the holes for it now. You can use compression eyelets or just sew a button hole. Make sure your drawstring holes are above the seam allowance for attaching the hood to the garment. Sew a 1 in. (2.5 cm) seam along the front edge of the hood to hold drawstring in place.
Attach the hood:
Insert finished hood into the neck of the garment, top first. Match up edges, making sure the front edges and back seam match up with those of the garment. Pin in place and stitch around the neck. The front bottom corners of your hood will fold over slightly when you add the zipper.
BONUS OPTION: Decorative Hood Lining
You can choose to add a decorative lining to your hood. We created a custom fabric pattern printed on cotton jersey by the awesome folks at spoonflower.com. Remember to offset the seam between your 2 fabrics so the outside fabric wraps around the front of the hood by about 1.5 inches You can do this by cutting one layer of the hood pattern from each of your fabrics and adding about 1.5 in. to the long straight edge of the pattern on the outside fabric, and subtracting the same amount from the long, straight edge on the liner fabric. Lay your pieces face to face, line up the long straight edges and stitch together using 1/4 in. (7mm) seam allowance. Unfold and follow the previous hood instructions.
Step 9: Pockets and a Zipper
Attach the pockets:
Begin by folding each pocket opening edge and sew in place. In our example, we sewed a white fabric tape trim over the opening edge. Then pin your pockets into place with the unfinished edges folded under, except for the center (inner) edge which will be finished when you install the zipper. The bottom edge of our pockets is about 21in. (53 cm) from the neckline, but place yours according to your measurements/preferences. Sew the pockets in place, ideally double stitched for strength.
Attach the zipper:
We can't do a better job of explaining how to install a zipper than this tutorial. The only element you need to take special care with here is to maintain alignment of the two pockets.
That's it! Hop on in!
If you're so inclined, we added fabric tape overtop of the interior seams on the neckline for a more finished look and feel, which is quick and easy. There's plenty of room for alterations and creativity with these fun and comfortable outfits.