Hot! The “Bosoms are Optional” Playsuit


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The Facts

Fabric: Vintage 1940s/1950s seersucker, $25
Pattern: McCall's 6311 $.99
Year: c. 2011
Notions: zipper
Time to complete: 2 hours
First worn: November 2011
Wear again? Yes!

Total Cost: ~$25.99

When I think about "pin-ups" I think about the iconic image of Betty Grable peeking over her shoulder. It's fairly modest and certainly not the scandalous sort of photo that I'd be too embarrassed to reproduce for The Sew Weekly. I'm a pretty modest person (being a mom does it to me, I think) so I wasn't too interested in giving the internet at large too much of … well … anything.

After my Google image searches for "pin-up," I started to get a little terrified. I thought: WHAT DID I JUST SIGN US UP FOR? Yeah, I knew that vintage pin-ups were racy.  But seriously, that's a lot of skin. And garters. And bosoms. And bottoms. And ladies being surprised by things like water hoses, fishing lines and playful puppies.

Oddly, my skirt never flies up because of a crazy mishap with a desk fan.

It was about the same time that I was looking for pin-up inspiration that I watched the trailer for Miss Representation.  So yeah, I started to face a major conflict: how do I make and model something pin-up style and still hold on to my dignity (as well as not create something that I wouldn't want my daughter to see).

I know, I know. Maybe I'm taking this all a bit too seriously. 

So instead of stressing about this all, I decided just to sew something. My original plan was to go with a vintage 1940s pattern. I had this amazing vintage seersucker that just needed to be paired with an equally awesome vintage pattern. But after I saw  sewlyaharpist's take on McCall's 6331, I decided to work with this contemporary pattern that's in my stash.

This was a simple, simple pattern to make. I had made a "muslin" before this version since I'm not used to working with modern patterns and I wasn't willing to make any mistakes with the seersucker. So by the time I made this one, I was able to sew it in about 2 hours. If you're looking for a playsuit pattern, this one is pretty nice. I added the buttons to the contrast facing as a decoration — they aren't functional.

And, actually, the playsuit will get use this late in the year — I'll be heading to Palm Springs next week and actually need something to wear by the pool.

More fun than the sewing was getting to edit these all in photoshop.  In order to make these look like vintage pin-ups, we took the photos against a white background and floor covering (white sheets). Using Picnik and Photoshop, there was a lot of manipulation of colors and exposure. This tutorial was also very helpful.

So after all my worries about the pin-up vibe, I'm totally happy with my photos and feel that they represent me well. The playsuit is cut so high, you can't even tell that I have breasts. But, as someone that got to a 40 G after giving birth, that's totally okay.





Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. You look fantastic!! So, so darling (and Uke’s Rule!).

  2. These are amazing photos, and I LOVE how you made this playsuit. I’ve been following the blog for quite some time and this is hands down my favorite creation. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the ladies think up!

  3. Love your playsuit and love your photos! Thanks for including the tutorial on editing pin-up photos. I’d like to try my hand at it someday. Great post, Mena. Perhaps my favorite to date.

  4. Ideal – cute and sassy without being trashy.

  5. This is gorgeous! I have that pattern on the way in the mail, and I’d love to do something similar – pinup inspired without looking like it belongs in a magazine stashed under the bed. And I just want to say, congratulations on the editing – it looks great!

  6. Amazing photo shoot and editing. Seriously-wow!

  7. Aw! You’re classy and sassy! Adorable to boot.

  8. ~SQUEAL~ This is SOOOOOO AWESOME! I have been so excited to see what everyone makes for pin-up week, and you did not disappoint. I absolutely love your playsuit…and your photos are FABULOUS! You look amazing!

  9. Very classy! Your accessories are perfect, too… Well done!

  10. I absolutely love this week’s theme and your photoshoot is just adorable! I love everything about your outfit!!!

  11. I almost didn’t recongise you – I love your “pinup” shots …. and playsuit!

  12. You look so lovely and youthful in these shots!

  13. wow you look like an orginal pin up! Great suittoo

  14. How cute, I’ve got that pattern in my stash as well but didn’t get up the nerve this summer. Maybe next year.

  15. Perfect balance. Anyone would know the theme without being told, but you kept it quite tasteful. The ukulele takes it over the top. So great!

  16. Those photos are incredible!!!!

  17. Very cute, totally can see the Betty Grable inspiration. A friend showed me that Miss Representation trailer, I love it!

  18. You look amazing! And love the jumper, so adorable!

  19. Very cute, and I love the buttons on the lapel. I have this pattern in my stash too and would never have pictured it as a pin-up look, but it totally works!

  20. Totally breathtaking!! You keep the image of pin up with dignity, do not think anyone can beat this …

  21. AAACK!!! This is too adorable!!! Bravo, girl, for a playsuit well-sewn! I’ve got this in my stash, and because of you, I’ve got to sew this. (I live in Texas where it’ll come in handy for most of the year anyway!) Thanks for the inspiration and fantastic photos!!!

  22. I love it!! So cute and flirty yet very tasteful and classy! Thanks so much for linking my blog (SeeCateCreate). If you want more tutorials on how to take and edit pin up pics or some ideas for tasteful pin up posing and styling, feel free to visit anytime! :)
    LOVE IT!

  23. This is very classy, Mena! You look fabulous! I too have been stressing over what to make that isn’t racy and for a boyish figure like myself. I love your photos.

  24. I think I saw that pattern in a store and didn’t buy it. Now I regret it.

  25. I bought this pattern, after I saw someone make up the sundress, and am toying with the idea of the playsuit for next summer – I have not been interested in any playsuits for myself even though I do think they look pretty cute. It is a style I have slowly warmed up to. Anyways, yours turned out great, I love the photo editing, and I laughed at your pin-up humor. Job well done!

  26. A-DORABLE!
    And great job on the photo editing–spot on.

  27. Wow these photos are so artful and really have captured that vintage feel. The playsuit is perfect too. Its like looking at an old calender!

  28. This is brilliant Mena, everything from the the choice of fabric, the buttons the playsuit the edited photo’s the pose the write up, perfection.

  29. Isn’t it awesome to be able to have an excuse to go all out in photoshop?

  30. These photos and your playsuit are way cute!
    I was looking at this pattern during a recent Joann sale, and almost got it. Sad now that I didn’t!

  31. Love it! what a bomshell :) love the print on the fabric too, its very fitting for the theme

  32. LOVE this, Mena! Your look is completely spot on – fabulously done!!

  33. You make a perfect modern day pin up Mena! So darling!
    I love that neckline, and couldn’t the Colette Rooibos be similar:

  34. Mena–this is one of my all time favourites! You very much like a vintage pin-up!!! Right down to the expression! So lovely! xoxox