Hot! The “In the Zone” Playsuit

The Facts

Fabric: Plaid seersucker, thrifted $1
Pattern: Simplicity 4337, $10
Year: c. 1953
Notions: Elastic, 4 buttons
Time to complete: 3 1/2 hours
First worn: June 2012
Wear again? YES!

Total Cost: ~$11


I’d like to say that I’m far more calculating and this week’s challenge corresponded with a planned vacation, but the truth is that The Sew Weekly editorial calendar is not completely based around my schedule. Not only did I not have a vacation planned, but I didn’t even start and finish this outfit until the morning I left for a one-day trip to Lake Tahoe.

It may not surprise you all, but I don’t have a lot of activewear. So when my plans called for some fly fishing, I knew that this week was not going to be about a cute little 1950s dress. Of course while I could have just put on jeans and a T-shirt, nothing I do is ever that simple. Instead I decided to tackle this playsuit from 1953.

Let me just say right now that I’m declaring this summer the SUMMER OF SIMPLICITY 4337! There is just something so fun about a playsuit. If I was eighty years-old I’d say that playsuits are pretty darn smart. Actually, I’ll just say that now: playsuits are pretty darn smart. This one, in particular, is casual and comfortable but still feels like me. And the seersucker made it a total lightweight delight to wear while fishing (I actually put on waders when it came time to actually fish and not just pose with the rod).

The construction of the playsuit was quite simple. As noted in the facts, it took only about 3 1/2 hours to complete. If I had actually read the pattern instructions instead of simply saying “I’m so cool, I don’t need to even glance at them!”, I would have realized that I needed to insert a casing for the elastic waist. I didn’t realize this until I tried on the finished playsuit and wondered how in the world I managed to make the thing so wide and baggy. After checking out the pattern instructions, I realized my error. The playsuit is still a bit larger than my size, but I actually liked that it was on the looser side. Dare I say that activewear should actually be comfortable?

And yes, I know that my plaids don’t match at the bodice. Despite how much I sew, I always forget to pay attention to my matching when cutting and sewing. I didn’t even realize that they didn’t match until I looked at the photographs.

Even though I’ve written about my brooch before, I just have to call attention to it once more since I love it (I also love that I could wear an accessory while fishing to retain a little bit of style.)

About the photoshoot. This was the first time I’ve ever fished and was quite blown away by how much I liked it. Like sewing, I was able to get into a very zen-like zone where I didn’t have to quite think about what I was doing and, instead, was able to have a pretty clear mind. While this isn’t a revelation in any way (wait… you’re saying fishing is relaxing? No, really???), the similarity to my sewing did surprise me. And isn’t life full of surprises?



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.


Comments are closed.

  1. Lovely! Great playsuit, and gorgeous, gorgeous photos. I want to be where you are!

  2. I want a playsuit! I love the way you posed to pictures too!

  3. These are great photos, Mena. I’d like to know if you think any body type can wear playsuits or if some (perhaps those of us who are quite tall and about 20 pounds overweight) can’t wear them without looking like an overgrown child. I have really liked seeing the ones people have made for The Sew Weekly, but I’m so hesitant to try one for myself. Perhaps this is the Universe telling me that is what I should make for the Reality Check challenge? :)

    • The Reality Check Challenge!? Are there new challenges up? I can’t seem to Login ATM, can someone put me out of my misery and enlighten me as to what they are please?

  4. This is totally cute. I didn’t even notice about the plaid matching until you pointed it out. You are completely right, playsuits are pretty darn smart and too darn cute!

  5. This is really cute… And I too love seersucker.. so cool and comfortable for our hot/humid summer days..
    Hope you had a fun fishing trip.

  6. So cute! I’m constantly trying to sew from vintage patterns and usually find myself getting bogged down with the detailed instructions. But your playsuit turned out so well that I’m tempted to give vintage sewing one more try!

  7. How cool. The outfit looks great. Just bought my first seersucker fabric for one of the upcoming challenges. Love how the plaid matches, can you advise how much extra one should buy when trying to match plaids? Patterns always say you’ll need more but they never even give you a clue as to how much more.

  8. Krista, For print or woven repeats, a small size repeat requires an additional one-eighth of a yard of fabric, medium size repeated design requires one-quarter of a yard more and large designs, one half-yard extra.Also take into consideration that fabrics such as cottons shrink so, for instance, two percent shrinkage means that one yard of fabric will not shrink more than 7/10ths of one inch per yard.

  9. Gorgeous! You look really happy. I have the same issue with print matching. I’ll be diligent about the side seams and then completely forget about all the other seams in the pattern!

  10. Erin, I find playsuits and jumpers and other one-pieces to be some of the most flattering things ever, and I’m 5’11” and am packin’ too many pounds.

    I also always forget about matching plaids. Also, I’m now wishish I made the plaid seersucker dress I’m currently working on into a shorts outfit, I’m not liking my dress.

  11. looks like some cold water! love the playsuit–i adore seersucker.

  12. your playsuit is sooooo lovely and you look very happy !!

  13. Fun in the sun and water! I love to fish up in the Sierras. It’s an annual affair in our family. How great that you are enjoying it so much. Very relaxing, isn’t it? I love your play suit! I was a little worried like some of the other gals that we might look like overgrown children, but heck no! You totally rock this outfit. You know you have to eat what you catch. :) Delicious!

  14. Dude, I wish you’d give THIS the Make This Look treatment, for scouring Google for this pattern has not yielded one in my size range and I WANT TO WEAR THIS SO VERY BADLY!

  15. You do look so happy! I could never wear this look but I am so happy you can! Hope you are having a nice “vacation”

  16. Love Love Love Love Love Love Love……….

  17. I can’t say I’d ever thought of making a playsuit, but seeing yours and others on Sew Weekly, and some fab ones walking around Vegas, I’m beginning to have a hankering for one for summer…. Though I’m not quite sure yet where one puts one’s belly when wearing them…
    Your playsuit looks so gorgeous, light, airy and playful….and I love pics of you fishing in the river, very out doorsy!

  18. These romper/playsuits are growing on me. Yours is so cute. It may have tipped the scale for me…shoping for patterns now. Though, my romper may have to be knee length, my thighs can’t handle to much northward fabric ;-).