It feels like a weird time to be launching a new pattern, but we’ve been hard at work on the Blanca Flight Suit for the last six months, and figured many of you would be happy to lose yourselves in a fun, absorbing sewing project in times like these. The Blanca Flight Suit is our take on the boiler suit style, and was heavily inspired by vintage workwear (we’ve been obsessing about workwear ever since the Sienna Maker Jacket). Due to quarantine restrictions, we couldn’t schedule our typical shoot with models in both size ranges, so for this release I got back in front of the camera to model this beauty. We’ll be adding photos of a model in our extended size range once it’s safe to organize a photoshoot again.
I have become a bit of a boiler suit/coveralls addict in the last year or so. It’s become my default uniform since they are easy and comfortable to wear (especially now – a welcome change from sweatpants, let me tell you), and they hit that perfect balance between casual and “serving a look”. Since I knew we wanted to tackle this, I’ve been collecting new and vintage versions for a while, and they came in handy when we were trying to decide how we wanted to approach this design. The biggest priority for me was a semi-fitted design; there is something oddly alluring about a more form-fitted boiler suit, so we avoided going too baggy (that said, it’s easy to size up if you want a looser fit). The bodice has a relaxed fit, but we did add a bust dart to our 14-30 range for better bust shaping. We wanted something with a comfortable amount of ease, both across and along the body, so when you’re bending down or reaching up you have lots of room and don’t feel like you’re being cut in two; the dropped shoulder gives a more relaxed look and helps with mobility too. It was also important that it was easy to get on and off, and after about a million zipper experiments, we settled on a classic center front zipper and shirt-style collar, accentuated with interesting topstitching.
You know we are slaves to beautiful details around here, and this pattern was an amazing opportunity to nerd out on those unique elements that make your me-mades feel so much more special than anything you could ever buy. The Blanca Flight Suit is all about the pockets – you have the option of a zippered or patch breast pocket, and both versions come with a unique hip pocket that doubles as a belt loop. While you don’t need to wear a belt with this pattern (it will give a looser fit around the waist) we also gave you two belt options, whether you choose a soft, fluid tie belt or one with an interesting buckle (which we happen to have in stock!) We also gave you the option of sewing a cropped length (my preferred length for pants) or full length, with a long sleeve or shorter one that ends just above the elbow. We drafted the latter a bit longer than usual since we think it looks very fresh folded up.
The theme of this pattern is personalization; not only can you play with pockets, belts and lengths, but you can also play with silhouette since we added the option of a tapered full-length sleeve (accomplished with hidden snaps) and by using a button tab sewn into the side seam to taper the pant hem. These details are very military-inspired – one of the vintage flight suits I collected has a similar detail, and while I’m sure there is some function (more aerodynamic?!), in practice it gives you the option of two looks in one, with tons of options for styling. Here is the Blanca tapered at sleeve and hem:
And here is the same jumpsuit with the sleeves and hem left as is – it’s a totally different look!
We are going to be doing an extensive fitting post in the weeks to come (along with a full, free sewalong which we’re hoping to have ready sometime next week) but there are a few other design features I want to mention. The back design is really unique with a pintucked pleat that runs along the back of each shoulder. In addition to looking great (especially with a contrast topstitching thread!) the absence of a center back seam makes it easy to add embroidery, and we hope some of you add fierce patches and custom designs to your flight suit. We drafted the back to be a bit longer, so it pools slightly above the waist. This was intentional; it gives you lots of room to move around and bend over, but it’s a simple fix if you’d like a little less length in this area (more on this in our fitting post). We also added a facing to the zipper because personally I hate the feeling of a zipper against my skin, but you can leave it off if you prefer a cleaner look with the zipper undone.
Textile wise, this pattern can be made in a wide variety of fabrics. Sturdy wovens like denim, canvas and twill will create a more structured look, while drapier fabrics like linen, tencel or silk noil will create a softer effect. For our samples, I used a mid-weight non-stretch denim and a washed linen, both from Blackbird Fabrics. For the simplest variation, notions-wise all you’ll need is a long zipper (see product listing for the recommended length for your size). We have a sourcing post coming up with places you can buy zippers, and how to modify longer ones to get the perfect length, but for now we suggest Wawak, or check our Sewing Stockist Resource to see if a local shop has longer zippers in stock.
Since we couldn’t shoot this on anyone in our 14-30 range, we’ll be sharing some tester makes shortly. We were really happy with how it fit on folks of all sizes and are excited to offer our second “new” pattern in our extended size range. Please note that for now, this pattern is available as PDF only. Our printer only just started production again so we’re expecting at least a 6-week delay before we have our 0-20 range in stock for print patterns. In the meantime, we are shipping these beautiful buckle sets complete with an adjustable slider, so if you’d like to add a cool buckle belt to your Blanca, we’ve got you covered!
Finally, I wanted to take a minute to thank our beautiful, incredible muse for this pattern, Blanca of @blakandblanca. Truly one of the most inspiring makers on Instagram (and a proud feminist after our own hearts), we couldn’t think of a better match for this pattern. She is a master at playing with androgynous fashion, and her chic and modern yet timeless style always gets our motors running (she’s the Diane Keaton of sewing). Thank you, Blanca, for lending your name to this design, and we hope you have as much fun sewing this as we did designing it!
Any questions? Let me know in the comments!