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INTRODUCING… THE NETTIE PATTERN


Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern

Hello friends! I’m beyond excited to tell you that after a few months of laaaaaate nights, a mind-numbing amount of serger thread changes and more yards of jersey than I can count, my new baby is finally ready for your eyes and sewing machines.

Say hi to Nettie.

Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern

Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern

The genesis of this project started months and months ago. I was on the hunt for a bodysuit. I love how clean and modern they look under skirts and pants, and I hate having to constantly tuck in my shirt. I couldn’t find a pattern I liked, and all the vintage ones I tracked down were not designed for modern knit fabrics. I finally resorted to retail, and had a few moments of pure panic and body shame in dressing rooms, trying on leotards that basically cut my (prodigious) booty into the quad cheek nightmare that inspired the Bombshell pattern. They were either too high cut or way too short for my torso. Clothing shouldn’t feel like dental floss.

I love that my butt, and how to fit it into things, is the inspiration for so many of my ideas.

While I was bodysuit hunting, a few other sewing bloggers were posting about their DIY attempts at drafting them, or the relative dearth of available patterns. Logic followed that I take up the bodysuit quest, and draft one that would make all of our different types of bodies happy. So that’s what I’ve done.

In the process, I discovered that Nettie, with the addition of a skirt panel, makes one helluva knit dress (or t-shirt!), so I am thrilled to add that as a variation as well. Whether you make a Nettie bodysuit or dress, you will get to mix and match your choice of 3 sleeve lengths, two neckline and 3 back options for a Nettie cocktail perfectly tailored to your taste. You can go modest with a bateau neckline or show off some skin with a scoop neck and low back version. The bodysuit variation has a low cut bum to prevent those annoying panty lines, along with an optional snap crotch so you don’t have to get naked to go pee. The leg and neck openings are finished with the same stretch fabric you’re using to make the bodice, so this is a budget conscious project – you don’t need any extra notions unless you’re adding crotch snaps or a shelf bra.

Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern

Nettie bodysuit paired with By Hand London Flora skirt!

Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern Nettie Dress & Bodysuit Pattern, Closet Case Files, PDF pattern

This pattern can be made using a serger or a regular machine, and I worked hard to write instructions and draft illustrations that should make this a breeze to make. And the beautiful thing is, Nettie goes with everything! I love wearing her with jeans and wide legged pants, or a full skirt for a chic French vibe. The dress variation can be perfectly casual with sandals, or sexy and simple with a pair of heels. It’s my idea of the perfect pattern – easy to make, and infinitely customizable.

Nettie is designed to be made with 4-way stretch fabrics with good recovery and at least 50% stretch. My absolute FAVOURITE fabric for Nettie is a medium weight cotton-spandex. It’s perfectly clingy and has a little firming mojo. I’ve also had success making them with spandex blends like rayon and bamboo, but drapier fabrics may not have enough body to do the job. The Nettie dress can be made with 2-way stretch like ponte, although I don’t suggest using such fabrics to make the bodysuit since you won’t have any vertical stretching along your torso and will need to lengthen the bodice in order to be comfortable.

I will be hosting a sewalong in a few weeks that will walk you step by step through the Nettie process. I know some people get nervous about sewing with knits, but as long as you have the right needle on your machine, Nettie is your friend. I will also be covering how to hack your Nettie with different seam finishes like lingerie & stretch lace elastic. I plan on posting an exhaustively detailed post later this week explaining fabric in more detail so you will know what to look for.

Now that I’ve told you a little bit about Nettie, I’d like to get a little personal and explain the naming of this pattern, and all future Closet Case Patterns.

Nearly everything meaningful I’ve  learned about sewing has come from the blogosphere. There was a time when you relied on a home-ec class or a patient family member to show you the Singer ropes, but these days I open my rss reader and have a daily college level sewing class at my fingertips. It’s the highlight of my day.

I’ve been lucky enough to meet some of my fellow bloggers. Maybe we’ve talked on the phone, exchanged emails or racked up long distance phone bills gabbing about the craft. At the very least, we keep in touch and encourage one another through comment sections, Instagram and Twitter. You are a large part of why I sew, and are 100% responsible for why I decided to release the Bombshell last summer. I am so grateful to be a part of this inspiring, generous and creative community. Me? Wings. You? Wind.

This year I started thinking really seriously about where I wanted to take Closet Case Files. I had sketchbooks filled with pattern ideas, many inspired in some form or another by other bloggers; what they were making, what they wanted to make but couldn’t find patterns for. Most of my ideas already had blog muses preternaturally attached to them in my mind. So it seemed fitting to name my new patterns after the people who get me excited about style, making and sewing, and who taught me so much about this craft; you folks in the sewing community.

So…. Nettie.

My muse for this pattern is Wanett aka Nettie; she writes Sown Brooklyn. Do you know her? You should. She’s insightful, lovely, kind, creative, intelligent, a lover of reading and history. She has adorable children who take photos of her wearing the sorts of fun, modern, individualistic yet functional clothes you’d imagine a cool mom living in Brooklyn to wear. When I finally met her in NY this fall it was like meeting an old friend. And fatefully, she wrote a post about wanting to make a bodysuit around the same time I was trying and failing to find a pattern for one. Kismet… I probably wouldn’t have started working on this pattern if it wasn’t for bloggers like Nettie who told me I wasn’t the only one longing for the sleek, no-fuss lines of a bodysuit.

So, this pattern is for Nettie, and all the other busy ladies out there who need chic, simple, flattering basics. This pattern has made getting dressed so much easier for me; I hope you find it as indispensable in your wardrobe as I do!

You can purchase it on my online store here. For those of you dedicated Paypal users, you can find it on Etsy here. Now, if you’ll excuse me. I’m going to have a gigantic glass of white wine and exhale.

  • LOVE THIS!! I was thinking about bodysuits the other day (after tucking my shirt in for the millionth time) so this release is perfect timing. I love the cut! Those 80’s high-cut-thigh styles don’t appeal to me at all but Nettie looks perfect.

    • Dude, I was totally gonna ask you to pattern test but I wasn’t sure if it went with your 40’s vibe. But I think a Nettie would look GOOD LORD AMAZING with some of your wide-legged high-waisted pants. Tucking shirts in is the worst.

      • Aww no worries! And yeah, good lord amazing was exactly what I was thinking with my gigantic 30s hobo pants 😉 😉

        • Oh! Next question: will you be doing a sew-along in the future? Me and knits ain’t so familiar…

  • Looks fantastic! I haven’t paid a lot of thought to bodysuits over the years but you’ve got me thinking why not? I can see so many wardrobe crises in which one would come in handy. Thanks for making such a versatile and useful pattern for us to sew!

    • Thanks Bella! I kind of got obsessed with them once I started pattern testing. Hope other ladies love them as much as I do.

  • So exciting! I’ve never owned a bodysuit before, but I love the idea – I’m definitely going to try this out. I love all the variations it comes with too!

  • devra

    love this pattern, and nettie is definitely a wonderful go-to source of inspiration – you describe her so accurately! i never thought of myself as a bodysuit person, but i am completely blown away by the variations you have come up with. beautiful work!

    • Thanks Devra! I think most people have bad 80’s associations with them or American Apparel reservations (high cut wedgie machines) but this one is actually super comfy and goes with everything. Trying to rejuvenate its reputation.

  • Cari Homemaker

    This is awesome. I’m so going to make one (or 2 or 5, we’ll see how it goes)

    • They’re kind of addictive (and whip up in a few hours). I think Made by Carolyn made 5 or 6? She’s a machine!

  • cathy

    lovely! the perfect “go to” piece that will work with practically everythingin my closet!

  • Congrats, Heather — This looks like a lovely pattern! I dig that you’re designing patterns for the specific holes you find in the home sewing pattern market, and I *adore* that you’ve named this for the lovely woman who was your inspiration….

    • Thank you! I have lots of plans to fill LOTS of holes, haha. And way too many blog muses!

  • Congrats Heather! I loved your bombshell bathsuit patterning, and I’m loving this! I’ve never considered a body suit before because RTW body suits are uncomfortable. I’m loving this pattern AND I can make a dress too! I can see so many variations for this pattern already! Eek! I’m going to snatch mine up! I can’t wait to see your other patterns! :)

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  • meredith

    Congrats! and hooray! I have a couple of American Apparel bodysuits — they were the best I could find, but ugh. The legs are so high cut that the opening comes up above my waistbands half the time — no thank you! I’m totally down for this pattern — all the variations!

    • Meredith, I literally cried at AA trying them on. They are made for 5′-2″ pixies, not real ladies. Dov Charney, get thee away from my backside.

  • Whoa whoa whoa – Nettie DRESS?! A DRESS?! As a pattern tester (and thank god I can finally share my love for it now, that was killing me) a DRESS didn’t even occur to me! And your photos? You’re a fucking super model. A. Fucking. Super. Model.

    • Kinda wished I had thought of it before I sent it for testing but OH WELL. Thanks love. It’s 100% the photog boyfriend.

  • Jen

    Wow. Some kind of cosmic thing going on here…I’ve had a bodysuit in my mind too.

    • I think a lot of us have been drinking the same koolaid.

  • MarrieB

    Wow, I love this! All the options are great! I remember the bodysuits from the 90s, they were all too short and high cut. Looks like you’ve perfected the bodysuit! :)

    • I hate when things are designed to only work on 20% of the population. Low cut bottoms are a MUST.

  • This is genius! Perfect for taking a yoga break during the day, and I love that the legs are low cut. I will be making it!

  • sadaf

    i love this! Thank you… also, that blue floral fabric… i must have it, where did you get it?

    • Girl Charlee! They have the absolute best cotton-spandex around!

      • sadaf

        Thank you! Pattern bought and fabric ordered! So excited!

  • G

    I see some nettie swimsuits in my crystal ball…

    • Ooooh! I think you could make a cool tank version FOR SURE!. You’d just have to slim down the shoulders a bit. Something to consider for the sewalong!

  • Yes yes yes! This is brilliant! I have been trying to buy a bodysuit for ages and haven’t managed to find one that fits, and now I can make my own :) and if this is anything like your bombshell pattern, it will be lovely to sew up. Thank you, you are a legend Heather Lou!

  • Esta

    I love the fact that you’ve chosen the sexy way with your patterns. Peter pan collars and tiny bows are fine for some time, but at some point I realised I want to show some skin and prefer looking cool to looking adorable.

    • Hear hear sister. I don’t think *everything* will be sexy – I’m more trying to make great basics – but I like showing a little skin so it definitely seeps in.

  • Absolute perfection! I love the scoop back & have been wondering how I could adapt an existing pattern to get this – no need now, thank you! I can’t wait for the sewalong.

  • English Girl at Home

    Looks stunning! P.S. you are sold out on Etsy currently!

    • Great move Heather, forget to stock on Etsy the day you launch. Thanks for the heads-up! It’s available again.

  • Finally! A good bodysuit pattern! I was looking for one for AGES now!! Thank you! Finally someone spotted the gaps in the pattern making community!! Can’t wait to start sewing these! And by these I mean all of them. Short sleeve, long sleeve, bodysuit, dress…. Aw I think a new obsession is on the way!

    • Thanks love! That’s me. Pattern gap filler. With my drafting spackle.

  • Wowzers congratulations. And how lovely to dedicate it this way!! You are the coolest

    • Thanks Amy! It felt appropriate on a really deep level.

  • Lauren

    You have just blown my tiny mind. I have been thinking about bodysuits for the last few months and very very slowly building the nerve to learn to draft patterns to try to make one. This pattern looks absolutely perfect, and I literally cannot wait for the sewalong and to give this a go (I’m also pretty bad with knits).
    Thank you so much!

    • This is a tricky one to draft because of the high cut armhole. But I did all the hard work for you! Hopefully you’ll love knits after the sewalong! I love working with them. Sooooo fast.

  • it looks amazing!! i did not know it before i saw nettie, but i NEED to fill my closet with bodysuits!

  • Yes, yes, and yes! Congratulations, Heather!

  • mokosha

    love finally seing the photos of your finished netties! so much gorgeousness!

  • I love it! I’ve been looking for this type of suit for AGES. I love the low back! When I’m off my self imposed pattern buy ban, I’ll get a copy! Congratulations!

  • Congratulations Heather! another winning pattern, and may I just mention how you’re looking mega hot in your bodysuits. And I love it as a bodycon dress too. You clever girl!

    • Thank you being so supportive and wonderful through this whole process!!! You are THE BEST Carolyn!

  • Din

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I was looking at Donna Karan’ bodysuit Vogue pattern on Ebay a few days ago and thinking “I should draft one of those,” and now I don’t have to. Thanks so much for making versatile and wearable patterns for those of us with, um, generous backsides.

    • Yeah, the problem with those vintage ones (and all big 4 in genenral) is the EASE. I tried a couple and they were HUGE. You can’t shy away from the clinginess of a bodysuit. If it’s not tight, it looks terrible.

      And don’t worry. Big butts will always be my priority.

  • Stephanie

    Love love love this!

  • YOU BEAUTIFUL WOMAN!!! i can’t wait to have the tools to make this again! (read: machine that won’t kill me. i love it so much, i might just handstitch it.)

    and as always i love your posts. your Everything is an absolute pleasure.

  • Ping Mathre

    LOVE!! I didn’t even know I needed a bodysuit but now I know this is what’s been missing from my wardrobe!

    • Dude, this has your name all over it. Well, technically Nettie’s name but I can totally see you rocking one.

  • Leila

    What an awesome and suuuper versatile pattern! And what an awesome way to pay homage to someone. You’re all kinds of classy!

  • Heather, that’s amazing. Congratulations on your second sewing pattern! It looks amazingly versatile and I love the low back.

  • What what?! This is super terrific! I was JUST considering making a bodysuit this week. Congrats on your new pattern. Your Bombshell was amaaaazzzzzzing… I KNOW this one will be, too. Love all the conscious drafting to fit a normal body.

    • Thanks Kathy! A few commenters seemed to have bodysuits on the brain as well!

  • P.S. Did you do a shelf bra in those low back versions you’re modeling? What’s your secret boob control here?

    • I made a shelf bra for the striped one but no foam cups. I am freestyling it in the black dress, but it’s SUPER structured scuba knit so it kinda sucked everything into the right place. In the other options I’m wearing a bra. The medium back is totes bra friendly! If you don’t have a large bust and use the right weight of cotton-spandex, you can get away with going braless since the lycra is pretty supportive, but obviously you have the nipple situation. I’m going to cover adding support in the sewalong!

      • Sweet!

      • I just opened my PDF pattern file… I did NOT get that you include a shelf bra in the pattern! Am I an idiot and not seeing that in the description for the pattern? Okay, now I am so busting out a lower back version, too. I have a smaller bust but I need something for some boob control. A great super hot summer garment with a swingy skirt.

  • I LOVE IT! Can’t wait to make the bodysuit version!

  • Helen McFadyen

    Wow! What a great pattern. Being honest, I’m not a huge fan of the bodysuits, remembering the RTW versions from the 90’s which were floss personified! Plus after 2 children, I am not overly comfortable wearing fitted knit tops. However, I love the neckline and back of your design (particularly that low back). I can also only imagine how much work you have had to put into drafting this! It looks amazing on you, and will do on so many people. Well done and thank you for thinking of all of us. Wanett must be thrilled to bits – the ultimate accolade to be a pattern muse!

    • Hi Helen! I know that not everyone is comfortable in clingy stuff (although I do find this looks great with high waisted things since you’re hiding all the trouble bits) but I appreciate the kind words!

      • Helen McFadyen

        Good point re high waisted skirts! Once I am no longer nursing (and have seen a gazillion versions on the interweb that I Iove) then I might be persuaded to give it a try! :)

  • sallieforrer

    BAM!!! I hope you’ve got plans to go out and celebrate with the Parisian tonight!! Also – what’s this?!?! A Nettie DRESS???!!! Hello new summer go-to… I have to tell you, I wore my Nettie to work yesterday with jeans and little cardigan. Of course it was 80+ degrees so the cardigan came off pretty quickly, and I cannot even TELL you how many car honks I got as I walked around town running errands! Not that I consider outfit success by how many rednecks in trucks I get to wolf-whistle at me, but… ya know… a girl still likes to know that she can stop traffic if she needs to! Because the Nettie, she is sexy!!! Anyway, I’m so SO proud of you!! Another glorious pattern my love! All your hard work is WORTH IT!!! Love you, love the pattern, love love loooovvveee….

    • HAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA. Actually Sallie, I think you totally just nailed how successful an outfit is. Rednecks know their shit. Love you too my darling!!!

  • Hello, Sexyback….. Nettie is the shiz! (both that fab lady and your pattern!)

    • Thanks darling! Too bad I missed the sewsexy sewalong with the launch, huh?

      • Ha – Totally! Nettie is sew very sexy!

  • jvega172

    I must have this! I love bodysuits but they are so hard to find. I used to wear them a lot in the 90’s with 501’s and Timberland boots lol. They look great with maxi skirts and a cute denim or linen jacket.

    • I am getting a pretty awesome vision of your 90’s look. I rocked them with overalls with one strap undone but that was back when I was a kid and could fit my bum into things. I’m really not into a lot of the 90s throwback stuff that is coming back, but I think the bodysuit is due for reinvention!

  • How absolutely perfect. And I can’t think of a more worthy namesake. Wanett is the ultimate blogoddess. I didn’t know I needed a bodysuit, but now all of a sudden I can think of a ton of uses for this versatile pattern. How annoyingly convenient that I’m in the middle of a big ol’ Girl Charlee order. Better throw in some cotton-spandex.
    Congrats, girl. You nailed it!!

    • Thanks Shelley! Girl Charlee is THE BEST. And blogodess is my new favourite word!

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  • This is beautiful, and so sexy, and PERFECT for my wardrobe. I can’t wait to sew one up. :) And I love how you named it… the online sewing community is just the very best thing.

    • It is, isn’t it? I love everyone so much and I don’t even know most of you.

  • Sassy T

    Love, and the name Nettie is so cool

    SSB. https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees

  • Echo @french_seams

    Oh this is good, what a fantastic pattern.

  • Monserratt

    The first pattern was so fabulous that I can’t wait to try this one!! :)

  • Kara

    Do you think this could be a swimsuit if made with spandex? I love the combo of the low back and booty coverage for a sexy yet not too revealing suit!

    • Hi Kara,

      This is something I’ve been thinking about! I totally think Nettie could be a swimsuit. It would just mean shaving off some width at the shoulders I think. Perhaps I’ll whip one up during the sewalong? I have lots of swimsuit fabric hanging around!

  • Kristin S

    Well done! Awesome design! And a BARGAIN for all those looks! I want to make every variation. Your “chic French vibe” comment is spot-on– that’s what I thought the moment I saw your pictures, before reading the whole post. Your bombshell swimsuit is the only pattern I’ve made twice and both have gotten a ton of compliments.

  • A million times excited! I will SO be making one of these. Most probably multiples. Nice work yet again… and love all your versions!

  • Kelly

    Wow, all of your Netties look awesome, but completely different! Patterns that you can make endless variations of really are the best thing. I lived in Seattle in the early 90s and rocked a lot of bodysuits- I don’t know that I could pull it off as well now, but I will definitely make some as layering pieces anyway :) Great idea for a pattern, congrats!

    • Thanks Kelly! The 90’s revivial is kind of not my favourite but bodysuits are one thing I’ve totally embraced with open arms. Normcore, not so much.

  • Nettie looks great, can’t wait to try it. Congratulations!

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  • Marie in the cave

    That is one pattern I’ve been waiting for! And nice story about how it got its name! I’m off to Etsy! :)

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  • LOVE THIS!! I was thinking of drafting a scoop back pattern but you’ve saved me the trouble :) Your Bombshell swimsuit is on my “to sew” list and now so is this. Congrats lady! x

    • Thanks Tilly! I have been hoping to build a time machine so I can make sweet, amazing Coco. I just threw out half my clothes and I need about a million of them!

  • Schmofe

    Love the Nettie. So excited to find some amazing knits to try this out on. I love the styling with the black skirt, thought it was another dress variation. Would love to try that out. What is the pattern for that skirt?

    • BY HAND LONDON FLORA! She makes a dope skirt!

  • Jen

    Wow. Just wow. First of all, I’ve been lurking your blog for a while now but never said anything because you always look so damn cute in everything and I get all green eyed. But seriously, everything you make is lovely and you always look super pretty! Second, OMG YOU READ MY MIND!!!!! I’ve been looking for a bodysuit pattern for so long. I, too, have the problem of the torso being too short or too long, not enough butt coverage, and the harsh reality of having to sacrifice warmth in order to pee when wearing a bodysuit. Anyway, I’ve just made a huge order from Girl Charlee and am planning to turn all that fabric into five different Netties. Hats off to you, lady.

    • THANK YOU JEN! So kind of you to say. So happy you’re going to be rocking the Nettie!

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