Everything necessary to build the catsuit has been extensively covered in various places on this site because I treat each area of the body as a seperate entity. However since most people are after a quick answer to everything they don’t often read the whole site so they don’t understand the catsuit is a pattern made from a series of blocks. So I’ve decided to put up this page as a quick reference to all the bits you need to make a catsuit pattern. Let’s start by having a look at the illustration below.
I’ve split the front and back sketches in half to show you the basic catsuit options. Everything starts with the one piece block which is the body section of the catsuit as shown in the very left hand image. It’s then a simple matter of adding sleeves and legs. There are two types of sleeves: inset and raglan … the benefits of each type and how to make them is discussed here. There are two types of leggings: gymnast and center seam … the benefits of each type and how to make them is discussed here. That’s it really. You just need to read each of these pages to build the catsuit in sections.
Once you realise the catsuit is modular you might consider taking a look at some of the swimsuit patterns because you can equally incorporate those ideas into your catsuit. For example, an empire line is a great way to enhance bust support and a princess line can enhance bust femininity. You could make a multipanel catsuit bodice to really cinch the waistline in, or a low back bodice section so you don’t need to insert a zip. You could even use the center cut away section of the monokini to create a revealing, sexy feature for your catsuit.
My only word of caution to those starting out on catsuits for the first time is to consider how you want to get into it. Catsuits are generally very fitted at the waist, yet they have to stretch out over the hips first as you put them on. So unless the intended wearer is square all the way up, you’ll very likely need to cut the waist down to a point between waist and hips with something like a zip. You can do this anywhere around the garment (typically center front or center back), but unless your fabric is super super stretchy and doesn’t reach bind early, you’re going to need create an opening.
See also http://www.patternschool.com/?p=1125 … somewhere about halfway down the post. In that blog post I talk about a third possibility that I really dislike but should also include here …
There is another method which suggests runing an inside leg seam up the leg, across the crotch and down the other leg (the 2 panel catsuit) … with only an outside leg seam running up to the armpit (we’ll ignore the sleeve for the moment). These designers depend on the fabric stretching excessively along the center front/back line. I particularly dislike this concept with a passion because it causes a number of problems …
- Excessive loss of horizontal tension across the front crotch often resulting in 45 degree ripples either side of the front crotch.
- Distortion of the print for the above reason
- Flattening of the cheeks at the back
- The garment slowly pulling down the legs as you walk (or even as you put the garment on) resulting in a space under the crotch that chaffs the inside leg and looks like a blow up doll.
- Poor movement and sitting generally.
… that said, it’s a very popular style in low waist tights just about everywhere at the moment. Fortunately some designers add a small horizontal gusset instead of the normal vertical gusset to improve fit and prevent the ripples but I reckon it looks awful. Of course it just doesn’t work for a catsuit because everytime the wearer bends over and stretches the back of the garment the front crotch ripples tear into the front leg tendons at the crotch and the back legs ride up … resulting in cheecks overhanging when the wearer stands up again. Can you tell I’ve done a lot of these things?
The other thing I don’t like about 2 panel catsuits/tights is the angle that some designers cut the legs at. In order to stop the garment pulling down, they try to spread the legs outward to create more ease in the crotch (like lifting sleeves in a T shirt) … it’s essentially following bad with worse … it works, but it guarentees not only the 45 ripples either side of the front crotch as before, but also excess height at the top of the inside leg which creates even more ripples from the 45 degree ones down to the horizontal … try to imagine that if you can … it gives the appearance that the lower tummy is much rounder!!
Here is a basic illustration of what it looks like … and where the ripples show up.
I’m not going to demonstrate how to make this one but just know that it exists!