Inspiration / MN2404 Durban / Sewalongs

Hacks for the Durban Jumpsuit & Romper

Hacks for the Durban pattern

So, the Durban sewalong is finished! Did you follow along and make your own jumpsuit or romper? We’re so excited to see how they all turned out! Be sure to tag with #MNdurban @megannielsenpatterns when you post about your amazing make.

Durban is a pattern that can truly be mixed & matched; sleeves, necklines, pant length…there are so many variations to choose from within the pattern itself. But because we can’t help ourselves – today’s blog post is jam packed with ideas on how you can hack Durban to create even more options! We just love sharing tips & inspiration with our community – helping you get the most out of our patterns and to create awesome unique garments that you love wearing! So, shall we get started?


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Durban Dresses

Endless opportunities | Gathered, Pleated, A-line, Circle, Mini, Tiered and so many more!

If you really love the fit of your Durban bodice but have already made a whole wardrobe of jumpsuits, why not mix it up by swapping out the Durban pants pieces for a skirt! Turning Durban into a dress is such an easy hack, it’s as simple as attaching your favourite style of skirt to the bodice, just making sure that the waist widths match up. You can continue the placket down the full length of the dress so it opens right up or you can just end the placket at the waist seam.


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Sleeves & Cuffs

Durban has such a lovely simple sleeve, but if you’re looking to spice things up a little – how about adding a cuff detail! It might be as simple as a swiss sleeve tab to keep your rolled sleeves where you want them or adding a classic buttoned shirt cuff to your sleeve end. Alternatively, you could add some volume by slashing and spreading your sleeve – either just at the sleeve end or throughout the whole sleeve for a gathered sleeve head – to then gather back in with a tie cuff or elasticated sleeve end for a little bit of frilliness! Sleeves are such a fun thing to play with and personalise – it’s totally up to you!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Swiss Sleeve Tabs
  • Sew a little tube that’s enclosed at one end and that is double the length you’d like the height of your folded up cuffs to be.
  • When the tube is turned out the right way and you know the length of tab you want, fold in and pin the raw edges of the open end to then be enclosed when you sew the tab in place.
  • To decide on the exact position & length for your tab, play around with it by pinning it in different places on the inside of your garment and folding up your sleeve to find the best look and feel for you. Once you’re happy, stitch the tab securely in place with a little square of stitching.
  • At the other end of the tab, sew a button hole to fit your button, which you can then stitch in place in the centre of your stitched square, on the outside of the sleeve. And you’re done!
Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | How To Add Swiss Sleeve Tabs


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Different Pocket Styles

Ideal for | Anyone who needs extra (or less) pockets!

We love pockets (no great secret!) and we’ve already included 3 pocket options in the Durban pattern, but why stop there! If you have more pocket ideas, don’t hesitate to customise your jumpsuit with different pocket styles or pocket positions. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a cleaner look you can always get rid of the pockets all together, it’s up to you! If you’re needing a little inspiration, here are a few suggestions to get you started:

  • A classic breast pocket would look awesome on Durban – especially on the View E boiler suit version! Keep it simple with a smaller version of the patch pocket included in the pattern, or you could add a bit more detail with a pleated pocket & pocket tab like the Matilda Dress breast pocket – we even have a little tutorial on how to construct them here.
  • What about some sneaky hidden pockets added into the waist seam like the amazing @leila.makes! We love how she created such a sleek and clean look to her jumpsuit without compromising on having pockets!
  • Another super sleek option which we love are slash pockets. If you’re not sure on how to add these pockets to your next Durban, have a peak at the Tania culotte pocket tutorial to get an idea on the pocket shape and method you can use!
  • If you’ve got a go big or go home mentality when it comes to pockets – a big patch pocket sewn over the side seams of your jumpsuit – at the perfect height for your own hands – might be perfect for you and all the wonderful things you’d like to keep in them!
  • And lastly, why not combine the last couple of ideas into a slash patch pocket like the Opal shorts! You can make them nice and big – perfect for hands and phones and other bits – and you can create even more of a feature by using a contrast colour thread for top stitching. Find the sewalong tutorial on how they are sewn here!


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Zip Closures
Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Pattern Adjustments For Zip Closures

We love Durban’s button placket, but we’re also big fans of a good centre front zip! It’s such a different look, but not a hard one to achieve – especially with the help of a good tutorial! We’ve got blog posts on invisible, centred or lapped and exposed zips, so whatever style you’re looking for – we’ve got you covered! The only thing that needs to be adapted in order to insert a zip into Durban is the placket overlap will need to be trimmed back on the bodice and pants centre front edges and because you won’t need to face the full centre front opening you can actually just trim the placket down to just the neckline section – minus the placket overlap allowance on the centre edge!


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Drawstrings & Elastic Waists

You will need | some extra fabric for your casing & either elastic or cord for a drawstring!

If you’re wanting to change up your Durban silhouette – maybe with a little more shaping – try adding an elastic or drawstring waist! To do this you’ll need to create a rectangle casing on the outside of your garment for a drawstring and either the inside or outside for an elastic waist – depending on the look you want.

With the raw edges folded under along the top edge and short ends (for a drawstring you’ll need to have twice turned and stitched the short ends as they will be left open) , you can top stitch your casing in place so it’s bottom edge is sewn into the waist seam and the top half sits above the seam – ready for your drawstring or elastic to be inserted! If you’re creating an elastic waist, you’ll then need to sew along the folded casing ends and the elastic ends inside to enclose them and secure your elastic so it gathers in the waist.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Elastic & Drawstring Casings

You might like to include these elastic or drawstring casings around the whole waist, or maybe just at your side seams or centre back. Another fun hack is to give your tapered leg Durban a completely different look by making the pants hem into an elastic casing like Holly did for her Opal jogger hack!


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Different Necklines

Higher, lower, squarer – when it comes to necklines the world is your oyster! To change the shape of your neckline simply draw the shape you’re wanting to create on your bodice (taking seam allowances into account), then redraw the facing to match! You could also add a collar similar to the Banksia blouse – simply adding it in between your facing and bodice when you sew around the neckline (see the tutorial here!), or you can use the collar pattern pieces from your favourite shirt pattern and tweak the Durban bodice neckline to match!


Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Hidden Plackets

And last but not least – our final hack today is a hidden placket! For this method, the left-worn-side placket can use the normal placket pattern piece, but you will need to create a new placket piece to use for the right-worn-side of the jumpsuit which sits on top.

The new placket piece is basically the shape of the placket mirrored back on itself twice, so when it is folded up, the neckline edges and placket ends all align. Something important to note though is that the lines which the placket are reflected on are the stitch lines – not the pattern piece edges – as these lines will be folds and will not need to include seam allowances. Because of the extra layers this placket has, if you’re using a heavier weight fabric you may wish to omit the interfacing on the added sections. With your pattern piece created you can complete the following steps:

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Hacks | Hidden Placket Pattern Adjustments
  • As per the original instructions, you can attach the hidden placket piece to the back facing and left side placket at the shoulder seams, then stitch and turn under the entire outside edge of the facings, stopping at the pivot point on the original placket shape of the hidden placket.
  • Fold your hidden placket piece along the reflected lines. If necessary, reduce bulk at the placket points by trimming any sections of the reflected ends which will be enclosed by stitching.
  • Sew your buttonholes through the middle layer and the original placket layer, as indicated in the diagram.
  • Place the placket right sides together with the bodice and pants front, pin in place and sew around the neckline, down the centre front edges and along the short angled edges to the pivot points, as per the instructions. The folded edge of the hidden placket closest to the seam should not be caught in this seam.
  • Trim seam allowances and turn the plackets out the right way before top stitching around the edges. Unlike the centre front seam you can capture both the outside edge and folded hidden placket edge underneath in your top stitching.
  • Attach buttons to your left-worn-side placket and you’ve completed your hidden Durban placket!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the Durban Hack Ideas we’ve talked about here…there were SO many more we could have done! Do you have any ideas for Durban hacks? Be sure to let us know in the blog comments!

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNdurban  and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!


Here’s the full list of Durban posts and tutorials:

We absolutely love seeing what you make, so don’t forget to tag your creations with #MNdurban and @megannielsenpatterns when sharing on social media, and check out what everyone else is up to!

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Order Durban today in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34

About Author

Anita is the Operations Manager here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and happily works on multiple areas of the business in any one day! Anita is the first port of call for any of your customer service enquiries, manages daily operations and oversees all pattern production, graphic design, website maintenance, inventory management & drinking all the coffee/eating all the cookies in the cupboard.

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