Tatiana Sheverda is unmissable at the DZ in her brightly coloured lime green, orange and purple jumpsuit. What I didn’t realise was that she made it herself which is pretty rad.
I asked Tatiana a few questions about what inspired her to make her suit and the process she went through (in case you guys want to give it a whirl) and this is what she said!
What inspired you to create your own jumpsuit?
Well, I make most of my own clothes, so that comes naturally. And out of all main skydiving equipment, jumpsuit is the only item I’m skilled or allowed to make myself I wish I could make a canopy, I’ve got some rad ideas!
Designing and constructing a jumpsuit seems like a really complicated task? Do you have a background in fashion and design? If you do, can you tell me a little bit more about it?
Yes, I do, I have a degree in Fashion & Textile Design from UTS. I also work for a bridal company, designing and making wedding dresses. And, I used to make, and still do sometimes, costumes for parties and festivals. Also, I like to express my artistic side by making pieces of wearable art, not necessary out of fabric. So I can, pretty much, sew anything 🙂
How did you go about designing your jumpsuit? Did you do any research into the jumpsuits people at the DZ were wearing?
I knew I was gonna make my own when I was doing AFF. On one of the rainy days, I was tracing patterns and taking measurements of a suit at the dz. Then, one of the instructors, Will, gave me his old one to use for parts. It was colourful suit, but still not as colourful as I would make it ))) So, I customised that suit, fitted to myself, replaced bottom legs, appliqued some shiny bits and painted some parts of it. The original suit was made from cotton fabric with lycra inserts. It looked cool, but turned out to be a bit stiff and paint wouldn’t let air through and made me float more in the air. Not so good for a beginner. That was a good learning experiment though. I could study construction specifics. For my current suit I looked for lighter, breathable, easy to clean material to use. I studied other suits to chose fabric this time.
I remember you saying that recycling / upcycling of materials is important to you? Did that form part of the design process?
Yes, I prefer to re-use, re-purpose & re-cycle something old, when I make something new. Jeezzzz, we through away into landfill so much potential and polluting our planet, it’s sickening.
What materials did you use to construct the suit? Where did you get them from?
As, I mentioned before, for this suit I was looking for lighter and breathable material as main. From the research I’ve done, it would be certain types of nylon and polyester designed for sport clothing. For most, to buy such fabric you would need to buy in bulk which I didn’t require. Therefore, I decided to look for and buy second-hand items of such clothing on ebay. Also, I was looking for very specific colours. Lime green was the main one, as I already purchased myself Cookies G4 in this colour and the suit had to match the helmet. I’m the queen of colour-coordination ))) I found a couple of second-hand sport jackets in chosen colours, also 2 pairs of lycra leggings (adding stretchy inserts into suit makes it flexible and more comfortable) and hi-vis vest for extra popping colour 😉 All together cost me about $100, including zippers, Velcro, etc, as those where already part of the jackets. I recycled every bit I could.
How long did it take to design the suit?
Designing didn’t take too long. Choosing colours, silhouette, sketching… may be a couple of hours. This suit isn’t the most complicated item I’ve made )
How long did it take to construct it?
Construction was more time-consuming, took about a week, because of all the applique I had to do. Making patterns, cutting and patching bits took a while, because it’s not a meterage of fabric, but parts of jackets I had to work with. Then sewing applique on and final construction.
What was the biggest challenge you had while designing and constructing the suit?
My original sketch was a bit different, but when jackets arrived, turned out that the main colour lime green was wind-proof material, oopsy, so, not breathable as I intended. But the colour was perfect! In order to change that, I came with “scales” design for sides and insides of the body and only left solid green elements where air doesn’t need to go through. Like buttocks, knees – those are generously padded btw, for extra protection, because as under experienced skydiver I often land on one of those ))) Orange and purple are the breathable ones ) All together it works )
Skydiving jumpsuits have to withstand a lot of stresses and strains. How did you factor that into your design?
As, I’ve just pointed above, extra padding in certain areas and I chose fabrics that are durable and easy to clean. Also, all my seams are double stitched + top-stitched
Have you ever worked with technical fabrics or other materials specific to skydiving before designing the suit?
Gosh, through my over 2 decades of sewing things, I’ve worked with all sorts of materials, not specific for skydiving though, but it’s still fabric. I even have a piece made out of bike helmets. I am not good at skydiving yet, but sewing – I’m skilled as, mate 😉
What’s the reaction been from other skydivers?
They seem to like it a lot ) Those colours certainly make me easy to spot, on the ground and in the air )))
Is this the start of a new business career?
That is an option 😉
So there you have it! Everything you need to know about designing and creating your own jumpsuit. Certainly beats that home made wingsuit I saw being base jumped on tic tok the other day 🙂
Here’s a few videos and pictures of the design process and the suit in action so you can see just how awesome a job Tatiana did!
If you’d like to follow Tatiana on Instagram and check out some of her other amazing creations you can find her here!