I’ve been after a good jumpsuit for a while, and made one last year from a German magazine that Chris gave me. I liked it a lot, but it needed more adjustments to be perfect. I even bought more fabric to make another, but the summer disappeared on me and I thougth I’d wait. I then had an idea to make a pattern from the top portion of the Sew House Seven Tea Dress and a wide leg trouser pattern (more than likely from a Burda pattern) and see if I could make something work. But other things landed on my sewing table and I hadn’t got round to more than just think of the idea. And then Tara from Paper Theory posted her progress on making a jumpsuit pattern available. I thought I’d just wait for that, given how good her first foray looked last summer when she drafted one for herself.
The pattern was released a week and a half ago now, and I’ve made mine!! Actually, if you look on Instagram there are some great examples of the #ZadieJumpsuit to be seen. Lots of different fabric types, pattern or plain, and on lots of different people. I started by tracing the sizes 14-18. I’ve had a bit of a change in measurements lately, and can start sizing down! (yippee) Checking the finished measurements against my current measurements, and knowing how much ease I can get away with, made me start the toile with the size 16, with no adjustments. I already knew I’d need an FBA, just not necessarily in width. Making the toile means I get a proper idea of how much length I need to add to the bust depth. I also thought I might need to size down in the legs, as they’ve been getting skinnier! The other alteration I thought I’d need would be to shorten the legs – but by how much?
I made the toile in an old duvet cover from the charity shop, and it ran up really quickly. The instructions are really clear and easy to follow, with diagrams if you need them. Once on, I knew I’d need that extra length in the bust depth! Standing up straight, I marked the bust point with a marker pen, then I pulled down the front so the waist was actually on my waist and then marked the bust point again. There was 3cm between the two points. Voila! Extra required bust depth! The crotch depth was also low, like MC Hammer low! 😀 So I pinned up 4cm and it felt much more comfortable. By doing this, I improved the look of the length, the trousers looked like they finished in the right place, so no chopping of leg length! Woohoo…
So, back to the paper pattern, I drew a line perpendicular to the grain line on the bodice front that lined up with the lower marking of my bust point. Then I cut along that line, stuck the bottom bodice piece onto a piece of paper, extended the grainline, drew a line parallel to the cut line 3cm away and taped the upper bodice piece to that line, lining up the grainline. Then I marked a dart at the side seam, the point of which is 5cm short of the bust point. Then I trued up the front line, crossing my fingers that I’d got the curve right! I used the lengthen/shorten lines on the trouser pattern to shorten the crotch depth. I also decided that when cutting I’d move the shoulder line to the 18 on the front, giving me another 0.75cm of length in the front. Maybe I needed it, maybe not! Time will tell once I’m actually wearing the jumpsuit on a regular basis.
The nature of the fabric is also showing up one tiny flaw. I do need to add some width to the bodice front. Because of the cut of the bodice and the kimono-like dropped shoulder, I have little “boob wings”. There is a triangular section of fabric running from the bust to where the armhole would be. So I need to fix that before making another. It didn’t show up so badly in the soft cotton duvet cover toile, so I thought I’d get away with it…
My fabric is a 3m length of 140cm wide navy Irish linen, 137gsm. It has a crisp handle, but is lightweight and hangs beautifully. It’s been in the stash for a while, and I’d fogotten it was as crisp as it was, but I wasn’t going to buy any more fabric just yet. It will soften with washing ( eventually) but will never quite loose that crispness. The colour though, is great, rich and with lustre.
The cutting layout has you open the fabric to a single layer, right side up, and cut each piece individually. This is because the designer is looking at the best way to cut the pieces with the least amount of wasted fabric, which, with the size and shape of the pattern pieces, is high. So leave plenty of time to do the cutting out!! And follow the diagram, or you’ll be caught short. Seriously, I recon it took as long to cut the pattern as it did to sew the toile!! However, I only had small bits of linen leftover, so it was the most efficient way to cut.
The pattern itself is easy to put together. You have the option of making it “sleeveless” which really means a short, dropped shoulder sleeve, or adding the sleeve, which gives you long sleeves. This means you can make this jumpsuit for cold weather! I quite fancy making a wool suiting version and wearing a poloneck like the Tessuti Monroe underneath. The front of the bodice is bound with self bias binding, but you can make a bit of a statement if you go for a contrast colour or a different pattern. The bodice is staystitched before the binding goes on, so there’s no chance of stretching the front. The only thing I did differently was to overlock all the pieces before I started sewing, instead of neatening as I sewed.
I really love, love, love this finished project. It’s good to wear, shows no boobage when bending over (a critical aspect of any cross-over top) and stays put when moving about. I double checked that one by doing a crazy lady dance in my sewing room. In hindsight, I could probably easily loose another 2cm in the crotch depth and still have room to sit without squeaking. It is a very forgiving fit! The choice of size 16 was perfect, and while I could size down to a 14 for the width of the legs, this is a wide leg jumpsuit in a lightweight fabric, so no harm done. I will also be removing about 3cm in the leg length. Looking at these photos more shows that they are a tad long on me, you cannot see enough of that overwhelmingly white ankle, just about the same colour as my trainers!
I’m heading home – back to South Africa – for three weeks over the Easter period, and this is going to be the very first item that goes into my suitcase! Along with a large bottle of fake tan… I hadn’t deliberately decided this time to make anything for the trip, so this is a bonus – mostly because I didn’t think the pattern would be available until the summer. So, would I recommend it? In short – yes. I’ve seen it made by tall slim people, and by shorter, fuller figured people, and it looks good both ways. I’m not the tallest person on the block at 1.65cm, but the proportions seem to work. The fit is relaxed and loose, but you don’t feel like the saggy baggy elephant. I have a feeling this will work on pretty much all body types.
Now, will I make another? Heck yeah! I’ve just remembered a black 3m length herringbone linen that’s in the stash, bought 2-3 years ago when I first thought I’d like to try the jumpsuit trend. Might even do the sleeves with that fabric, it has more body than the navy I’ve just used! But first, I have a couple of Kabuki Tees I want to make, and some grey jersey that wants to be a Stellan tee, and make my first ever Style Arc trouser pattern, and I need to make two things for Daughter No2 that I toiled the week before last, and….. BIBS! I want to make a pair of hazel linen Burnside bibs to take with me! Oh boy. There is still the allotment and digging in of muck and starting of dahlias and sowing of seeds to do too. Oh help.