Me again! I might finally be back in the UK, but the sewing is s.l.o.w.! I haven’t quite got back to “normal”, because life isn’t normal. Mr W moved his office into my sewing room while I was away and he had to work from home. Now that work can happen at the “proper” office, but only twice a week, he’s still firmly ensconced in the sewing room. It’s hard to find room for sewing machines and ironing amongst the computer, A3 files, boxes of samples and other paraphanalia a busy architect needs. Not to mention the constant phone calls, with and without video…
So the sewing has been happening on the dining table, cutting out on the living room floor. It’s not ideal, and I’m still itching to sew more, but I think we all need to get used to life as not-normal. It’s been weird to have continual company nowadays, instead of being on my own all day! But, I do actually have something I made to show you.
Back in June, there were a couple of “challenges” I thought I’d join in with, the #JumpingIntoJune sewalong encouraged the making of jumpsuits, and Stephanie at Sea of Teal was promoting sewing with prints for June’s Sew Your Wardrobe Basics. So, on the last day of June I cut and started a print jumpsuit. Not so much jumping into June as jumping out of it!
I do love the Zadie Jumpsuit, it’s so comfy to wear, and quick to make. This version is the size 16, with no FBA! I had realised with the last summer version I made last year, that with the FBA the waistline seam sat too low. So I reversed that adjustment and just made the smaller size. I’m happy to report that it’s all worked, fits properly, doesn’t gape, and the waistline is in the right place.
The fabric is a cotton shweshwe print I bought in South Africa in May. This isn’t the Da Gams Three Cats fabric. It had “Cheetah Shweshwe” in the selvage, but I can’t find much info about it. It’s wider than the Da Gama fabric at 150cm and slightly stiffer, but that will go with washing. It’s no stiffer than the blue linen used for my first Zadie. I love the spotty print, it caught my eye in the fabric shop immediately, and straight away I knew I wanted to make the Zadie Jumpsuit with it.
This isn’t the end of my Shweshwe journey, I bought another piece for myself which will become a nice new pair of Carolyn PJ pants, and lots of pieces that I bought for making things for the girls. Now I just need the time to make it all up!!!
I made an outfit almost exclusively for one or two days wear. A bit of a waste? Well… Hopefully not! I’ve seen people making Christmas and Birthday dresses on Instagram for ages now, and I never really saw the appeal. Sure, I might wear something recently made on the day, but it wouldn’t have been made specifically with that purpose in mind. So why did I do it? I had just over a metre of sparkly sequin fabric leftover from a 1920s dress I made for a friend a few years ago. And every time I looked in the special fabrics box for other things, this sparkly sequin fabric said “Hi!”. And I love a bit of sparkle.
So I hatched a plan – use the sequin fabric for the top part of something, and go plain on the rest. I cannot see myself wearing a fully sequined getup anywhere! I just don’t lead that sort of lifestyle. I had in my mind a jumpsuit, and the Zadie fit the bill rather nicely. I wouldn’t need to try to hem or face edges, and the leg part of the jumpsuit is nice a wide, so a flowy fabric would work perfectly. I took a leap of faith and ordered 2m of black crepe from Croft Mill Fabrics and stashed the lot until I had the time to think about working with sequins again.
Of course, when not planning things out properly, something is always going to go awry. The leftover sequin fabric was’t nice and neat, and the pieces for the Zadie top are big, especially the crossover front. I just couldn’t get the front, back and sleeves onto the remaining shape of the sequins, so the back had to go. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, from the back you’ll still see sequinned sleeves, and it might be more comfortable to wear as a plain fabric.
But that meant I needed space on the 2m of 150 wide crepe for two lengthened (by 10cm), wide trouser legs, one (the front) with a crossover extension. And the pocket bag, tie belt and bias strips, and the bodice back. It just didn’t all fit on, so I decided to forgo self bias for shop-bought black satin bias, and to echo that, and bring in a bit of texture contrast, to cut the pocket bags from some leftover black crepe-backed satin. A bit of tuxedo vibe, if you like. To line the sequin front bodice pieces I dived back into the special fabrics box and found another leftover piece of fabric, this time a lightweight piece of dark grey satin that worked perfectly under the sequin fabric. The sleeves are unlined and would be finished with black bias instead of being hemmed.
With everything cutout and marked up, I then proceeded to have endless fun flicking sequins around the sewing room. They had to be removed from the dart area on the bodice front (FBA) and in all the seam allowances. To be fair, I tried not flicking the sqwuins too far, I needed to keep some for reinstating along the seam edges to fill the gaps. However, two weeks later, I’m still finding the little sparkly buggers under and behind things, and nestled in the pile of the carpet.
I used a narrow zigzag to sew the seams of the sequin fabric as the mesh has some stretch, then the seam allowances were zigzagged together and pressed – carefully- to the back. I herringbone stitched the seam allowance onto the back bodice so it wouldn’t be flapping around. The grey satin lining was attached to the front sequin pieces after the darts were sewn and the two treated as one. The sequins did end up making the pleats on the waistline a bit bulky, but I really couldn’t have removed any of them.
I overlocked the crepe trouser pieces and satin pocket bags before starting to sew, and French seamed the bottom seam of the pockets. As always, the Zadie goes together really easily, it’s just choice of fabric that might take time… I took this project a little slower than normal, I had no intention of trying to use a seam ripper on a mesh seam! I used just under 2 rolls of black satin biasbinding, I like the definitive edge it gives to the front, and the sleeve edges. On trying the jumpsuit on to check the hem length, however, I realised it was the right length as it was! Damn, should have lengthened the legs by 12cm! But that would have given me other issues with getting the pieces on the fabric. Anyway, it wasn’t a disaster, I just used the bias binding as hem facing, sewing it on the bottom edge with 5mm seam and turning it in to make the proper hem. It’s worked ok, and the length is now right.
And now I have a very sparkly outfit, fit for Christmas, birthdays, New Year and just about any wedding (evenings only) we might get invited to for the next few years!! I’m glad I only needed to buy the crepe and bias binding, and that the sequined fabric now has a use, rather than sitting in the stash.
I knew I wanted another Zadie Jumpsuit, pattern by Paper Theory, the minute I finished and tried on the first one! I’ve loved wearing my blue linen Zadie, and just needed to find the time to make another. I chose a piece of linen that I bought in South Africa, grey with white stripes. The stripes run perpendicular to the grainline, but as there is no movement in either direction, I figured there’d be no problems in turning that 90 degrees. I wanted the stripes to run vertical on the trousers, and horizintal on the bodice. The stripes were pinned togetther to make sure they stayed in line with each other.
I changed the size a bit, leaving the bodice at size 16, going to the 14 on the trousers. I found the previous pair got a little too baggy in the bum, so these will be better. I hope! It’s certainly as comfortable to wear as the first one, but softer and drapey. This linen is not starchy like the blue, but has a lovely soft handle. It’s also relatively thin – because the weave is more open. This makes it nice and cool to wear. That’s something I’m really looking forward to for this week when the temperatures are set to hit the 30s.
There’s not much left of that fabric now, I started with two metres and was pretty chuffed to get the pattern out of that! I might see if I can add the left overs to some white and black linen of similar weight and made a patchwork item, I’ve been inspired by what Lauren at Elbe Textiles has been making with all her scraps. This week I’ve made bunting for my new allotment shed with some of the more cheerful orange and blue scraps, looked out the remains of some blue and rust linen to make a nice cover for a cushion, also for the allotment shed, made beeswax wraps with different sized squares of cotton, used up some of the plain coloured linens and two patterned cotton pieces to make – something…
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I know, I was originally thinking I’d make shopping totes, but when I’d patched all the pieces together they looked so nice, so I kept going and now I have something that resembles a small quilt or throw – without the back. I don’t think it’s something I could wear, but I don’t want to chop it up and make bags now. Sooo now I have to find a big enough piece of fabric to back it with. Or – cut more squares out of something else in the scrap box and make a reversible throw! Oh dear, I’ll see you guys later, if I ever resurface from that scrap box, Pinterest and all the ideas.
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.