Monday 15 July 2019

summer sewing: Zadie jumpsuit

Hi! I've spent the last two weeks being completely owned by a gastric bug! YAY! That's okay, it's fine, it's not like I'm going on holiday on Friday and am now massively behind on sewing and organisation or anything. But I'm finally human enough to take photos, so here we go!

Last June we went to New York to visit some friends, and I insisted on fitting in a trip to Mood Fabrics. After many years of watching Project Runway it had acquired semi-legendary status in my mind, and almost all the American sewing people I follow talk about Mood pretty regularly. I was super excited to go, and super overwhelmed when I got there. It was about half the size I'd expected, but with about three times as much stuff. I'm really not sure how they managed to film in there. I spent about two hours in there, vacillating between "I must buy EVERYTHING and bankrupt myself" and "Can't do it, I'm just going to leave without anything" and stressing myself out. Patrick convinced me that I would regret leaving with nothing (I normally don't take him to fabric shops and when I do I'm pretty decisive, so he was not having fun at all, poor guy) and I decided to pick one thing that I had a plan for and would definitely be able to use.

This was not that plan.

I had bought this really beautiful soft raspberry linen with the intention of making a swing dress, and I put it on my summer plan last year. I made a toile... and hated it. I made a toile of a different swing dress and hated it so much that I never photographed it. Eventually I decided that I just wasn't going to be able to get the look I wanted from a swing dress, and gave up. I've had my eye open for other ideas since then, but nothing that might fit onto 2.5 yards of fabric presented itself.

When I saw that the Zadie jumpsuit only used 2.5 yards of fabric, I got very excited and could picture the resulting jumpsuit immediately, but after making my toile I was worried. The layout is incredibly fabric-efficient, leaving only a few scraps, and the actual pattern is for a cropped jumpsuit (I think cropped trousers look weird on me, so that length was never an option). I'd managed to squeeze a bit more length out of my toile, but that was 2.5 metres of fabric rather than yards. I put the jumpsuit off for a couple of months while I worried about what to do.

You will note that this is a full-length jumpsuit. What I only realised as I was halfway through laying it out was that this linen is SUPER wide. Wider than any fabric I'd ever used before, in fact. I cut out two Zadie jumpsuits in the same session and it was easier to get all the pieces out of this fabric than it was for the 3m cut I had of the other one. I'd cut bias binding from a different fabric just in case and it turned out I didn't need it at all. I could have made cuffs for the arms and legs with the scraps if I'd wanted to.

As last time, construction was super simple. I French-seamed the whole thing even though the thickness of this fabric makes it borderline awkward because I still don't have a functioning overlocker and historically I've found my zig-zag finished seams don't really like heat and sweat and rubbing very much. It was only the waist seam that gave me any trouble, so I think it was the right decision. I'd cut everything out a couple of weeks beforehand, and I got most of the actual sewing done in one afternoon.

I cut a straight 16 this time, and I'm very glad I sized down, because I think if it were too oversized I would look a bit like a supermarket warehouse worker (which I have been, though not in red, and I'm not too jazzed about revisiting it), but as it is I think it looks great. I really enjoy the casual vibe rendered in a glamorous colour, and as always when I make something red, I remember that I really need to find a way to work more red into my wardrobe. Red looks really good on me but head-to-toe red doesn't often fit my day-to-day general vibe and I've never been able to work out how to pair it with other colours in a way that I actually like. There are lots of shoe or accessory colours that I like with red, but in terms of finding a top or bottom to pair with a red item, nothing looks right on me. Black - nope. Navy - nope. Grey - only very specific tones. White - looks okay, but I'm not about to start making white clothes. Maybe I need to put some more effort into this.

I really like this jumpsuit and I think I'll wear it a lot this summer. My toile version is really nice but a bit... beach pyjamas-ish to wear in London unless it's super sunny, and we really aren't having that kind of summer. Because this one is linen it's nice and cool on muggy days, but it doesn't look instantly inappropriate when a cloud drifts in front of the sun. It's coming on holiday with me and I plan to eat a lot of oysters in it.

This is probably the last time I'll make this pattern until at least next summer. It's really great but I don't think I have room for more than three (the third is one I'm making for a blog post on Minerva). I know there's a long-sleeved version but I don't think that's for me.

I'll be on holiday next week and probably won't have caught up with my sewing enough to schedule a post in advance. Depending on how productive I am, the next post might be a bikini, a different jumpsuit, a bunch of anti-chafe shorts, or something else entirely. We shall see! 

Paper Theory Zadie jumpsuit

Fabric: Red linen from Mood Fabrics
Cost: I think about $40?
Pattern details: Wrap-front jumpsuit with cropped legs, big pockets and bias bound neckline made from self fabric
Size: 16
Alterations: Bodice shortened by 1 inch, 4 inches added to the legs
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes

Monday 1 July 2019

FULL GALAXY NIGHTMARE: Jalie Clara leggings

Behold the glory that is me in head to toe galaxy print:

I made my first ever pair of leggings in February, after many months of putting it off, and frankly the experience didn't encourage me. After a bunch of alterations I got them to photograph OK, but the videos I got from both the dance class and weightlifting session I wore them to told a very different story. Wrinkles. So many wrinkles. I've never worn oversized leggings before and I had no idea they looked that bad.

I knew that if my second attempt also failed I probably wouldn't be motivated to try a third time, so I went for the safest bet I could think of, which was Jalie. Well-regarded, specialists in activewear patterns, I've used and liked them before. I saw a few people of similar thigh girth to me recommend the Clara leggings, so that's what I went for. I made my test pair in the same grey fabric as my Simplicity leggings, but I wanted to start off with the ridiculous galaxy extravaganza, so the grey ones are further down the post.

I bought this fabric from Girl Charlee a couple of months ago as a way to try and motivate myself to make more leggings. I did not, at the time, have any intention of making a matching crop top - that was a bolt of what I'll charitably call inspiration when looking at the half-metre of fabric I had left over. It looked quite see-through when I got it but on the body it's fine. I think I would have preferred the print to have more of the dark colours and less of the confusing peach, though.

The leggings are cut as one piece, with no front or outer leg seam, with a wide waistband and a gusset for better fit. There's also a second view with no waistband and a lower rise. My first pair was slightly too low for me at the back, so I cut these an extra inch higher and they sit perfectly. I wish I'd lengthened the legs very slightly - on proper activewear fabric I think this length would be fine, but this stuff isn't as dense and so it springs up a bit higher on my ankles. It's not that big a deal, but it does look extremely dorky with my black ankle socks and weightlifting shoes. Which is why I'm wearing sandals with my workout gear in these photos like a weirdo.

The top is the Kommatia Patterns Coco tank top, which I got for $2 in a sale on Makerist. It's a fairly standard tank top pattern with nothing particularly noteworthy about it, but I didn't have a tank top pattern and you can't really argue with $2. It has both a regular view and a cropped view, and this is a slightly lengthened version of the latter. I also put in a cut-some-bumps-on-the-side FBA. It's a really nice fit and I'll definitely use it again. It's super-basic so I'm not going to recommend anyone rush out and pay full price for it, but I did also buy several more substantial patterns from them in the same sale and I'm excited to review those properly. 

Will I ever wear these out of the house together? I really don't know. True story: our back garden is at the exact same level as our neighbours' balcony doors, and those doors remained resolutely closed and curtained while I took photos of normal clothes. When I came back out dressed like this, the doors were flung wide open and three people were milling around, occasionally glancing at me in mild horror. Which is both quite funny and also not at all encouraging. I'm definitely not ready to go lifting in a crop top yet - fat does funny things when you're jumping and squatting. Both pieces will get worn at dance classes for sure, and maybe the full galaxy nightmare will emerge in public one day.

While we're here, this is the first pair of Claras I made:

(Please excuse the sudden hair change - this picture is a few weeks old.)

This is the remainder of the fabric I used for my Simplicity leggings. I was a bit short on length so I cut the waistband pieces wherever I could fit them instead of on the fold. I added two inches to the legs and as you can see, it was unnecessary in this fabric. When I first tried this pair on I found that the back rise was too low for me, so I unpicked the seam and put a small yoke in the back. I couldn't manage to take a photo where it was visible - these leggings are awesome but they photograph like shit. 

I tested them out by wearing them to a personal training session and they held up WAY better than the Simplicity ones in the same fabric. They fit like leggings are supposed to fit, which means it's much, much easier to do everything. Here's me doing a snatch (snatch, jerk, power snatch, muscle snatch, rack jerk, I love weightlifting):

I will be making a bunch more of these. I have another two pairs of full leggings cut out already, and also the shorts version for anti-chafe purposes. Leggings live and die by the fabric choice so much that it'll probably be a while before I completely replace my RTW workout gear (probably as long as it takes me to find decent black activewear fabric, honestly), but the pattern is completely solid and I can't imagine ever needing another one. You'll be seeing this again.  

Next up: jumpsuit! Power stance! 

Jalie Clara leggings

Fabric: Galaxy spandex from Girl Charlee UK
Cost: £26
Pattern details: Leggings in full, capri and short lengths with no centre front or outer leg seams, gusset for fit, and either high rise with wide waistband or mid-rise with no waistband
Size: AA in the waist blended out to CC in the thighs
Alterations: Back rise increased by an inch
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes