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


  1. Fantastic - that looks so great on you and the length is perfect. Love the color

  2. You are right! Red is a great colour for you. Nice job.

  3. Love. Love. LOVE!!!!! It fits beautifully and that color is stunning!

    I love when I luck up on super wide cuts :-D

    1. Thank you! I was so excited when I realised how wide it was!