Everyone’s favourite – The Zadie Jumpsuit

Hello everyone, it’s been a while! As some of you may have noticed, we’ve had some issues with the website over the last few weeks. It’s all fixed now and the blog should be running like usual again.

A lot has happened since my last post! In April we spent a month travelling in Japan which was amazing! Then within a month after getting back to Germany I had a job interview, got an offer and moved to Karlsruhe. We’ve been here for two months now and we love it. Karlsruhe is a great place to live, with a very active sewing scene. I’ve already met some wonderful sewing people!

Now that we have found a flat and I have set up my sewing space, I’m finally working on sewing projects again. This make though I already completed back in May and we took the photos on a quick trip to Lake Como just before our move.

By now, everyone active in the online sewing community will be familiar with this pattern; it’s the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit and it has taken the sewing community by storm. I don’t think I have ever seen a pattern get that popular that quickly! And rightly so, it’s a wonderful pattern that looks amazing on everyone.

When it came out, I immediately planned to make one and bought some navy linen for it. I didn’t manage to make it before we left for Japan though and I had to wait a whole month before I could get started.

The pattern is fairly simple and super quick to sew. Based on a few comments that it was running large, I chose to make a size 10 based on my bust measurements and did not grade out to a size 14 in the hips. It worked out perfectly; it’s not too over-sized and I have plenty of room in the hips.

As flat pattern adjustment I decided to shorten the bodice by 2 cm and lengthen the legs by 5 cm. I have a short torso, and proportionally long legs. I’m glad I did, the bodice fits nicely and the legs are just about long enough (my pet peeve are wide legged trousers that are too short and hit me too far above my ankle).

Construction-wise I swapped the bias binding for a facing, which is my preferred method and gives the neckline a bit more stability.

All in all, a quick sew with a great result!

I love wearing this jumpsuit! It’s the first jumpsuit, which I made that I’m wearing on a regular basis! The linen is perfect for summer and the longer sleeves provide good coverage. It’s cycle-friendly and I can even wear it to work. A winner all around!

If you haven’t made a Zadie yet, what are you waiting for? It’s such a great pattern and will even convert jumpsuit skeptics (ok, the bathroom situation is indeed less than ideal ;) any tips?).

I’ll leave you with some impressions of our wonderful Italy trip. I just love the colours and textures of Italian buildings!

The Boiler Suit

Let me preface this by saying, I love a good sewing challenge! This look is definitely a departure from my usual style but I enjoyed working on this a lot. A while back, Raphaëlle from Ready to Sew contacted me to ask if I wanted to test her newest pattern, the Jean-Paul boiler suit. While I have never made a Ready to Sew pattern, I was very excited to try one of them as I love her style and have heard many great things about the patterns. But a boiler suit? I haven’t even really joined the jumpsuit trend and generally am more of a separates gal. However, the more I thought about it the more excited I got to try this trend. As you might know from my Tello Jacket adventures, I love making and wearing work wear. Also it seems like all the cool people on Instagram have been wearing boiler suits lately. So in the end I decided to say yes.

The design is really a classic boiler suit, with a collar, plenty of pockets, waistband and button placket at the front. While it is quite a complex project, the construction of this was really straight-forward. It helps that the instructions are impeccable, every step is nicely illustrated and Raphaëlle provides some additional resources for the trickier bits and fit adjustments. I didn’t need any of the additional resources but it was nice to know that I could refer to them if I got stuck. Oh, and she even provides a music playlist to go with the pattern (I’m currently listening to it, what a fun idea!).

The pattern strongly recommends making a muslin first and I agree. A boiler suit is just one piece, and it’s essential to be able to move around in it, so test driving it before cutting into the actual fabric is important. I followed this advice and made up a muslin in a pink cotton. I decided to go with a size 40 for the top, grading to a size 43 in the bottom (this pattern comes in half sizes, which is great). I basted everything together and then spent a whole afternoon wearing it to make sure I could move around comfortably. The crotch seemed quite low initially but the ease is needed to be able to reach overhead without getting a wedgie. Otherwise the muslin fit quite well and in the end I made only minor fit changes. I shortened the front crotch slightly and moved the bust dart down a bit.

Doesn’t this pink version look super fun? I might have to make a colourful  boiler suit at some point.

For the main piece I used a medium weight navy twill with a tiny bit of stretch (the pattern calls for non-stretch fabric). It’s the same fabric that I used for my Persephone Shorts, quite a cheap remnant that I picked up at a fabric store in Colmar. I wanted to make the boiler suit in a heavy duty fabric, for the ultimate work wear feel. It’s definitely super robust, however, for everyday wear it’s a tad heavy. The buttons are from the flea market. I’m still on the fence about the contrast colour, so maybe I’ll replace them with navy ones.

Due to a lack of fabric, I had to make the short-sleeved view but I’m intrigued to make the longer sleeve version too. The pattern has an option for a martingale to cinch in the waist, which I decided to try out. Instead of using the pattern piece, I put the final suit on and pinched out the excess fabric to determine the length of my martingale. Again I’m not sure about the white buttons for this look (somehow reminds me of taillights, haha) but overall the martingale is a fun detail.

The construction was very enjoyable, I love all the tailoring details and top-stitching (I made my life easy with using the same colour thread). Overall the whole thing came together quickly. I made this when I was visiting my parents and used my old Pfaff machine. While that meant that I had to finish all the seams with a zigzag stitch I really enjoyed working on my old machine again.

The fit of the final garment is good. I think this fits like a boiler suit should, roomy enough to move around in it but with some feminine shaping. I’m still debating if I should slim down the legs slightly which would make them look a little bit more fashionable. Also the legs are a tad too short on me, especially since they are drafted to be rolled up. I might add some cuffs with leftover fabric to add some length. Raphaëlle did a great job with incorporating the tester feedback and the final version has a slightly shorter crotch as well as longer and slimmer legs. So most of the issues I had should not come up in the final pattern.

So what is my verdict then?

The Jean-Paul is a great pattern in terms of the detail of the instructions and the overall drafting. It’s and advanced sew, but it’s all so well described that with a little bit of patience you end up with a modern and professional looking boiler suit.

In my opinion a boiler suit in a heavy fabric like this works best in one of two scenarios, either as a very fashion forward piece (potentially in a bright colour) or in an atelier/workshop where it can actually be worn as a work outfit. Since I don’t live in a big city with stylish people nor own my own studio (I wish), I struggle to find opportunities to wear this. However, in a drapier fabric and maybe a fun colour I can see how this could work for daily wear. Make sure to check out the #JPReadyToSew hashtag, the other testers have made some amazing versions! I’m also intrigued to hack this into a shirt, maybe in some tencel twill. That pleat detail is just so much fun and I could use more work wear style tops.

If you’ve ever dreamed of your own stylish boiler suit, this is the pattern for you. In the meantime I’ll be here planning my imaginary sewing/crafting atelier…

The jump-lottes experiment

culottes_01I normally tend to sew very sensible things. I try to keep my wardrobe small and not to follow trends that I’m unsure about. Still I’m not completely immune against some of them. Two of these trends are the jumpsuit and the culottes. Both of them I’ve followed and my attitude towards them has changed from very sceptical to “must have”. For jumpsuits the main drawback is that they are relatively impractical, and that I prefer wearing separates, so I didn’t know if I would get a lot of wear out of one. For culottes, I’m really not sure if the width and length would be too flattering.

Then one day, I was in town and I saw the most perfect culottes-jumpsuit on a girl. It was an electric blue jumpsuit, with a fitted sleeveless bodice, moderate, calf-length culottes and a sash around the waist. When I came home, I immediately sketched it out, and filed it under, “if I ever have an occasion and the time”. I wasn’t overly optimistic that I would ever tackle it. But then I went to the Sewing Weekender and at the fabric and pattern swap stumbled upon the exact pattern that I needed: the Prima June 2016 Jumpsuit (whoever, donated it, thank you very much!). I also had the perfect fabric in my stash. A linen remnant with a slightly metallic/shiny coating that I got for free at my favourite fabric shop. Together with some gifted silk for the lining, an invisible zipper from a thrifted dress and a spool of matching thread from the Sewing Weekender goody bag, I had all the materials needed for this experiment and all of them for free. So who was I to deny this jump-lottes to come to life? On top of that I was invited to an October wedding, the perfect occasion for a new frock.

Excited I quickly put the main pieces of the garment together, to get a feel for what it would look like. In my opinion it didn’t look too bad, but as expected my boyfriend hated it. And I was unsure about the colour and whether I could really pull it off. So it sat there for a week, the wedding creeping closer. Luckily a friend of mine stopped by and convinced me to finish the thing. And the more I worked on it, the more I liked it. I didn’t have a lot of time to actually finish it, and there are some major fitting issues with the bodice, which I just didn’t have the patience to resolve (does anyone else wish they could just duplicate themselves and fit their own bodies?). Still I managed to finish it in time, even with a hand-finished zip and thread belt loops.

The finished jump-lottes actually look pretty cool, (when worn with heels, otherwise it feels more like clown territory). It looks pretty much like the inspiration jumpsuit (or at least like my memory of it). The only changes that I had to make to the pattern was to add a centre front seam (which also helps with sewing a neat neckline) and to add a sash. I finished all the seams with my overlock and put an invisible zip in the back. The zip was slightly too short, so I added a key-hole design at the top, fastening the neck with a hook and eye.

The neckline is a lovely v-shape and I have to say that I absolutely love the fit of the culottes. Exactly the right width of leg to not feel too culotte-y. I cut a size 10 for the top and graded out to a 12 at the hips, however, in the end I had to take the trousers slightly in around the hip.

I adore the length of the legs, in my opinion it hits exactly the right spot at the calves. It’s not a length I would normally go for, and first I considered to shorten it to just below the knee, but when I put it on the long length definitely looked cooler. I thought about adding pockets (I unconsciously tried to put my hands in the non-existing pockets, when I first put it on) but then was afraid that it would disturb the sleek silhouette.

I did decide to wear it to the wedding in the end, paired with this black blazer. It was comfortable and practical for dancing, climbing stairs and crouching on the floor (which actually happened, thanks to a drunken wedding guest, smashing their wine glass on the floor). The only issue really is going to the bathroom. The last 5 centimetres of the zip are almost impossible to reach. But that’s what boyfriends are for right? As expected, the fabric does wrinkle a bit and the knees bag out slightly with too much sitting down. Nothing major though, that couldn’t be solved with some dancing ;-)

It was definitely a standout piece, among all the skirts and dresses, cool and unusual. The bride and groom afterwards commented that I was able to “pull it off”, so that’s a win in my books.

So what’s the verdict? Overall I would say this zero-cost jump-lottes experiment was a success. It’s definitely fun to sometimes follow the fashion trends. I’m not sure how many occasions I will have to wear it to. I might want to sort out the fitting issues first or chop off the bodice and wear it as high-waisted culottes, maybe that would make it more versatile. In any case, this was fun! Until next time, with probably a more “sensible” project ;-)

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