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!

Japan Travel Wardrobe – Part 2: The Raspberry Rucksack

For our Japan trip I wanted a light backpack that could be folded up easily when not in use, so when I saw that Sarah Kirsten was working on the Raspberry Rucksack I knew it would be a great fit. Luckily the pattern was released just in time and I finished my Raspberry last week.

I’ve sewn all sorts of things over the last few years but somehow I’ve never made a backpack before. My main issue is sourcing all the notions without any good shops nearby. I was really intrigued by this design though and decided to bite the bullet and order online. The trickiest bit was to find an o-zipper (with the two pulls in the middle) but I found some metal zips at Schneidereibedarf Werner. They offer zips in 1 cm increments, which was super handy in this case. The zip though is a little bit heavy and a clear white, whereas I would have preferred a cream colour. However, since the zipper isn’t that visible when the backpack is closed it’s not such an issue.

I also got the rectangle rings and slide adjusters from the same shop. The webbing that I had ordered there too, turned out to be too flimsy so I had to get a different option from Amazon. Since I could only order 12 meters I decided to order a plain white figuring that since it was cotton I could dye it in the right colour for each project. When it arrived it was clear that the contrast of the white against the dark brown fabric was too stark so I quickly tea dyed it to get more of an off white. Two bags of Earl Grey made a strong enough brew to dye all the webbing. I love an easy natural dyeing solution!

Speaking of fabric, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to use the leftovers from my Persephone pants to make the backpack (#sewingleftovers). The fabric is sturdy but still relatively thin and I just love the brown colour. To make it more weather resistant I decided to wax it myself using a Merchant & Mills re-proofing bar from Juni Design. Applying it was really easy, you just have to rub it on and then iron between two sheets of baking paper. Just be aware that an untreated fabric like this will soak up a lot of wax. I used up a little bit over one bar to wax all pieces. Still it’s an easy and affordable way to create your own oilskin fabric.

The Raspberry Rucksack comes in two sizes, Little and Big. I went for the Big version and think the size is just right.

As this was my first backpack ever, I was glad that the instructions were so thorough. It’s clear that Sarah has put a lot of effort into figuring out the best construction and the diagrams are super clear. Nevertheless, this is not an easy project. It really requires you to pay close attention to the instructions and be very accurate. Also in some places, especially the corners, your machine might struggle to get through all the layers. My machine is quite powerful but still I had some issues, especially when it came to attaching the pop-up pocket. Luckily my topstitching thread was a perfect match so any wonky seams are not really visible. My main recommendation for the trickier topstitching parts is to use a glue stick to attach the pieces first. That gives you much more control and nothing moves around.

Despite these struggles, it was a really enjoyable sew. I like when I have to be super focused and can learn some new techniques. The construction of the fully lined pop-up pocket, for example, was really mind boggling but really fun (make sure to check out the sew along on Sarah’s blog if you are having issues).

The one change I made to the pattern was to add a pocket on the side for a small water bottle. I always have water with me when I travel and prefer to have easy access to it. To do that I just cut a piece of fabric with the width of the middle panel, lined it and topstitched it on.

Construction-wise I followed the instructions in most parts. One thing I had to change was the order of attaching the back panel. The instructions tell you to first attach the top and the bottom and afterwards the sides. However, if you are like me and are not the most exact sewer, then your side seams might not match. I had to unpick the top seam and shorten the back piece a little bit to make it all work.

As for the inside of the backpack, I decided to line it with this fun duck print from the flea market (which somehow reminds me of my childhood in the 90s). Again the finish is super clean as the inside seams are bound with bias tape. I decided to make my own bias tape in the lining fabric. While it’s always a bit of a pain to make, it’s so worth it. To not disturb the clean finish on the inside I even decided to stitch the bias tape down by hand (I love a bit of hand sewing).

As you might be able to tell from the pictures, this little backpack makes me very happy. It’s a perfect size and still very light-weight. Obviously it’s not super ergonomic but I’ve used it a couple of times now and it’s surprisingly comfortable to carry. I love that the front flap opens all the way so it’s really easy to pack. In a next version (I’m sure there will be one) I’ll further round the top corners at the zip as it’s quite difficult to open the zip without folding back the zipper flap. I read beforehand that others had the same issues so I already rounded them more than I would have based on the instructions, still the curve is a little bit too tight. Next time I would also try a plastic zipper that opens more easily.

Despite these struggles, this backpack turned out great. It’s cute and should be perfect for our trip. I’ll report back once I’ve lugged it around Japan for a month.

If you are interested in making a backpack, I’d definitely recommend this pattern. Be prepared to unpick a few times and make your machine work hard (which I guess is true for any backpack pattern). But Sarah really has you covered every step of the way and the result is clearly worth it. I’m glad I gave backpack making a go, it’s such a useful skill!

Japan Travel Wardrobe – Part 1

It’s official, my husband and I have finally booked our holiday to Japan. We’ve been planning to go for two years now (it was supposed to be sort of our honeymoon) and we finally managed to find a date. We’ll be there from the beginning of April until the beginning of March, travelling around the country. I’m very excited!

So what is the first thing a sewist does when they booked a holiday? Dream up a travel wardrobe of course and make a list of things to sew. This list I’ve sketched out focuses on some key pieces I felt I was missing. Clearly I’m already dreaming of warm weather sewing. No worries I’ll take thermals and jackets too.

This list got me so excited that I’ve already sewn half way through it. Today I’m showing you the Claudia Dress and the Stellan Tee. The leather fanny pack is done too (check out my Instagram for a preview) and I’m currently working on the Raspberry Rucksack.

The Claudia Dress by Tessuti has been on my to-sew list since it came out. I love the neckline, the length, the side slits; basically it’s my dream summer dress. I used a Robert Kaufmann cotton-linen mix that I got from Ray Stitch a while ago. It’s a beautiful fabric but it took me a long time to decide what exactly to make with it. I’m glad I decided to pair it with the Claudia dress. It’s the perfect weight for this dress and the stripes work well with this simple shape.

Talking of stripes, I totally copied the idea of playing with stripe direction from Ellen (@ejc______). I saw her version of the Claudia on Instagram and immediately wanted to make my own. I broke up the front pattern piece into two (actually just at the place where you would stick the two pattern pieces together) and cut one piece on grain, the other one cross-grain. The back stripes are aligned with the ones of the lower part of the front. I made sure to pattern match just above the slit where both sides meet and love this little detail.

In terms of sizing I graded from a size S at the top to a size M in the hips. The amount of ease around the hips is perfect, at the top though I had to take the dress in quite a bit through the side seams. Now it sits close enough to not show any boob but it’s still relatively loose so that I can wear a T-shirt or turtleneck underneath. I tried to be super careful with the armhole stitching to not stretch it out (I stay stitched instead of using tear-away vilene as suggested in the pattern), still it gapes a little. Something to improve on the next version.

For the facings I used the main fabric, but decided to also invert the stripe. I figured rather than trying to match up the stripe I would create a sort of checkered pattern if the fabric was to sheer. And indeed you can see a faint pattern in the right light, which I think is quite fun.

The dress has pockets that are topstitched to the front. While I like the construction and the fact that they are there, I feel the pockets are really tiny, and I don’t even have big hands! Something to keep in mind if you ever make this pattern.

While I like the dress loose as drafted (unfortunately I forgot to take a picture), I also sewed up a tie to cinch in the waist. It breaks up the front bodice and adds a little bit more to the stripe play.

All in all it’s a wonderful pattern. For my next version I might hack it into a top for summer.

Next up is the Stellan Tee by French Navy. It’s a FREE pattern and a great contemporary version of a tee. I love the high neck and the relaxed fit.

The fabric is the ochre merino from The Fabric Store. I don’t really wear yellow/mustard colours, but it suits my husband so I had ordered some to make him a T-shirt. While the fabric was sitting in my stash, I got curious and decided to give this colour a try. So I stole a piece to make the Stellan Tee (don’t worry, there is still enough left for my husband).

It’s a simple tee, nevertheless, the instructions are nice and thorough. I’m not much of a T-shirt sewer, so this was actually the first time that I used the technique to enclose the back neck seam allowance with tape. I love how clean it looks and will definitely add that to any future T-shirts.

I don’t have a coverstitch machine, so I used a small zig zag stitch to finish the neck and hems. I always thought it looked a little bit amateurish though these days I actually really like the look of it.

The sizing for me is spot on. I made a size S based on my bust measurements and there is plenty of room even at the hips.

The hem is drafted as curved, which was a bit fiddly to sew. It’s a cute detail, though I might straighten it out next time to give it an even cleaner look.

Such a quick and satisfying sew and this merino is a dream to wear! My husband only wears merino shirts these days and I can understand why. It’s perfect for any climate and will be great for travelling.

Stay tuned for more holiday sewing!