The Zadie Jumpsuit - Adjustments and Review
If you've been in the sewing community long, then you've no doubt seen the Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory Patterns. It seems to be one of the darlings of the indie pattern world. It's up there with the Persephone, or the Wilder Gown and its well-deserved.
The headline is: I should not have waited a year from seeing this pattern to actually buying it and making it. And neither should you. This is the comfiest piece of clothing I have ever sewn, and I don't want to take it off.
1. THE INSPIRATION
It began with Little Women. It invariably starts with a period drama, but give me waistcoats and gingham and I will swoon.
I've been dreaming up ways to bring gingham into my wardrobe in a way that results in more Gabriel from Far From The Madding Crowd than milk maid. Good lord, Gabriel Oak.
Gingham takes me naturally to Ace & Jig, which is hard to look at without falling head over heels for everything. Their ethical and sustainable credentials, their fabric designs, their simple shapes and styles that return time and time again each season. Oof. We'll return to A&J no doubt in another blog. And probably to Gabriel Oak if I'm honest.
Digging through my fabric stash, I came across this gorgeous piece of gingham from Merchant and Mills - Famille - which I had been saving for a dress, but seemed perfect for the Zadie. Note for beginner sewists - if I really like a fabric but only have a vague idea of what I might use it for, I'll buy 3m of it which will usually give me enough to make most projects eg: dress, jumpsuit, co-ord trousers and top. That can be expensive (a whole other post is coming about this) but it always means I can compete a project.
2. THE PROCESS
Before cutting out the paper pattern, I spent a healthy morning looking through other sewists blogs to get a better idea of whether I would need to make adjustments. According to I sew therefore I am, the Mindful Sewist, and Sew Dainty (among others), I noted that I would probably need to size down one or two sizes as well as reduce the rise from the front and back.
I asked my partner to take my measurements again, and based on those sized down from a 14 on top to a 12, and a 16 on the bottom to a 14. I then graded between the 12 on the top and 14 on the bottom*. Looking back, I could have cut a straight 12 as the pattern is designed to be loose and comfortable, and in the next one I will most likely save myself the grading faff!
A few things I really liked about this pattern:
The instruction to trace the pattern directly on to your fabric flat, rather than cut on the fold like many patterns do, really helped me to make the most of this fabric. I've got about 80cm left to re-purpose and minimal scraps which I liked a lot!
The pleats in both the front and back are absolutely lovely. I couldn't get mine matched up at first, but the pattern is not finicky which meant it was really easy to go back and add some more fabric to a pleat in order to get clean lines where my grading hadn't quite been perfect.
This is a relatively simple sew. The trickiest parts are making the bias binding (just takes a bit of practice), and applying the binding around the smooth curve of the waist tie. Other than that, joyously simple!
The neckline on this is really lovely for a small bust - I didn't have to do any adjustments to stop gaping, it just wraps really beautifully for my B cup.
3. THE OUTCOME
I loved this make. The week I made it I was suffering from terrible back pain, my scoliosis had flared up and it turns out sitting sewing for hours on end can... cause pain? Wild I know. But wearing it felt worth it. It is so comfortable, and allows for a whole range of movement (trust me I've done yoga in it). It is also non-restrictive at the waist, which I noted on instagram was helpful again for reducing back pain, and I've had messages from people with PCOS saying they love this jumpsuit because it doesn't put pressure on their lower tummy when they are experiencing pain in that area. A win for everyone!
Would I make any changes?
I could cut a straight 12 from the pattern, and probably remove 3/4 inch rather than a 1/2inch from both rises. But I wouldn't want to make any other mods as I reckon it might detract from how outrageously comfortable this garment is.
Will I make it again?
Without a shadow of a doubt. I have another one planned with Dosa Aqua, again Merchant and Mills. It will be a bit more French, a bit lighter in colour for the summer heat, and maybe I'll even try to pattern match...
Any final comments?
If you couldn't tell from this gushing review, I really do value this make. I can't think of a time when I wore something I had made and felt more *myself*. If you haven't made one yet, check out the #ZadieJumpsuit hashtag on instagram and take a look at all the other amazing versions out there. You'll fall down a rabbit hole but you'll come out of the other side with many, many ideas for your own Zadie.
* NB If you're a beginner, and you have no idea what 'grading' is or 'sizing down' or any of the terms in this blog are just plain odd to you - drop me a line @giveherpockets on instagram and I'll explain in the meantime, but rest assured a post is coming as part of the 'The Beginners Series' to make this more simple!