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A tale of 2 Zadies

I’ve had the Zadie jumpsuit by Paper theory on my make list for well over a year, and I finally got around to making it up. Late to the party but a complete convert and I’ve now made 2!

My first version is made out of some mystery black fabric from my stash. Given the single layer cutting layout, it does take a while to cut out, but without it, you’d not get a whole jumpsuit out of less than 2.5m of fabric.

I made a size 12 at the top, graded to a 14 at the bottom. I also took 1.5″ out of the bodice length. I am 5’4″, and it’s drafted for 5’7″. I know that I have a short body, but I spent a long time on instagram trying to work out where the bodice should end. I am actually really happy with the result.

I struggled with getting the pockets to lie flat, but other than that, it was a fairly straightforward and enjoyable make. No interfacing, no fastenings, just sewing.

Due to the popularity of the pattern, there are quite a few youtube sewalongs, which helps too.

My second version is made out of the most amazing tencel twill from Sew me Sunshine. It’s so comfortable. For this version, I thought I’d sussed the pockets, but one of them is really baggy. Also, the darts on the trousers and bodice do not match up, but it doesn’t really show. I must have stretched out the fabric or something. But I love the fabric and the colour.

Top tip for bathroom visits – untie the ties, loosen them off but don’t unthread them from the hole at the side. Then put them in the right pocket to stop them trailing. Like this, you won’t need to rethread the ties through the hole (it’s in the side seam which is quite hard to access), and there’s no danger of dipping them in the toilet!

This is a truly great pattern, I can thoroughly recommend it. Smart and comfortable.

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Adventures in making leggings

In an effort to knock the ‘Merry Christmas’ blog off the top spot, I think that it’s about time to write another post!

Over the Christmas break, I made several pairs of leggings, and although I am far from an expert in this, I have a few thoughts.

Fehr Trade Steeplechase Leggings

Thought 1: Making leggings is fun, quick and relatively simple. For those of you who enjoy making a quick jersey top, leggings are as simple as this, but without as much hemming! you’ve just got the 2 relatively narrow legs to hem. I made my first pair (the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings) in an afternoon, including cutting and making

Thought 2: If you’re particularly long or short legged, making your own leggings would be an ideal solution. Because they are made with stretchy fabric, they are also quite easy to fit.

Thought 3: Use an overlocker if you have one. Still being a little nervous of my overlocker (yes, after 4 years), on my first pair, I used my sewing machine on all the seams first, and then overlocked afterwards. However, I found that the machined stitches pop, even though the overlocked ones next to the machine stitches don’t pop. If you don’t have an overlocker, then definitely use something a litte stronger than a standard zigzag stitch. On my later pairs, I went straight to the overlocker for the side seams, which was quicker and saved the machine stitches from popping.

Thought 4: Walking foot. This is a brilliant attachment for feeding stretchy fabric through evenly on your machine.

Thought 5: Pattern choice. I’m definitely not an expert on this, having used 2 leggings patterns in total. But when selecting your pattern, think about what you want from your leggings. Do you want something for everyday wear, or for exercise? What type of exercise? What do you like about your existing leggings?

Personally, I particularly like leggings without an outside leg seam, so the Helen’s Closet Avery leggings and the Fehr Trade Steeplechase leggings both ticked this box. I like both of these patterns, and tend to use the Avery leggings for everyday wear and the Steeplechase leggings for running. Fehr Trade has a brilliant blog about gussets, among other things, – it feels like something a bit fancier in a legging pattern, but functionally, it is only really useful if you are doing leg spreading exercises (sorry, couldn’t think of an alternative term!) in your leggings, so for running a gusset isn’t really needed, but for yoga it is useful.

Thought 6: Fabric. This is something I have still not perfected. Funki fabrics have some brilliant patterned and plain fabrics in all colours, and many different bases. I have tried the muscular compression which is good, not too shiny, and some of the cheaper, shinier ones as well. Some of the cheaper stretch fabrics actually feel a little cold to put on which isn’t delightful. They have a good range of recycled fabric too. It’s not cheap, and postage is annoyingly high, but for my size, I only need a metre for a pair of leggings.

https://www.funkifabrics.com/

I have also tried some fabric from Minerva crafts, and was recommended some from Dalston Mill Fabrics, which I’ve not yet used, but it does feel warmer. And it’s much cheaper per metre.

https://www.dalstonmillfabrics.co.uk/

So if you are looking for a quick, fun and useful project, then give legging making a go, you won’t regret it!

Heather

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Dhurata Davies Maxine dress

I love a simple pattern with interesting details, and this is exactly how I saw this pattern from Dhurata Davies. It’s a fairly simple tunic/shift dress, but with really interesting lines. There is a cross feature on the front (my seamlines could not match more perfectly), and pockets along the lower seam line. Very clever. It reminds me a bit of the Papercut patterns Sapporo coat which has similar pockets.

This pattern comes as a short sleeve dress, but there is also a sleeved sweatshirt version which is available either on its own or as a bundle with the dress, so you could easily make a long sleeved dress. I didn’t see the bundle until after I had bought the dress, I was thinking about using a sleeve from another pattern, but then Dhurata shared a photo of herself with a short sleeved Maxine dress with a long sleeved top underneath, so I decided that I’d just copy her. Its also really versatile as it can be made in knit or woven fabric.
I had this pink ponte in my stash from when Girl Charlee had a uk closing down sale. It was a bit pinker than I imagined, it’s now slightly more muted than it was originally after I pre washed it with some dark fabric that bled onto it!
I enjoyed making this. I made a size 14, and was surprised and amazed that my centre front seamline matched perfectly at the front cross.

I didn’t overlock anything as a lot of the seams were pressed open. It came together fairly quickly, once you get the front piece constructed, it goes together like a normal jersey dress. The sleeve piece is symmetrical and cut on the fold. I find it easier to cut smaller pieces on the flat, so I traced it (onto our lightweight paper) so that I could do this. I think that the top front panel is also a ‘cut on fold’ piece, and again, I traced it to cut on the flat. Just personal preference. Of course the good thing about pieces to cut on the fold is that they take up less room on the paper. This pattern is only 1 A0 page.
When I tried it on at first, my 16 year old said that it looked like a pink bin bag. It was quite large and loose. I therefore took a reasonable chunk out of the side seams, and I think that might have slightly spoiled how the pockets sit.
But overall I really like the effect, and it is a good use of some overly pink fabric, which looks far better as a garment than sitting on my shelf! I think I will make it again.