New jumpsuit: Zadie by Paper Theory

Yes, yes, I am probably the last sewist in the world to make this jumpsuit this summer. It is a continuation of my mini-capsule of linen/double gauze for the humidity of Virginia, where I am now on vacation. In all honesty, I wasn’t in love with the pattern picture when I saw it – a gorgeous model, but the fit of the jumpsuit didn’t attract me like, say, the Deer and Doe Sirocco which I made instead. However, as per usual, once I saw versions on other people – and when every sewist from London to Mars says they are getting good results, you know something’s going on.

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I liked the instructions a lot – very clear and good drawings. I was never in doubt as to what I needed to do (with one exception, see later). I also very much like the bluntness of the “staystitch your neckline or you will PAY later” part. Haha. Honestly, I wish more instructions were like that – none of this “we advise you to… it’s up to you, but…” Particularly when you’re a beginner or new to sewing a type of garment, you need a little black and white messaging sometimes.

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I also liked the company’s advice that they had made the fabric cutting allowance very tight in order to be economical/environmentally positive and that you could/should piece some of the pieces together, if need be. I did indeed need to do that as I had just 3m of this gorgeous – yes, you guessed it – Nani Iro double gauze (from NekoNeko) available to me. I just managed to squeeze the pattern out by piecing both the binding and the ties, but must admit I didn’t realise that the top of the pocket bags would be visible, so I didn’t really have enough of my original fabric at all. Luckily I was using a cream double gauze for the pockets and I think they look okay in the end.

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If you’ve been hiding under a rock this year and haven’t heard of the Zadie, it’s a very easy-to-wear jumpsuit with zero closures, but a relaxed fit to get around that. It’s wide-legged, slightly cropped, has pockets and both long and short-sleeved options. it comes in sizes 6-28, so I read a few reviews, checked out many Instagram pics and then decided to size down one size, as many others have done, and sewed the 16 with no other changes. It was the right decision.

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Alright, so a couple of notes: first, everyone says how quick this is to sew. And they’re right! I started it on a Saturday morning and had it virtually done Saturday night, with plenty of life breaks in between! Secondly, almost everyone mentions the crotch as being too long. This is partly because you need some depth to get the jumpsuit on and off – there are no closures as such. Most sewists have needed to shorten it between half an inch and two inches. I went back and forth about it, but in the end I decided not to adjust it and… it is PERFECT on me. You know how I always mention about my long hips? This just showed me I wasn’t going mad, and indeed need an extra inch or more compared to the average person.

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So the construction is really lovely – not even any darts to press, just a few pleats (a few of which I did manage to get backwards first time, admittedly). I made the short-sleeved version, so there are no sleeves to set or even sew on. You simply sew the front and back together, do the same for the trousers and attach at the waist. The Zadie is designed to be very malleable – you basically adjust the fitting using the ties and there’s a neat little finished slit in one of the side seams to slip one tie through. This keeps the bodice firmly flush against your body and no risk of boobage exposure. At least, it seems to fit me like that.

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The one aspect of construction that wasn’t crystal clear for me (and it seems I’m not alone) was the way the crotch is finished with binding and overlocking. Some people didn’t care for the binding at all and chose to draft a facing, but I quite like the binding – it seems to keep the bodice a little more flush with the skin for me. Nevertheless, when I tried to finish the crotch seam with a second overlock after binding down to that vicinity, I managed instead to cut holes in my binding with the serger knife. ARGH! Quelle horreur! I really should have disengaged the blade, but I honestly haven’t inadvertently cut holes in anything recently!

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After trying a few quick and dirty solutions I ended up unpicking the binding down at the bottom and attaching a new piece. I then didn’t even try to finish that with overlocking this time, but instead overlaid the pieces as they would lie with the wraps already tied and topstitched the edges down. It seemed to work fine and looks a lot nicer than my previous attempts to rescue it!

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One last tip for any beginners: if you’re anything like me, it really took me a while to figure out which edges to finish, and how, when I started sewing. Honestly, I still screw it up sometimes and make life harder for myself than it needs to be. So my advice would be that when you get to Step 3B, to finish the edges separately first before you sew the side seams. This can be a good idea anyway, but especially because you’re leaving the little slit for the tie to go through. It really makes the next step much simpler and neater too. If you don’t do this you will PAY later. Not really, but I had to join in with the mood of the instructions.

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As I mentioned, I made the jumpsuit in this lovely Nani Iro/Kokka Situation double gauze, which I picked up in a sale from NekoNeko Fabric. 3m for $30 is quite a bargain for Nani Iro or Kokka, so I was pretty chuffed with my find (although sadly, it appears not be on sale any more). I was slightly concerned that I was going to look more chinoiserie tea-set than cool tourist in all the white and blue, but I’m really happy in the end. These pictures were taken after two days of wear in humid old Virginia and the jumpsuit has really been a pleasure to wear. These pics are from historical Jamestown and – say what you will about America’s first colonists – they really knew how to pick a wall colour that shows off a predominantly white garment to a tee.

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So my conclusion is: definitely a win. This pattern is deservedly a 2019 hit and I certainly see my zipping up another, assuming the jumpsuit doesn’t fall into complete sartorial disfavour anytime soon. If you haven’t tried it yet and live somewhere with a decent bit of summery weather left, it’s worth a shottie.

9 thoughts on “New jumpsuit: Zadie by Paper Theory

  1. First of all, you’re not the last. I still haven’t made it, but I did just order some fabric that is tentatively reserved for the Zadie (and I haven’t bought the pattern yet either). Yours looks great. One thing that has put me off the pattern up until recently is the fact that a lot of the ones I’ve seen seem to suffer from a baggy bum (and lots more don’t show a back view, which makes me wonder). I’ve only seen a handful where this wasn’t the case, and yours was one of them. Thanks for the detailed review.

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    1. It’s funny you should say that, because I do think my bum is a bit baggy in the Zadie, although I had been wearing it for two days when the pics were taken I suppose. I suspect that the extra crotch depth affects most people if they haven’t adjusted it, and, truth be told, I think it would be quite difficult to avoid a baggy bum completely with this pattern. That loose fit is needed to get the garment on and off, so I reckon you might need to add a side zipper or similar if you want to remove the bum ease completely. Looking forward to yours – you’ll have zipped it up in no time! (Unless you make all these adjustments I guess :))

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  2. I’m in the middle of making mine. I have had to pause due to babysitting duties, but it’s going well so far, though I haven’t decided on the exact binding as yet.
    Yours looks great, and it’s reassuring that you like it so much. 😁😁

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    1. Thank you so much! I really didn’t have any issues with the binding – even attaching it folded as shown in the instructions. I just worked along the length slowly, using my fingers to pinch it closed and it was fine.

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