For the third year in a row, Spoonflower is participating in Me-Made-May with an extra special employee sew along! Remember when we made Zeena dresses and Stasia dresses? This year Spoonflower employees chose to stitch up a versatile recent favorite in the sewing community, the Zadie jumpsuit! Truly making it their own with wild pattern hacks and a wide variety of Marketplace designs, all stitched up in a variety of 12 different Spoonflower fabric types between them (with one stand out fabric that was the clear favorite among all the sewists!).
This year, we have our largest pool of Me-Made-May sewists to date. 22 Spoonflower team members challenged themselves during Covid-19 quarantine to put their own spin on the Zadie Jumpsuit by Paper Theory Patterns for Me-Made-May, and today they’re sharing what their experiences were like. From the sewing struggles to the feel-good victories, it’s a me-made tell all!
What fabric did you choose?
Ace: I chose Silky Faille because I wanted to make a formal look. This fabric is perfect for evening wear because it has a beautiful matte sheen that catches the light nicely, and it holds color beautifully. It is easy to drape and can take a look from casual to fancy very easily!
Fran: I chose the Linen Cotton Canvas. Although I used to do a lot of sewing for myself, I have more recently been making quilts, and accessories like bags and hats. Since I was afraid I was a little rusty, I guess I chose a fabric that was more familiar to me because I didn’t want to challenge myself with a potentially tricky fabric on top of a patternmaker that was unfamiliar. Plus, I thought it would look good!
Katie: I chose Spoonflower’s Organic Sweet Pea Gauze. I wanted a garment that was airy and natural. I’ve made other tops with Sweet Peas Gauze and thought the Zadie would be great in gauze as well!
What design did you choose?
Allie: I opted for Big Scale Dancing Lines Eggshell by Julia Schumacher for the design because I like that it is neutral with a little whimsy so I can add other patterns through accessories or have a laid back look with just the jumpsuit. I know it’s something I’ll grab from my closet time after time.
Tamika: The design I chose was created by my husband. He’s a fine artist who painted the original Abstract Eye painting. I’ve been wanting to make some clothes with printed fabric of his paintings. I think our collaboration came out really well.
What version of the Zadie Jumpsuit did you make?
Amy: I’m a beginner sewist, so I stuck very closely to the pattern and made sure I read each step several times in order to digest it fully. As the last finishing touch, I felt very comfortable by the end to choose the length of both the sleeves and the pants.
Sarah B: I went a completely abstract direction with the top and cropped the pants a little more. I wanted something that was different but still felt true to the Zadie style.
Maria: When I scrolled through Instagram for more inspiration I really liked this pattern hack of turning the jumpsuit into a top. It’s quick to sew and perfect for combining with other pieces in my wardrobe.
Did you make any modifications to the existing pattern?
Beckie: In order to make these as pants only, I added a waistband. I used the dimensions from the top of the pant legs for measurements (minus pleats) to determine how long it needed to be. My goal was a paper bag style waistline so I doubled the thickness of the waist straps and made the waistband about an inch taller than the straps. I allowed for the waist tie to feed through the waistband on the right hip, just as it does on the jumpsuit. I’ll also add belt loops on future versions. I narrowed the legs for a more tapered look. I also had to make some fit adjustments—I graded from size 18 waist to size 24 at the hips. I redrafted the pocket bag to accommodate that new hip curve. I did a 1” swayback adjustment and lowered the crotch curve.
Tamika: Did I? I went sleeveless, added some extra darts to the sleeves in the front, and lengthened the torso an inch. I tailored the pants to be a slim fit and I lengthened the hem 6 inches to show off my long legs. I also made the belt an inch wider. Is it even the Zadie Jumpsuit anymore?
Michelle: I sewed up the jumpsuit without the pants pieces. I added about 10cm to the bottom edge of the bodice to make the top a little longer.
Favorite part about the Zadie?
Anjana: I really love the sense of accomplishment that the Zadie provided. Because I hand-stitched certain areas, it did take a little longer, but generally speaking this jumpsuit came together very quickly.
Sue: The fit and the ease to adapt.
Megan P : It just comes together so easily and with so little fuss! I really appreciate that I could step away when the demands of life called, but could easily pick back up when I had time again. Plus I always appreciate when I can get away without much pinning and pressing.
Biggest struggle you faced while making the Zadie?
Anitha: I had so many ideas for a hack but when I sat down to make it, I kept it mostly true to the pattern except removing the belt and adding elastic to my waist instead. My first attempt made the crotch area so loose and baggy, it almost looked like harem pants. I attempted a second time and I cut it too small using my existing pants as my pattern. The third time I ended up having very little fabric! So I decided to make it into shorts but still, I wasn’t very successful! I am glad that I persisted and experimented with different techniques.
Jasmine: Lining up the pleats. Because I made the bottom and the top different sizes I couldn’t line the pleats up perfectly.
Brigitta: Making and applying the bias binding. Poly Crepe is a more delicate fabric and requires extra care, whereas my wearable muslin in Organic Cotton Sateen was hearty enough to quickly and easily topstitch the binding onto the bodice.
Stephanie: Figuring out how to flip the pockets to the back of the trousers was probably my biggest struggle. I eventually figured out that the top raw edge of the pocket needed to line up with the top raw edge of the trousers. My second biggest struggle was finding out that the pants were going to be too large after they had already been sewn together.
Advice for future makers of this pattern?
Nicole: Just go for it! Depending on the drape of your fabric, you may want to size down. This is a great beginner’s pattern because it doesn’t require any notions! Just your fabric and thread and you’re good to go.
Ace: Make a mockup. This pattern is indeed very fit-friendly because Paper Theory designed it to be easy to adjust. The size charts that come with the pattern, however, may not match up to your fit expectation. Also, if anyone does the Zadie (or any garment) with silky faille or fabrics that fray easily—french seams are amazing! I don’t have a serger so I didn’t have much of a choice, but I may prefer french seams to serging. I learned this while making this Zadie. Also, if you have a design in mind and want to order Spoonflower fabric for your look, order swatches to see which has the kind of structure you like best!
MaryAshlyn: Just like my college design professor always says, be sure to make a muslin first! I needed to size down once for my final version so that I didn’t feel like I was swimming in fabric.
What does Me-Made-May mean to you?
Katie: Me-Made-May is a month of slowing down and truly looking at my wardrobe. As a maker, it is so easy for me to want to just keep making. But I don’t always need to. Me-Made-May lets me see what I might need in my wardrobe and what I don’t need. It encourages me to spend my energy and funds making a necessity instead of a duplicate.
Anjana: I’m new to Me-Made-May! However, over the past several years I have been focused on sustainability and minimalism within my household and product choices. This is not perfect, yet, but for me, Me-Made-May is taking the next step in that journey and gaining the skills to be able to repurpose and recycle materials into a wardrobe that still fits my needs.
Stephanie: To me, Me-Made-May is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to create something you didn’t know you could.
Fran: Me-Made-May is newer to me than I’m sure it is to others at Spoonflower, but it seems that it would be a good opportunity to recommit to some projects that might be lagging or to get going with something new.
Favorite sewing pattern?
Liz: The Wiksten tank/dress. I love the details of the pattern, like the bias binding and French seams.
Favorite Spoonflower fabric?
Amy: Most of my projects are home decor related and my go-to fabric is Celosia Velvet™. It makes a very luxurious pillow and I recently used it to reupholster a prized mid-century chair my aunt gave to me.
Megan S: I love that Organic Cotton Sateen continues to soften with each wash, but offers a great woven structure to learn sewing basics.
Stephanie: Overall I would say Minky is my favorite fabric at Spoonflower. It’s just so soft! My favorite fabric to sew with would have to be Organic Cotton Sateen. I would love to try making clothing with Organic Sweetpea Gauze™ one day though!
Michelle: Linen Cotton Canvas is so lovely, and gets so soft over time!
Favorite IG account for sewing inspiration?
Nicole: Lately, @seamwork has been doing a fantastic job of creating inspiring content and sharing sewing inspiration while isolated! I love how their patterns are mostly for essentials and their team is fantastic!
Gina: Lately, I’ve been loving @emeralderinsews—she’s doing a Bra a Week challenge this year and has spent the past several weeks designing and constructing a series of elaborate fantasy and couture lingerie. It’s so fun and fascinating to watch her create such complex and beautiful pieces from scratch.
MaryAshlyn: I’ve been following the #CurvySewing hashtag on Instagram, and it’s been so refreshing to see how patterns look when sewn for bodies that look a bit more like mine. It can be discouraging to only see patterns modeled within specific size ranges because that’s not a good representation of how a pattern will look when sewn for a larger size. Following #CurvySewing has definitely encouraged me to try patterns (like the Zadie!) that I wasn’t sure would truly work for me.
Any advice or quotes you’ve been given about sewing over the years?
Beckie: If you can sew a line, you can sew a curve. Just focus on what’s under your needle.
Tamika: “Mistakes are nothing but happy accidents. And that no one knows what the final version should look like but you.”
Michelle: I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever read is for parents who sew. Just take it one step at a time, and prep everything you can in short bursts. If that means pinning together pieces while sitting on the bathroom floor while your toddler is in the bath, great! This allows you to put in 10 minutes here and 20 minutes there, and eventually, you get a whole garment. For me, it is the only way to actually get anything done because I can no longer devote 3 hours in a day to sew something up.
Sue: Stop before you dig yourself into a hole of frustration. Take breaks, but before you do, be sure to note where you’ve left off and think about how you will pick it up again when you come back.
Inspired to get started on your own Zadie? Before you do, get to know Tara Viggo of Paper Theory Patterns, the brilliant New Zealand-born, London-based pattern designer behind the Zadie jumpsuit. Be sure to tag us in all your fabulous Zadie versions — we can’t wait to see your take on this chic but versatile pattern!