I was not expecting to like or wear the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit as much as I have. I had no idea that, when I made it earlier this summer, I would find myself reaching for it multiple times a week and it becoming a firm favourite in my office rotation.
When I made myself a pair of these ahead of RideLondon 100 a few weeks ago, I was amazed by how many people said they’d love to make their own! But maybe I shouldn’t be surprised, because they’re so freaking useful for transitional Fall or Spring weather, and they’re super simple to whip up in an hour or two.
Advanced beginner sewing skills are required for this pattern – some experience sewing is expected, but would be a great first stretch fabric project. Five sizes are provided to accommodate a range of arm sizes, too, with different bicep and wrist measurements so you can get a perfect fit without them falling down as you move!
Strap in, because this is an epic post for three finished garments and a 100 mile cycle ride!
When I bought the recycled sunburst print activewear fabric from Sew Dynamic back in May, I knew I wanted to make an outfit for RideLondon 100 using it. It’s a brilliant activewear fabric made from recycled plastic bottles that’s got great stretch and recovery, totally opaque when stretched, and with a really vibrant colour pop. But the digitally printed colour bursts run down the length of the fabric – not quite a border print as they’re placed about a third of the width in, but certainly something that I’d need to really pay attention to when cutting out my fabric.
I’ve been wanting to make the Saraste shirtdress from the Named book, “Breaking the Pattern” ever since I first saw it at their UK launch party. It comes in three different views in the book: as a princess-seam blouse with ruffles, a button-down shirt with shoulder cutouts, and as a shirtdress with ruffled collar. I ended up making the shirtdress, but added in the shoulder cutouts for some extra interest, too.
I’ll admit it – I thought jumpsuits were going to be a passing fad when I started seeing them popping up a few years ago (Brazilian pattern magazine Manequim was definitely at the forefront of this!). But it’s been several years and they don’t show any sign of stopping, and I even made myself one a few years back. I didn’t wear it much, though – not for being a jumpsuit, but for having an overly long crotch that irritated my thighs – and it’s since gone into the great charity shop bag in the sky.
I share all this only to illustrate that I’ve got a checkered personal history when it comes to sewing jumpsuits. But when the Paper Theory Zadie Jumpsuit pattern was released, I knew I wasn’t done with jumpsuits just yet. It had all the right details – a flattering wrap-style bodice that made it easy to get in and out of, big pockets, and a casual-yet-dressy vibe that I just couldn’t shake. And that my girl Sanchia was the model for it was just the cherry on top!!
So I bought it, followed quickly by some fabric earmarked for it – this heathered rayon/viscose twill from Mood Fabrics, which I brought back in my suitcase from the States last month. In total this fabric cost me $50 (about £40), which seems reasonable considering the final garment and the wears it’s gotten already.
A while back I’d heard of a fabric called “double gauze” that was supposedly perfect for hot weather, but at the time it was really only available imported from Japanese shops and really expensive at that! Fast forward a few years and it’s now much more readily available locally, so when I was in Brighton last August I bought some of their muted teal double gauze fabric (also available in a bunch of other colours), keen to try it out. Double gauze is two layers of cotton gauze/muslin fabric joined together with stitches in a grid pattern which creates a sort of seeersucker or quilted texture. It also means the two layers may not be 100% on grain to each other, and it really likes to shrink in the wash so be sure to pre-wash it.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it though until I saw the perfect day dress in the May 2019 edition of KnipMode magazine (#11, though #12 is a longer version with longer sleeves). The pattern is available to buy online, too, though be aware the instructions are in Dutch.
After wrestling with the sticky velvet upholstery fabric last summer to make a set of slipcovers for our sofa, I swore it’d be a long, long time before I voluntarily sewed home dec again. But that was before we moved back into the tiny Captain’s Cabin on our boat (while renovations are still ongoing in the much larger, main living portion), and I had to stare at the hideous sofa fabric every single day.
On Sunday I ran London marathon for the 4th time, but it was my 7th marathon in total, all since my bone marrow transplant in 2009. As is my tradition, I sewed myself something new to run it in! Yes, I’ve run all 7 of my marathons in self-sewn gear!
This time around I chose a shortened version of the Active Leggings from my “Sew Your Own Activewear” book. If you recall, this is actually the same pattern I used when I ran London marathon in 2017, the day before my book deadline! Both of the fabrics I used were from Funkifabrics, and actually both were leftover from the Steeplechase Leggings made for my Craftsy/Bluprint class. I just love this print and colour combo too much not to have it in both shorts and leggings form in my running wardrobe!
I’ve been sewing my own jeans for something like twelve(?) years now. Over the years I’ve built up my own preferences in how I like to construct them, but also how I like to wear them. And since I took up cycle commuting a few years ago, I really dig the ability to, you know, move in my jeans. I love know I can hop on a bike or break into a run at any time and my clothing isn’t going to slow me down (which also cuts down on the amount of clothing I have to haul in to the office!).
So I started making adaptations to my standard jeans pattern (which at one point started life as a Burda mag pattern but has morphed so many times it’s probably more accurate to just call it self drafted) to make them easier to cycle in (more on this later). By my count, these two are my 4th and 5th pairs of cycling jeans building on the ones from…
Happy 40th birthday to me! Since it’s a big birthday year I kinda felt like I just had to celebrate big, too! So we rented the whole of a private members cocktail bar near Kings Cross, invited a bunch of people, laid on pizzas, and let the rest just happen! Every year I like to make myself something special to celebrate my birthday, and I felt like I should sew a big, glamorous dress for myself to feel like a total star at the party, too.
I happened to have four meters of gorgeous copper-coloured silk satin (charmeuse) in my stash which I’d bought from Truro Fabrics back in 2015 with the intention of sewing a gown for the World Transplant Games gala dinner in Argentina. But I didn’t quite have enough time to sew it before we left, and the silk has been in my stash ever since. I still had the receipt in with the fabric, too, and the price reflects the incredible quality of this silk – I’d paid about £75 for it.