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How To Break The Sewing Rules

PT Zadie Jumpsuit front 2

Soooo…I did a thing. I broke the rules. I took a pattern that called for wovens and made it out of a knit instead. Cue the chiding and scoffing now.

But you know what? My rulebreaking worked! Can you guess which pattern this is?

It’s the Zadie Jumpsuit from Paper Theory! It’s official, I jumped on board the Zadie train and let me tell you that the view is nice on here. There are so many amazing sewists who have made it up this summer and it really does look fabulous on all of them! Even though I really wanted to make a jumpsuit, I had been hesitant to try for the last few years because I wasn’t sold on how they would look on my plus-size body. I am so happy the Zadie changed all that! The pattern goes up to a size 28 and I stalked some plus size Instagramers once their versions started popping up. I was quick to fall for this pattern and even though it is one of the pricier PDF’s out there, I think it was absolutely worth it.  I even made my version as shorts just for summer instead of the long pant it was drafted as.  On a side note, have you seen Gillian’s first version or the second version that she shared here on the Cali blog recently? Both of hers are made from knits too! Us rulebreakers have to stick together!

I want to talk a little bit about when and how to break the rules for suggested fabrics on patterns. The Zadie is not the first nor last time I will make a garment with the opposite fabrics and I have picked up a few tips on how to make it work successfully. Here are 3 tips to make you successful as well.

Know your fabrics – You should have a good familiarity with the fabric you want to use. You should know how it will drape, how it sews up, and what kinds of threads and interfacings to use with it. For this particular pattern, I knew I wanted to use a double brushed poly because it has a similar enough drape as some of the suggested wovens to work with the loose-fitting silhouette. This fabric is the Pink and Teal Comicbook Floral Double Brushed Poly that is still available in the shop. Not all fabrics will work for all styles, so it is important to test things out before cutting your final fabrics. Make a muslin in a similar fabric as your final fabric to test out how it will look.

Read the instructions – This may seem like a common-sense thing to do, but it is slightly different when changing fabrics. The construction order and techniques are written for the suggested fabrics. When you switch fabric types you may have to change or skip certain steps. Even the way you cut your pieces out can change based on the direction of stretch. I changed the direction I cut my waist ties on this one. The layout guides have it going parallel to the grainlines, but since I want the most stretch to go around my body I placed the pattern parallel to the cross-grain. It is a good rule of thumb to make note of any changes in the instructions. That way if you make it again you know what you did. I debated about adding or skipping the neckline binding for this version. In the end, I added it using a zig-zag stitch for a little stretch, but by using a knit I could have easily eliminated this detail.

Pay attention to measurements – This is the big one! Even if you ignore all the other tips, do not ignore this one. Woven garments are drafted to have more ease than knit garments to give you more range of motion on account of the fabric not stretching. When you are making a garment out of knit that was drafted for a woven, you are probably going to have to size down by a size or two. You would do the opposite when going from a knit to a woven. In the case of the Zadie, I had bust and hip measurements that were 1/2″ smaller than the size 20 but my waist fits into the size 22 measurement. If I were making this out of woven, I would have made the size 22 and graded it in a bit for the bust and hips. With a knit, I made a straight size 20 with no pattern adjustments. Why? Because of the finished measurement chart. The size 20 has 7″ of ease in the waist. That was more than enough combined with the stretchiness of the knit to give me a full range of movement and be completely comfortable when worn.

I hope these tips will help you to break some sewing rules too if you have never tried it. Or if you have done it, what have you made and what changes did you make to make it work?

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