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Zadie Jumpsuit 2 in velvet

I had booked to go to a 3 day sewing retreat organised by Claire Tyler at Dartington Hall in Devon. As per usual, life got busy and I was deciding at the last minute what to sew. I didn't have time to make a toile and so went with a pattern I had already sewn. I loved my summery Zadie Jumpsuit and knew this would be a pattern I'd make again. I decided to go with a winter version, having been totally inspired by a stretch velvet version by Ellie Wagg I saw on The Fold Line Facebook group.

I loved the more formal look and the gathered sleeves, and thought this would be perfect for my birthday and a few other occasions coming up. Velvet + stretch seemed a bit much for me to handle without any experience of sewing with velvet yet, and so I went with non-stretch.

I was incredibly pleased with the final result and it netted me a few lovely compliments from strangers, to which I could say those beautiful words brimming with pride, "Thank you, I made it myself" :)


One thing I wanted to change from my first Zadie was to add an upper rounded back adjustment. I could feel it tight around here and felt the front was pulling up towards my neck to give my upper back more room.

I decided to add 1.5cm as this is generally recommended as the maximum here, with any larger discrepancy being done as a lower back adjustment. I did this on the pattern piece, using a great resource from Fitopedia. I purchased the Upper Body - Back PDF and it is a fantastic and concise resource for these adjustments on all kinds of sleeves, and with or without darts, centre back seams etc. There are clear diagrams and explanations, with links to videos for further detail.

I traced the original shoulder seam since it was curved and I wanted to replicate this after the adjustment.

I then marked roughly where my shoulder point was, and 1cm below this (the stitch line). I joined a line from the centre back seam line to this point. (Ignore any other lines on the pattern piece, these are from previous adjustments)

I then cut along this line to make a hinge and spread it apart by 1.5cm at the centre back seam. Then I drew lines of what to cut off to ensure I still had a right angle at the centre neckline, and the centre back seam was straight.

I taped this to the original tracing which gave me the same shoulder seam as before. Here is how the finished piece looked. The broken grainline in the photo below is a previous adjustment as explained in a post about fitting my first Zadie here.


I ordered the Deepest Red Luxury Velvet from Bloomsbury Square Fabrics as a last minute decision days before sewing with it on the retreat, and they very kindly pulled out all the stops so it would get to me in time. The fabric was absolutely gorgeous with the most beautiful drape, and I couldn't stop stroking it.

It is a viscose and silk mix, and a lot of the advice out there including from the store itself is to handwash it. Now I know for sure that if I have to handwash something, it's never going to get either worn or washed. I took a chance and put it in on the woollens setting at 30 degrees and a low spin cycle of 600. I put a colour catcher sheet in with it which came out unmarked. The velvet came out absolutely fine and I let it air dry after putting it in the tumble dryer on the Smoothing setting, an 8 min cycle on low temperature to remove creases.

Advice for sewing with velvet

There are some great resources online about sewing with velvet. Here are a couple I found most useful:

In addition, on Claire's retreat she did a talk about how to sew with velvet and had some great pressing tools and boards.

Here is a summary of some of the advice from the resources above, with comments about my early experience with velvet and whether I used that tip on this project.

Cutting and marking

  • Wrong side up - Yes, helped with accuracy and keeping the pattern piece in place.

  • Single layer - Yes, the velvet was too shifty to consider otherwise.

  • Rotary cutter - Yes, this is my usual method anyway and it definitely helped to touch the fabric as little as possible once laid out.

  • Tailor's tacks - No, I used a Prym Aqua Trick Marker in white. This is a favourite product of mine, also available in turquoise with a fine and extra fine tip.


  • Basting, Wonder tape, adhesive - No, I did some practice seams and found it OK with just pinning, since my garment wasn't so fitted that absolute precision was required, and the pins didn't leave any marks. However I did notice a fair degree of shifting, so if needing more accuracy I would try Wonder tape which has worked well for me in the past where basting still wasn't enough e.g. topstitching patch pockets. I used a Sewline glue pen to help with securing the binding as described later in the Binding section.

  • Sew in direction of nap - Yes where possible. When overlocking the edges in single layer, I found it easier to sew with the right side up.

  • Universal or sharp needle - Used a Microtex needle size 80/12.

  • Walking foot - Yes this reduced the creeping, particularly as I was only pinning.

  • Hold fabric taut as you sew - No, as I was worried about stretching it but in the right hands I'm sure this would be good.

  • Overlock or zig zag finish - Yes, I used a three-thread overlocker stitch prior to sewing the seam since it would be pressed open to reduce bulk.


  • Trim and grade seams - No, I just pressed them open.

  • Velvet needle board or alternative underneath - Yes. Claire had brought a velvet board which was very useful. It is a board with many short blunt metal needles standing vertically, so as you lay your velvet right side down on it, the pile sits between the needles to prevent it from being crushed when pressing. Here are a couple of examples available in the UK and US.

An alternative is to use another piece of scrap velvet so putting right sides together, or the hooked side of a strip of Velcro.

When using a scrap of velvet, I pressed the seam over a sleeve ham to prevent the seam edges from showing through to the right side. I felt there was no need to apply steam or press on the right side.

  • Use steam and light/no pressure - Yes. At the retreat I had access to a steam generator iron. Claire recommended applying the steam to the wrong side of the seam and lightly running the pointed tip of the iron down it to encourage the seam to open, and then using my hand to lightly press it open. Sometimes I just used my fingertips to avoid any show-through of the seam edges. This amount of pressure was still sufficient as the seam had a slight tendency to open naturally, perhaps this was something to do with the nap.


  • Hang for 24hrs before hemming - Yes, not quite 24 hrs but overnight as it felt very weighty.

  • Single fold hand stitched blind hem - Yes I hand stitched a blind hem, but used binding rather than overlocking the raw edge as detailed towards the end of this post.

Cutting out

I wanted to avoid as many seams as possible in the velvet so I cut the back as one piece, eliminating the centre back seam. As was recommended, I made a new pattern piece rather than cutting this on the fold.

I had to decide which way up to have the nap before cutting out, and making sure all pieces were cut the same way. I had read that a rich colour such as the one I was using would look good with the nap running upwards, whereas generally the rule is to have it running down the garment. I looked at the fabric both ways and preferred the look of the nap running upwards. It was more uniform and had a deeper colour. I also noted that it was the same on my Monsoon dress mentioned below which I also took inspiration from.

The fabric was incredibly shifty to cut and I wasn't sure how accurate the pieces were, but I think this pattern was very forgiving and therefore well-suited for it.

Pattern changes

Having read various resources about how to sew with velvet, I had a look at the only velvet garment I own, an almost identically coloured dress from Monsoon. I wanted to see how they had finished their hem and edges, as making binding from this velvet for the neckline would be too bulky.

They had narrow satin binding around the neckline and armholes, and the hem was overlocked and topstitched. I liked the contrast and neatness of the satin binding and thought this would be a nice touch around the wrap neckline. However, the problem on other Zadies I'd seen with contrast binding, is that the binding goes all the way down to the trouser pieces, so it often looked like it 'pointed' to the crotch.

To get round this, I thought I'd try binding the bodice first so it ended at the waist seam. With the tie belt, I thought this would cover the join. This meant I still needed a solution to finish the trouser part. I decided to cut this section 1cm wider so I could finish it with binding folded under. More on this in the construction section below.

Next was to tackle the bishop sleeve. I followed this post on the By Hand London blog to cut and spread the pattern piece, adding 6cm in total to the width. My original had a 3/4 sleeve (shortening the original pattern piece by 8cm) so I added another 20cm to ensure I had more than enough, and cut off the little 'flare' at the bottom as I was planning to put a cuff on the end rather than turning it up.

I didn't know how much additional length the fullness of the bishop sleeve would require, and so I waited until it was finished to assess this. After trying it on, I reduced the length by 5cm. This was the exact length of the sleeve I wanted with no seam allowance since it would be finished with binding rather than being folded under.


I largely followed the construction method, as described in my first Zadie, except for the following:

Stay-stitching - I did this as normal on the machine. It wasn't the neatest due to the shiftiness but using forming tape interfacing would have ruined the velvet.

Pockets – instead of French seaming the pocket base I overlocked.

Belt opening - I handstitched around the belt opening on the R side of the bodice to secure the seam allowance as this was neater than what I could achieve on the machine.


I used Stephanoise 20mm satin binding in Burgundy. I changed the order of the construction as I was not extending the satin binding below the waist seam. This is what I did:

1. Before sewing the bodice to the trousers, open up the neckline binding, match right sides together on the bodice neckline and sew along the fold. I cannot stress enough how absolutely awful the binding looked at this point, as it was wavy and looked stretched beyond what a bit of steaming could undo. I genuinely thought I had ruined this project, as the thought of unpicking it would likely stretch the neckline out too. I stuck with it having got this far, and tried to encourage a little bit of gathering on the inside as I handstitched to secure it. This together with a good steam completely rescued the binding, and I was stunned with how smooth it looked. It was likely my inexperience that made me worry so much, rather than me having fixed it.

2. Fold binding in half to the inside and hand stitch, stopping short at the bottom end where it meets the trousers for the belt to be attached.

3. Complete construction of the leg pieces, sew crotch.

4. Attach binding right sides together on wrap section of trousers, fold entire binding under and hand stitch.

5. Fold pleats on trousers to match those on the bodice.

6. Sew trousers to bodice at the waist seam.

7. Attach belt ties to bodice with hand stitching


I had toyed with idea of making the belt out of the satin binding and tried to press it open to make this happen. I couldn't completely remove the folds and so I ditched this idea and stuck with the velvet. In some ways I'm quite glad it didn't work out as I think it might have been a little too much.

To make sure the belt ended up horizontal to the waist seam on the right side, I sewed it on the right side first, and then tucked the raw edge under the binding to secure it. I used my Sewline fabric glue pen to hold the tie in place for the topstitching. Note that the dotted line on the tie belt is a previous line of stitching where I had attached it incorrectly, it is not sewn here.

I then topstitched this in place.

Then I folded the raw edge of the tie under the binding and hand stitched it in place.

Since the remainder of the binding wasn't topstitched, I thought this small section of topstitching on the belt looked a little out of place. I didn't bother to change this on the left side of the bodice as this would be hidden under the wrap, but decided to hand stitch the edge of the binding on the right side without needing to topstitch.


I loved the full length gathered sleeves that Ellie had drafted for her Zadie. She had used stretch velvet and so the cuff could be reasonably tight to fit over the wrist, but still able to stretch over the hand. I wanted to use the same satin binding as for the neckline to help tie in the look. As it wasn't that stretchy, I made it as tight as I could while still able to squeeze my hand through. Since it was bias binding, it might also have had a bit of give.

I opened up the binding to sew it into a loop, then pressed it in half to create the cuff.

I sewed two rows of gathering stitches to make the sleeve opening the same circumference.

In the same way as on the neckline, I machine sewed this to the end of the sleeve with right sides together, and then handstitched on the inside.

I was really pleased with the final result and love how it looks.


The velvet fabric was quite heavy and so I hung my jumpsuit up overnight before hemming. I pinned up 4cm as directed in the pattern and found this was about right when worn with heels. I have to admit I didn't spend a long time assessing the length because I was in a rush to complete it for a birthday afternoon tea later that day, and managed it minutes before we had to leave the house. Here I am enjoying red velvet cake in my red velvet jumpsuit :)

In keeping with the rest of the garment, I used the last bit of binding to finish the hem. The same as for the wrap section of the trousers, I opened up the binding, put right sides together with the hem of the trousers and sewed along the fold. To get the right length of binding for the circumference of the hem, I used the method described in my post here but instead of just pinning in the first place, I sewed it. This was because I knew the velvet with the satin binding was a very shift combo and I didn't want to risk making the binding too short.

This took up 1cm and so I measured another 3cm to pin and press up the hem. I could have cut off the 3cm and then just press the binding under but because it was finished in a bit of a hurry I wanted a bit of wiggle room in case I wanted to lengthen it further. I hand sewed the hem for a neat finish.


The trickiness of cutting and sewing velvet means this is probably my messiest garment on the inside, but it does not detract from the wow factor for me :)

What I love

  • This being my second Zadie, it's a lovely comfortable garment to wear. I'm pretty sure there'll be a third at some point.

  • This velvet is so luxurious, and feels gorgeous on the skin both inside and out.

  • The combination of the velvet, those gathered sleeves and longer trousers totally elevate the look.

  • The binding on the neckline and sleeve is a lovely touch.

What I would change

  • After my first Zadie, I planned to check the fit of the trousers as I had twisting inseams. With lack of time in the run up to the retreat I didn't get a chance to do this, but with the drapiness and deep colour of the fabric together with the longer length, I'm not sure it's noticeable.

What I discovered

  • I would never have seen a red velvet jumpsuit in a store and thought to try it on, and yet there's something about sewing my own clothing that makes me much more adventurous with what I would wear.

  • Using fabrics other than those suggested can totally change the look of a garment. I must remind myself to think outside the box a little.

  • Same goes for simple pattern hacks.

  • Having now lost my velvet virginity, I can see more of this in my future. Maybe I'll give stretch velvet a go.

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I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.

Velvet pressing board available in the UK, US

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Eden Coat


Mar 15

Thanks for this amazing blog post! The decision to stop the bias binding at the waist was good, it looks so classy with it only on the body. I can imagine myself being one of those strangers complimenting you.


Mar 29
Replying to

Hi Tina, thank you so much! I was really pleased with the final result and the belt hides the join nicely. It's definitely something I'd consider if making this again, as I think contrast binding is a lovely detail on the neckline. Thank you for your lovely comment x


Jan 08

The best outfit for eating Red Velvet Cake I've ever seen! Happy (belated) Birthday (I'm assuming it was your bday?)! Such a pretty Zadie! I appreciate all the details you provided. (This is Debbie Cook - not sure how my name isn't showing.)

Jan 08
Replying to

Hi Debbie, thank you! Yes it was my birthday back in November, and the tie belt certainly came in handy for expanding the waistline for the afternoon tea! Thank you so much for your lovely comment. (Your name came up as dcook100 for me)


Christine Blevins
Christine Blevins
Jan 06

I recently finished working with 100% silk velvet from Vietnam, sewing some scarfs for gifts - it is such a touchy fabric to work with, but wow is it lovely. Your velvet jumpsuit is a beautiful and an ambitious make. Bravo!