I made my first Zadie in 2019. I saw lots of versions on social media which I thought looked great, and I liked the relaxed fit and wide legs, even though I have always been wary of wrap fronts. So I chose a cotton fabric from 1st For Fabrics in North Tyneside, and set to.

In my usual habit of guarding against things being too small (bitten a few times by that issue!), I chose to make size 16, with no alterations, except adding some length to the trousers.

It was a successful make, and I took it on holiday to France that year. (Yes! A holiday! can you remember those??)

The photo I put on Instagram achieved the most likes of anything I have ever posted! Definitely a hit. However, I wore it for a day of sight seeing, and I really wasn’t very comfortable. It was just too big – baggy, gaping, and the crotch was very low. Also the fabric was rather crisp – not drapey. That was the only time I wore it, and it stayed hung up in the wardrobe for a year. I read about lots of other versions, and saw lots of pictures of well fitted Zadies, so I knew that I had to do something about it.

I took drastic action, and took it apart – literally cutting the top off the trousers. I didn’t know whether it was going to work, but I took inches off the bodice, and inches off the rise, and then set about sewing it back together. It was a risk because I undid the pleats, and changed the length of the wrap edge. I also cut right through the binding.

However, when I put it back together, I found that it had worked – for some magical reason, it all fitted together. I did lose pleats, but it didn’t affect the improvement in the fit, it just meant that the wrap fronts matched up at the waist seam.

Other adjustments I made were shortening leg length, and removing the sleeves. I’m really happy with it all now, although, I’ve only had occasion to wear it once!!

So I planned another one this year, this time from teal double gauze – also from 1st For Fabrics. The intention was to have a softer, drapier fit rather than the crisper cotton. So, I put it on my Make Nine 2021, and eventually got round to starting it in June.

I spent time on the pattern, re-drafting it to a size 14 (one size down) with shortened bodice and rise, using the measurements I had taken when I altered the first one. I really wanted this to be ankle length, but I had to work hard to get it out of the amount of fabric I had – only 2m – so I settled for the cropped length. I even ended up using grey viscose for half of the pocket bag, and the bias binding. That wasn’t a suitable fabric for a contrast binding, so I knew that I would have to turn it to the inside.

When I had sewn it all together, I was reasonably happy – it was certainly a better fit than my 2019 first version! However, the crotch was still low, and the wrap over was still rather baggy. So I unpicked the waist seam, and took another inch off the waist of the trousers, and I sewed a bigger seam allowance on the front crotch. It is important not to do too much, or it would be difficult removing it and putting it on (a challenge in small toilets!)

After all of the work on fitting, I am very pleased with the outcome. My two Zadies are very comfortable, and I like the way they look too. I added a secret snap at the top of the wrap – otherwise a cami would have been required, and because I turned all of the binding to the inside, I sewed bit of a crossover to encourage the bottom of the wrap not to gape.

I just need somewhere to go to show it off!

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