Literary Sewing Circle: Zadie in Amatka

Am I….sewing again? After a long dry spell (during which I knitted socks furiously and mended a lot of clothes — but I don’t really count that as ‘sewing’ per se) I’ve actually sewn a garment! I cut the pattern pieces out about 7 months ago and then left them draped over a bannister collecting dust. Literary Sewing Circle to the rescue! Melanie, whose book recommendations I am always game to read, proposed the book Amatka by Karin Tidbeck. I grabbed a copy thinking I would participate in the book talk but probably not sew anything inspired by the book, given my recent history of zero sewing. But I did it! Something about Spring, I guess…

Frivolous at Last: Zadie Jumpsuit. Lori stands sideways to the camera with her hands in her pockets, smiling and wearing a navy blue jumpsuit that wraps at the front and has a tie belt, and colourful sneakers.

Amatka is a book that takes place in an imagined dystopian future. It is what I would call ‘spare’ — not a lot of details, context or explanation is given. The author grounds the story firmly in the present without the use of any flashbacks or flash-forwards, so the reader is left filling in the blanks about how the world came to be as it is, and what exactly the ambiguous ending means for the characters’ future. In any case, the ‘present’ of the book involves a kind of communist society in which everything is made from mushrooms — which seem to be about the only form of agriculture that is successful in this story world — and everything must be routinely named and labeled so that it keeps its form and doesn’t disintegrate into a puddle of goo. I love this metaphor about how we shape our world with language. I am a firm believer that words matter, that they are political, and we need to choose and use them with consideration. Amatka takes this idea to the next level to show us a world in which we can shape everything around us into whatever we want as long as we all agree on what form it should take. It’s a metaphor for human culture, I think.

Frivolous at Last: Zadie Jumpsuit. Lori stands smiling and wearing a navy blue jumpsuit that wraps at the front and has a tie belt, and colourful sneakers.

Right, so what does all this have to do with my Zadie Jumpsuit? The characters in the book are all workers in the sense that they each have a job to do to keep the world functioning as agreed. I got the impression that utilitarian clothes were the mainstay of Amatka. The minimalist aesthetic of the Zadie strikes me as being appropriate inspiration. I sewed it in a navy rayon-linen blend from my stash — it’s absolutely *wonderful* to wear! I would have liked to have sewn this from some repurposed fabric, as recycling is a big theme in the book as well. Everything gets reused in Amatka; even the bodies of the dead are put to use as compost for growing the all-important mushrooms. And matter can be changed from one form to another by naming/labeling it, which is a lot like being able to transform fabric from one form to another with sewing.

I realize you can’t see a single detail of the dark blue jumpsuit in the pictures above. My long-suffering husband/photographer has trouble taking pics of dark clothes against my pale skin, but I’m just glad he still humours me to take photos at all! So here’s one where I just cranked the exposure all the way up so you can see the details.

Lori stands smiling wearing a navy blue jumpsuit that wraps at the front and has a tie belt. The photo is completely over-exposed so you can barely see Lori but the blue jumpsuit is clearly visible.

This is my first Zadie jumpsuit, and I say that because I feel like it won’t be my last. It’s a very popular pattern, and now I see some of the reasons why: It’s a simple make — no complicated closures like zippers or buttons. You simply wrap the front and tie it closed. This makes it *so forgiving* to fit a whole lot of body shapes, so fitting isn’t a big deal. Same with the pants — they are wide and roomy, and have a drop-crotch. Don’t worry, we’re not talking MC Hammer pants drop crotch, just a super-comfortable, never-gonna-give-you-a-wedgie, no-worries-about-crotch-depth-at-all kind of design. The *only* adjustment I made to this jumpsuit was to pinch out a bit of width from the back at the waistline using a simple dart. That is a fit adjustment I usually have to do — I think that’s called a swayback adjustment? Anyway, I find these so comfortable that I am inclined to wear them all day long and then to bed, too!

Here’s another photo, pretty crummy, but at least you can see the details of the jumpsuit.

Frivolous at Last: Zadie Jumpsuit. Lori is standing in front of a wooden fence wearing a navy blue jumpsuit that wraps at the front and has a tie belt, and colourful sneakers.

Have you read Amatka? Or sewn a Zadie Jumpsuit?

Thanks for stopping by!

— Lori


5 thoughts on “Literary Sewing Circle: Zadie in Amatka

  1. Very cute! I have been thinking about this jumpsuit lately, thinking it would be fun to give it a try. Your version looks great.


  2. I have sewn a few jumpsuits recently but not this one yet! Love this version you’ve made. I will check out Amatka next time I’m at the library!


  3. Thanks for reading and sewing along, Lori! Glad you found Amatka an interesting read. Zadie is the perfect project for this book, a functional jumpsuit that also has style. So glad you were inspired to finish it, it looks fabulous on you 🙂


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