Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The New Look-Inspired Suit


Hey, it's done! This is the linen suit I first wrote about making way back when I was planning my mini-break wardrobe. The mini-break has come and gone, but the suit idea carried on.

This is a vintage/modern pattern combo. The skirt is a 50s pattern, just a simple full circle skirt with a waistband. The jacket is McCall's 5278, now out of print (but easy to find on eBay!). The fabric is a linen and rayon blend with a very nice drape.

The silhouette was inspired by Dior's New Look suits (blogged about here), though updated for today. I kept the shawl collar, three-quarter length sleeves, full skirt, and peplum but omitted the dropped shoulders, layers of interlinings and taffeta linings, and industrial strength undergarments. (Though this look does benefit from a cincher.)


I pulled out all sorts of fancy techniques for this suit. The skirt hem is reinforced with 1" horsehair braid (tutorial here). I tested the twirl factor: thumbs up!


I did a lapped, hand-picked zipper on the skirt, and it went in beautifully (yet another tutorial here).


I pulled out the big tailoring guns on the jacket. (Hey, while I'm digging up links to tutorials gone by, did you know I did a whole video series on tailoring? Links to the entire series of post are here.) The shawl collar is lightly padstitched. You can see here how you can get a great effect with just a few lines of pad stitching. The stitches are more concentrated below the roll line, and then spaced farther apart on the fall of the collar. The interfacing is hymo, a sew-in stabilizer similar to horsehair canvas.



I used sleeve heads, and unknowingly inserted them backwards. No matter! I actually liked the shaping they gave me so I left them that way.

Bound buttonholes! Aren't these buttons pretty? I found them at M&J Trim.

I had to do some fast thinking on the sleeve lining. I forgot to add a seam allowance on the lining, so there ended up being a gap between the sleeve hem (which I top stitched to echo the top stitching on the skirt hem) and the lining. How unsightly!


I tried to cover the raw edge of the lining with seam binding, but it was too short. And then I thought: lace! I pinned it around the gap, like so:


And then hand stitched it on both edges of the lace with a fell stitch. Look how pretty!


The only downside is that I have to be super careful not to catch my rings on it when I'm putting the jacket on.

Overall, I love it! I got to practice a lot of useful techniques. Plus, I feel downright smart when I'm wearing it.


88 comments:

  1. Fabulous! I used horsehair braid on the dress I finished over the weekend and it may be my new favorite thing - thanks for the intro to it!

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  2. Well done, Gertie! Your suit is so cute. You've been so clever with the lace inset, and you gave me an idea how to solve a similar problem I have on a coat I've been working on.

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  3. Wowser. Stunning! The horsehair works brilliantly, Where to find some, Can you get it online?
    The jacket looks very smart and so well fitted. Well done, the whole outfit is lovely :-)

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  4. Gorgeous, Gertie. I think you look stunning in it, very beautiful!

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  5. This is soooo beautiful, and suits you perfectly. You continue to be a tailoring inspiration!

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  6. Absolutely adorable! It looks like it fits beautifully, and is so well-made. Well done you!

    And holy cow, is red your colour or what!

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  7. I'm in love! This is so gorgeous! A copy of yours may beckon...well, at least in the fantasy world I think up for myself, in which I have unlimited time and energy for sewing and have a wardrobe full of pretty self-stitched garments. Sigh. The day will come!

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  8. Plain gorgeous! Love it, the lines, the colour, the details! And how inspirational, all those little extra sewing techniques really makes a difference for the overall result.

    You look amazing!

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  9. So beautiful. What a great suit.

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  10. So swishy! I think this is one of my favourites - the colour is fantastic and the movement in the skirt is to die for.

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  11. You look wonderful! I love red. It's very becoming and you look stunning! Monique xx

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  12. Yowser! That is one hot suit on you! And a cracking modern interpretation of the New Look to boot. Good work on the lace, it looks really pretty!

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  13. Gertie, I wonder if you realise how far you have come in your sewing in this year? This is really quite an advanced project and you've done it beautifully.

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  14. Awe inspiring. Jaw dropping gorgeous. Could I possibly one day be able to sew like this? WOW!!!

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  15. Beautiful! Good recovery with the sleeves - nice touch. I'm very tempted to try to make a jacket like that...

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  16. The suit is great! chock-full of professional techniques and very lovely. I especially like the 2nd picture, you look like you're walking off the set of a 1950s movie!

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  17. WOW how flash and swing! You have to do some dancing in it. Such a gorgeous outfit. Well done

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  18. It's beautiful, I'd love to be able to make something that technical. I've just started making my first ever dress and I have to say I am referring back to your blog a lot for tips.

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  20. Gorgeous! I love the twirly skirt. I saw the pic and immediately thought of the horsehair post!

    The great tutorials you linked to are just the icing on the cake.

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  21. Bravo!! Big thumbs up! Fab suit - you look fab in it and you are ready for anything and everything that will come your way between about April and October. Great addition to the wardrobe.

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  22. You ARE smart, Gertie, you look great! And, I must add, it's always a pleasure to read your posts because you write so well.

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  23. Very pretty! Every girl needs a red suit, right? Ay least I know I do. To the machine! You've inspired me!

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  24. Wow. What a beautiful piece of work. Gertie, you are my sewing idol. Someday I hope to be as patient and meticulous as you are!

    The suit looks amazing on you, and the details are just wicked.

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  25. Oh my goodness, Gertie you have completely outdone yourself! This suit is GORGEOUS! You look fantastic in red and the silhouette on you is just to die for! I love every single thing about this outfit! The drape of the skirt is especially beautiful! Fantastic job!

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  26. You are so smart and pretty in that. :-) Good job!

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  27. This is the most gorgeous suit I have ever seen!

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

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  28. Well you look downright gorgeous!! And the details of what it took to get you there blow me away!!! Great job!! You are very talented!!

    Erica
    danired922.blogspot.com

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  29. Gorgeous and inspiring!
    And I love the twirly skirt, it would be beautiful to dance in.

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  30. Oh my goodness, Gertie--if I come to NY could you teach me how to tailor things so beautifully?! lol. ;) Everything fits you to a T--even from the pictures you can tell how much work was put into this. Fantastic!

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

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  31. This style is so beautiful on you, very figure flattering. And I love the red. You wear it so well!
    The lace fix is now a lovely detail...great idea.
    Congratulations on looking fabulous!

    Doreen

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  32. (Weird - I wrote a comment earlier but I don't see it.)

    This is incredible. Gorgeous. Awesome in the truest sense of the word. I only hope to one day be as meticulous and patient as you are.

    You're my sewing idol!

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  33. Testing! Blogger is having comment issues.

    Thanks for the lovely comments, all! Even if they do disappear. :(

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  34. This is SO adorable! I love the jacket; it will look awesome with a smart pair of capri pants. Also. this horsehair trim thing is making the most beautiful shape!

    Lastly, May isn't that long ago. I mean, sort of, but not really.

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  35. Oh, how lovely! You fitted the suit beautifully. I love how your tattoos just peek out of the jacket collar.

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  36. Wow. This is gorgeous. I'm just getting started on garment sewing and am so inspired by you. Today, cotton playsuits and dresses for my son and niece; someday soon tailored dresses for me!

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  37. I saw this and just had to comment. Love it! Your work is truly inspiring.

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  38. Wow, that suit is absolutely beautiful! You look stunning in it!

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  39. Gertie,divine!! It is a wonderful combination of old/new styling. You look great in it too! Well executed techniques show well in the finished piece. Bravo!!!

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  40. Wow! Super gorgeous! I can feel my imagination whirring.

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  41. This is incredible. I'll bet you get a lot of "I can't believe you made this" comments when you wear it. It's gorgeous!

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  42. I pretty much just love everything you sew, but this is especially beautiful. And you do look smart in it!

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  43. What an awesome suit!! How amazing is that you use all the techniques you learned over and over again. I love the whole outfit and those buttons are fabulous!

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  44. My gosh, this really is stunning. Red is such a fabulous colour on you and the fit and style are perfect for you. And it makes your (already fabulous) legs look amazing!

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  45. It's beautiful, Gertie. The neckline is especially lovely with your tattoos peeking out like lace. Love it!

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  46. Using that lace was inspired - it truly is a designer touch. That collar lies perfectly.

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  47. What a fantastic suit! I love the shape.

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  48. It's gorgeous! BUT... I don't think I'm getting the whole 50's vibe yet- you need to pair it with a fabulous hat!

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  49. I think this is one of my favorite things you have made - the style is so classic yet it looks very up to the minute (it reminds me of the fall Louis Vuitton line, which was my favorite one this year!

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  50. That is a beautiful, beautiful suit! You look gorgeous in it.

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  51. Gertie, you should be so proud! If I had made that suit, I would never take it off! Color, fit, everything, so gorgeous and expensive looking. I am inspired :)

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  52. WOW!!! The suit is so cute and that color looks great on you!!! I?m gonna check the tutorials you say.
    I still don't know what is horsehair or canvas hair :/ , I can't find the meaning in spanish.
    I love the lace u used!!

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  53. You look spectacular!!! I love this suit!!! This style suits you so well! You definitely should make a few more (wink)!

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  54. AMAZING!! I love the fullness of the skirt. You are making me very curious about adding tailoring techniques to my projects. I love that style of jacket, too. I think the sleeve heads really add something to it. And the lace on the sleeves is genius!! AND gorgeous!

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  55. It's beautiful, Gertie! Red is definitely your signature colour. :)

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  56. I adore the swing of the skirt - quite an achievement in linen.

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  57. Ohmygoodness ~ your suit is amazing. I love it how you manage to make modern and vintage mix so seamlessly and it comes out looking classy, chic and just right as well as unique.

    Fantastic job. :D

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  58. So gorgeous and feminine! Love the swingy, twirly skirt and the beautiful colour. And so glad you were able to save the sleeves! The lace idea is brilliant.

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  59. You look stunning in red! Wonderful suit and you look fabu in it.

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  60. Incredible. It's so great to see that all those techniques put together really make such an incredible difference to garments. The jacket is so gorgeous and probably really useful too, I imagine. You could pop it over lots of things.

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  61. It's absolutely beautiful! :DD

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  62. And you look down right gorgeous in it!

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  63. Awesome! Beautiful job and you look so good in red!

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  64. This is absolutely wonderful! Your sewing is such an inspiration because of all the care you put into it.

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  65. Lovely suit. How many hours did it take to make?
    Thanks for the tutorials. Much appreciated, they are.

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  66. Gorgeous suit, gorgeous Gertie. Still, you don't match the pattern envelope illustrations of the era- Hello! On Planet Earth, nobody does! There's lots of discussion around current media images of women, but I'm wondering how the women of the 40's, 50's and early 60's coped with the anatomically impossible images they were presented with, for example

    http://www.etsy.com/listing/48438574/50s-wrap-dress-vintage-sewing-pattern-34

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  67. Wow!! I have been reading your blog for a couple of weeks and I love the way you write and how you give such excellent advice!
    I have been sewing for my whole life and really adore vintage patterns and sewing techniques - but currently in London looking for work (from my native Australia) and without my patterns and equipment!
    I have an old machine and a few bits and pieces and your blog is so inspiring to me!
    The suit looks so fabulous, and I am soooo impressed by your button holes - wooee, they must have been tricky!
    Keep the blog coming, it's wonderful - thank you so much for doing it!

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  68. That is a gorgous suit. I am planning to make something similar to a red victorian inspired skirt I made last year. I am just not quite sure if I have enough of it for full lenght sleeves.
    The buttonholes are perfect. I have only made 8 bound buttonholes since you posted your tutorial, and I did those entirely by hand, since I have more control than with my machine.
    Tania

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  69. It's lovely! Well done!

    And your recent post on sleeve heads was perfectly timed because I am making a coat dress that needs them... thank you!

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  70. Fabtabulous outfit. Love the shape, the color, the lace inside. It's perfect!

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  71. Stunning! Red is a fabulous color on you!

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  72. Beautiful! And SOOO inspiring. Can't wait to try out some of those techniques. I bought the same tailoring book with the hopes of creating a one of a kind beauty like you so aptly do!

    When might be see the tutorial for the bound buttonholes you were talking about?

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  73. Gorgeous suit! and great save on the sleeve problem.

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  74. Absolutely stunning! Lovely work again. You are inspiring!

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  75. Gertie that is exactly the kind of jacket and skirt I'd like to have! The collar of the jacket is just gorgeous and the skirt looks so fun :) Oh and the colour is great too!
    Well done :)

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  76. That is sooo pretty! I love the shawl collar, very well fitted. Your'e so inspiring! I think I will make a jacket with shawl collar too soon, because you looked so good in it....It really goes well with the full skirt...Think i'm gonna have to look up that horsebraid-thing too. Hope they have it in sweden too...

    / Olivia

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  77. Wow! That is so beautiful. Looks great on you, and I love all the little details!

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  78. Oh Gertie, I gasped when I saw the finished suit. The collar is so so so my favorite. Everything about the suit is perfect. Thank you for the inspiration. Simply wonderful.

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  79. Oh! So pretty! I knew it would come out nicely, but I think you really outdid yourself this time. It makes me want to go right to my machine and start sewing, but I can't really keep my eyes open at the moment (it's been a long, hot day) But tomorrow is another day!

    P.S. My mom and I love your blog and we were even thinking about making a mother/daughter sewing blog.

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  80. Magnicent, ilove it, and u're so nice wearing it. Congratulation, very nice vintage jacket and skirt!

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  81. I'm blown away! I just found your blog via Jezibel, and as someone interested in sewing, vintage and style, this site is a goldmine.

    Thanks and I'll be reading.

    -Hardkork.

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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