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 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.