DesigninDecember entry

As you may or may not be aware, December is the month when many people are busy looking for inspiration in the form of designer wear that they can copy for (hopefully) a fraction of the cost. The challenge is the brainchild of Linda of nicedressthanksimadeit, and the details are available here. Linda has been showing all the makes that have been published so far, which I urge you to go and look at as they are awesome. Now for my effort.

This is a little red suit that I photographed at the Dior exhibition in Melbourne. It is from the 1960s and is made from silk dupion. It looks simple, yes? Well, er, not quite! I will just mention that I hope we don’t have to copy the hairdo!


I fiddled around with this and then took it off to my patternmaking class at Workspace Fashion and Design.

IMG_0063I had noticed that the suit is pieced in strips. I initially thought that I might not do this, but Sarah made me – gah! She did identify that the strips are not an even width, so we spent some time trying to work out how wide each section needed to be.

The skirt is a simple A-line and we used my A-line block, dividing the pattern into three pieces, moving the back darts into the first horizontal seamline. That wasn’t too bad, but then we moved onto the bodice. We used my bodice block and the first thing we did was to move the shoulder darts into the seam that ran across the bust. This is such a fascinating process, and the result is this perfectly shaped top.


We divided the bodice into four sections, getting larger towards the bottom. It has very subtle waist shaping which is really flattering. It can just be seen in the photos above and below.


This fabric  frayed like nobody’s business. I wasn’t going to overlock the edges because it’s fully lined but I decided that it would shred to nothing on the first wear, so every single horizontal cut is overlocked. There are a lot of these, so it took a while.

I decided to use a lining material from my stash, so this red suit is lined with dark green. I feel very Christmassy!IMG_0761 copy

I have quite a few large 1960s buttons, and there is a red one which would have been perfect, but I only had one and I needed two, so I covered two with the same fabric. I should state that the hem is level, I think I must have put the skirt on slightly wonkily. This is a suit that demands careful attention when putting it on.


The back has three sections as it’s basically a wrap. The pattern for it did my head in and I was sewing things inside out and had to do lots of unpicking, partly caused by the fact that the fabric didn’t have a right and wrong side and I lost my markers. I have new respect for the people who execute these designs as there is a lot of fiddly things go on behind the scenes to get such a simple looking outfit. We had to add a placket with press studs to hold the whole thing together.


The buttonholes for the buttons are fake as they would be extremely long and prone to gaping, so the buttons are sewn on top of them and that section of the back is also secured with press studs.

The suit can be dressed up or down with flats or heels, which is useful depending on whether I am going to wear it to lunch or dinner. I don’t think it’s the sort of outfit that I’d wear to hang out in my sewing room!

There is not a lot else to say about this suit, except that both pieces can be worn with other components. I am planning a linen one, which I think will be really useful for all sorts of activities, and I might drop the armholes a smidge on the next one. My shape is changing because of the swimming and my upper arms are expanding somewhat. Here I am trying to emulate the Dior model’s pose whilst hiding my camera remote.


The only question left to ask is whether I met the design brief!




71 thoughts on “DesigninDecember entry

  1. Now that’s a model with funny hair – I’m happy you only copied her Designer Original Dior! This looks like a beautiful fabric – I only wish my laptop had a “touch and feel” button. Beautiful work, your sewing and pattern making skills get better and better every outfit! Thank you for participating again this year!

    1. The fabric has a surprising amount of body and no drape. Very odd! But, it totally matched the Dior fabric so I was quite pleased. Thank you for hosting and Merry Christmas Linda!

  2. Great work, I like you outfit. To copy is an interesting work. We did something similar here in Germany 2017.
    Mery Christmas and a prosperous New Year with lots of sewing.

  3. Gosh, Sue! I love it! I can imagine how all of the bust, waist and hip shapes are integrated into those genius seams. Dior was a clever cookie eh? You did a fabulous job with emulating his design. And red suits you so well. Merry Christmas Sue xx

  4. Dazzling my darling! Your skills paired with Sarah’s knowledge just blow my mind. Your process is as interesting as the garment itself!

  5. You certainly met the design brief — and more! Congratulations on your haute couture copy. I love how the darts were manipulated into the horizontal seams. Which tells me that there’s no such thing as a random design detail.

  6. Outstanding Sue! A lovely outfit for the holidays, and i think a linen version would be fabulous – and probably get more wears. Well done you!

    1. Yes, the linen will be more versatile. I’m going to change the construction method a bit next time and see how that goes. It will be challenging as there are no instructions of course!

  7. This is fabulous and you wear it so well. Great colour and style on you. You have IMO certainly covered the design brief. Merry Xmas.

  8. This is such a beautiful and chic suit, Sue! The clever pattern draft makes it so well fitted, the lines are timeless. I love your impecable and neat sewing, the silk and the lining make it so luxury. Happy Christmas days and a lucky New Year!

  9. So simple looking but that’s the beauty of it. You look fantastic in it, I love the top and how the dart manipulation has made a truly fitted top. Really gorgeous colour too.

  10. This looks amazing! And probably the best example of dart manipulation and what can be achieved by it that I have ever seen! And you look stunning in it!

  11. What a stunning entry, Sue! The architecture of couture clothing is just fascinating, isn’t it? Can’t wait to see it in a different fabric. Have a wonderful relaxing Christmas!

  12. What a stunning entry, Sue! The architecture of couture clothing is just fascinating, isn’t it? Can’t wait to see it in a different fabric. Have a wonderful relaxing Christmas! 🎄

  13. This is such an interesting project, and your explanations of how you achieved it and why are fascinating. I especially love that back button feature. Great job.

  14. Wow wow wow! I saw this on Instagram and I was impressed, but that was before I realised that you had sewed it in strips. Deep respect. You are an amazing dressmaking and pattern cutter Sue. Thank you for sharing. Xx

    1. Oh yes, all those strips! However, it did mean that the darts could be hidden in the seam, which is really nice. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  15. The red suit is stunning. I just love the tailoring and attention to detail. I also think that your decision to go with the strips of fabric was very important to the look. This is so classy and gorgeous and fits you beautifully.

  16. I don’t even have words without gushing like a geyser. This outfit is simply stunning. And stunning in its “apparent” simplicity. What an undertaking. And the result is perfection!

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