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.
I 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!
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!