When Angela Carter, aka Mermaid’s Purse, announced in April that she and the uber-creative Amy from Chica Chica Boom Chic (see some of her work here) were hosting a Vintage Suit Sew Along over the coming months, I was intrigued. I knew I wanted to complete at least one wintery Selfies project this year, and this might just be the shared project to keep me on-track. April was a crazy month for me, and it wasn’t until I settled back into normal life this month that I mentally committed to the sew-along challenge.
What’s a Sew-Along? It’s a sewing project hosted by one or more people, which other sewers of varying backgrounds/skill-sets pledge to take part in. A single garment is usually decided upon and the host/s will dictate the pace of the project, providing a clear deadline. Usually there’s a fairly slow pace to the project, so people are free to fit little bursts of sewing around their otherwise busy lives. If the project is in-person, usually everyone works on the same part of the garment at the same time (i.e. collars, sleeves, etc). This type of project could also be used to teach people how to sew, who have had no experience before. An online-based project, like the Vintage Suit Sew Along, is structured in a way that people can make whatever style suit they want and can work on the different parts of it as they see fit, with the general completion date of the end of June.
I first thought of making my own version of the pretty blue 1960’s jacket I made for Penny to wear on her winter wedding day. I still have some of the soft cotton-wool blend fabric left over from the order, and had totally fallen in love with the style after Penny’s one was finished. I had full intention of making my own one that year, but new projects came along and pulled me in new directions.
These days in my workroom I have been listening/watching movies, docos and tv shows while working. If nothing else, the characters and their chatter keep me company on long days of working by myself. One day I had on Butterfield 8, a movie from 1960 starring Elizabeth Taylor as wanton call-girl, Gloria. She’s a Manhattan girl, falling for her recent married beau, and having a real struggle with it. Taylor won her first Academy Award for a leading role as the stroppy Gloria, and I can say she was most enjoyable to watch. Amongst her glamorous on-screen wardrobe, my eye was caught by a suit she wore between two scenes. She borrowed it from her bff’s girlfriend, and wore it to her mother’s house, pretending that it was hers. It wasn’t an overly statement piece, but the relaxed cut and the way it closed really intrigued me. Perhaps I already had suits on the brain, which is why I noticed it, but after catching that glimpse I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it.
So, my Vintage Suit Sew Along plan changed and I undertook the challenge of drafting a completely new pattern, attempting to recreate the beautiful suit from Butterfield 8. And after a couple days of patterns and samples, here’s my fitted toile (sample), in a yellow poplin I just happened to have on-hand…
My jacket toile is styled here with my 925 Blouse with Dominate print, and a Black Impala 59 Skirt (both available for custom order).
This month was just the pattern and toile stage, and next month is the final construction stage, where we take our personally tailored patterns and make it in our beautiful fabrics of choice! So excited to share the final result with you! (And to see it myself!)
Stay tuned for more of this tailored story!