Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Fabulous Vintage Suit for a Fabulous Lady!

A good friend of mine asked me if I could whip up a new outfit for her to wear to the races, with less than a week to make it. So of course I said "Yes!"

She wanted it made from a pattern of mine, a vintage Simplicity 3624. The envelope of mine is in a very sad way, so here is a photo of it from Vintage Pattern Wiki as well.

I luckily picked this beauty up for 60c from a local op shop 2 years ago, and every piece is accounted for (although some are torn and some have been repaired with tape) I think it could possibly be a late 40's pattern, judging by the styling, the sizing and the use of snaps to close the skirt instead of a zip. It looks very Dior New Look to me. But it could just as easily be from the early to mid 50's. 

I have the pattern in a size 34" bust, and my friend is a 35" bust, so it was very easy to grade it up ever so slightly for her (and now I'm thinking I may have to grade it up and make it for myself...) The fabric she picked was a lovely heavy weight black with little white crosses, which unfortunately turned out to be super stretchy. Never fear! Nothing a little interfacing can't remedy! She had also picked a lovely textured white embroidered chiffon for the collar and cuffs

The fabric

I started by tracing all the pieces out, as they were quite fragile, then cut into the fabric. As the fabric was very wide, I cut the front skirt piece on the fold, eliminating the need for a seam in the centre front of the skirt. I also moved the fastening to the back as requested, and added in seam pockets to the side seams, which Rachel didn't ask for, but I thought she would appreciate.

The pattern pieces all traced out

After all the pieces were cut out I ironed interfacing onto the cuffs, collar and facing pieces, then overlocked around the edges of all the pieces, starting with the cuff and collar, as I had the overlocker threaded with white thread, then rethreaded it in black for the rest of the pieces. The Collar and Cuffs were then sewn together, turned right sides out and pressed. The Darts were then all marked out and sewn on the front bodice pieces, back bodice pieces and sleeves.

At this point I shoved the bodice pieces in a bag and took them with me to work with a jar of pins. After work I walked up to Elsie George (I work less than 200m away!) and pinned them together to check the fit on Rachel. We decided to nip the waist in a bit more with the darts and take 1/2 inch off the shoulders. I got home and got to putting all the bits together to make this fabulous suit. Rachel showed me the fascinator she planned to wear with the suit, and we decided to add a piece of the embroidered chiffon to the base of it to bring it together with the rest of the outfit.

I got it all done, just in the nick of time, driving over to her place at 10pm the night before the races to get it to her.

Unfortunately I did not take any progress photos while working on this outfit, as I had my head down to try and get it finished on time. But Rachel did make sure to get some photos of herself out and about at Muswelbrook Races.

Rachel with her daughter at the races
Seriously though, aren't  they the cutest?
Whilst working for a deadline does motivate me to actually get things done, This was a big project and my sleep did suffer for it. You can bet I enjoyed my sleep in on Saturday! That being said, I love how it turned out, and making it has given me a push to make my own vintage style winter suit, which has been on my "to sew" list for some time.



  1. Oooh, such a pretty pattern and the suit looked marvelous at the end. You should totally make this for yourself! I'd love to see some closer details on this pattern. ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

    1. I really want to make it for myself. I have some lovely light pink and white check/tweed/wool stuff I could use, but I cant decide what to use for the contrasting collar and cuff. White faux fur perhaps? DAMN THIS NOT HAVING ENOUGH SEWING HOURS IN THE DAY!! lol