Saturday, 7 May 2016

Marilyn's red jacket from Niagara

In the next instalment of Dixie's mad sewing frenzy at she prepares to go away on a cruise for 10 days during Me-Made-May and needs to make sure she has enough suitable me-made clothes, I have for you my version of the red jacket that Marilyn Monroe wore during the 1953 movie, Niagara.

To make this jacket very simple in its construction, I simply used the bodice pieces from Butterick B5824 and reshaped the lapels. To make it nice and snuggly (and also use up some stash fabric) I made it from a lovely soft polar fleece that I have had for quite some time. My version is not going to be quite as fitted/tailored, but still have a very similar shape and look

It came together super quick, I cut the pieces out before work on the Thursday, and got most of the construction, except the pressing and hems, done that evening. As I had made this pattern before, I already knew how it went together, so that helped a bit. I also left it unlined, as the fabric was soft, so this saved on fabric and time

Before I sewed the collar facing pieces on, I put the jacket on my mannequin and used pins to outline the shape I wanted the collar lapels to be. I used this as a guide to trim all the collar pieces.

Pinned lapel shape

Adapted collar facing

The collar facing piece was the sewed onto the main part of the jacket, curves clipped and turned right side out and arranged on my mannequin. At this point I hadn't pressed or hemmed it, but it was about 10pm so I decided to call it a night.

And then, when I was heading to bed, I spotted another kitty in my basket. This time it was Mabel. I guess she figured that if her sister was allowed to sleep in it last night, then surely she was allowed to as well?

The next morning, before work, I gave the jacket a quick press along the collar, side seams and darts (not bothering to wrangle with the sleeve seams) then chucked it in a bag along with a needle and thread so I could hand stitch the facing down during my lunch break at work.

I also used some of the time before work to pick out a nice button for my jacket, but some reason I had it in my head that this jacket had a black button, but when I checked the photos, it was actually white! Ooops! But at least I realised before I had done the button hole and attached the button. When I got home that evening I picked out a white button instead and and hand sewed the hem.

I still have to work out how I want to do the sleeve cuffs, and I also still need to attach the button and make the button hole, but I am leaving that til later so I can work on other outfits at the moment, and if I run out of time, I can hand sew those things while on the cruise. The jacket has turned out a little larger around the waist than I would have liked, but I think it still resembles Marilyn's jacket. I will probably make another, more tailored, version of this jacket at a later date.

I also made another blouse from Butterick B5859, this time using a piece of the cat print polyester from the Gertie Fabric line. I've had about 1.5m of it, that I picked up from the remnants at spotlight for ages, and I never knew what I was going to use it for. I am glad I kept it til now, as I think it was perfect for this pattern, and I also think I am going to really enjoy wearing it.

I still have to hand sew the down the inside of the neckband, but I'm leaving that for later also.

Anyone else been doing any last minute sewing?



  1. I love this jacket! So very classic. I look forward to seeing your cruise outfits!

  2. Very clever jacket, and I too look forward to seeing your cruise outfits!

  3. Gorgeous jacket, you have made a very faithful copy ;o)