Vintage styled suit in navy texturesMay 23, 2014

This project took its time to come to fruition, but I believe I successfully captured the spirit and style my client was looking for. She had been thinking about this suit for a long time before she even approached me, having already chosen her fabric. She is a fellow lover of eras bygone, and was inspired by the mannish style suit Kate Hepburn wore. You can glimpse the design process here

And The Finished Result!
I got her to channel Kate’s laidback pose.
7-lounging
I love how the whole thing looks on her. The cool, cuffed, wide leg pants, the shape of the jacket cut right for her dimensions, the positive feeling of wearing a unique piece of clothing made (as close) to your preferences (as possible).
8-full-front
The main thing we were striving for with this suit was the presence of thoughtful detail, eye-catching and interesting. The five button front closure is obviously a main design feature, so the other components, like the pockets and pleats in a contrasting fabric, were still decorated but less flashy.
9-shaped-yoke

10-pleats

11-jacket-front

12-pants-pocket

13-plaid-lining
(Please excuse my photoshop skills. In trying to bring out the detail of the dark suit materials, the skin and shirt are nearly blinding in some pictures!)

Construction
This was the first time I have attempted the curved pocket edging echoed throughout the jacket and pants, a neat idea from the client. I did my best to execute it, and I am mostly pleased with the result, but my mind always latches on to what could be better.
I think the pants pockets were done quite well. They turned out smoother because I could sew the ends into a seam. Sewing curved pattern pieces is challenging, especially when there are multiple fabric types involved, or any fabric with stretch.
I am most pleased with my execution of the shaped yoke on the back of the jacket. Sometimes it’s hard to make the pointed shape meet up with the centre back seam and not bubble at all, but I did it first try here. One point of perfection.
Another thing I learned with this project is how to make shoulder pads! My client had a very specific idea about how she wanted the shoulder shape, and none of the shoulder pads in the stores cut it. We were looking for something with more height in the shoulder cap, without as much padding closer to the neck. She did some research, got the materials, and I put them together to her specs. I also made them removable with velcro, because the padding was not washable like the suit fabric.

Fabrication
The outer main fabric is a cotton-poly mix with a bit of stretch to it woven in a tiny chevron pattern, and the contrast edging is a slubbed duppioni silk with a slight sheen. Since this suit is inspired by vintage style, I thought it was so appropriate that we used a vintage plaid lining, and vintage buttons that I had been holding onto for such a perfect use as this one. The shoulder pads are made of layers cotton quilt batting fused together, covered in the suit fabric to reduce slipping around.

2 Comments|

  • admin, June 03, 2014

    Thanks Kim, you're great to work with too! I appreciate how you understand that it is a process, and I come up with solutions as issues arise, to get it as right as possible. It's so satisfying to make something special and one of a kind for an individual. I know these clothes are investment pieces, which is why it's important to me to do the best job I can :) Look forward to your next idea!

  • Kim MacRae, May 31, 2014

    Not only did my suit turn out beautifully, I always have fun working with Andrea. I look forward to the creative process with her. It’s a true collaboration: when I get stuck, she’ll have a solution. When I am complimented on the clothes she has made for me (and that happens a lot), I always give her credit. I just wish I had the money to work with her more often and come up with some more fabulous clothes!

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