What Comes First – the Jacket or the Skirt?

Sewing has lots of decisions with it, some more important than others.  One of the decisions I face when making a two-piece suit (my current project) is: which part do I make first – the jacket or the skirt?  Instruction sheets are divided on this, as some start with the skirt, others with the jacket.  It would make sense, I guess, to start with the more difficult or more complicated half, which would most likely be the jacket.  So why do I usually make the skirt first?  Here’s what I think:

1) If the skirt and jacket are of the same fabric, making the skirt gives me “practice” with the feel of the fabric.  This comes in handy when I’m turning facings or collars on the jacket.

2) I’ve made enough jackets to know that I’m always kind of exhausted when they’re finally finished.  I’m not sure I’d want to be facing making the matching skirt, too, at that point in the process!

3) It’s easier and just plain better to make the final fitting of the jacket if it can be viewed with its accompanying skirt.

4) And finally, well . . .   I can always wear the skirt if the jacket doesn’t get completed right away, right??

So – what about progress on my emerald green silk suit?

This is the pattern I am using (View B), as written about in a former post.

This is the pattern I am using (View B), as written about in a former post.

Yes, the skirt is finished, which allows me to give you a sneak preview.

An interior view of the waistband and lining.

An interior view of the waistband and lining.

What do you think of that turquoise china silk lining?  Failing to find a green lining fabric, which would coordinate or match, turned out to be an advantage.  I had to choose something else – and, I must say, I love this combination.

Here is a view of the hand-picked zipper.

Here is a view of the hand-picked zipper.

The jacket is still in pieces, but very controlled pieces they are!  Here they are all ready to go:

The silk organza underlining is all basted, interfacings cut, ready to go!

The silk organza underlining is all basted, interfacings cut, ready for sewing.

I am hoping that this suit will serve me similarly to the description of this green suit in the October/November 1962 Vogue Pattern Book Magazine:

"Colors to go wild about" -n 1962 and in 2013.

“Colors to go wild about” – in 1962 and in 2013.

To quote:  “… a pure green with perfect pitch for day or evening, town or country.”  This particular design is by Michael of England, but, like the Vogue pattern I am using, it has a fitted jacket with a narrow notched collar, and three-quarter sleeves.

In the same issue of VPB Magazine, a letter to the editor caught my attention.  Mrs. B. M. of the Bronx, New York, wrote:  “… When I make a suit, I always buy extra fabric and also run up a slim dress.  This lets the suit jacket do ‘double duty’ and I have both a suit and a jacket-dress, while having to make only one jacket.  This saves me time and expense, and I enjoy having a variety of costumes that I can wear almost anywhere, in a fabric I love.”

Now I wonder what she made first – the jacket – or the skirt – or the dress?  I’m exhausted just thinking about it!


Filed under Dressmaker suits, hand-sewn zippers, sewing in silk, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, Vogue patterns

13 responses to “What Comes First – the Jacket or the Skirt?

  1. Beautiful color green! And I LOVE surprise linings – they always make me smile when I see them. =) Your suit is going to be beautiful!

    I don’t know that I could ever make myself a jacket, skirt, AND dress either! If they were all in the same fabric I would probably get bored sewing that much of one fabric all at once. I usually start with the jacket just because I usually sew from top to bottom on almost anything I make – hadn’t really thought about it before.

  2. Love your turquoise lining!! I always make the skirt first. But, that’s because I’ve never made a jacket yet, lol. Still working on blouses, set in sleeves and buttons, then will move on to jackets.

  3. Love the fabric and the colour combo it gorgeous. I look fwd to seeing it all come together. Personally, the first thing i would make before tackling this ensemble is a cup of tea. 😉

  4. Cissie Wellons

    Adore lining color! Just perfect. Don’t know why, but I always make the jacket first — but it makes more sense to make the skirt first as it gets you used to handling the fabric and dealing with its features on a straightforward garment.

    • I think I’m going to really like the lining color in the jacket – where it will have more opportunity to be seen. I’m actually quite excited about it! Thanks for your comment, as always!

  5. I’d make the skirt first too, mainly because I could do it quickly and get it out of the way.

    I too love the turquoise lining.

  6. The lining is awesome! Definitely brings a smile to my face! And I think I would start with the skirt too- just seems like I’d get it out of the way before tackling the bigger project. ~Laurie

    • Thanks, Laurie! I like the lining, too! I am definitely putting in the hours on the jacket right now – and hope to finish it one of these days!

  7. I know when I am making a two piece that if I make the jacket first I will end up wearing it with jeans before the skirt is ever ready therefore I always do the same as you and make the skirt first! I love the colours you have chosen. I mean, I don’t know if it is just my monitor’s colour display but they look so vivid!

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