The Return of the Ladylike Suit

It seems I just can’t get way from that word – ladylike.  Just as I was finishing the jacket to my emerald green silk suit, the weekend Wall Street Journal arrived with this article in the Off Duty – Style & Fashion section:  “Gran Larceny – Fashion’s latest rebellion is co-opting looks from grandma’s closet.”

This photo, copyright The Wall Street Journal, is the lead photo for the article.

This photo, copyright The Wall Street Journal, is the lead photo for the article.

To quote from this article by Alexa Brazilian:

“Is conservative the new radical?    The fashion world certainly seems to think  so  . . .    Designers are reimaging soignée staples for spring and summer – skirt suits, twin sets, below-the-knee dresses, kitten heels and frame bags – that appear anything but moth-eaten.

“ ‘A young girl now doesn’t want to dress like her mother; she finds her grandmother much cooler,’ said Nina Ricci creative director Peter Copping, who designed skirt suits inspired by his own nana.  ‘She wore little smart tweedy suits.  I always had a romantic notion of that.’ “

And then later in the article is this statement by Christopher Kane (which I might frame and put on the wall in my sewing room!):  “Ladylike is the ultimate sexiness,” said the designer.  “It’s clean, elegant and in control.  The famous saying, ‘It’s the quiet ones you need to watch,’ definitely applies to this style.”

Well, I won’t necessarily feel radical or even sexy when I wear my new green skirt suit, but I do believe it is an example of that ladylike style of the early 1960s — which actually makes sense since the pattern is indigenous to that decade.

This is the pattern from the 1960s I used for my suit.

This is the pattern from the 1960s I used for my suit.

Finally finished!

And here is the suit finally finished.

I make a few changes to the design once I made the muslin for it.  First, I added two tapering darts to the back.  It was supposed to have a boxy feel to it, but I felt a little narrower silhouette would be more flattering to me.  I also lengthened the jacket by about 1 and ½ inches.

The jacket is still "boxy" but less so with the added darts.

The jacket is still “boxy” but less so with the added darts.

I decided to make the sleeves below elbow length, so I added another inch and ½ to them.  Then I had to narrow them a bit as well to make them look proportional.

Now to the fun part:  the two dressmaker details I added.  In an earlier post, I already showed the turquoise silk lining fabric I chose.  Once I had such a dramatic contrast in the works, I thought I’d push the envelope a bit farther.  I found silk bias ribbon in a lovely periwinkle color and used it to add an edge detail to the lining in the body of the jacket.

Here is the bias silk ribbon attached to the edge of the lining.

Here is the bias silk ribbon attached to the edge of the lining…  Click on the photos to see them up close.

DSC_0804

… and one more picture of it.

This was so much fun to do and made attaching the lining to the jacket very easy, as all I had to do was “hand-stitch in the ditch” where the silk ribbon and the lining fabric were sewn together.

Here is what the finished edge looks like.

Here is what the finished edge looks like.

When I found the gold buttons for the jacket, I immediately knew that adding buttons to the sleeves would make it all look more complete.

The gold buttons added to the sleeves and another view of the lining (and the back of the bound buttonholes).

The gold buttons added to the sleeves and another view of the lining (and the back of the bound buttonholes).

And here is a close-up of the larger buttons for the front of the jacket, with their bound buttonholes.

And here is a close-up of the larger buttons for the front of the jacket, with their bound buttonholes.

The last thing I did was attach the label to the inside front of the jacket.

Emerald green suit

The silk shell I am wearing is a RTW one!  I purchased it last Spring and now have something with which to wear it!

The silk shell I am wearing is a RTW one. I purchased it last Spring and now have something with which to wear it!

Another view, without jacket.

Another view, with jacket over my shoulder.

When I found this emerald green silk matka online last Fall at Waechter’s Fine Fabrics, I envisioned a skirt suit – or dressmaker suit, as this type of dressy suit is also called – but I had not progressed beyond that in my planning.  Well, now this new grandmother is feeling pretty fortunate that, not only did I grow up with the styles from the 1960s, but they are making me feel quite fashionable now that I am in my 60s!

14 Comments

Filed under Buttons - choosing the right ones, Dressmaker details, Dressmaker suits, sewing in silk, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, Vogue patterns

14 responses to “The Return of the Ladylike Suit

  1. So pretty! I love the details and the fun colors! The suit looks perfect with your store-bought shell. =)

    • Thanks, Brooke! I loved seeing the hoodies you made for your husband and yourself in your recent post! Seems like we both like “bright” linings!!

  2. Cissie Wellons

    Your ladylike suit is just lovely! The color is gorgeous on you and I love the details — bound buttonholes, the pretty periwinkle bias seam finish, etc. Great job! And you are so chic and in style!!

  3. Beautiful suit, the colours in the lining and binding details are the perfect touch.

  4. Susanna

    Your Grandmother name, Coco, certainly is fitting for you, Mom. You are one classy, chic, and talented lady. Love you! Also…you have better arms than most 30 year olds I know. 🙂

  5. Ladylike indeed. Fabulous outfit. I especially like your periwinkle ribbon. Thanks for showing how you did that.

  6. Beautiful suit, you sexy thing!
    I believe I might print and frame “Ladylike is the ultimate sexiness,” . What a great line……. and what a great suit you’ve made!

  7. Oooooh, this is very pretty! The lining and the blouse you paired it with, just perfect! I think ladylike definitely has it’s place in my wardrobe!

  8. The shell is perfect; I’d have guessed that you made it to go with the suit! It’s is just lovely.

    I’m glad you lengthened the sleeves. I think that elbow length usually looks awkward.

  9. Wow – this suit is absolutely breathtaking! I love the quote about ladylike being the ultimate sexiness – I might have to put that in my sewing room as well! The blouse goes perfectly with the suit – those colors are gorgeous! Bound buttonholes, silk bias ribbon, emerald green and turquoise…goodness me this is Heaven.

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