A Fascinating Foundation

Vogue patterns from the 1950s, ‘60s, and ‘70s never cease to amaze me. The intricacies of construction, the detailed instructions, and the artistic styling of so many of the patterns from those three decades make sewing from them such a pleasure. Each one is like a mini sewing lesson, neatly packaged with beautiful photos and/or sketches and precise line drawings.

Such has been the Emilio Pucci Designer pattern on which I am currently working.

Happy New Sewing Year - Pucci pattern

The unusual construction of the jacket caught my attention as I was trying to lay out its lining pattern pieces along with pattern pieces for the dress.  As I mentioned before, the front of the jacket is cut on the bias. However the interfacing and the lining pieces for the front are cut on the straight of grain. How, I wondered, is that going to work? The answer to that question is one of the most fascinating construction methods I have ever come across.

The interfacing and the lining both have deep darts to form the bust line. Of course, the jacket front, cut on the bias, is going to have built-in give for the bust. But in addition to that, there was a “cup-like” pattern piece for adding to the front interfacing, clearly with the goal of enhancing the bust line, and defining it.

The "cup-like" pattern piece is in the lower right.  Notice the large dart in the piece next to it.

The “cup-like” pattern piece is in the lower right. Notice the large dart in the piece next to it.

Here is the instruction page for assembling these interfacings. In effect, it is a process for making an interior bra.

Click on the diagram to read it more easily.

Here are my front interfacing pieces with the darts sewn.

Here are my front interfacing pieces with the darts sewn.

Here I am reinforcing the darts in the bust (cup) interfacings.

Here I am reinforcing the darts in the bust (cup) interfacings.

Here they are ready to be added to the base interfacing pieces.

Here they are ready to be added to the base interfacing pieces.

And here are the front interfacings assembled and ready to be attached.  Looks kind of risque, don't you think?

And here are the front interfacings assembled and ready to be attached. Looks kind of risque, don’t you think?

Note also the detailed instructions for making the bound buttonholes on the above instruction sheet. I did a practice run on a bound buttonhole, being careful to layer the fabrics exactly as they would be layered on the front of the jacket.

My sample buttonhole.

My sample buttonhole.

The right jacket front, marked for buttonhole placement.

The right jacket front, marked for buttonhole placement.

Another detailed instruction was given for the sharp angle under the sleeve. The instructions called for a 2” x 2” square of fabric to reinforce that corner. I used black organza.

The organza patch is sewn on the right side of the jacket and pressed to the inside.

The organza patch is sewn on the right side of the jacket and pressed to the inside.

The organza patch makes a very secure and precisely sewn  corner possible.

The organza patch makes a very secure and precisely sewn corner possible.

And here are just a couple of photos of the interior of the jacket with the rest of the interfacings attached.

The right front of the jacket, with buttonholes sewn.

The right front of the jacket, with buttonholes sewn.

Thje front of the jacket.  Note the "stays" made our of seam binding.  They are loose except where they are attached at the underarm and at the collar.

Thje front of the jacket. Note the “stays” made out of seam binding. They are loose except where they are attached at the underarm and at the neckline.

The back of the jacket - simple compared to the front!

The back of the jacket – simple compared to the front!

There is something else that never ceases to amaze me either about these sophisticated vintage Vogue patterns.   That is – how stylish and current so many of them are.   Here’s an example of what I mean. Take a look at these recent jackets from current designers.

I clipped this out of The Wall Street Journal sometime within the past year, but I unfortunately forgot to note the date.  Click on the photo for a close-up.

I clipped this out of The Wall Street Journal sometime within the past year, but I unfortunately forgot to note the date. Click on the photo for a close-up.

The article rightly makes the reference to Balenciaga, but look how similar these are to the Pucci jacket on which I am working.

A Fascinating foundation -picture of Pucci jacket

These thumbnail sketches  also help to show the similarity to the current jackets.

These thumbnail sketches also help to show the similarity to the current jackets.

Well! I am looking forward to sharing some more details about this outfit when I can show it completely finished – in my next post – and answering those nagging questions, “Did piecing the lower sleeves on the jacket lining actually work? Will anyone guess my secret?”

 

 

21 Comments

Filed under bound buttonholes, couture construction, kimono sleeves, Uncategorized, underlinings, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, Vogue patterns

21 responses to “A Fascinating Foundation

  1. Wow! What an amazing pattern and wonderful construction instructions. I’m sure it is going to be a beautifully finished jacket!

  2. Fascinating! Thanks for the inside look at the construction details!

  3. Thanks for sharing these construction details. This jacket will match your gorgeous dress so beautifully!

  4. I’m with Brooke. Thank you for showing us this couture construction. Wow!

  5. Ann

    How great that the Pucci pattern includes detailed instructions for couture techniques, such as the corset structure in the jacket.. It makes a Chanel cardigan-style jacket appear simple, by comparison. Of course, you were successful in piecing the lining for the jacket sleeves. As for your secret, this project has been so filled with unexpected details, that I cannot even hazard a guess. In any case, I am very eager to see your finished garments.

    • And you will see them both soon, for sure! It’s funny, at one point with this jacket, I had pieces all hanging together at odd angles, with loose ends flying every which way, and I was definitely reminded of the similarity with the construction of a Chanel-type jacket – sewing chaos! But – having made two Chanel-type cardigan jackets in the past, I can vouch for the fact that the Chanel-type jackets have a lot more work in them than this jacket. They are not more complicated, but they are much more labor-intensive. One of the things I love about this jacket is just how clever the construction is!

  6. Joanne

    Lord knows I love a jacket. This one has my name on it. Black and fitted. Yep. It’s mine.
    🙂

  7. Cissie

    Who would ever guess how complicated a simple-looking jacket can be?? It is going to be spectacular, very reminiscent of Balenciaga. Can’t wait to see it on you, with the stunning dress, of course.

  8. And the jacket *looks* so simple! Looking forward to seeing the completed jacket.

  9. Le sigh. Such a shame the beautiful inner detailing gets left off these days for the ‘I want it now’ approach the pattern companies pander for. I love your comment about the ‘effortless dinner part’ – so apt!

  10. Those neckline to underarm stays are fascinating … thank you for showing so much of the interior construction work, all of which looks amazing. There is something quite magical about the clever, careful work that goes into intricate internal construction like this. “Effortless” it certainly isn’t but “magical” it undoubtedly is.

  11. Rita

    I am fascinated by the interior construction work. It is beautiful. I have a question: I wonder what kind of fabric have you used for the interfacing. Is it 100% linnen?

    • The jacket interfacing is a very lightweight jacket “canvas” which I believe is a blend of linen, cotton, and maybe viscose. It was very malleable. I needed something that would preserve the fluidity of the silk/wool blend of the fashion fabric, and this did the trick. Thank you for your interest!

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