Jacket AND Dress!

One of the aspects of fashion sewing that appeals to me so much is how projects seem to take on a life of their own. By the time I have it finished, a piece rarely ends up being exactly how I thought it might be when I started it. Most of the time, that’s a good thing. (There are those flops, which are bad things, but thankfully this post is not about a flop.)

When I did the planning and started the construction of my recent Classic French Jacket, I really thought I would be making a pale blue linen sheath to wear with it, using fabric already in my collection. But somehow that pink accent in the weave of the boucle, the trim I selected, and the buttons, all conspired together and changed my mind for me.

Fortunately, I also had a piece of pale pink linen in my fabric collection (at this point, I might ask myself, what color linen do I not have in my collection? But let’s not go there….) By this time I had already decided I needed to figure out a way to show that gorgeous lining silk in my jacket, rather than having it solely hidden inside. Having seen accent scarves paired with Chanel jackets on Pinterest gave me the idea to make a scarf. Then I thought it might be fun to “attach” the scarf to the pink (planned) dress in some fashion.

I came up with buttoned shoulder tabs as a possibility. I had purchased eight small buttons for my jacket – three for each sleeve and one for each pocket, long before I had this idea. You might recall in my last post, that I decided to make the sleeve vents for two buttons instead of three? That’s where I found/got the two buttons I needed for shoulder tabs.

I ended up liking my two button vents!

The first tabs I made just did not look right. First of all, they did not turn well, with a pleasing curve And when I placed them at the neckline of my dress, all I saw were the seams.

I even finished the bound buttonholes before deciding I didn’t like these.

I had to think through lots of possible solutions and finally had a eureka moment when I thought of piping the edges.

Piping makes the sewn curve much easier to turn well.

So much better!

I placed the tabs slightly forward rather than exactly on top of the shoulder seam.

The rest of the dress was very straightforward, as sheath dresses tend to be. It is lined with a lightweight, cotton/linen blend, but I did not underline it, as I like to preserve the washability of most of my linen garments (easier without an underlining.)  It is also cooler without an underlining.

Being a lover of pink, I already had pink pumps that match the dress exactly – and a handbag which brings out the peachy part of the pink in the boucle.

The tabs on this dress give it kind of a ’60s vibe. Unintended, but kind of a nice touch to go with the jacket.

Because these two pieces – and this look – came together from so many sources, I think it is a good idea to give credit where credit is due:

Boucle: Mendel Goldberg Fabrics , NYC, gift from my grown children.

Soutache Braid and Buttons: M & J Trimming, NYC

Pink Petersham Ribbon: Britex Fabrics, San Francisco

Lining and Scarf silk: Britex Fabrics, San Francisco

Pink Linen: vintage Moygashel, 35” wide, purchased on Etsy

Cotton/linen lining for the dress: JoAnn’s Fabrics, purchased in bulk a couple of years ago

Shoes: Ferragamo, old!

Handbag: Kate Spade, also old.

I do love pink!

So that’s it! One major project now residing in my closet rather than in my sewing room. Time to start something new…


Filed under Boucle for French style jackets, bound buttonholes, Buttons - choosing the right ones, Chanel-type jackets, Linen, Linings, Mid-Century style, Moygashel linen, piping, Scarves, Shoes to make an outfit complete, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric

33 responses to “Jacket AND Dress!

  1. kitty0313

    Beautiful! It’s so elegant, but also ‘fun’….. I aspire to such fantastic and ambitious sewing results!

  2. LOVE how this turned out! The pink sheath is absolutely perfect and what a brilliant idea to use that spectacular lining as a scarf. I know what you mean about projects evolving as you work on them. I also agonize over details like the shoulder tabs and I think I work through possible solutions in my sleep. The piping was just the thing to stabilize the shape of the tabs and hide seams. Enjoy wearing this; you look wonderful.

    • Thank you, Mary. I am sure a brain scan of my sleep would show me working through sewing dilemmas! Sewing is a fascinating endeavor, isn’t it? Delighted that you like how this turned out.

  3. This is beautiful! Everything matches so perfectly – you have a complete ensemble there!

  4. Heather Myers

    Lovely! The pink sheath looks unique and wonderful.

  5. Mary Lynn

    This whole outfit is stunning! So brilliantly planned and executed! I never knew Ferragamo made pink ones!!!! Sorry I have such a shoe fetish, but after 5 foot surgeries and one last pair of Ferragamos which have never been worn, but can’t be given away, I am a bit loony about shoes. Watching you plan your sewing – it’s like we can hear you thinking out loud – is amazing
    and always turns out so beautiful and flattering.

    • Thanks, Mary Lynn! I don’t think Ferragamo has made pale pink shoes in quite a while, but I’m very glad to have this pair!
      I do kind of think out loud in this blog, and I’m glad you find it fascinating!

  6. Patricia

    Brilliant, your skills are so professional and having an eye for knowing what will go with what. Very artistic and creative. Congratulations you look elegant.

  7. This is stunning! I love how you translated the 60s into a very stylish and modern outfit!

  8. Maria

    Ultra chic!

  9. Just beautiful. You are such a sewing and a style inspiration. Also love the tip about piping making turning curves smoother.

  10. Hoping my pink comes out as nicely as yours! This all looks great together, and I ♥️ the piping, it’s perfect!

    • Your pink will be wonderful, Kathy! Looking forward to seeing your completed outfit.

      • I finally started the dress this evening…I serged the organza to the linen 😱….not my first choice, but I need to make some time…I figured with only the three main pieces I could get by this once if I pin basted it to death, and it seems to be OK. I felt a little guilty treating that lovely stuff so callously!

  11. Joanne

    Hi Karen, the jacket and dress are superb. The colors are fabulous for your complexion.Do you wash your linen before sewing? How do you take care of it?

    • Hi Joanne! Yes I do wash my linen before I begin sewing with it. Then I wash the finished garment in cold water on the gentle cycle. I tumble dry on medium heat. I have a steam function on my dryer which I sometimes use on linen, and them I press the garment when it is just a little damp. I always take care to iron the seams inside the garment to make them lay flat. On this lining (and on other linings I’ve used in linen dresses) I catch-stitched the seams, which really helps the finished appearance .
      Would love to see you in another class sometime!

  12. Jaenice Palmer

    That looks fabulous–such a great callback to the fashion spreads of the 1950s and 1960s! It would be easy, too, to go straight from lunch to a big event in that gear (I’d want pictures of this splashed all over page three!). This is something you’d imagine one of the pluckiest Hitchcock leading ladies wearing: Grace Kelly in Rear Window, Eva Marie Saint in North by Northwest. To continue–Gloria Guinness and Babe Paley might not live in that dress, but C.Z. Guest and Jackie Kennedy do. Wonderful post of the finished jacket and dress!

    • Thank you, Jaenice! I always love your comments and fascinating commentary! Good style is timeless, don’t you think?

      • Jaenice Palmer

        It is timeless, very much so–and of course what’s timeless is subjective now and then, what with changing definitions both in ready-to-wear and in sewing circles. But overall, yes, the consensus is that sheath dresses and French jackets are eternal and unchanging building blocks of style. And so they are, if that’s your dish, but there are always other dress styles if your legs need freedom of movement integrated with a free-flowing elegance: Drop-waist dresses (be prepared for a rhythmic “sha-boom” with every step), the bias-cut beauties of the 1930s, the styles of the 1940s that translate as girly or crisp or naturally charming or femme fatale or bombshell, the shirtwaists and coatdresses of the 1950s, the A-line dresses of the 1960s.
        On the flip side, if you don’t want to wear a dress at all, there’s always the option of separates or a natty suit. My personal preference is to mix and match historical, vintage, and contemporary (and some avant-garde!) styles in a mad mélange. This no doubt looks eccentric, but it is my style; other people’s mileage may vary.

  13. Wow. You look expensive!!! hah! Absolutely breath-taking!

  14. Marguerite

    Everyone has captured my feelings on this beautiful ensemble! Stunning and breathtaking are not even powerful enough descriptors for these garments knowing what we do about the construction! I like how you styled with the Feragamos and Kelly Bag with the two shades of pink. Your jacket fits like a glove. And your shoulder tab idea is pure genius. Sorry if I’m gushing here, but I’ve been sewing since I was 8 years old and get such joy from seeing work like yours!!

  15. This is a stunning ensemble! It’s retro, yet modern at the same time. I’d have never known that piping could produce such a result on tabs (goodness, your posts are always so full of valuable information!), they are perfect. Great combination with the pink. Just fabulous!

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