Completing the Pink Coat Ensemble

Although I hope to wear my pink wool coat (completed Spring of 2019) with various dresses and skirts, I particularly wanted to make a skirt which would coordinate with it.  That way I would have a “planned” ensemble.  I envisioned a petite pink-and-gray houndstooth wool, or a mini-checked pink-and-gray wool.  After a wide search and coming up empty-handed, I was just about convinced I was not going to find either of those two fabrics, at least not in the time frame I planned.  And then I found a lightweight wool and silk blend on the website of Farmhouse Fabrics.  It was a variegated gray and oyster-white plaid with a pink pinstripe running through it on the cross-grain.  Although it looked lovely on my computer screen, I wasn’t sure it would fit my needs, so I ordered a swatch.  From the swatch I could see its beautiful quality – and its perfect colors – so my search was over.

I am so accustomed to using silk organza as my underlining, but the incredible softness and delicacy of this fabric made me think twice.  I thought silk organza would undermine the fluidity of the wool/silk blend, so I decided to use a very lightweight cotton batiste instead. Using the Susan Khalje pattern for which I already had a toile (yay!), I made a very simple straight skirt.  Just for fun I decided to line it in pink silk charmeuse.  I had some in stock as I had used it for the pocket linings in my pink coat.  I also lined the waistband, which I like to do when sewing with wool.

The pink charmeuse lining is my unseen homage to this color which I love so much.

I inserted a lapped zipper by hand in the center back seam.

I angled the center back vent toward the center back seam so that it will hang evenly when I am wearing the skirt.

It is easy to see the angle on the vent with this particular fabric.

One side of the vent folded back.

When I cut out the lining for the coat, I maneuvered the pattern pieces to give me a long narrow length of the silk, which I made into a scarf.

Paired with a V-neck gray sweater, it proves to be the perfect accessory.  As Christian Dior said in The Little Dictionary of Fashion, “In many cases, a scarf gives a final touch to a dress.”

It’s a nice combination of colors!

The scarf is a pretty addition to the coat, I think.

It is rewarding to see my vision become reality!

So, now the big question, one which I have been asking myself frequently as of late, “When and where will I be wearing this lovely ensemble?”  It seems life is just so despairingly casual now, affording few opportunities to wear pretty dresses and skirts and specialty coats.  I try to buck the trend when I have the place and time to do so – and I have yet to feel like I have been overdressed.  Of course, Christian Dior had something to say about this, too. “Generally it is very bad to be overdressed, but I think that in certain circumstances it is very impolite and wrong to be underdressed.” I could not agree more and personally prefer to be slightly overdressed than underdressed.  How about you?  I do hope my pink coat, paired with this gray skirt, will prove to be the perfect dressing for many occasions.  I am certain I will enjoy wearing them.


Filed under Christian Dior, Coats, Fashion commentary, hand-sewn zippers, Linings, Scarves, Straight skirts, Uncategorized, underlinings

48 responses to “Completing the Pink Coat Ensemble

  1. Heather Myers

    Looks wonderful!
    One of my sewing friend’s makes lovely fitted and Issey Miyaki clothing and lives in a very casual dress Colorado Mountain town. She wears her handmade clothing to the grocery store, everywhere! So enjoy it as often as possible.😊

  2. Oh, so classily beautiful!I really relate to the question of where

  3. Mery

    Lovely, absolutely lovely! A sweater, a plaid skirt – even a wonderful one with a pin lining- used to count as casual…as opposed to ladies wearing a suit and hat for grocery shopping. “Despairingly casual” is right. Even a good percentage of the more casually dressed like seeing others more presentable. You can represent the respectable lady.

    • It is amazing how times have changed, from wearing a hat and gloves to “town,” to t-shirts and torn jeans now. But I have my standards – and I know there are many like you and me who strive to tasteful respectability!

  4. Cheryl

    I must compliment you for having such good vision when pairing fabrics. I so enjoyed reading how you selected the skirt fabric, thinking, “no, don’t think so” until I saw the end product. It is just beautiful with your lovely coat. I have been retired for four years now and I have had to do a re-think about my wardrobe, but i still reach for wardrobe items that are “smart casual” as opposed to a very chilled look. The compliments tell me it is quite OK and it is who I am. I’m thinking you are thinking along similar lines and suggest that you embrace the things that give you joy.

  5. Lynn

    What a beautiful and well thought out outfit. It is stunning!

  6. Your skirt is beautiful and your finishing touches are sublime, subtle and perfect. The entire ensemble is fabulous!!!!! I am over 55 and retired. I share your angst regarding appropriate attire. I’m happy not to wear a “corporate uniform” everyday now but still can’t bring myself to wear exercise attire to the grocery store. I look forward to your next creation.

  7. kathleen

    Just lovely. The perfect ensemble to wear to museums, galleries, music events, dinner out, or even meetings. There is nothing wrong with being the best dressed woman in the room. Your post is good inspiration for me to tidy up my own appearance, even in a rural setting because I agree that the “casual” look too often has devolved to unkempt.

  8. There is no place where a skirt and cardigan are over dressed, unless you intend to spend the afternoon playing on the floor at a preschool! In the winter I wear my wool skirts when my “office” is only at the piano bench! Dresses might seem a little different, but I don’t think you can go wrong with treated a skirt as casual! I love the plaid you found, and silk wool is such a lovely thing!

  9. Karen

    A beautiful ensemble and well worth the effort it took to make it. One small observation: You are trim enough to wear a slightly more fitted or body conscious sweater. From the pictures, it seemed a little loose on you. Just my opinion.

    Have recently read several books written by women authors on their experiences, good and not so good, while living in Paris. Many were American authors researching a book they were writing. Frequently, they made reference to how well dressed Parisian women were when out and about, and especially their accessories, including the always well-tied scarf. So, my suggestion would be to take a long weekend trip to Paris with your clothes. I’m sure you would get admiring looks! Would also help to counteract the American tourists who don’t know how to dress in public.

  10. For me, today’s world is too casual. I dress to please myself. Let others come up to our standards. I’m not going to the grocery store in my flannel PJs and slippers.

  11. Terri

    Your ensemble is BEAUTIFUL and your sewing is impeccable!
    I have a vintage Vogue 2087, Christian Dior dress pattern and I’d love for you to have it. You might be able to Google it or I could email you a picture of it, if you think you’d like to have it. .

    • Thank you, Terri, for your kind words. And thank you for the offer of the Vogue pattern; I so appreciate you thinking of me. After googling it, and although it is lovely, I’m not sure it is a style which I would wear. Maybe if I were younger!! It definitely reminds me of my college days. Thank you again…

  12. Urbanite

    What? NO Way. It’s gorgeous and there are countless place to wear it! To the threatre, symphony/ballet performance, college basketball game, football game. Dinner with friends. Dinner with spouse. Taking in a gallery opening or a special exhibit at an Art Museum. Luncheon with friends.

    It’s just so lovely, and not only that, it may just inspire others to get their sartorial act together.

    • I love your comment – thank you! Of course, my friends all know I sew, and now whenever I am expecting to be with any of them, they want to see my latest creation. It’s fun for them – and me.

  13. Mary Lynn Cheely

    I love how you put together THE most elegant outfits which are perfect wherever you choose to wear them. From head to toe you always look perfect! If I saw you somewhere i would want to study every single thing you had on! I bet if you fly fish near your new home, you look elegant on the stream also 🙂
    A dear friend and I who were in our early 20s just learning to sew had an elegant, charming woman who sewed beautifully and we discovered that we both tried to sit behind her in church to learn how to copy her hand sewn zippers! I’m sure you’re an inspiration to all who see you!

    • This is the nicest comment, Mary Lynn! Our son-in-law is the fly fisherman in our family, and I will let him know that he can expect me to be “fly-fishing fashionable” when next we venture out on the river!
      I was at a wedding several years ago, and a woman came up to me later at the reception to tell me she spent the entire wedding service looking at my hand-picked zipper! So funny, but I can definitely relate – and so can you!

  14. Audrey Donaldson

    the coat is amazing and the colour is perfect for you

  15. Just beautiful! Wear your outfit everywhere with pride!

  16. Barb

    This is absolutely beautiful. Perfect colours, amazing sewing, and glorious fit. Well done! I hope you get to wear it, it’s too beautiful to languish in a closet!

  17. Hi Karen!
    A fabulous ensemble, and I love all the thought that has gone into every aspect of realizing it.
    I personally have the same thoughts as you in approaching that subject of dressing in public. I always dress well, it’s just a part of my personality, and it’s been my experience that people do like to see a well dressed person witihin the sea of oh-so-casual-wear. And when I see someone in a fabulous outfit, I so love to see it too.
    I love seeing the photos of you in your recent ensemble! Beautiful work indeed!


    • Thank you, Jacqueline. I think those of us who take the time to sew with care really appreciate seeing other people dressed beautifully. It’s inspirational. It would give me much pleasure to know I could be an inspiration to others by dressing well.

  18. What a beautiful ensemble. Like many of the others who have commented, I despair of some of the clothing I see when out and about. I can only echo the suggestions that you wear this when and where you like, and proudly!

  19. Just lovely. What prefect fabric coordination. I love your hand sewing zipper. Hand sewn zips are the epitome of a well-constructed garment, and I always prefer putting them in by hand myself. I am always surprised to see invizible zippers inserted by hand in some photos of runway couture garments. Everything is possible with hand sewing.

    Your ensemble is chic and elegant, and you would not be overdressed anywhere. I am always thrilled to see people dressed nicely, and try to make an effort to do likewise. It is so difficult to be nicely dressed now that looking unkempt is acceptable.

    • I think there are many of us who are like-minded about today’s unkempt culture, so WE need to do our part to counteract it! I think that’s another reason why fashion sewing is so rewarding – the satisfaction that comes from making something lovely – and then wearing it out and about.

  20. JACQUELINE Fechner

    what a lovely pairing of fabric I love our outfit and you will turn heads anywhere you go

  21. Debra Coglianese

    Karen, your outfit is lovely. Thank you for the inspiration!

    I have – just this moment – finished my couture skirt! Let’s plan a meet-up in November and take our skirts to coffee.

    • Hi Debra! Yes, let’s take our skirts to coffee – I would love that! I am out of town right now, and my old-fashioned calendar is at home (!), but I will message you when I’m back in Pennsylvania later in the week and let’s get a date on the calendar. Thank you!

  22. Marianne

    This elegant ensemble is showing all the careful thoughts and planning That went into making it. I hear you on life getting more casual but we can’t let this stop us!

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