Several years ago I purchased a piece of vintage French Lesur wool, which I subsequently made into one of my favorite pieces ever, my pink Christian Dior-designed coat.
When I received the length of pink wool from the eBay seller, I wrote her a note to tell her how excited and grateful I was to have the opportunity to purchase that fabric. It apparently had been from the estate of an accomplished dressmaker, known for her good taste. The seller then kindly offered me another piece – very different in aspect – from the same collection. The photos she sent me showed a wool plaid which looked to be a medium khaki background with purple and lavender lines woven into it. It wasn’t exactly what I usually gravitate to, but I knew the quality of the fabric would be superb, and being a pushover for vintage fabric, I decided to purchase a five-yard length from her.
When the fabric arrived, it wasn’t at all what I had expected. This is one of the downsides of purchasing fabric – especially vintage fabric – online. You don’t always get what you think you are getting. This fabric was deep brown and the purple and lavender intersecting lines were more the colors of eggplant and lilac. It seemed kind of dark to me. Except for black and navy blue, I’m not usually a dark-wearing person. The quality of the fabric, however, was indeed superb. Soft, lightweight with a beautiful hand to it.
I was a little disgruntled about this purchase, though. I don’t like to spend money frivolously, and this suddenly seemed like an unwise decision. But – it was done, so I put the fabric in my fabric closet for storage. Every once in a while I would take it out and ponder it. I started to like it more and more, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what to make with it – all 5 yards!
Now. . . I have discovered with fashion sewing, that sometimes time allows creativity and inspiration to blossom, and that is what happened with this fabric. At some point over the summer, I decided this wool would make beautiful slim slacks. But what to do with all that remaining fabric? Somehow, a matching jacket did not appeal to me at all – and then I remembered a lovely vintage Vogue pattern, designed by Molyneux, I had in my collection at home in Pennsylvania. I knew it would be perfect with the pants – and the fact that I had long wanted to make its featured hip-length cape sealed the deal!
In preparation for this project, I needed to order lining fabric, both for the pants and for the cape. I selected 5 shades of brown silk charmeuse on Emma One Sock’s website and sent off for swatches. (I often prefer to use a contrasting color for a lining, but in this case I determined a matching lining would allow me greater flexibility in wearing the cape with something other than the matching pants.) The swatches arrived in short order, and I was astounded to discover that not one of them was even close to a matching color.
And then it hit me – like an iron in the face! – this wool was not brown, it was a true olive green! No wonder it had started to appeal to me. I have long been a fan of olive green, which I now know to be a little bit of an enigmatic color. Off I sent for 5 more swatches of silk lining, this time in shades of deep green. When the swatches arrived, it was a Bingo moment. One was clearly a perfect match.
Please stay with me in the next couple of posts, as I work through this two piece outfit – a project whose time has finally come.