The Skirt Suit

Warning: This is a PICTURE HEAVY post.

GUYS!  I’m so excited.  I finished my suit!!  And it kinda looks legit.  Like, I look at it and can’t believe I made it.  If you had come to me two yeas ago and told me that in 3 months my grandma was going to give me an old sewing machine and it was going to completely change my life and that in 1.5 years I’d sew a suit, I would’ve laughed in your face.

Yet here I am, in my brand new suit!

I originally bought this pattern at least 1 year ago.  At the time, I was still confused about pattern sizing.  Now, if you’re not a seamstress, let me explain how patterns work.  The sizing is completely different from ready to wear clothing available now.  In most RTW things, I wear anywhere from a 0(tops) to an 8(pants).  With sewing patterns, you use your measurements to look at a chart on the pattern to determine what size you need to cut out.  According so said charts, I’m usually around a 10 in my bust, a 12 waist and a 14 in my thighs.  But, in reality, when I actually cut out the patterns, I usually end up needing quite a bit smaller(sometimes as small as a 6, which would correspond on the size chart to like a ridiculously small waist of 22″ which I DO NOT have) due to the “ease” put into the pattern.

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I don’t think this fits her well. It’s WAY too big on her.

At the time when I bought this pattern, I thought I needed a size 14, so I bought the pattern that had sizes 14-20 in it.  Well, size 14 was WAY to huge for me.  Not wanting to pay for another pattern(plus the pattern is now out of print), I graded(or sized down) the pattern about 8 inches total and made it a perfect fit for me.

I did not do all the little “extra’s” the pattern tells you to do, like piping around the seams and pick stitching down the seams or the little flower pin.  I didn’t like how it looked.  I wanted a more streamlined look.  Also, I felt the suit had enough details with the dramatic collar/lapels/poufy sleeves and peplum jacket shape that it didn’t need anymore “extras”, plus the fact that I was using pin stripe fabric definitely added detail.  I also used buttons/buttonholes instead of the loops the pattern called for, because I like that look better.

The pattern was rated as “advanced” but it didn’t seem any more detailed or difficult from any other patterns I’ve made, with the exception of the welt pockets.  That took a few tries(and they’re not perfectly even but good enough) but it wasn’t tear my hair our hard or anything.

My original plan for this suit was to make it and wear it for my Rotary Club speech back in June. But, my root canal kind of derailed that plan and I put off finishing it till recently.

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Believe it or not, the skirt gave me more trouble than the jacket!!  Well, not the skirt so much but the lining for the skirt.  I graded down the skirt and then did some tweaking of it after I had made it.   Then I went to make the lining and I didn’t even grade it down as much as the skirt but it was too small!  And unfortunately that used up enough of my lining material that I couldn’t re-make it.

I thought about using a different kind of lining material from my stash but then I got to thinking that maybe the reason the lining didn’t fit was because the suiting material is (slightly)stretchy while the lining is not.  I didn’t have any stretchy lining material so I decided to use the suiting to make the lining for the skirt.  It’s not perfect, but it works.  The other thing I don’t like is the length of the skirt.  It’s a little short for my tastes(and I kept it as long as I could by barely hemming it) and if I make this pattern again, I will lengthen the skirt a bit.

Now for picture overload.

To me, the jacket is the show-stopper of this ensemble:

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close up of the buttons(sorry for the overexposed/too much flash!)

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The suiting fabric is a polyester suiting that I picked up at Hancock fabrics for a very low price.  I bought 10 yards, because I hope to eventually make my husband a suit(I have a pattern, just have to get brave enough to try it some day).

The lining is a satin charmeuse in a damask-like print. I am just now realizing I cut the pieces out with the wrong orientation as you can see below(the print should run vertically not horizontally like I have it here).  Oh well!
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The skirt has a little gathered flounce in the back that adds a cute little detail:

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I prefer the jacket buttoned, but it looks okay un-buttoned too.

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Skirt:

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Back view of the skirt(sorry about the bra strap).  I didn’t take the time to sew in a hook and eye at the top of the skirt so that’s why you see a small gap like the zipper isn’t all they way up(it is).

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The pockets do actually work(though they are rather shallow):

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Now gratuitous extra pictures:

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I have to say(in case you hadn’t figured it out by all my gushing and 10,000 pictures) that this is the most proud I’ve been of a sewing project yet.  I just can’t believe I made a suit!  I know that all clothing has to be MADE by someone, but it’s still so crazy to me that I made this!

-Tamara

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10 thoughts on “The Skirt Suit

  1. Rebekah says:

    It’s amazing! Great job!! I can’t imagine doing something that complicated, mostly because I wouldn’t have the patience. But that suit is definitely something to be proud of!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      It’s honestly not as complicated as you would think. I’m starting to wonder if they rate pattern difficulty based upon the number of steps involved, because this jacket does have quite a few steps, but, like I said, other than the welt pockets, none of the steps were any more difficult than stuff I’ve done on “easy” rated patterns.

  2. heidi says:

    that is just so amazing, tamara! you deserve every bit of excitement you feel over this piece, it is amazing!! you are such an inspiration to me to one day/some day actually work really hard at sewing something because the accomplishment is such an amazing feeling.

    • guitargrl325 says:

      You don’t even know how much it means to me to hear that I inspired you. I really appreciate it. From my experience, getting better at sewing just comes from lots of practice(like most things). Time wise, I haven’t been sewing that long(almost 2 years) but I spend so much of my free time sewing(probably close to 20 hours/week) that I have advanced much more quickly than say someone who has sewn for much longer but doesn’t sew very often. You’ll get there!

    • guitargrl325 says:

      My favorite part is definitely the jacket as well. I think I shall try to put together other looks using the jacket without the skirt just to see how versatile it is.

    • guitargrl325 says:

      Thank you so much! I always worry about posting too many pictures because I don’t like reading blogs that every.single.day are 10,000 photos of the same outfit. But every once in awhile it’s nice to branch out and try something different.

  3. dragonflyzia says:

    Wow…..I mean really wow! How many times have you worn it so far? If I made that I would wear it everywhere! I am excited for you, this has to feel pretty amazing. 🙂

    • guitargrl325 says:

      Well, I literally just finished making it on Wednesday night so Thursday was my first time to wear it……but I will probably be wearing it quite a few times. I’ve got outfits picked out for the next few weeks and I’m going to utilize each piece in a separate outfit just to make sure I’m being versatile!

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