14 February, 2015

Black matelasse skirt suit: it's the bomb!

Back to regular programming!  Whew - those itty bitty little booties really took me out of my comfort zone.

My black wool matelasse (wool-nylon blend from Mood), outfit is done, done, and done.  You already saw the blouse I made to go with it. The fabric is super interesting - not nearly as wooly as a wool bouclé, but not smooth like a rayon-poly or cotton matelasse or jacquard. It's a solid black, but the shiny parts reflect light, making them appear greyer in photos, which creates tons of texture. It looks flocked, but isn't:  that texture is created by thick wooly threads woven right in.

I chose Vogue 7975, as  I'd just "revised" my red bouclé  Chanel jacket, so the pattern was at hand.  I'd used it twice before, for the red Chanel, and also my brown-shot-with-blue-and-gold cashmere one.  This time, I was determined to see if I could finally and once for all  make it my own, turn it into a TNT straight out of the envelope.  

Hah!  Does the phrase "hoist by her own petard" (see bottom of post for the ultimate example) say anything to you?  Influenced by a friend (yes I'm looking at YOU, you know who you are!!!), I decided to make a petite alteration above the bust. It's a salutary tale of two different bodies: for her, a perfect move. For me, not so great. What it did was make the armscye tight, and I had to enlarge it back to its original size.  I'm slowly coming to the realization that the correct petite alteration for me - I do need it, since I'm a shortie - is just below the armscye, across the back to the side seam and tapering to nothing at the bust point.  N-e-e-e-e-xt time.....

Successful alterations, anyone?  I wanted a working and visible sleeve vent, so split the upper sleeve in half.  I also wondered about Claire Shaeffer's new Chanel jacket variation, V8804, in which she places the front upper sleeve on a slight bias.  So I did that too: 

I don't think that made any functional difference to the sleeve, but then again, it did no harm either. In a typical even patterned or tweedy fabric it would offer a nice bias textural variation, but in this fabric it was invisible. 

To modernize the jacket a tad and distance myself from the suspicion that I used home dec fabric (quel horreur!), I used leather-look snaps on the sleeve vents plus one at CF waistline:  

Look Ma, no buttonholes!  But quite a bit of laborious hand sewing instead.... 

The skirt is the double-vented, princess seamed V7937 (yes, again).
A good black skirt is a perfect basic, wearable with anything and everything.

One more thing?  Did you notice the collar on my jacket?  But.... V7975 doesn't have one.  Right.  The collar's a bit of an afterthought.  Originally, the jacket was meant to be collarless, with Chanel-like trim.  Midway through construction I decided the fabric pattern wouldn't lend itself to trim, being already very busy. So, I grabbed the collar from my fave Chanel-like pattern, New Look 6516.  And added self fabric front facings instead of lining to the edge.  Done!

All told, 2.5 yards of fabric, 3 yards of silk charmeuse (jacket lining and matching blouse), 0.75 m of black rayon lining for the skirt, all from the stash. For a change and a softer silhouette, I omitted shoulder pads this time.

And here, as promised, is the ultimate of being hoist by your own petard, the final few seconds of Dr. Strangelove (Or How I Learned to Love The Bomb), with the voice of the incomparable Dame Vera Lynn:

This clip gives you the whole "Kong Rides the Bomb" final segment of the movie, with a very young James "The Amazing Voice" Earl Jones at the controls, instantly recognizable once he speaks. 


  1. The suit is amazing! I love the closures you used on the jacket sleeves and front. Just awesome!

  2. Gorgeous suit and fabric and my heart went straight to that closure !!!

  3. Your suit is so elegant. Love the unique fabric and the closures you used. I have had the same thoughts about "looking like upholstery fabric" when using jacquards or highly textured fabrics. But them I look at fabrics used on haute couture clothing and tell myself to quite worrying about it.

  4. A very stylish suit and those closures are amazing!

  5. Beautiful! I can see the snowdrifts getting higher and higher with every post. Did you make the toggles yourself, or buy them? I had a terrible time finding toggles the right width for my daughter's coat. If you made these, I would love a tutorial!

    1. Yes they are: I took a trundle through my backyard where the drifts are over my knees. I bought the tabs at Fabricland. All the sewing was by hand, trying to stick the needle into the existing holes of the tabs.

  6. It is indeed the bomb! Love the leather accents which take it to a whole new level.

  7. Very smart! And love the leather snaps.