11 February, 2014

Brown blue cashmere suit: stashbusting really works!

As hard as it may be to believe it, this three piece outfit, completed at last, marks the end of a four year saga.  It began in New York in Jan of 2010, when I got tempted by a dark brown, shot with blue and golden brown threads, cashmere wool woven.

The pic above gives the best sense of the fabric: very soft, very dark brown and yet not only brown; the bright blue and golden highlights are very clear in close-up. In the pic, the jacket is paired with the brown silk jaquard top I just made. Unquestionably this cashmere is the most expensive piece of fabric I ever sprang for. Lightweight, soft as down, springy, yum!  I think it came from Beckenstein's - I recall my sister in law took me for a long day's trawl through the fashion district and this was one of our last stops, a fabric store dominated by menswear cloths of the highest quality.  Sound familiar?  I believe it should.

I got the fabric with only a jacket in mind, but the cut was so wonderfully generous (2.2 meters) that after the collarless V7975 jacket was cut, the remainder yielded a sleeveless two piece dress made up of a princess-seamed top (Go 4001) and simple pegged skirt (Burda 9-2008-120). I finished the top fairly promptly, then continued apace with the jacket.  All of a sudden, with everything cut and mostly sewed together, the project got stalled by this, that and t'other.  Mostly two snags:  I resisted the idea of cutting buttonholes into this scrumptious fabric but wasn't sure how to proceed; and I was't entirely at all thrilled with the shape of the skirt.

Still, we all  know the UFO refrain:  unfinished is unstarted, and merely cut out is money thrown out.  I finally tackled the bull cashmere billy goat by the horns and, tadaaa! at last can call the top, jacket and skirt, and therefore the entire three piece outfit, completed at last.  At very long last, indeed!

So, without further ado: all on the dress form, because, well, Baby, It's Cold Outside.

Jacket:  Vogue 7975, size 10 straight up, lined with chocolate brown silk jacquard (the Marfy 1913 chocolate brown top I made last week was eked out of the last little remnant of the very same silk).  It's a closer, better fit than the red boucle jacket, which was a size 12.

Instead of buttonholes, I sewed on three snaps and covered the right side ones with deep blue "tweedy" buttons.
I stabilized the fabric - all 2.2 meters of it - with lightweight fusible knit.  I can hardly believe I had the patience to do that, but yes, to my amazement.... The jacket is further padded with a chest and upper back shield, sleeve heads, and shoulder pads.  I was going to forego the pads, but realized late in the finishing that lack of them would give the jacket unsightly drag lines between armscye and waist, so in they went.

The top is based on the bodice to hip line Go 4001 sleeveless dress. I love its strong side princess line, it's perfect for anyone with nice sized assets on top. I made the dress back in 2009; for those of you not party to Sewing Review, the pictorial set starts here.

 This top is also lined with the same brown silk jacquard. Easy peasy. Nothing more to add.

The Awful Skirt:  Burda 9-2008-120 simple pegged aka "tulip shape" skirt. IMO this skirt has a very strange shape, with a really strong pooch line at the hip, I suspect mainly due to the tulip shape, though some of that may be the fault of my drawing the pattern to match the dimensions of my generous derriere/small waist figure.  I tried to slim it down but it seemed to me I was only making matters worse, worser, and worsest, so finally gave up on alterations, returned to the pattern's original truly weird line, and decided to finish it with much more ease in the hips than I would ordinarily. Lined with a heavy 80% bemberg/20% polyester blend lining in very dark navy, it works, but is far from ideal. Embarrassed, much?  Oh yeah, very. C'mon, how hard can it be to get a simple no waistband skirt to look decent, for pity's sake?  It hangs off my hips just fine, but then goes all "I wanna be a jodhpur" a few inches further down.

What's really funny is that a gal showed up in just such trousers to this week's group photocall of 2014 Oscar nominees:
Dressed to impress: Gravity's Sandra Bullock and American Hustle's Amy Adams posed with director/writer Alfonso Cuarón, singer Karen O and actor Leonardo DiCaprio among others in the line-up (Daily Mail credit: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-2556576/OSCARS-2014-NOMINEES-Full-line-pose-group-shot-pre-awards-luncheon.html#ixzz2t45RHkzs )
Though it's now finished, I still aim to sneak up on it with a bit of needle and thread to oh so gently, millimeter by millimeter, tamp down some of this skirt's dressage ambitions. Sheesh. The bottom line (pun intended!) is that my hip line would do better with a different pattern.  I'll most emphatically never, not ever but ever, use this pattern again.  Basta!

But wait, perhaps NOT Basta!  With a little research under my belt today, I discovered that there really is a trick to making a good looking pencil skirt.  Take a look at the detailed skirt sloper workup, nicely demo'd for the rest of us by the Overflowing Stash. This is almost tempting me to rip the skirt apart again, and re-sew it a third time.  Maybe. It'd be a pity to let an otherwise nice outfit, and such a luxurious one at that,  languish unloved in the closet.  Especially as I'd been a busy little bee making, and continuing to make, go-with tops:

Both the cashmere top and the brown silk jacquard top coordinate beautifully with these two scarves:

The green python blouse also works with the brown; its deep blues and oranges play well with the blue and golden threads of the jacket: 

And I have three more potential playmates in the pipeline:  two nice polys and a silk crinkle chiffon.  Just draped onto the form, and feeling hopeful about them:

Poly satin

Lightweight poly crepe

Crinkle silk chiffon
As a concluding remark, I'm happy to say that the stashbusting challenge prompted me to finally buckle down and finish this set, already.  I'm thrilled to bits - the jacket is scrumptious, and a good excuse for some fun and easy blouse-making time.  But, how do I count this set for stashbusting?  The sleeveless top was completed some time ago, but without its partners, it would never have been worn. In fact, though already finished, it was still languishing in the sewing pile along with the rest of its set, an abandoned orphan if ever I saw one. So, 2.2 meters of fabric, 1.8 meters of silk?  Done!


  1. Absolutely gorgeous! I do hope you do whatever you have to do to make you happy about the skirt, because it really would be a shame if this suit didn't get out and about as much as possible.

  2. Okay I laughed at the crazy pants but OH MY GOSH that jacket and the top and paired with all the scarves...just perfect.

  3. WOW! That jacket and skirt are lovely! nicely done!