I wanted to make up Vogue Paris Original 1213 – a 1963 Lanvin-Castillo pattern I bought on the internet. Unfortunately it had a piece missing from the jacket (side front panel), but the pattern was relatively inexpensive and the seller refunded me £2 for the missing piece, and I drafted it myself.
I love the double-breasted, short length jacket with six important buttons. I wasn’t certain it would suit me but many of you gave me encouragement. Matched with a slim skirt with super pockets I saw myself in a red, woolen, Lanvin suit this winter. t
I looked what wools I had in my cupboard:
- dark brown coat weight wool from Simply Fabrics
- dark brown cashmere/wool from Simply Fabrics
- light grey herringbone bought on Bury market
- greenish blue blankety wool, bought in Bilbao
I decided against the neutrals and committed to the pastel blue-green. Then I noticed a moth hole in the fabric. I washed it carefully, certain I could get the suit out of 2m, with careful placement. In the wash the fabric shrank a little, and despite my very creative layouts I would have to jettison both the big pockets and the waist band. Of course these could be made in a different fabric, but I lost interest at this point.
Does this ever happen to you? Your original vision changes as it collides with reality, until all you have left is an unappealing option?
Fabric and materials
I had envisaged the suit with a matching blouse, but my eventual paired down idea was to make up just the jacket, with a small piece of Linton tweed I have had for a couple of years.
I bought this fabric online as I wanted to make a white dress for work. When the fabric arrived I was disappointed with the colour. The background is not bright white, but slightly creamy, and the yellow was actually rather mustardy, ie much warmer than I had expected from the digital picture. I set it aside. I offered it to a friend with warm colouring but she gave it back to me after a month saying she wasn’t going to find time to make it up! So I looked at it again last week, and asked myself if I could live with the yellowish undertones to the white, red and yellow, and I decided to give it a go. While this fabric is a bit much for a whole suit it might look nice as a jacket with a navy skirt, or over a dress or even with jeans. As I am not in love with the fabric I thought at worst this might be a wearable toile. In terms of fabric I think this is cotton with some synthetic in it. Certainly the threaded red/navy/yellow part was made of nylon so I was very careful with the pressing, always using a cloth and keeping the iron on a medium rather than high heat.
I chose what I think maybe the back of the fabric as the colour was more subtle. It was nice both sides. The side I chose as the back of the fabric is in the foreground in the photograph.
The pattern referred to adding “stiffening” to all of the pattern pieces (except the front facing and the upper collar). I used silk organza for the jacket and cotton organdie for the under collar.
I wasn’t sure what buttons to use with the jacket. I took some advice on Instagram and mainly got the feedback that white buttons or covered buttons were the best bet.
I was very short of fabric but experimented with a covered button. I had a little set from a cheap shop called Tiger in Hammersmith. I think they were £1 for 12 buttons. But they didn’t work. Probably they would be fine if you have thinner fabric but they just couldn’t cope with Linton tweed. (The large hammer was the only one I could find and the left hand thing is a honey “spoon” that proved useful for sticking the button base into the little clear plastic holder. In the end, because life has been very, very busy, I bought buttons on Amazon. I obviously wasn’t concentrating because instead of buying six buttons, I bought six dozen! For around £8 – which I thought was a bit pricey for six buttons, but a complete bargain for 72. Not that I will ever use them; if you need white buttons just let me know.
Pattern and alterations
For a couture item it was pretty quick to construct. Mainly because I didn’t make a toile or alter anything at all. The pattern is for bust 32 – a little small for me – but when I measured the actual bust and waist measurements I realised the relatively loose fit meant it would be roomy enough. I was worried about the slightly dropped shoulders (as discussed in my previous post). I didn’t really like the look of them so I decided to add shoulder pads. I wouldn’t normally do this with a 1960s pattern, and they weren’t specified. But I really like the look of them in this jacket. They give the neckline a bit more structure.
As I said no problems at all. The order of work was a bit off, to my mind (bound button holes once the collar and sleeves are in). The bound button holes were OK but next time, on this sort of fraying fabric, I will do machine button holes.
These nice old patterns usually include a perfectly proportioned lining pattern, with a pleat in the back and the fronts beautifully designed to fit. I stitched the lining in by hand.
I got it finished just in time to go to the Theatre last Saturday afternoon. We went to see Comus at the Sam Wanamaker playhouse. Although we love the Globe itself, a perfect summer time venue, the candlelit Wanamaker is a sublime experience. And the play was great too.