Laird-Knox American Designers
I was inspired to make this suit after reading the Pattern-Vault blog. In response to the period clothes featured in the popular TV series Mad Men, Sarah has been doing some fascinating research on the garments of the period. In this post she mentions the New York Designers’Collection plus 1, a line created by McCalls in the 1960s. I realised I had two patterns from this collection, one of which was a Laird-Knox double breasted skirt suit with a nice skirt; McCall’s 7981. Slightly unsure about double breasted jackets which are not my very best look, I thought making this up in pink would be a great addition to my summer wardrobe and could be my second SWAP set, matched with a suitable top.
I already had two metres of pink Linton tweed featuring in a slightly shiny basket weave. I consulted family members who all hate shiny, and seriously considered using the back side on this occasion. But I felt this was disrespectful to the original designer and went with the rather loud look, knowing that shiny, especially in light colours, makes everyone look bigger.
Shiny fabric reflects the light and makes the wearer appear larger and more important. Which of course is why silk satin was the fabric of choice for royalty and aristocracy in the past. I am not sure how the photographer persuaded these three to go with the hair dresser capes, piped in red, and adorned with the family jewels, but I think this is a fabulous postcard.
There isn’t much of a construction story. I shaped the jacket a tiny little bit in the back. I did the top stitching as required. I lined the whole jacket and sleeve cuffs with cotton organdie as proposed in the notes. No pad stitching proposed, so I sadly left it off. I liked the pockets. I bought pink shell buttons, including a little one to do up the collar, similar to the ones on my blue SWAP suit. The skirt is unremarkable, except it has darts in the back, and gathering (maybe just a little too much) into the front waist band. I left it knee length so that it will look fine with lightweight tights in summer (winter skirts with thicker tights can be shorter). I had the skirt on the stand (Camilla, or the Duchess, as she is known in our house), and as a result put the zip on the right hand side. Oh well, its surely just a convention? If I hadn’t been sewing to the end of April SWAP deadline I would have changed it.
Both jacket and skirt were lined in silk satin (if you are going with shine, why not the whole hog?). I used a grid pattern on the jacket, but created a floral look for the skirt. In retrospect I wish I had put pockets in the skirt too.