Sewing with a Plan 2016 0.13 – the pant suit

posted in: Designing, History of fashion | 20

I already introduced my Sewing with a Plan outfit which  is an embellished evening pant suit, inspired by Irene Galitzine (below left).

Irene Galitzine explained how she got started as a designer.

“I was one of Emilio Pucci’s best customers, but I got tired of seeing the same clothes I was wearing on other people, so I began making my own things,” she once said. “I put them in my first collection, and everybody went wild.”

So I bought the Pucci pattern (vogue 2333) as it is along similar lines, even though the smaller pieces (facings) are missing.  Originally I planed to use some highly suitable stiff pink silk fabric. But I have other plans for the pink now.  So until I have the fabric I can’t really get started. I need a bit of help please.

As mentioned previously this Pucci pattern is a 1970s spin or reinvention of the Galitzine, which is itself a development of the older Pucci look. Although the Vogue pattern provides a very good starting point for me it will need several changes to create a 1963 look. I feel like an archeologist scraping off seven years of fashion development to recreate the earlier aesthetic. And by the way my friend Sarah of Pattern Vault has a great post of this topic. 


This weekend I started with a toile of the trousers.  My pattern is  s12 with 36″ hips which is fine on the waist but too small on the hips. The fabric has no stretch so the pants need to have sufficient ease for sitting and dancing. The pattern for the trousers on V2333 is just two pieces without a side seam. There is a facing at the waist rather than a waist band. Here are the alterations I have made to the pattern.

  • separate along side seam, overlap at hem to create an additional inch at hip level
  • increase the side dart to suppress the extra into the waist
  • reduce the hem further from 22.5″ to 12″
  • shorten slightly at the hem for ankle grazing

Then I made a toile. Hmm.

This is not the easiest pattern to alter either as there is only the inside leg seam. Nor is this the most beautiful toile I have ever made. However the fit is not bad in that the waist is the right size, the fit across the rear is very good and although we have some bagging at ankles and thighs this is easy to fix. I folded up an extra inch at the hem, and took in the inner thigh from knee to crotch by about half an inch each side of the seam. It is important, in my view, when make trousers with no give whatsoever (solid silk in this case) to allow enough ease and not create a completely skin tight look. These will be OK I think.


The tunic top also needed alteration. The pattern advises that we have  a “loose-fitting” tunic. I measured the pattern (as I always do). The bust allows 40″ (I am 34″), and the hips are 48″ (for my 39″ hips). The Pucci tunic is slightly flared and has highly-embellished deep side splits. In order to allow sufficient movement I think with a tunic that measures 11” from the waist to the hem that I will need need side splits to encompass the hips and bottom. In order to make this pattern more similar to the 1960s version, modelled by Irene, I have made the following changes;

  • remove around 4″ of ease from the width of the pattern, also making upper chest a little narrower
  • adapt armholes to make it sleeveless
  • dispense with collar
  • alter neckline slightly to make it a little deeper
  • reshape side seams to create a more rectangular (rather than triangular) silhouette

I don’t think that I will make a toile for the top as these alterations are essentially straightforward.

In the meantime here are some more pictures of Princess Irene in pants, and a green pant suit. I am thinking seriously of this sort of jade colour now I have chopped up my pink silk for the Vogue 1554 dress. It is sort of the colour of sweet pea stems and leaves, and it would work well with my vintage trim. As I mentioned earlier I need it to have a bit of stretch in it as well as a little bit of sheen, perhaps. I can find nice shimmery silk taffeta or dupion. I can also find a stretchy matt cottons and unsuitable slippery jersey. Ideally something that has heft and stretch. Could anyone help me with a fabric suggestion please?

I am really excited by this project!

20 Responses

  1. Jay

    I think you’re on the right lines with a dupion or taffeta, but definitely try to get to see it before purchase. Some dupions sold online are very thin.

  2. Jane

    I’m so impressed with your attention to detail on this project Kate and I love all these photographs. I have to agree that the fit on your ‘rear’ of that toile is so good! I think that colour will work well – have you looked at – they have a very wide range of colours in silk taffetas and dupions.

  3. Stephanie

    Love the way this is shaping up, Kate. Great fit around the waist and rear. And the colour! Whee! This will be great sleeveless. I’m trying to imagine it with wider legs, which might also work, although I like the slim leg you have chosen.
    For the fabric, I know exactly what you mean. I feel as though the fabric for this needs to be very special, and that you’ll know it when you see it. You don’t want just an ordinary dupion, unless the colour is amazing and the weight substantial (as Jay highlights).

  4. Anne

    I agree with the comments about your attention to detail. I have some lovely Dupion silk but while searching for bridesmaids dress fabrics in London this weekend, found some really flimsy stuff (and that was in Soho!) as Jay highlights. I got some samples at Knitting and Stitching Show of The Silk Route’s silk dupion. Lovely quality and terrific range of shades. Looking forward to seeing what you do.

  5. SJ Kurtz

    Swatches. Get swatches. Try a wool challis in the mix as well (no shiny but great texture and nice midweight) If you like the fabric and it turns out well, it’s going to be a go-to ensemble for a long time, and you don’t want it to wear out because it was too thin or poorly made.

  6. Karen Kayes

    This will be lovely in jade. I’m looking forward to seeing how you make this style flatter a more shapely figure. It certainly looks a challenge. With regard to fabric, I’ve ordered a beautiful wool/silk mix from Whaleys in Bradford in the past. They have a really wide range of natural silks, in all weights, undyed and you can get samples too.

  7. anne jewell

    kate–i would use sandwashed silk and enjoy the drape of it. if you do choose it, you might add in a bit more ease to highlight the flowy fabric, though, instead of the more fitted look you’ve created. either way, this is going to be wonderful!–anne

  8. Tina (KnittingContessa)

    I’m so excited about this project Kate! I love just about everything about it—- and lust after the pattern which, of course, I can’t find. I’m on the hunt and shall be watching eagerly for news on your beautiful version!

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