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The Draped jacket & skirt suit

31 October 2011, 14:15

I’m very happy to report that my draped suit (Burda September 2011 #126 and 127) is finally finished! It feels like I’ve been sewing this for f-o-r-e-v-e-r and I am thoroughly sick of it now!

If you recall, it’s a two-part suit, with a draped, collar-less jacket and a pleated pencil skirt:

I’ve been sewing both of the pieces in parallel, so I’ve finished them at the same time. I like a lot of aspects of this suit, but to be perfectly honest, I’m not totally in love with the overall resulting look.

The jacket and skirt together!

Things I really like:

The drape makes for a rather elegant side view, too:

Things I don’t like:

Here’s some more views of my special green and pink lining with the hot pink piping. You can also see the seamed facing on the right side (left in the photos), too.

Since my suiting was thin enough, I could cover both sides of the snap with the fashion fabric…

Also, I hadn’t realised until I saw these photos, but this jacket makes me look pretty, err, “sturdy”. Ok, it adds on a good stone, and I’m at my thinnest I’ve been in ages right now (later this week you can compare this to another photoshoot I took on the same day as these). I’m not sure if that’s to do with the drape, or the long length, or just that I’m not used to seeing myself in jackets (I rarely wear them!), but I think I look much nicer in just the peach silk shell and the skirt on its own….

The skirt on its own!

The skirt is a pretty basic shape, with two inverted pleats on the front, basic darts in the back, and a pretty straight, pencil skirt profile. I was a bit concerned at the thin, rectangular waistband, but it actually turned out fine as it’s only about 1.5cm wide when it’s finished.

I left off the walking slit since I was keeping it at knee-length and the fabric had plenty of stretch for my walking stride.

I reused more of the hot pink stretch satin for the pockets and hem lining here, and you can also see the vintage (1986!) lace hem tape I used as a “pretty for me” detail.

All in all? I’m glad I made this suit, as I’ve been in love with a draped hem jacket almost exactly like this for a good two years now, but I’m not sure how much I’ll actually wear this suit. The drafting is exquisite, but I’m not sure the proportions work for me, and I don’t think my execution was up to my normal standards here. I’ll still wear it for the odd business meeting or presentation, but I think I’m most likely to take the jacket off after introductions and stick to the skirt and a silk blouse for the bulk of my time.

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  1. I wasn’t too convinced when I saw this in the magazine but you’ve done an amazing job! :) I love your touches of special lining – that’s so me as well ;) Your peach top is fab too, it makes you look stunning.

    kaitui_kiwi    Oct 31, 07:03 PM    #
  2. I don’t think it makes you look ‘sturdy’ at all. Great suit – love the edgy styling of the jacket and the finishes are very nicely done. I’ve traced off the blouse pattern and hope to make it up soon.

    Gail    Oct 31, 08:53 PM    #
  3. I think the skirt and blouse look fabulous. I’ve been admiring that suit, too and I was excited you took it on. I wonder if the light, stretch suiting was too light for the weight of the drape on the jacket? Too much give and it started to distort the shape. I also was holding my thumb up to the pictures and I wonder if you were to shorten the jacket by 2-3 inches if it would look less dwarfing. I have the same problem with jackets hitting too low and weighing me down visually. But if I shorten it to hit above the widest part of my hips/thighs it looks much better.

    Just a few thoughts. Thanks for sharing the process and results with us!

    — Elizabeth    Nov 1, 01:04 AM    #
  4. Oh it’s soooo close! You’ve done a lovely job, but those long sleeves just grab my eye and make me look at their longness (I know that’s not a word…). How about shortening the sleeves to regular length and retrofitting sleeve heads. That should do alot for the fit issues – though oddly it fits well. You really did a nice job. I guess I want you to tailor the other jacket components to balance the drape at the neckline. I really want this to work for you!

    silvia    Nov 1, 04:18 AM    #
  5. It’s always a sad thing to have something you’ve worked so long and hard on not turn out exactly right…
    In fact, I agree with your analysis of this jacket: for all that it’s a great, inventive design and the actual fit is good, there are issues and it just doesn’t look completely right on you. A lot of the hemline and pocket issues look like they’re down to the fabric and could have been prevented by fusing the hell out of in with that light weft intenfacing for wools (if you cut that stuff on the bias, it will stretch with the fabric). Oh, and about the hem: have you ever tried bagging the lining and then pressing and handstitching the bottom facings in place? It’s my prefered method now and requires less handstitching then yours and oddly more control over the overall effect because the layers are already connected.
    However, I also agree with you that the style just doesn’t seem right, the long sleeves in particular just make it look too big. In fact, from the line drawing, I assumed this thing was supposed to have a ‘boyfriend jacket’ kind of fit and I was curious how that would turn out.
    Despite all that, your skill and hard work shows in the details: I love both the piping and those covered snaps.
    I won’t recommend tinkering with the jacket straight away. I think that would just get very frustrating very quickly. I’d just move on and maybe ‘revisit’ later.

    lauriana    Nov 1, 06:22 AM    #
  6. The skirt and top are very nice together, and maybe you could alter the jacket just a little to make it not so baggy. You put so much work in it, it is worth a little more I think because then you will have a suit to last for years.

    — Karen M.    Nov 1, 04:37 PM    #
  7. I agree – so close! The jacket back looks really great, and the skirt is excellent. Maybe it is the slight stretch/light weight combo? I am not much of a fitted jacket person, either, so I have never even attempted something so tailored. I think you try to alter it…LATER. ;-) Is it possible to add a sleeve head at this point? For now, I say enjoy the skirt and move on to another fun project!

    — M Kate    Nov 1, 06:27 PM    #
  8. You have done a magnificent sewing job on this suit, and I love the lining. The back and the side views show that it fits you wonderfully well. I love the long sleeves and the pencil skirt. However, the design of the jacket front places too much material in the body’s midsection.
    Possible easy remedy’s: 1) Wear the jacket open.
    2) Wear a turtle neck sweater to lessen the impression of too much material in the mid section (though I do like the peach silk blouse- just not with the jacket).

    Re-cutting the jacket front at a later date is also an option – but only if you really LOVE the fabric.

    As to the wrinkling- sometimes taking a new suit to the dry cleaners for a good press does wonders.

    — Kim K.    Nov 1, 08:59 PM    #
  9. I know it would be a lot of work, but could you do the sleeves over. The length really does look like the jacket is far too big and the sleeve caps look gathered actually.

    lsaspacey    Nov 1, 09:15 PM    #
  10. It’s so good to see this made up.

    I agree with the other comments about the sleeves being too long for the rest of the style, but I do love those sleeves!

    I don’t think you look sturdy in this, but you know yourself how it makes you feel, and thats more important than my view.

    Magnificent lining and piping!

    I want to make that top too.

    And, finally, that is one fabulous skirt.

    Sewingelle    Nov 2, 03:02 AM    #
  11. The suit is beautiful. Though i have to admit that i agree with you. The jacket isn’t as gorgeous as the skirt and blouse. It looks a little too big. Or maybe it’s just in combination with the skirt. Maybe it would look better with skinny pants or if you shorten the sleeves? However, love love love how blouse and skirt look together.

    senaSews    Nov 2, 08:05 AM    #
  12. What an impressive job – I love the fabric-covered snaps! This is a beautiful suit – I agree that the jacket is not the most flattering style on you, unless you open it, which is not quite the point… The skirt and blouse are a-ma-zing on you.
    Sena has a point though – the jacket might look better with skinny pants.

    In any case, you’ve done a stupendous job!!

    Isabelle    Nov 2, 10:15 AM    #
  13. I agree with all the comments… your suit is beautiful, but in this combination the jacket looks too big, not very flattering – though the skirt and blouse are very good together. I would like to see the jacket with a slim/skinny jeans, a striped t-shirt and ankle boots.

    — Teddie    Nov 2, 11:22 AM    #
  14. All the work you done here is really impressive, you did a wonderfull suit.
    But i agree with you, the sleeves are too long to look good. I don’t really understand why they are wrinkling like this.
    Maybe if you wear the jacket with something else, like pants for example, the result will be better?
    The skirt is just perfect on you, and the blouse too (love the color!!).
    Enjoy your blouse and skirt, and think about this jacket as a very good exercice!!
    (but i’m still sure that with pants it can look great).

    Blanche Neige    Nov 2, 12:43 PM    #
  15. I think you’ve done a great job on the suit – it’s executed well, and unless you’d used the fabric beforehand you wouldn’t have had the foreknowledge to underline or block fuse it so you weren’t really to know on that score. The skirt is my favourite piece of the 2, and I can see you getting a lot of wear from it. Re: the jacket I think it might be more flattering for you with shorter sleeves perhaps (seems a few comments echo this)? BTW the colours of the grey and the silk top together go very well!

    Claire (aka Seemane)    Nov 3, 02:55 PM    #
  16. So sad that you aren’t happy with this suit – you have obviously put a lot of effort into all the details.
    I agree with the other comments about the sleeve length – perhaps just shortening them may make the jacket feel more ‘you’?

    Kim Hood    Nov 5, 01:47 PM    #
  17. I have a quick comment to make about the suit jacket. I noticed that in the photo of you tucking your hair over your ear, the drape is in a more flattering place (higher) on your body. That is also where your skirt waistband lies which is why your skirt is so flattering. Is it even possible to sew the snaps higher up on the jacket thus raising the narrowest part of the jacket to your true waist? Just a thought.

    — Time4me    Nov 5, 04:56 PM    #
  18. I think the jacket just needs a really good pressing with a lot of steam and a pressing cloth.

    — Lisa    Nov 20, 05:35 PM    #
  19. It looks dreadful. Really. You look like a bag of rags in that suit. I’m sure you did a good job in execution but the style wouldn’t flatter many people. You haven’t the kind of figure that can take off any style/colour and make it look good. Neither have I! Who does? Some stunningly breathtakingly beautiful cheerleading teenager perhaps but the rest of us mortals have to carefully choose styles and colours that flatter what we have. In your case this isn’t it. There will probably be an outcry of argument against me if you publish this as regulars will support you. But someone had to say it in sympathy – ditch the jacket, it does NOTHING for you. You’re a pretty lady and the skirt looks fine. But the jacket? Oy vey!

    — Philipa    Nov 20, 03:15 PM    #

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