I don’t think I ever imagined myself wearing or making a pink suit. Yet here I am. Pink tights, scarf, handbag and all. And it totally wasn’t in the name of Barbie, I can assure you!
The back story begins with a gifted pair of freshly laundered and neatly folded vintage M&S curtains from my very good friend Kiki. The jury is still out as to whether they are late 60s or 70s but either way they are something special!
Initially I wasn’t sure as to why she’d ‘thought I could do something with them’. They were so far from my every day vibe. But I did feel a pull to retain the faith she had in me, to create something interesting from them. I had no idea what at the time. So they sat in their neat folded pile on top of my existing tower of interesting fabrics for quite some time before the eureka moment struck!
I’ve been practicing pattern making for a while – starting with basic blocks and having fun with adaptations but up to this point I had never drafted a jacket, for fear of that notched collar. It transpires, like anything else it just required a bit of learning and rehearsing to understand the process. And I’m so glad I did. I really wanted to draft a coat this year so this was my first toe dipped before that happens.
Once I’d drafted the pattern and visualised the final thing I couldn’t get the curtain fabric out of my head and I sketched those big flowers in my Fashionary to see if it would work. And I was pretty sold that it would.
The fabric was great to work with – great texture and relatively stable. Perhaps a wee bit on the heavy side but I really didn’t mind that because it gave some great structure.
I padded the shoulders and added a sleeve head before lining it. I can’t not do this now I know what a difference it makes. And I spent a lot of time cooing over the rounded shoulder cap before I moved on to the next stage!
The rounded lapels were a conscious decision to reflect the rounded retro flower design, and also because I fell in love with the heart shaped lapels on a Vivienne Westwood jacket years ago, hoping one day I would replicate it. Not yet. But I’m one step closer!
Bound buttonholes were a must. Sometimes a machined button hole just doesn’t cut it. My jacket was a labour of love and was going to get the best kind of button holes. Covered buttons too. No other buttons I looked at came close to being able to use up the fun flower centres from the leftover scraps.
I used facings to finish the hems of the jacket bodice and the sleeves which I love to do and it makes it look all fancy inside too!
The only problem I had was that I didn’t really have anything to wear with it once it was finished! I mean it will totally go with a black dress and all but I weirdly don’t have many of those any more. So I whipped up a high waisted mini skirt on deciding that the fabric was too heavy for a shift dress which was an initial thought.
Now I have the option of wearing this as a suit or as separates. And I’m so happy about it.
The shoot was a great excuse to style it up. Dan was very encouraging of going full on retro although I had all of a couple of hours to pull something together. He’s becoming more and more in demand lately so I just have to make the most of when he’s around!
Photos credit: danieljames.photographic