A New Black Suit

Butterick 5235cI recently sewed this lovely ensemble which consists of a jacket and a matching top and skirt.  This was my most ambitious sewing project todate.  I have always flirted with the idea of sewing a lined suit, had even bought a pattern and fabric long ago to sew one, but kept getting intimidated at the thought of it.

Patterns used:
Butterick  5235 (Jacket & Top)
McCalls 3341 (skirt)

100% Polyester Crepe Suiting & Bemberg lining fabric

The Jacket

I really liked the way the jacket looked the first time I saw the pattern. It is a professional yet feminine jacket and I liked the retro look of it.

Since this was the first time I had lined a jacket I followed all the pattern instructions meticulously. The sewing instructions were very clear and, even though there was quite a lot of hand sewing, the jacket was easy to sew. Some of the hand sewing I’m referring to is due to my own caution, choosing to hand baste many of the seams before sewing the permanent seam. But the instructions also had me hand sewing the sleeve linings into the garment. I genuinely enjoyed all of the hand sewing that was required.

Butterick 5235 Butterick 5235b Butterick 5235g

The Skirt

McCalls 5235 is a simple a-line skirt. I lined and added a vent in the back center seam. When I tried it on, the skirt was too much of a bell shape so I tapered the side seams, starting about 9 inches up from the hem, down to the hem by about an inch on each side.

Black Interview skirt1

Black Interview skirt2

The Top

I didn’t originally plan to sew the matching top, but after I finished cutting out the jacket and skirt, I had about a yard of fabric left over which was just enough fabric to sew a matching top.  When I wear the skirt and top together, it gives the illusion of wearing a dress, and I can wear them with some of the other jackets I already own.

Butterick 5235 topButterick 5235f

I like the flexibility of having two separate pieces that I can mix and match to clothes I already own.

Breathing New Life into an Old Suit

Jones New York1I’ve had a Jones New York 100% worsted wool navy suit (jacket & skirt) hanging in my closet for at least 15 years. The last time I wore the suit was 8-1/2 years ago to my Mother-in-Law’s funeral. I liked the jacket, but never liked the skirt…..the skirt was a too long ankle length a-line skirt that had scooped pockets that popped open every time I moved, and it wasn’t lined so I found it to be quite itchy and uncomfortable to wear. The long a-line style was matronly and made me feel like a Christmas tree whenever I wore it.

I recently started a job search and needed a couple of professional looking interview suits. The suit jacket doesn’t have huge shoulder pads and has a fairly classic style so I think it will be fine to wear to interviews, but I needed to do something with that awful skirt. I thought about removing 8 or 10 inches from the bottom of it and hemming it to a shorter, more modern and attractive knee length, but that alone wouldn’t fix those annoying pockets or the itchiness. The skirt had been hanging in my sewing room for months and the more I looked at it, the more I knew I needed to do something a bit more radical than just shorten the hem……so I carefully removed the zipper and the hem, cut out all the seams and had enough fabric to cut out and sew an entirely new skirt. Recycling the fabric into a new skirt ensured a perfect match between my new skirt and the existing jacket.

M3341, Misses' A-Line Skirts In Five LengthsFor this project I used McCall’s 3341, which is a pattern for a-line skirts in five lengths with front and back darts, a back zipper closure, faced waistline, and a back slit (in the longer Versions A & B). I sewed the knee length version of the skirt (Version C). I chose McCall’s 3341 because it’s a classic skirt pattern that will never go out of style. I don’t care for elastic waistbands and prefer faced waistlines over waistbands because I think they are more comfortable to wear, are easier to sew and alter, and provide a better fit.

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