This year for Christmas instead of being tempted by some of that gorgeous holiday fabric which can only be worn once a year, I decided to make something else long on my to-do list - something I could get wear out of in other seasons. Enter the 1950s navy blue suit.
I've wanted a tailored suit for some time; also I could use a solid blue skirt in my wardrobe. So this outfit, which can be worn together or as separates, fit the bill perfectly. And, unlike some other parts of the US which had a balmy Christmas, we had a picture-perfect hoarfrost Christmas morning which made fairy filigree of every single needle on the evergreens and every other surface.
Incidentally, these pictures were taken when the temperature was 16 degrees, so I can't help it if my face is red. :-)
This was one of the few times I combined different patterns instead of making a pictured model, with perhaps a few changes. I used the skirt from the dress pattern, the jacket from the Advance pattern, but since both of those were a little more late 1940s, I did the sleeves from the Butterick pattern because I wanted 3/4 sleeves with wing cuffs for that classic 1950s flair.
There were some other firsts for this sewing project. It was the first time I've used wool crepe - and I love it! It was slightly more challenging to work with than cotton, but doesn't compare to the difficulty of more slippery fabrics. It has lots of give, which makes it forgiving to fit and ease, and drapes and pressed so beautifully! I only wish I had more of it in different colors for fall and winter sewing.
This outfit also holds the distinction of being one of the 2 tops I've ever made where I managed to get the sleeves eased in smoothly, without gathers or pleats at the top. Usually I don't even attempt it because I just can't get them smooth. But this time, for whatever reason, it worked perfectly!
I opted for covered buttons to finish out the suit look, and to add a bit of holiday glitz, I used the white linen with silver roses I used for my concert blouse, for the contrasting collar.
I have never tried millinery before, but after a successful trial of this beret pattern (photos coming soon), I went ahead and made a matching one out of the wool crepe, with a stiff interlining. I can use a navy blue beret anyway, and was pleased with how this one turned out.
I just love the generous width of the fabric - I cut out all my suit pieces and still had almost a yard left! Even after I cut out the beret, there is plenty left to use as significant contrast in another outfit. I had only gotten three yards in the first place, so that was a real winner.
I have to tell you about my corsage, too. After searching in vain for a vintage silver corsage, I found this lovely Etsy shop -Southcastle Creations - which has handmade vintage style corsages, and the wonderful owner custom made in just a few days this silver corsage for me, complete with the big roses and berries you'll see in real vintage corsages. I just love it! And it helps make the suit festive.
Paired with my navy vintage pumps, simple pearls, and gloves, I also had to take a few pictures with my so-soft vintage rabbit cape - the perfect holiday accessory.
Details. I just love the skirt pleats in the back! I shortened them a good bit, and of course added a waistband and hand pricked side zipper since it was originally a dress pattern, but otherwise didn't change a thing.
The jacket, with princess seams, went together fast and was easy to adjust for a good fit.
I anticipate getting a lot of wear out of this outfit together or as separates while the chilly weather lasts. And in Idaho just now it is quite, quite chilly! It's nice to cross it off my list, add it to my wardrobe, and still have a special Christmas outfit to wear Christmas Day.