Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Raspberry Darling Suit - I finally picked a name!

Thanks to Lucy Topp for suggesting this name over on my facebook page.  I could just hear some very posh person saying it, drawing out the darling so it sounded like 'ddhhhaaaaaaaaaarrrlling'.  So it stuck!

When I finished talking about this suit last time, I had made a muslin of half of the jacket and turned it into a paper pattern.  The half a jacket looked like this:

Gotta love making up a muslin with scraps lying around the floor!
I actually had a guest around to my house later the next day who thought this was my actual finished product... err no.

So now that I had a pattern I was confident in, I set about cutting all the pieces I needed out of my expensive wool blend fabric, and carefully started the construction.

The first real decision I had to make came in regards to interfacing.  I just want to point out that I'm not using the instructions provided in the pattern, instead I'm using my intuition on how things go together, and my copy of Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim (which you can buy here for not much money).

In the book, Mr von Nordheim discusses the different types of fabrics used to interface, strengthen, and give shape to tailored suit jackets.  He talks about the different types of hair canvas used in really tailored garments, but also says that silk organza is used a lot in ladies tailoring, as it gives strength but also maintains the flow of the fashion fabric.

(I am going to do a review of this book, but I wanted to use it to construct this jacket first before I gave you a full run down with lots of pictures!)

With the way this jacket is pleated at the front I didn't think that the super tailored look would work, so that meant that hair canvas was out.  Luckily I had some grey silk organza in my stash, so I pulled that out to use as interfacing.

The book recommends interfacing the shoulder/upper chest section of the jacket fronts, and the lower edge of the jacket on the fronts and the back to prevent unwanted stretching of the fabric.  Now this is where my brain started tying itself in knots because my fabric is designed to have a bit of stretch...  I decided to interface the bottom of the jacket, and the portion of the front that is part of the collar.

Because my fronts have a big ol'pleat in the middle, I just interfaced either side of the pleat (note that the stitching line near where my fingers are holding the pleat back is in the seam allowance only, and doesn't go through to the front of the jacket).  In the book Mr van Nordheim gets you to hand do all this outside the seam allowance cause its a book on couture tailoring... but the weave on this fabric is so tight that every little stitch would be seen... so I just machined it within the seam allowance.  Its not like its hair canvas, right?

Yes I promise to do it properly when I use 100% wool fabric and hair canvas...

Then I remembered about the bound buttonholes!

Luckily these don't frighten me anymore - I've done so many of them!  So I did the three that I needed to do, using the organza again to support them.  Then I moved onto the front facings.  I did the buttonhole windows in them and interfaced both with organza.

Then I sewed the facings to the jacket front pieces.

I did a lot of seam allowance grading and notching so it didn't look all fat and nasty when I turned it through.  Then I sewed the fronts to the back and actually felt like I had gotten somewhere!!!

Please excuse the pins.  I also ran satin bias around the hem of the jacket and pinned up the seam allowance... and the pins around the button holes will be removed when I've done a little bit of hand sewing to attach the windows in the back to the buttonholes at the front.

All in all though, I felt it was a really solid days work!  Thank you for wading through the boring pictures and technical discussion!  Hopefully the next post on this jacked will be more exciting because it will involve the gorgeous raspberry satin lining!!!



  1. Glorious! Thank you for sharing your techniques and I look forward to seeing your progress.

    1. Progress is slow, but thats not such a bad thing. I needed to find something to slow me down!!

  2. I love the technical bits! They interest me just as much as the final reveal. Love seeing how other people do things!

    1. I kinda make a lot of it up as I go along... so I'm happy other people find they way I think interesting :)

  3. It's really amazing to see your work in progress - I try to learn a little bit for my own sewing projects. (With spring ahead it will be probably not a tailored two-piece suit...) I'm sure you will finish at least the jacket this weekend - happy sewing!