And for the Grand Finale of Carrie Bradshaw Month (2)…. one of my favourite ever Carrie outfits!
But first… this story starts with a coincidence. It’s often tough to find things in charity shops when you have something specific in mind. I had been looking for pinstripes for quite some time, but they had been eluding me, until I found this:
It’s pinstripe material! It’s so rare to find material in charity shops here that I grabbed it and ran to the cashier as quickly as possible. This was in the PDSA shop in Whitby and I paid £2.49. The original label was still attached, telling me that the fabric had originally been bought at a shop about 50 yards away on the same street and that it had cost £3.50.
Unfortunately, the label couldn’t tell me what the material was made of, but I’m guessing wool-mix.
Here’s the coincidence part. After searching for pinstriped stuff for so long and striking gold at PDSA, not 5 minutes later I came across these babies in the Scope shop, which is practically next door!
They are mens pinstripe suit trousers and they are 100% wool. I paid £7, which is rather a lot. They were carrying a label which proclaimed them to be especially high quality.
Of course, I had the pinstripe material in my hand from next door so I was able to compare them in the shop, and happily, they are a very decent match (better in real light than in the photo below).
The outfit I had in mind is the absolutely fantastic suit worn by Carrie when she goes for her first meeting with her new editor at Vogue! This is a personal favourite for me and I was delighted to finally have the chance to attempt this.
I read online somewhere that this suit is by Vivienne Westwood, but wasn’t able to find any catwalk pictures or anything to back that up. It certainly looks like it could be Westwood; that collar! Wow!
Here’s a closer look at it.
I am SO in love with this collar. It’s just fabulous. It’s a mixture of two parts stockbroker to one part sailor.
In the episode, the suit is new to go with the new job and new mortgage. She ends up having a martini or three after her article doesn’t go down too well, and gets “Drunk! Drunk at Vogue!”
I started by draping the collar. I cut a square of muslin and drew some parallel lines on it to mimic the stripes. The lines helped me tell whether I had draped it correctly, you’ll see how below.
I estimated the width of the right hand collar and gingerly cut into the muslin. When I reached the same distance from the back I started cutting at ninety degrees (because we can see from the photos that the back neckline is roughly a right angle) until I reached the same distance from the left hand side, at which point I moved to the stand. I draped it until it looked right, folding where necessary.
When I was happy with it, I traced the roll line (actually, lines) with red thread, as well as the point where the left collar meets the right collar. I ended up with this:
Next, I made up a bodice from my normal block, extending it below the waist, as you can see below.
Then I hung the collar over it…
…marking the places where the collar meets the bodice with a chalk pencil.
I sewed the muslin collar into place so that I could take it off the stand to check it. The front had to be opened up so I guessed where the opening should be, based on the pictures, and got the scissors out.
The back looks pretty good too! You can see what I mean here about the lines on the muslin being a great help to make sure everything was draping and hanging as it should.
I detatched the muslin collar to use as a pattern for the real collar, here’s its final shape. You can see that where the front collar meets the right collar (near the V shaped red stitches), they almost exactly meet, that is, there is no room to add a seam allowance on to the pattern there. I decided therefore to cut the collar in two along the lower neckline – this is marked ‘fold or cut here’ below. Actually, this was a mistake, I should have kept it in one piece, more of which later.
I also took apart the bodice and used that to make a paper pattern as well. For the sleeves, I borrowed them from Burda 01/2010 #119, not that they fit, of course – more on that later as well.
Just to give you an idea of scale, here’s how little fabric there was (it’s folded double in this picture and the sleeves wouldn’t fit on…). The undercollar had to be pieced, but the rest of the pieces came out whole. I later cut some facings from the scraps for the front edge/button stand and those were also pieced.
After cutting, I marked my asymmetrical, non linear darts with contrasting thread for ease of sewing!
Here’s an in-progress shot of the bodice.
Of course, the sleeves were an epic fail, so I cut more than 3cm from them at the highest point to shorten the curve. I should have measured the curves on the pattern pieces really, before cutting them out and sewing them on. That’ll teach me.
I added some shoulder pads which were reclaimed from the mustard yellow jacket. It looked SO much better with them in.
Here’s the pieced undercollar. Note the ninety degree grainlines… couldn’t be helped!
After adding fusible interfacing, I drew some lines on it to serve as a guide for padstitching. The padstitching was done by hand and although I only covered about 20% of the collar, it seemed to do the trick.
Here’s how it looks with the over collar attached. It’s taking shape!
Here’s a closeup of the join between the collar and the bodice…
…which is completely hidden when the flap is closed.
See that lower part of the neckline in the picture above, where my thumb is? That’s a seam, which joins the overcollar to a collar facing which lies flat against the chest. That facing is also sewn to the other side of the ‘point’ on the right. In fact, it’s totally wrong. The reason I put a seam in the collar and made a separate facing, was to include space for seam allowances as stated above. But it’s clear from looking at photos of the inspiration jacket that this should be a fold, not a seam. I think this is the most obvious error in this project, but it doesn’t affect how I feel about it. It just would have been a whole lot easier if I’d done it right :-)
I made a lining from some leftover material that I had in stash. It’s almost the right colour!
The pic below is supposed to show that I bagged it out…
…not forgetting to leave a small hole through which the entire thing could be ‘turned’.
I love bagging out as it’s a great shortcut, but there is a scary moment in the middle when it all looks like this:
After turning there were a few issues to sort out, primarily at the points of the neckline, but they were easily fixed with a bit of TLC.
I had to add buttons, which were salvaged from an upcoming project and happily were a great colour match for this fabric. Buttonholes were required too, obviously, but I’m not giving you a close up of those!
I also added the piece de resistance, which was a cameo brooch I found in the Rainbow Trust shop in Upminster for £2.50 (same shop as these shoes). The chain is run through a loop on the back and is detatchable, and there’s a pin on the back too. Unfortunately when trying to pin it, I broke the damn thing, so I had to sew it on using the loop instead; no big deal.
The final jacket is revealed below, but first, here are a few notes on the skirt.
First I cut off the trousers to roughly the right length, and I ripped the inside leg seam.
The idea is to sew both legs together so it looks like a skirt. Most of the slack had to be taken in at the back because of the front fly, but unfortunately that meant the back pockets got really, really close together. I couldn’t do any adjustments at the sides because of the front pockets.
To join the back pieces together I had to cut the waistband down the centre back and unpick it quite a way to get enough to join together.
Here’s an in-progress shot of joining it together.
To join the front legs together, I drew as straight a line as possible in chalk and seamed it.
After trying it on, here’s a quick indication of how much I removed from the back…
I left a vent up the centre back so that I could walk, and plenty of space for a hem. The final thing looks pretty passable.
Now, clearly I couldn’t just go wandering into the Vogue office to have some pictures taken, drunk or otherwise. So I had to make do. We took the pictures at Times Square, possibly the most iconic New York location, and actually, it is just around the corner from the real Vogue office. So I was happy. Hopefully you can see enough detail of the front and back below.
This the final post in this Carrie Bradshaw series, at least for now. I do hope you have had as much fun reading about these projects as I have had making them! If you enjoyed these, why not sign up to follow my blog using the links on the right hand side so you’ll be first to know about whatever it is I’m doing next. Thanks everyone for your continued support! I’m off to take a well-earned rest with a well-earned Cosmo! Cheers!