Sunday, 27 November 2016

2017 sewing - first plans

I know, I know; it's not even December yet, and here I am talking about next year's sewing! Realistically, I know I haven't got the time to start any new projects before the end of the year (although I hope to finish a couple off), so it's 2017 here I come.

I've had a hankering for some time to make a vintage suit, ideally 1930s or 1940s. Goodness knows why, as I have almost no reason to wear a suit these days - I'm putting it down to having watched Brief Encounter once too often!

What started it all

This grand plan was kept in check by the fact that I wanted to use a period pattern rather than a reissue, and suit patterns from that era are few and far between. And also by the minor consideration that it was a mad idea - but that rarely stops me.

Then the lovely Gina of Beauty From Ashes posted that she was selling some of her vintage patterns as a fundraiser for Jessica Cangiano of Chronically Vintage, who tragically lost pretty much everything she owned in a house fire in October. Gina had linked up with her friend Lily of Mode de Lis to sell the patterns, and when I followed the link Gina had posted, I found this:


From the pattern number I think that it is late 1930s, probably 1938. It's almost my size, it was an opportunity to help (in a small way) someone who has given so much to the vintage scene, and it was a pattern from a friend's stash. What more could I want?

The pattern arrived beautifully wrapped by Lily; I was torn between wanting to open it immediately and taking a photograph of the pretty package - as you can see, my blogging instincts won out!

It was almost a shame to open it - almost

Suggested fabrics include 'novelty woollen' and 'novelty cotton'. I assume that the term meant something like this, rather than what we think of as 'novelty prints' now.

1930s textured cotton fabrics from

Envelope back

As usual for the period, the instructions are a single sheet, with one side taken up with cutting layouts. There are also a lot of pattern markings to transfer on the jacket pieces.

Pattern pieces and skirt instructions

The instructions themselves are brief.

Jacket instructions

My local fabric shop held its pre-sale preview evening this week, with extra discounts on the night. So although I'm not going to be making this up for a while, I decided to stroll down and check if they had any (non-novelty) period-appropriate suiting.

Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter, showing the suit fabric

I didn't find any herringbone suiting, but I did find this. It's actually a slightly more olive background colour than it appears on my monitor, and the fabric is beautifully soft. So much so that the jacket will probably need some sort of interlining.

Fabric and pattern

It's a long time since I've done any tailoring, so this will definitely be a challenge!

Lily still has some patterns for sale in the Fundraiser for Jessica; the link is here.


  1. What a great post - like the first in a long-awaited boxed set, I eagerly await the next instalment. Are you going to trace the suit pattern? I love the way the cover envelope says 'Pattern of Youth' down the side.

    1. Thank you Kate. I noticed the name as well - can't help feeling that 'Pattern of Youth' is a bit optimistic in my case! Also even for the time, it doesn't look a particularly youthful design to me.

      I always trace off my vintage patterns. It's more work, but it means I can fiddle around with alterations to my heart's content without damaging the original in any way.

  2. I am still so thrilled that you purchased this pattern!! It makes me so very, very happy that it went to someone who will appreciate it, treasure it and do it justice! The fabric you chose is perfect and I can imagine how lovely it will be! I soooooo cannot wait to see it completed! Doesn't Lily do a sweet job with the packaging? I knew she would do a great job! Again, thank you for joining us in helping Jessica out!! Bring on 2017!!!!

    1. Thank you Gina - I'm really looking forward to tackling this!