Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Starlet Suit Combo

Thanks for your crossed fingers and well wishes! I did it! I finished the suit jacket and sheath dress combo in time for my orals, didn't die of heat during the exam even though it was about 34°C and walked out after the second day with a grade that I'm proud of. Now I'm a physician! (I'm not sure if I'm also a doctor, since I didn't write a thesis, as you don't have to in Germany.)

In the end, I was glad that, stitching my jacket and dress together, I had something to do that drew my attention off the impending exam. Orals always make me way more nervous than written exams, but it turned out not to be so bad. The examiners were really nice, and the three others in my group also did very well. So, yay! Now I need some time to get used to the thought that I'm not a medical student anymore...

So, the suit! I ended up not using the Craftsy Startlet Suit course at all, mostly because the instructions in the book, though kinda bare, were enough and I was a bit pressed for time. I also didn't go the hair canvas and padstitching route, using fusible interfacing instead. Although now I wish I had either used heavier interfacing or indeed hair canvas, since the jacket's lapels seem a bit floppy to me.

Pattern: Suit Jacket from Gertie's Book For Better Sewing and Colette Rooibos dress, both Size 8
Fabric: 3m of navy woven wool fabric with a nice drape, and a light cotton (batiste?) for contrast and underlining.
Notions: For the jacket, fusible interfacing, hair canvas for the setting-in of the sleeves, three big mother-of-pearl buttons from the stash, white piping. For the dress, fusible interfacing, an invisible zipper from the stash, white piping.
Time to complete: Two days of almost full-time sewing, as well as a couple of afternoons.
Alterations: For the jacket, shortened by about 2 cm, graded a size up for the waist and took off 1 cm on each side under the arms and lengthened the back darts upwards. For the dress: I wanted more of a sheath dress look instead of the original A-line, so I took off about 1-2 cm on each of the skirt pattern pieces, grading to nothing at the waist. I also lengthened the back bodice darts.
Techniques used: steaming the heck out of the wool fabric, underlining, basting, piping (I used store bought piping), invisible zipper insertion, machine-stitched button holes (I stitched each of them twice, to get the stitches closer), setting in sleeves with a bias-cut piece of hair canvas (that is an extremely awesome technique!), lining a jacket, hand-stitched hem.
Thoughts: I actually think it turned out pretty well, and I was impressed by myself that I did get it finished in time. :) I'm usually such a lazy stitcher... I also found out that I enjoyed all the special bits of sewing, like adding the piping and hand-basting the underlining (which took about two hours, as I also basted through all the darts to keep them secure)... While I thoroughly enjoy the small projects that provide me with a cute new dress in a coupla hours, an involved sewing project like this is really satisfying! Imagine that! ;-)

I also enjoyed trying out new techniques, like the way Gertie sets in sleeves, using a bias tape made of hair canvas. I have no idea if what I used is hair canvas, as I couldn't find an adequate translation, and it seems like it should be less stiff and more drapey than the stuff I used. But it makes for a good sleeve head.
While I really like how both garments turned out, I'm not sure how much wear they'll get as a combo. I don't usually go for the serious, office-like look, but there will be a few job interviews in my near future, so maybe for them? I'm seriously in love with the dress, though, and can well imagine it being worn for all kinds of stuff. And maybe the blazer would go well with jeans? I own this one pair... ;-)
So this may have encouraged me to try some other, more involved projects in the near future. A nice shirt for my lovely boyfriend, maybe, now that I've overcome my fear of buttonholes? A jacket for fall (it's been raining again) - a Minoru or a Robson Coat maybe? A pair of trousers, featuring a front fly?
We'll see. Theres still this huge mound of stash fabric, mostly consisting of blouse and dress weight fabrics... And I'm hoping summer isn't quite over yet?


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  3. Congratulations! I have been waiting to hear the outcome of your endeavors. beautiful jacket and dress as well. You are most impressive and I'm sure you will have a job on no time.

  4. Congratulations Alessa!! but I knew that you would do well ;) and you look so professional and chic in the new dress and jacket. They look so smart together. LOVE the white piping detail.

  5. Congratulations on passing! What a HUGE accomplishment. And it does look like it will be a great interview outfit, as well as some great separates on their own!

  6. Huge congratulations! And beautiful job on the suit. ;)

  7. Congratulations!!!! I am so delighted for you!!! Well done! You've done a fabulous job on your dress and jacket - it's so pretty!

  8. That looks awesome!! Great job on the suit and of course the exams as well! I love working with wool and I'd love to make my next winter coat. You're inspiring me to try out some tailoring!

  9. It sounds like you're an MD, medical doctor! Congrats!!!!
    I've never heard of doing the buttonholes twice, interesting.

  10. Congratulations on passing your exams. I love how your suit turned out. It looks perfect for job interviews.

  11. Gorgeous!! You look fantastic. And congratulations!

  12. Congratulations Doktor Alessa! the suit looks great. I love the dress with its nice piping and the jacket really fits you well. You should definitely try more jackets!

  13. Wowee on so many fronts. Let's start with you being qualified! Seriously awesome, well doneyou, all those years of study and hard work. And i sm in love with yiur serious but actually severely cute jacket dress combo. What an amazing interview suit. You have excelled yourself, love them both and could well ge inspired to put a jacket on my sewing plan this summer...

  14. 1) Congratulations! I know you've been in school for as long as I've been reading this blog so it's so exciting to see you accomplish your goals. :)
    2) You look so professional and stylish in this combo and you could even mix and match the pieces separately, too. love the white piping. this'll be great for interviews, they'll love you!
    3) From the photo of the sleeve that looks pretty much like hair canvas to me. What do they call that stuff in germany?

  15. Congrats!!!! How proud you must feel. That is awesome! Your suit is awesome as well!!

  16. Congratulations!!!!
    The suit looks great on you! All that piping is gorgeous!