Sunday, May 27, 2018

The 'Purple Paradise Dress Suit'

This project has spanned seven years in the making and includes a blouse from a 1970s pattern, a skirt from a reissued 1960s pattern and a classic waistcoat from a 1950s pattern!

I'm so pleased with how they all fit together so well!  I made the skirt back in 2011(!) but it started out it's life as a 1970s poncho (that I also made):

I actually bought the fabric in a charity shop and just loved the purple tones.  After sewing up the wool poncho for a sewing challenge, I realised I was never going to wear it as a poncho because 1) it can be windy in Edinburgh and the poncho just ends up around my ears (ha!), 2) Edinburgh weather is variable meaning layering is almost always essential – it's very hard to layer over a poncho (double ha!) and 3) 1970s looks aren't really my thing!

So I took the poncho fabric, unpicked the lining and turned to Simplicity 2154 to make a classic pencil skirt:

I should really wear pencil skirts more – they are very versatile and super easy to make.  The pencil skirt has a very straight line (as compared to the super duper fitted ones from the 1950s) with a small slit/vent in the back.

Here's a better close-up of the wool fabric pattern and my handpicked (!) zipper insertion:

Here's a picture of the back with my matching What Katie Did purple seamed stocking (yay!) and you can maybe glimpse my feeble attempt at a waistcoat tie at the back (do those things actually have a purpose??)

So the skirt has been in the closet for ages (7 years!) but it lacked any companions. I'm actually not that great with separates – I much prefer dresses unless I make the separates to go with each other at the start!

So for the blouse, I turned to a 1970s pattern (McCall's 4609):

I've been wanting to add some me-made pussybow blouses to my collection --it's such a timeless look.  So I had some purple silk fabric and thought that might be a perfect companion to my purple wool skirt.  I had partially cut out the fabric about 2 years ago --so it was great to revisit that (I actually cut out TWO pussybow blouses--the other one is almost done as well!)

However, as I was finishing cutting out, I realised I would not have enough fabric for two long sleeves!  And McCall's 4609 doesn't have a short sleeve option. I thought about what type of sleeve might work best with this silky fabric and decided to go very minimal.  So enter Sewaholic Patterns 'Alma' and their flutter sleeve!

Overall, I think it works well!  I do wish I had more of this fabric because then I could make a matching jacket.  But I think this is the perfect seasonal transition outfit (wool BUT short sleeves).

And last but certainly not least is Style 637 – the most exquisite 1950s waistcoat pattern:

I've had really good experiences with Style patterns from this era and this one is also fantastic. I just love the longer cut of the waistcoat, the faux tab pockets and the small buttons up the front.

Overall, really, really happy with the ensemble!  We took these photos in the Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and aren't the flowers CRAZY beautiful?  We sought out all the purple ones--and they are just so lovely and a fab backdrop to my purple ensemble :)

I really love this look and think I'll have to make more three-piece dress suits!  It's such a nice outfit for work!  I also think I don't have nearly enough purple in my wardrobe. I tend to wear more blues, reds and pinks and purple is a nice subtle but warm change.

I also think it's fun to mix and match decades!  Wouldn't that be a fun challenge? The three decades challenge--try and sew or wear pieces from three different decades in one outfit....hmmm...maybe I will have to host something like that :)

Hair: Vanity Thrills
Photography: Darja Bilyk
Location: Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh


  1. Hi Debi, This is my second attempt at commenting. The gremlins ate the first one. This has happened before, and I wonder if other followers have experienced this? Having said all that, your multi-decade ensemble is very pretty. I too enjoy matching my colors to seasonal flowers and foliage. I like the Style skirt with the front pleat. Makes sense because we walk forward at least most of the time :). The waistcoat is a style that could also be worn with an A-line or cone shaped skirt. I have never seen nor heard of any purpose for a back tie or buckle and have always skipped them. You might find a cape more practical than a poncho. It will have slits for your arms. This allows free movement and restricts somewhat the tendency for it to float skyward in windy weather. You can also have any length you like. As to layering, just layer under it. BTW, have you completed the 1940s project or are you just taking a break?

  2. I LOVE your blog and looking forward to everyone!


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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