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So…I started making this suit on May 30, 2006. That’s when I started cutting it out. I bought the fabric sometime in late ’05, I think. I finished it, down to the last button this afternoon. Is that ridiculous or what?

2006_05_30 040
There we are WAAAAY back then, after laying out and pinning down, the cutting has begun.

darn cat
Minnie was much fatter back then, but still evil.

fabric buttons lining trim
Still life of fabric, trim, & buttons.

By July of 2006, I could tell that the boucle was a lousy choice for a structured jacket – the fabric shredded when I was installing the collar, so the lapels have this gross, spread-out, 1970s disco look. Still, after this much work, I forged on – ish.
It sat as you see it above until 1-13-07, when I stuck the sleeves in and put the lining in the skirt. On that same day I put the body lining of the jacket together, but lost interest before I could install the sleeves in the jacket lining. It sat as you see it below until today:

Today, I finally got myself in gear and finished lining the jacket, hemmed the skirt, and made the buttonholes in the jacket front and stitched on the buttons. Today, over two-and-a-half years later, I have an ULTRA girly boucle tweed suit.


Here’s another shot of the buttons and trim, just because I really do like them. They co-ordinate so well! I’d originally chosen a different trim, but could not get long enough lengths of it to make a decent border. Now, I cannot imagine ever having considered anything different.

And now, on to the inspiration and patterns.

Sometimes, just to be silly, I like to go down to the Plaza and go exploring in Hall’s department store. It’s this ultraposh crazy designer department store that carries all sorts of prestige brand clothing. Like I tried on a Zac Posen evening dress there once, just because they had it and it was my size. For the record, I kind of looked like a tampon angel in it, as it was a rather fluffy and fuzzy oddball thing.

Anyway this one time I was down at Hall’s, trying on unfeasible clothing, when I tried on what was the most perfect garment I have worn to date. It was this short-waisted, close-fitted, lace-trimmed, bright floral brocade jacket from the designer Cynthia Steffe.
Cynthia Steffe brocade jacket (inspiration)
Four years later, and I still freakin’ covet this jacket! I’m going to be keeping my eyes open for a similar brocade, because I’ve got my lapel skillz up to snuff now, and I could totally make a damn creditable knockoff of this jacket these days.

When I got home from playing in the ritzy-ladies’ dress-up-box, I went online and started looking for sewing patterns for similar style jackets, because I decided that I really liked that cropped-and-fitted look. What I ended up plunking down for was Simplicity 4698, which had similar options and I figured could be made up pretty similarly:
With the right fabric, it makes up pretty well. The boucle that I used for this suit was too loosely woven, and so the lapels didn’t fare as well, but it makes up very well in firmer fabrics, like the shantung you see above.

I also bought a skirt pattern that reminded me of another neat suit I’d tried on:
nanette lepore girdle skirt (inspiration)
The skirt I had tried had been a Nanette Lepore design, cut in panels, with a flared flounce around the bottom. The pattern I got was Simplicity 4787, which offered options for a pretty similar shape:
I’ve used this pattern in a two-tone setting (mustard boucle suiting and a scrap of crewel-work embroidered upholstery fabric)
I’ve also used it with a pinwale corduroy that has a Cream album cover palette.

I’ve learned a lot with this project. I’ve learned when boucle tweed is appropriate and when it just won’t work. I’ve learned that the right trim can right a number of wrongs. I’ve learned that I can get the flattering benefits of a pencil-type skirt with the walkability of A-line skirts if I make them up with some sort of funky flare just at or below the knee. I’ve also learned that for goodness sake, I should just go ahead and finish stuff, because it’s just plain stupid to have a nearly-finished suit in a box in your workroom for almost two years because I’m just too darn lazy to finish it.

5 Responses to “The infamous mint green boucle suit: finished at last!”

  1. waimomona says:

    Nice work….very creative.

  2. meetzorp says:

    Thank you! Sewing is one of my main creative outlets.

  3. planetmort says:


  4. […] Vote The infamous mint green boucle suit: finished at last! […]

  5. […] there’s this ridiculously minty bastard of a ladies-who-lunch suit which I constructed in a desultory fashion over the course of about three years: Not a-tall sensible unless you are Jacquie Kennedy, whom, of course, I am […]

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