Saturday, 17 June 2017

Sunday Brunch for a Saturday Matinee

This was one of those projects that wasn't on the schedule but just had to be made. This week's schedule was looking like being a few days sick in bed then tidy up the chaos of last weeks frantic sewing before the snow.

Curled up on the couch in what was probably a tonsillitis induced delirium, it suddenly seemed like a great idea to make the kiddo a Chanel-esque suit to wear to the ballet.

Back last winter when I made my Koos jacket and found that, even after my very careful layout practice and minimal fabric purchasing, I had about 40cm and odd bits of this wool coating left, I decided it would be perfect for the Sunday Brunch Jacket.

Because the jacket has a short bodice and moderately cropped length it was likely to fit on my bits of leftover fabric. I never did measure the cut of fabric that Tessuti posted me so I don't know if they were generous or I'd over bought, but whichever was the case I wasn't letting it go to waste.

Of course once I started fiddling with the leftovers I became convinced I could cut the skirt out as well and make a mini metallic wool tweed suit. The only fudging was to piece the waistband of the skirt and have a centre front seam.

Oh this pattern. I adore it.

I've made a straight size 6 as per her measurements. She's actually about a size taller but there was no fabric left to allow lengthening anywhere, and thankfully it doesn't look like I needed to anyway.

It was Tuesday afternoon when I was feeling well enough to get down on the floor off the couch and do some cutting. That left me with my rostered day off Wednesday, and a couple of evenings to make it all....

The wool coating kind of needed lining as it's a little bit airy in its weave, and lining would save me from bias binding all those seam finishes. If you haven't seen the insides of this jacket done as per the instructions then check out some of these versions in the Oliver + S Flickr pool. All those bias bound seams! So pretty.

Anyway, I lined my jacket with some 'shroomy brown silk from the stash and then only used binding to finish the edge of the facing. Hot pink satin for the win!

The lining was easy. Simply a matter of cutting everything in silk as well as the wool coating. Sewing the lining together, then attaching both at the neckline before attaching the collar and facing.

I shortened the lining sleeves and then managed to do that pull through thing to stitch the sleeve hem to the lining hem. Feeling clever that I didn't get anything twisted or mucked up, but then realising I had miscalculated how much to cut off the lining. After a rethink I should have cut a 1/2" shorter but I wasn't unpicking stitches from that deep pile wool tweed, so let's just say there's plenty of wearing ease in the sleeve lining - and hopefully it won't hang out the bottom and be seen.

Just a little self-congratulatory pat on the back for that hair braid. I usually struggle with her fine, soft hair, but I guess it was either overdue for a wash or just a little bit of that wax stuff did the trick.

The skirt is also lined with the same silk. That was a lot simpler, but of course I'd mucked it by forgetting to fill in that little cut away triangle where the pockets are on the front top side corners. Note to self: Lay pocket pattern piece and the skirt front pattern piece on the lining and then cut. Like I ever listen.

Is it just me or is a kick pleat on a six year old's skirt not ridiculously cute?

If I could have slowed time down even further, apart from sleeping and doing some chores (yeah right) I would have sewn a little white collared shirt (Music Class probably) to go with the suit. As it was, the Class Picnic blouse worked just fine for our Saturday matinee ballet

With no time to shop, the buttons, like everything else, would also have to come from the stash. Thankfully, when I'd attended a few of the Buttonmania open warehouse sales at the old city address I'd purchased "fancy coat buttons" without any real idea how or when they might be used. I held a mini audition for 4 different button types and these guys were the winners. Actually there were two others I liked more at first but they were just too big. Nice to know they're there for a bigger fancy coat another day.

The big gamble with an idea like "I'll sew a Chanel style suit for my six year old in that really expensive wool from Tessuti, and I'll do it in 3 days" is not whether it can be done. But whether the kid will wear it...

If you sew for kids you'll know about the inversely proportional relationship between your excitement for a garment and theirs. The more you care, the more they "meh" your exquisite sewing.

So, here's where I got extremely lucky.... school, A's class is doing some enquiry based learning thing about how we communicate and our idea of ourselves. From that, she has chosen the subject of how fashion has changed with time. She's told me that she and James (nope, I don't know him either) have chosen that topic because they're both really good at drawing. Turns out James draws a fine array of skirts: short ones, long ones, triangle-y ones...

Anyway I started talking to her about Dior's New Look and Coco Chanel's suits. A quick Google search and some pictures viewed on my phone and suddenly she was all over the idea of a wool tweed suit, just like Chanel (who I suspect is also another kid in her class, - skirt drawing skills unknown). This is perhaps now her all time favourite thing ever.

With kids I've learned to neither take pride in, nor try to understand little victories like this. Just enjoy it and roll with the moment.

The victory that makes perfect sense is the result which comes from sewing with impeccably good patterns and beautiful fabrics. I sourced and chose them. I'll take that as win for me.

Pattern: Oliver + S Sunday Brunch jacket + skirt
Size: Size 6
Modifications: Added lining to both jacket and skirt
Fabric: Italian metallic wool coating (no longer available) from Tessuti 
Notions: Silk lining from stash (via Rathdowne fabrics), buttons from Buttonmania, thread, 3/4" elastic.


  1. It's a huge win. A fabulous combination that the kids likes, sewn in leftover fabric, on a tight deadline. You are my sewing hero!

  2. Awesome! On all the sewing levels: use of remnants, sewing for kids, sewing a suit, sewing a fully lined jacket, sewing while unwell (possibly delirious?). AND - sewing a complete outfit that the lass loves.

  3. Oh my A looks so happy in her tweed suit and in such a short time span you created this amazing suit.

  4. Love the 'second sew' from that pricey fabric. A true cutting ninja you be, she looks gorgeous.

  5. This is so good!
    I don't know how you bust out these projects so quickly!
    Please teach me your Jedi ways! ;)

  6. Oh what a win this is!!! And so much sweeter when your child loves the garment you've sewn. (It doesn't happen all that often to me these days, so I can understanding this feeling.) This whole outfit is wonderful. I want one in my size!

  7. She looks pretty happy in those pictures. And lovely as well.

  8. This is awesome! You know you've just created a fashion monster, though; she'll be demanding custom couture garments out of fine fabrics forevermore! I guess there's worse things :)

  9. I love your calculus regarding adult vs. kid excitement with a handmade garment! TOO TRUE, TOO TRUE. Although my mathy side would really like to see that rendered into an equation or graph. I am glad, very very glad, that it did not hold true in this case, because this is simply the BEST THING EVER. So I had a Chanel obsession at a tender age as well, and I've been telling myself since I was a teenager that I couldn't wait to be an old lady so that I could pull off truly elegant clothes. So I am very much relating to A in this post, except she has managed that level of elegance at age six, so I doff my cap, etc. Hope the ballet was wonderful!


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