I've finished another ensemble on my winter sewing list! I based this suit on illustrations from mid-1930s magazines I have. They commonly have sets of a dress or skirt with a boxy, hip-length swing jacket. I rather like the versatility pieces like this bring to my wardrobe. I have a lot of navy and red, so now I have a couple more pieces I can mix and match with them. Hurray for versatility!
When I started planning this outfit, I knew I needed to be especially careful of proportion and fabric usage. I had three yards of the fabric to use, which is not much for a whole suit! (It's from the "Plaiditudes" line at Joann.) I also wanted to be wary of proportion. Boxy, hip-length jackets can be quite unflattering for a petite pear such as myself, so I wanted to be sure to get the skirt shape, hem length, and jacket all in sync to create the 1930s elongated silhouette.
I used a 1930s basic skirt pattern I have made up before, but this time I added a waistband and cut it on the bias. I wanted to be sure the skirt was slim in order to counteract the boxy jacket. Cutting it on the bias also allows the plaid to be at a flattering diagonal angle.
As for the hem length, this is extremely important to get right for 1930s fashions to be flattering. While it seemed counter-intuitive to me at first to wear a longer length skirt as a short person, it does actually work! Putting the skirt at the mid calf or even slightly lower creates a "legs for days" look that was so popular in the 30s.
The jacket was another matter! I didn't use an official pattern; instead I based it on a tracing I made of an authentic 1930s dress and jacket set I used in my make-do-and-mend gray suit series. I lengthened the sleeves and didn't gather them into a cuff like the original.
Of course, cutting the skirt on the bias was important for design and fit reasons, but it takes up a lot of fabric, particularly to line up the pattern at the center seams. This didn't leave as much fabric as I would have liked for the jacket. I did, however, have enough for the front and back bodice pieces, so it was only the sleeves that I had to work out.
I ended up putting the top part of the sleeves on the bias to fit them on some random scraps. However, the above-the-elbow length wasn't flattering, so I added another strip of plaid below those. That created another problem of a random seam, so I decided to highlight it with flat piping and try to turn it into a design element.
I topped off the jacket with a peter pan collar that can be buttoned at the top or left open as I did here.
I used to have quite a few hats, but over time I've gotten rid of most of them. I still have a few, but I'm finding they don't quite work for my outfits and shorter hairstyle still, so I'll probably cull them further. I do keep reaching for this red beret a friend made, so I think I need another red hat!
I also recently found these navy leather gloves in a flea market. I wish they were a tad bit longer to fit with these jacket sleeves better, but they still work! At the opposite end, I wore these new-to-me red shoes. They're fantastically comfortable Chelsea Crew heels, and you'll be seeing them often! They're now my only closed-toed red shoes, and since I wear a lot of red... I think you'll be seeing these a lot the rest of this winter.
What do you guys think of mid-30s suits with boxy jackets? What about longer hem lengths? They're both a bit difficult to get right. Have you successfully found pieces for yourself or for others that are flattering?