Carnivale of Couture: Gigi, Linda & Ella

This is Gigi’s entry which is included in it’s entirety since I don’t see it loaded on her site (yet):

This is a jacket that I made around 1990 (I took the photo when I cleaned out my closet a couple of years ago). It is made completely from Ultrasuede and was intended as an entry into a national sewing contest.

Ordinarily, I am not much of an embellisher. I made it so far in advance that I ended up missing the deadline! :-O The design is done in reverse applique. I cut away the base fabric and added the various colors of Ultrasuede behind the openings before topstitching them into place. I wish I had taken more detailed photos before I gave the jacket away. The design continues uninterrupted across the seams, the headband and face are made of several layers of reverse applique, the front buttonhole is bound. While not really a worthy submission because there isn’t much technical difficulty involved it did take quite a lot of planning and painstaking cutting and sewing.


Most of you will immediately recognize that I was inspired by Schiaparelli’s beaded linen jacket – one of her collaborations with Jean Cocteau. Kathleen, you’ll be happy to know that the lining was put in entirely by machine. I used raw-edge construction to attach the facing unit to the jacket unit. The only thing handsewn here is the button.

As someone who’s done way too much leather reverse applique, I know the artwork is usually the most difficult part. One of these days, I’m going to get Susan to design a jacket for me based on her celtic cutwork.

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Linda posted her entry of a pullover she made for her husband on her blog. Like Danielle, her SO was involved in the design. Evidently he used the garment a lot (she includes a photo of the worn neck facing on site) which is -in my opinion- the best litmus test for a well made and designed garment. Here is an excerpt

My husband designed the pullover, inspired by Dale of Norway, another company that I can’t remember (Sondre?), along with Celtic influences. He drew it out, and I made a pattern, starting with a Vogue Sport jacket pattern and changing it. A lot. I used UltraSuede for the welt pockets, and put zippers in them. The pocket is a kangaroo style, meaning if you put your hands in the pockets, they can touch each other.

If you look closely at the photo above, you can see that Linda mitered -yes, mitered!- the contrast piping. Wow. Something doesn’t have to be couture or even flashy to be complex.

Note to Linda in response to her question: pig suede (or even lamb) will probably stand up better than the ultrasuede but be sure to 1) wash and iron before you cut it and 2) fuse it with some lightweight interfacing.

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Ella from Kiss Me Stace directs our attention to the proper way to tie a wrapped top. [Note to designers; maybe the step by step photography on her site could be a checklist for closure design?]. She says

It is the outfits I put together that make most of what I wear special. (And even then, they are not so technically complex, just well put together and always either dressy or over-dressed.) Sure, some tops have details, and most of my wardrobe is very nice, but it’s not “technically complex” to my eye…But some things may be hard to put on, right? There are the pants with a zipper, buttons, and then another button to the side. Bathroom trips, oh wait for me to get ready!

I’d put up a photo of her top but for some reason, I can’t get the file size under 73kb. I don’t post anything over 45kb, with most jpegs being half that size. I try to keep file size down so that this site loads fast. Not everybody has a high speed hook up.

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2 comments

  1. jinjer says:

    Gigi, that jacket is incredible! how dis you get all those thin strips to stay in place before you sewed them? Glue?

    Kathleen: this is my test…

  2. Gigi says:

    Thank you, Jinjer! Yes, I used a water-soluble glue stick to hold those tiny bits in place. I am going to be posting a tutorial on the Sewing Divas blog in the next week or so.

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