Sometimes I get these ideas in my head. Ideas for things that aren't necessarily wearable on a daily basis, or things I just want to make without a clear reason or occasion. Like a suit/waistcoat combination in a slightly extravagant fabric. I knew I was probably going to look like a sofa, but still couldn't help looking at jacquards and velvets. And then I noticed this piece of burgundy/purple velvet I brought with me from my latest trip to London.
What kicked me into gear was the Sewcialists and their menswear month. I wanted this outfit to be inspired by menswear, but with a few feminine accents. The result just looks very seventies, which goes to show that those labels of 'masculine' and 'feminine' really don't mean much anymore.
I used the Palazzo pants by Kommatia because I made these before and like them a lot. They are very wide but don't actually use that much fabric: I cut these trousers (with added length so I could wear them with heels) and the waistcoat from 2 yards of fabric! I did cut the waistband in two pieces (inside and outside) instead of one folded piece because I thought a double layer of velvet would get too bulky.
For the waistcoat I looked through my stash of Burda magazines, and found what I was looking for in a bohemian hippie collection. The magazine version was lined in shearling with the lining peeking out at the edges, so I ignored these instructions and figured out my own way. I sewed the shoulder seams on both the shell and the lining, pinned these together with the right sides together and then sewed around the armholes and neckline, leaving a part of the bottom open. I turned everything to the right side, sewed the side seams in one go (shell and lining) and pressed the bottom hem up to attach the lining by hand. I also added a black sparkly trim because I can.
The next question was: what do I wear under this? I felt like it would have to be a shirt, but I didn't want things to get too overwhelming. I bought this very lightweight cotton voile at a Dries Van Noten stock sale last year and decided to adapt the Grainline Archer for my purposes. I left off the collar and sewed the stand as a band collar, and slashed and spread the sleeves to make them gathered (and more dramatic). This fabric was a bit shifty while cutting but surprisingly easy to sew, and I took care with my finishing, using french seams all over the place.
This was one of those projects that ended up going a lot smoother than expected. I find that some velvets are absolute hell to work with and need two lines of hand basting and a thousand pins just to stay in place, while others are just like 'yeah fine, sew me bitch'. This one only protested when I tried to attach slippery lining fabric (for the pockets and the inside of the waistcoat) to it, but nothing that basting thread couldn't help with.
So there you go! I wanted to try this and I'm happy to say it worked out. I feel like it's sometimes tempting to make 'safe' choices when you're sewing, especially with more complex projects. After all, if I'm putting so much time into my clothes, I kind of want to be sure that I'll actually want to wear them! But maybe I should go by my impulses a little bit more often.