Completed / Thrifted

Wedding guest… suit?

Dearest readers, thank you so much for your thoughtful replies to my last post on taking a sabbatical. It was heartening to hear how many of you have had similar thoughts or made a similar change; if so many of us want to trade some income for more creative and living time, I think our working culture will change. If you feel in need of some inspiration, I highly recommend reading through the comments.

In other news, I’ve unintentionally joined Coletterie’s Wardrobe Architect project. Initially I thought I wouldn’t, because I think I sew pretty realistically for my lifestyle and tastes. As I read more of Sarai’s posts, however, I found myself mulling over the some of the topics even after I’d finished reading. The worksheets, questionnaires and mood boards were the final straw.

I’m pretty sure Wardrobe Architect influenced my latest projects. I felt like making something for our friends’ wedding this past Sunday, because it had been awhile since I’d sewn anything dressy. I was planning on making a dress, which is default wedding wear for women, but I knew I would have to wear tights to stay warm enough. I hate tights. My knees and calves are comparatively small for my waist and hips, so I always have to make a choice – sausage waist or pooling legs? Neither, please!

I started thinking about a dressy outfit centered around pants that I could make in black velvetine from my stash. I recently made a croquis of myself last fall so I could iterate through silhouettes more quickly. Here was my initial drawing:

crabandbee.com | croquis drawing

I had a bustier top pattern in mind, used here and here, and I figured I could alter my stretch jeans pattern to omit the yoke and front pockets for some super simple, streamlined dress pants. Here’s how it came together!

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6325

I figured I’d make a kimono similar to this one to wear over my outfit, and I wanted to make sure that the fabric I used was festive to balance out the black. My stash yielded nothing, so I haunted my favorite second-hand fabric store. Days before the wedding, I found a gorgeous bright floral rayon. This is going to sound nuts, but I’ve only sewn with floral fabric twice in my entire sewing career (and once was my grown-up flower girl dress.) A loud floral really does keep one entertained during the sewing process!

crabandbee.com | self-drafted kimono

I can’t seem to resist unfurling my kimono wings… Here’s a more normal pic of the entire ensemble.

crabandbee.com | kimono, bustier and pants

I felt comfortable and festive throughout the wedding. And, I noticed that a lot of the stylish older women were wearing cool kimono-style garments as well, some of them with awesome embellishments. I stole furtive, admiring glances their direction.

I have some notes on the construction and fit of the top and pants. Starting with the bustier, which is McCall’s 6325:

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6325

I underlined the bustier bodice with cotton voile to minimize the stretch of the velvetine, and lined it with a scrap of organic cotton sateen left over from my quilt. I underlined the peplum-ish part of the top with black silk habotai (also a scrap) to minimize friction against the velvetine pants. The buttons are gold-colored metal.

I went through a muslin with the bustier but I don’t think I have the fit quite right. I took out too much ease from the bust when I was fitting it and had to mess with some of the side seams, make the button plackets wider, and add a hook and eye to prevent gaping. I’d like to make a summer dress from the bodice part, so I will probably revisit fitting the pattern.

crabandbee.com | McCall's 6325

You can see on this black-and-white photo where there’s some pulling and twisting through the bodice. Since the velvetine sucks up tons of light, it’s normally not visible enough to prevent me from wearing it.

On to the pants:

crabandbee.com | velvetine pants

These fit almost identically to my jeans. Lisa G noted recently that getting a better fit at the top of her CB rise reduced how curved her back waistband had to be, and I think I will experiment with that the next time I use any variation of this pattern. My super-curved back waistband ensures that my pants stay up, but I think there is some extra ease that could come out of the top of the CB rise. I used Debbie Cook’s fly tutorial again. It’s just the best.

So far, I’ve worn the kimono every day since I’ve finished it, and I’m banking on the other two pieces finding their way into my limited dressy rotation.

crabandbee.com | bustier, kimono, pants

The other Wardrobe Architect by-product? I decided the closest things I have to style icons are Alexa Chung and Sophia Coppola. Thirty Pinterest-filled minutes later, I was walking to the bathroom in a trance-state to cut some bangs…

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47 thoughts on “Wedding guest… suit?

  1. This outfit is just all around awesome. As is taking a sabbatical – which I didn’t comment on earlier! Back to the clothes – I have no doubt you’ll be mixing and matching these pieces all over the place. An inspired choice, going with separates. And the bangs are fun, too!

  2. Loving this alternative to the standard Wedding-Guest-Dress – it suits your style, me thinks (as much as I love a fancy dress – they just aren’t practical in colder weather!). And you’ve sewn with velveteen? Oh I’m a little envious – it would be so lush!

  3. I’m really pleased you are (accidentally) finding the Wardrobe Architect project helpful. I don’t have a very clear idea of my preferred styles so it’s really making a huge difference in knowing what to sew for me (and I have started new projects accordingly). I find dressing for events like weddings a huge challenge too, as deep down I am a casual dresser who struggles with anything fussy…I think you’ve hit an ideal compromise between dressy and useful with this outfit. I can see each piece being worn in many different ways for lots of different occasions as well as looking fantastic together. Brilliant result!

    • It is really nice to know I have a pair of dressy black pants in the wardrobe. Even if I don’t wear them regularly, they’re there when I need them! I found your Wardrobe Architect posts really intriguing, so I have to give you some of the credit for my joining in. :)

  4. Uber chic lady! You make me laugh, I’m on holiday right now and have drafted a blog post on realising I too need the wardrobe architect, and am just waiting to get home and add some pics before posting it! I was also sucked in by the mood boards and am now addicted to Polyvore, and have sat up in our tent each night playing with my ipad and Polyvore like paper dolls! I’ve even done cold and warm weather glamping mood boards!

  5. I love your wedding outfit – that kimono is just gorgeous & it looks so stylish with the black trouser silhouette.
    Bangs are ace too – you look very Stevie nicks in the photo with your arms out!
    On your last post – I went back to it a few times just to read the new comments.

  6. What a super stylish and fab wedding outfit. I love it. I too am jealous about the velveteen and might need to make something up in it in Winter. Love the bangs and congratulations on making the top blogs of 2014. So highly deserved.

  7. I’m sure you were a hit at the wedding! This outfit is dressy, yes , but also every day. If it were in my closet, I’d wear it over and over again just as you have.

  8. this looks fabulous, I have refused to wear a dress to every wedding I have been to except 1, I am a trousers person, and I think you can look just as smart in some nice trousers – you have certainly pulled that off here!

    • Way to stick to your guns! I agree that trousers can look suitably dressy for any occasion. I actually don’t mind dresses for summer weddings – if it’s hot out, it’s a relief to be in one – but winter is a different story!

  9. You look so freaking RAD!! YOU are my style icon!! Yes to velveteen-sexy-bustier wedding suits and crazy floral kimonos! Plus. Dude. Those shoes. Kill me everytime!

  10. Nice outfit Morgan (and I do love the bangs!). I’ve been seeing lots of Kimono style open front tops at the shops these days but your floral version is by far the best one!

  11. Amazing outfit! I love the whole look, and the interior finishing is so nice too! The kimono is fabulous, love the print and the length, I don’t usually like florals but this print made me re-think that! Love the bangs :)

  12. wow! i love how true to your style this is. that velvet seems so lush, you must have felt amazing wearing a whole outfit of it! the kimono is pretty awesome too. great outfit!

  13. Those bangs really suit you! Very edgy look overall.

    I’m not sure that I have ever sewn florals. I haven’t ever sewn a bustier either, but it has been at the back of my mind for a while now. A year or so ago I bought detailed patterns / instructions to make a tutu, and I thought I could adapt that to make a bustier…and there is a groovy bustier in one of my patrones. The fitting process puts me off though. Your bustier looks very wearable.

    What else have you been wearing the kimono with?

    • Mostly tank tops and jeans! I imagine it would look good over the right length of dress or tunic and leggings, though – I need to give that a try!

      I’d like to do more research on the bustier fitting process before I try again. I think I got it to a wearable point but nothing I would trust in a strapless dress, for instance!

  14. Omg, how freaking awesome is this outfit. I want it. It’s unexpected (which I love) and so incredibly cool. You really knocked this one out of the park! I just love your style.

  15. This is spectacular. I’m new to sewing and sewing blogs but I binged on your blog recently because I LOVE your style and how you rock it.

  16. I ADORE everything about this outfit and especially the fact that a wedding or a social occasion doesn’t necessarily mean wearing a dress!I love the combination of fabrics!But because this could be a long post with I love this and I love that,let’s just state that I love everything you make and that’s that!

  17. I love it!
    I wanted to inform you that I’m starting my own mini challenge for my birthday (14th), I want to do something special this year since I haven’t celebrated my birthdays a few years… I would be very happy if you would join, it will run for probably 7 days and then 7 days me praising some of you who did the best in a daily challenges, pingbacks and all. :D I promise it will be fun. Please do join, or else this can become really sad very quickly hahahaha
    Everyone is welcome to join! :) Here is the link to my blog: http://ivymosquito.wordpress.com/

  18. You continue to inspire me with the gorgeous things you make :) That is the ULTIMATE kimono and I love the bustier top and pants. I don’t know how you nail the fit so perfectly!
    Such amazing style and skills!

  19. I’m crazy for this outfit! Just love love love it, and applaud your choice of black velvet (if you please…). Would love to see this bodice as a summer dress. :)

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