Simplicity 4934 or Ode To Sunny Gal

So, finally, the Simplicity 4934 is finished! The idea for this project first germinated in March when Kestrel Finds and Makes blogged about vintage patterns for sale at Miss Betty’s Attic. I bought one and in April began work on a toile.

Then in May I went to study with Beth of Sunny Gal Studio in San Francisco! I dragged wool fabric, two sets of linings, three spools of thread, my toiles, the pattern, buttons and my sewing kit across the Atlantic! That was some suitcase packing, I can tell you. I studied with Sunny Gal for 3.5 days, and met some wonderful women at the Sensational Sewing Shin Dig. Then I packed off on a holiday and heaved all of this stuff around America for two weeks, before returning home at the start of June.

Since then, I’ve been slowly, slowly inching my way towards completion. It hasn’t always been easy, sewing a wool suit in summer – even a British summer. But I was determined to do Beth proud. There was absolutely no way this would ever become an Unfinished Object. I kept plugging away, and swore that I wasn’t allowed to make the dress I dreamed of until this was finished. And now, it is!

I love my early 1960s suit. The big surprise is the jacket. I thought it would err on the side of costume, when in fact it’s highly wearable. I wouldn’t hesitate to throw this jacket on with a pair of jeans and it’s perfect for British summers, when we need something to drape over our shoulders as the chill breeze sets in. It’s lined in a lovely paisley lining, bought from Goldhawk  Road.

The above photo gives you a good picture of the deep, severe dart of the front bodice. This needs very careful fitting – Beth and I know that, for sure. It’s such a big dart, taking out a whole chunk of fabric. It’s something to look out for if you’re buying vintage patterns – you’ll almost certainly need to toile first.

We adjusted the neckline of the original pattern to give me more room to breath. I know that those jewel necklines really don’t suit me. There was quite a lot of other fitting to accommodate my, ahem, flesh! Nothing too traumatic, though, in Beth’s capable hands. She whizzed around my body – zoom! zoom! zoom! – and before I could blink, we had a working toile of the dress.

The more we worked, the more we both fell in love with some of the details. The front seam pockets, for example. They’re utterly useless as pockets, by the way!

Other than the pockets and some slight gathering at the front waist, this is a fairly simple sheath dress – which means there’s nowhere to hide on the fitting. You’d better hope your bodice fits well…

The dress is completely underlined with silk organza. The jacket has fusible interfacing along the front panels and along the bottom hem, but other than that, it is surprisingly easy and a real joy to construct. Just look at that beautiful, curved hem line! Kimono sleeves, three bound button holes, a collar – but no pad stitching or shoulder pads or sleeves to insert – in fact, this would be a perfect first jacket project for someone who wants to dip their toe into tailoring.

I don’t think there’s loads more to say. I learnt so much studying with Beth of Sunny Gal Studios, and I can’t thank her enough. I found a new friend and an awesome teacher. This blog post is most utterly devoted to her. Plus, every time I wear this suit I will remember the ladies who shared a drink with Beth and I, one May evening in San Francisco. If that’s not a good reason to sew, I don’t know what is.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing parts of the journey. This project beats the Vogue coat as my biggest to date, for sure! Now, I’m off to make that dress I’ve been dreaming of. Thanks for staying with me on this one. Would you tackle a suit or a vintage pattern? Go on, you know you want to. To spur you on, a giveaway!

The three buttons on the jacket? I bought far too many from Liberty of London, so I’m offering four of them on to anyone who leaves a comment. This is open world wide. I’ll use the Random Number Generator on Friday 10 August at midnight GMT. (I won’t, of course. I’ll be asleep then. But I’ll choose a winner the following morning, I promise!)

With thanks to my sister, Mandy, who helped me take some of these photos and discovered the full horror of a sewing blogger photo shoot. Below, I think my expression is, ‘You’d better get this right, or you’re dead to me.’

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97 Responses to Simplicity 4934 or Ode To Sunny Gal

  1. annie says:

    It turned out spectacularly well. But then you put so much time and work and love into it. I guess we who do it know why haute couture is soooo expensive.

  2. symondezyn says:

    Wow, Karen – you did a spectacular job!! This is utterly gorgeous, and you can really see how much care was put into the details and fine tuning. You should feel very proud! ^__^ Plus… amazing colour on you too! ^__^

  3. Joanne says:

    Och Karen that is just beautiful. I love the shape of the jacket – it’s so classic and the fabric and the finish – just awesome. I hope you’re very VERY proud of yourself young lady!

  4. Jennifer says:

    Oh, it’s lovely! It looks well worth the time and effort. How nice the jacket turned out to be so versatile. Beautifully done.

  5. I love the lining of the jacket! Inner linings in different colours on jackets is one of my favourite features- It’s like a hidden extra. Well done!!

  6. Elizabeth says:

    It’s absolutely lovely. The dress and jacket are so impeccably made and you wear them so well. WOW. I’m so impressed.

  7. Suze says:

    Fabulous! You can be justly proud of yourself. You look beautiful in it, and it looks beautiful on you!

  8. punkmik says:

    Wow. This suit came out amazingly. I only just discovered sunny gal studio blog so its great to read about someone who met her. :) love the colour and that its a wool suit. :)

    • If you want some seriously excellent sewing tips and instruction, I strongly recommend reading back through Beth’s blog. She is a font of knowledge and shares it generously and impeccably.

      • punkmik says:

        Yeah I have been browsing it already and ear marking some posts. :) She is very clear and easy to understand! :) Hoping to gain some more sewing skill points by reading her posts!

  9. LLADYBIRD says:

    It’ PERFECT! Even better than the envelope artwork (which is saying a lot, since those vintage patterns tend to have the prettiest artwork, ha). You definitely aced the fit test with this one. I just love the color wool you chose :) And, funny, but what I mostly can’t stop staring at is that perfectly rolled collar. Just… gorgeous!

  10. Dibs says:

    Its beautiful Karen, and you inspire me with your perseverance.

  11. prttynpnk says:

    Oh this is just wonderful- such a beautiful work- years from now you will still treasure this one.

  12. Kathi Giumentaro says:

    This is so beautiful. I have been anxiously waiting to see the finished product. How very proud you must feel. I love the seaming details on the dress and that curved hem on the jacket is to die for and so flattering. I’m scanning all my Burda magazines for a jacket with this kind of hem.

  13. Funnygrrl says:

    Beautiful suit! What an accomplishment.
    I’d love to see the jacket paired with a flared print skirt.
    Great job!

  14. Fiona says:

    Absolutely beautiful, but I am gutted that you didn’t make the hat!

  15. soisewedthis says:

    Ohhhh, very pretty and very well constructed! I would love to win the buttons! I don’t have any fabric that would match them, right now, but i love a good excuse to go buy more fabric!

  16. Jana White says:

    Longtime lurker. This is probably my favoite thing you have made.

  17. JoanneM says:

    The color is stunning. The jacket I adore. You look great! What fabric did you use?

  18. Karen – Thanks for all the kind words – it was a great experience, so much fun to spend a week teaching you and now to see your finished outfit, FANTASTIC! It looks great. I know you will have lots of wear from these pieces. I award you the Gold medal for outstanding achievement in fabric choice, persistence and completion of a beautiful outfit. Now you can move on to a new project – isn’t that a great feeling. Hope to see you again on your side of the pond :)
    Beth, SunnyGal Studio

  19. PoldaPop says:

    What a gorgeous dress and jacket. I love the color of the fabric and the lining, and it looks fantastic with those mustard heels. I’m so glad that I found your blog and got to see this project progress. It gives me that kick in the skirt to get working on a good challenge myself. Well done!

  20. Kerry says:

    What a beautiful, meticulously finished suit. Total haute couture. The jacket shape is unusual and lovely and the lining is gorgeous and a great match for the fabric.

  21. Miriam says:

    Congratulations on a wonderful piece of vintage sewing. You look great and the fit is perfect

  22. woolcat says:

    I once made an early 60s suit thing – probably it was truly a 2-piece dress rather than a suit. No tailoring on the jacket. But it was definitely vintage. Your wool suit is just amazing – very professional – and I like your yellow accents! also, well done for not starting the next project. You are a better woman than I.

  23. Wendy says:

    That is a really classy suit Karen, I love It. First your coat and now this beauty – you honestly inspire me to sew outside my comfort zone.

  24. Carolyn says:

    Karen – your suit was worth the wait! It is awesome and you look amazing in it!

  25. joyful says:

    Wow – fantastic! Your suit is sooo elegant and beautifully well made – it’s a classic! I could never achieve such a professional finish – how do you make bound buttonholes??

  26. Natasha says:

    What a gorgeous suit! Love the color and the fit is fantastic – great work!

  27. Jacq C says:

    What a classic, absolutely stunning and I too love the mustard accessories, great choice. If this is the result then I’m embracing my stubborn streak! :)

  28. anne says:

    am in awe….:) beautiful

  29. Regina says:

    This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing it with us!

  30. Cynthia says:

    Oooooh, wow! You’ve really outdone yourself. This is gorgeous, bravo.

  31. sewbusylizzy says:

    That is just delightful. I think your colour choice is perfect and the overall look is perfect class.
    Goldhawk is on my list of places I must visit when I’m in the UK next year – anywhere else essential for a spot of fabric tourism?
    I adored Liberty last time I was there. It’s just divinely beautiful in there…

  32. gmariesews says:

    Oh it turned out fabulously. Thanks for sharing the journey with us. g

  33. Nicole says:

    This is so beautifully constructed and the colour is gorgeous on you. Well done :-)

  34. Karen S says:

    Gorgeous! The color looks great on you. I love those 60’s suit patterns. I have a bunch but have yet to make any. Looking at your outfit makes me want to give it a whirl.

  35. Sarah says:

    Ooh, Karen! It’s just beautiful and I LOVE the colour on you!! Fantastic! Definitely pat yourself on the back for an amazing job done :)

  36. Marie says:

    My, oh my Karen! What a stunning suit you’ve created – I hope you are suitably proud of yourself! You can tell that a lot of work, expert techniques and love have gone into this project and in turn it looks extremely professional and expensive! It literally fits you like the glove and the colour you chose couldn’t look better on you. I’m in awe lady!!!

  37. Emilie says:

    Beautiful jacket and dress. I truly adore the color and they just look so perfect on you! I bet you’re glad you spent the time and effort on these!

  38. Karen in VA says:

    That is one amazing suit!!!! So well done and you look fab in it!!

  39. As usual, I can only join the chorus extolling the virtues of the colour, the cut, the fit, the patience (let’s call it that, shall we?!). And the buttons? They’re to die for!

  40. Sherry says:

    Wow, it’s so beautiful Karen! I love how it is vintage and modern at the same time, and that it has happy memories sewn in those seams. Wear with justifiable pride!

  41. redsilvia says:

    Gorgeous! I love it! What a nice project that turned out to be. I hope it was worth schlepping around the western US?! AND you made gorgeous bound buttonholes!! Wow.

    You know, it’s a perfect outfit for your summer of love (1969 methinks) in San Francisco – warmer days (sleeveless dress) foggy nights (jacket). Great job!

  42. Lisa says:

    Stunning work Karen. The wool you have chosen is such a beautiful colour and looks great against your dark hair. Your work has come up a whole new level now :-)

  43. Pure gorgeousness! The fabric, the fit, the style.

  44. Juliet says:

    What a gorgeous, gorgeous dress and jacket! And I don’t balme you on buying more buttons than needed. I did that today as well… oops!

  45. Lucy says:

    Wow. Just… wow!

  46. rosyragpatch says:

    This is lovely in every way. You did a great job.

  47. Kat H says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I’ve been waiting to see what this looks like completed – it’s stunning on you. Love the colour choice, and the fit.

    (And I also totally love your yellow shoes!)

  48. Your outfit is stunning, Karen! I love the jacket AND dress. After reading about your ensemble construction I think you can skip the couture class – you’ve got it! I also did not realize Beth is a teacher. Congratulations on completing this project with such success!

  49. Karen says:

    Karen – this is so beautiful! I love everything about it, and as one who sews almost exclusively with vintage patterns, I can appreciate your enthusiasm for the versatility of this ensemble. I am becoming a big fan of kimono sleeves in suit jackets and coats – they are just so classic!
    You should be so proud of this – congratulations!!

  50. Laura says:

    Beautiful job! And I love the yellow belt you paired with it!

  51. Beth says:

    The suit is beautiful! seriously amazing!!

  52. Amy says:

    Gorgeous! What a wonderful job you’ve done. Those darts! And buttonholes! And, most impressively, the fitting! Bravo!

  53. Jane says:

    This is well worth the wait Karen and perfectly shows off all your hard work. The fit on the dress is impeccable and I LOVE the jacket – you’re right, it would look perfect with jeans or a skirt. The whole ensemble looks very, very expensive. You’ve nailed it girl! x
    ps. Don’t your yellow shoes look gorgeous?! x

  54. Scruffybadger says:

    Awesome Karen…..it oozes quality and you look fabulous! I am always so impressed by your endurance projects

  55. Roobeedoo says:

    Speechless. Perfect! Especially with those shoes! You really do look so 1960’s and yet contemporary – VERY classy! Got any weddings to attend? In fact… it might be worth getting married just to wear that suit – what’s your bf up to next weekend?

  56. Pella says:

    Really beautiful suit!

  57. oonaballoona says:

    WOW karen. stunning! and i love it paired with yellow. just freaking stunning.

    i laughed out loud at the horrors of a blogger shoot. ah, her innocence… lost.

  58. gingermakes says:

    Oh, Karen! I absolutely LOVE this– it’s superb! The fit is gorgeous, and the color is stunning, and the style is so damn cute I can’t even take it! I’m so glad you finished it!

  59. Sharyn says:

    Just fabulous. Ps. Love the brooch as well.

  60. Lynne says:

    Oh my goodness, this is the most gorgeous outfit ever!!! I was wondering how you were getting on with it, and it’s just perfect. And I love your sparkly jewellery, especially your ring. :)

  61. Sam says:

    Wow, this is an absolutely gorgeous outfit! It fits you perfectly, so all that fitting was definitely worthwhile, and the colour is beautiful on you. Love it with the yellow accessories, and love the shape of the jacket in particular!

  62. Sylvia says:

    I love the style of the Dress and your bracelet. I hope someday i can do such a great Job too.

  63. CarmencitaB says:

    It’s your most amazing yet! What beautiful work!

  64. Helen Made says:

    Ah Karen this is just so beautiful! I love the fabric colour you’ce chosen and the fit looks fantastic. Worth all the man hours that’s for sure!

  65. Gorgeous dress-suit Karen – and I love the stylish hemline of the jacket, it makes it different to anything you’d buy in the shops. Well done :)!

  66. Vicki Kate says:

    I’ve loved watching and learning with you as you’ve made this! The jacket is just gorgeous and the colour is beautiful on you!

  67. melissa says:

    Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous, and WELL worth all the tedious time and hand-sewing! Truly beautiful. Now you’ve got an important task ahead of you – you actually need to WEAR IT. No, don’t put it in the back of the wardrobe and say it’s too good for everyday wear – give it an amount of wear proportional to the time you put into it! Wear this sucker to Tesco if you have to! :)

  68. wow – i love it! what a gorgeous colour. the jacket is great – i would wear it loads. must start looking out for that patterns as i need a new jacket and have grand plans to sew my own.

  69. Suzie says:

    A beautiful piece of work Karen. So much time and care put into all the details – and it really shows! You look lovely. And I love the colour you chose – it suits you so well. I am very envious of your trip to America to study with Beth – it sounds like you learnt an awful lot.

  70. Hmmm not sure if I like this one. I like the dress but I think the length of the jacket puts me off. I absolutely love the back view, last photo, it fits you so very well. One can see it is made with your usual high quality sewing and tailoring. You have become such an excellent seamstress. I remember how you got that first machine on free cycle. You’ve come such a long way. For me the best thing about seeing many of your makes is the quality of your work.

  71. silke says:

    Hi Karen,
    I like your work and your fabulous style. I began sewing before 2 years and I like to make so gorgeus jobs like you. I love them!

  72. Trisha says:

    Love it! The color of the wool is beautiful–just beautiful.

  73. rehanon says:

    Hey Karen,

    Only just seen this. Bit behind on my blog reading. Woohoo! This wins you the gold for making from a vintage pattern. Those darts are as sharp as the suit. You should be super proud of yourself. Just love it :)

  74. Joan Weakland says:

    Hi Karen,
    Wonderful suit: color, FIT and workmanship quality are just lovely! I’ve been eagerly awaiting this final post on your vintage project, “imagining” all possible reasons you worked on other projects or wrote about other things in between!

  75. Anne Kelley says:

    Beautiful job!
    I’ve also made ’60’s suits — in the 60’s (truly lol)! And I’d still be wearing them if I hadn’t, uhhh, outgrown them. Hang on to that beauty you’ve crafted.

  76. Neeno says:

    Looks wonderful and so classy!

  77. Tia Dia says:

    Oh – I love your 60’s suit! I’ve always called that colour periwinkle and it’s my very favourite colour of purples, but so darned difficult to find. I’m just drooling all over this outfit. Love the yellow accents. You look fabulous!

  78. Miss Celie says:

    Stunning. You must be so proud of yourself!

  79. Janice says:

    It looks awesome! Very classy.

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  82. Bold Sewist says:

    I don’t know how I missed this – stupid WordPress reader thing! I had been wondering if you ever finished this, and just saw it mentioned on Stitch & Witter – What a fantastic suit. The epitome of chic!

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  84. I love the yellow belt and shoe detail. Gorgeous

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