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Zandra Rhodes Vogue Jacket by Diane

Readers of my blog, will know that I am a huge fan of Zandra Rhodes. I've adored her work for many years and have a collection of memorabilia as well as having been lucky enough to attend several dressmaking classes at her Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey. 
It comes as no surprise then that I jumped at the chance to product test a Vogue Zandra Rhodes Sewing Pattern for the Minerva Blog. As part of my product testing, I already had a bag underway but I desperately wanted to make this swing coat which I love the shape of.
I had some of this gorgeous metallic swirl peacock print by Timeless Treasures left after cutting out the bag project and as Zandra uses a lot of gold and electric blue in her work I felt it opulent enough to use as a spectacular lining to the top half of the coat. Unfortunately Minerva have now sold out of this fabric but you can find other designs in the same type of Fabric.
I wanted something equally as spectacular yet subtler for the main body and found this beautiful floral embroidered Brocade Fabric on the Minerva website.
I'm never sure about ordering fabric on the internet but wasn't disappointed. It’s richly coloured and the design seems to be etched into the fabric with subtle metallic shadows. It also sits really well with the peacock fabric. 
For the bodice inner, I used some left over Foam interfacing from Vilene, which I was also due to product test in the bag project. 
I used a plain piece of navy Velvet Fabric to use as the bodice contrast and a two-tone blue and maroon coordinating lining.
The pattern is labelled 'advanced' and it certainly is. This has to be the most difficult garment I have ever made. For instance, the quilted bodice section took me the best part of 6-8 hours to complete. I first of all basted the three layers of velvet, foam interfacing and a thin cotton backing.
I was a bit nervous to start the quilting but once I'd done one straight middle seam in the back section I could then line up all the rest at 0.5 cm intervals using this seam as a guide along with the foot on my sewing machine.  I also used up a whole 250 m reel of thread on just this quilting alone.  However, I did discover that I love quilting .... which is fortunate to say the least!  The bodice fronts were straightforward once I’d completed the back. 
It's the 'Zandra Rhodes wiggle' across the middle of the swing coat that poses the main challenge in this pattern.  It took me at least half a dozen times to get the two front sides symmetrical and hanging the same. I even had to hand sew one side to make it the same as the other as I just couldn’t get it right on my machine.
Once the outer main jacket sewing had been done, the rest was quite straightforward.  The set in sleeves went in like a dream.
Completing the lining was fine too. There was no 'wiggle' to contend with here, just a straight line between the top and bottom sections. That then just left sewing the lining to the outer, which was just a straight seam all around the front opening sections. Once the coat was turned out to the right side, some top stitching at the coat edges held all the lining and outer in place.
Finally, the hems were easy, sleeves were done quickly, but the bottom hem took a long time as it was just like completing a circle skirt with acres of seaming to do ..... 
Not sure if I'll make another of these but I would definitely recommend having a go at this as the shape is so flattering. 
It is a designer classic and will never go out of fashion ...  I now have my very own Zandra Rhodes design in my wardrobe and it and will be something I'll keep for years!
Just remembered I have to tackle that unfinished bag now …. It should go nicely with the coat though :-)
Thanks for reading!
Diane Hudson-Sharpe @ margueritedesigns

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