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Grey Suiting: Matching Set + Accessories

I’m beyond excited to be writing my first post as a Minerva Maker!!

So, first thing’s first: the FABRIC!!! I selected the Lady McElroy Stretch Bengaline Suiting Fabric and I’m so happy I did. Since I planned on doing a fitted garment, I was pleased to find that it has quite a bit of stretch (more than I generally expect from stretch wovens). I chose to go with the grey color, but it’s also available in brown, which I think is equally beautiful.

When the fabric arrived, I’ll admit I was nervous to cut into it. I knew for sure that I wanted to make a two-piece set of some kind, but I wasn’t feeling particularly adventurous because I didn’t want to risk any mishaps or fitting issues and end up wasting fabric. So, after much deliberation, I decided on two tried and true patterns that I know fit me well, and that I can confidently sew without any hand holding. I just needed to make a few small tweaks to get the look I was going for.

Pattern 1:        

Mimi G Style’s Jessica Dress – This was a free PDF Pattern I downloaded a while back and it comes with a very detailed video tutorial (great for beginners). I’ve only made it once before, but it’s one of my favorite dresses and it’s a very straight-forward sew.  

The Hack:        

I’m not sure this even qualifies as a hack, but rather than making a full-length dress, I shortened it to a peplum top. I also stitched in the ditch to tack down the facing because there aren’t any instructions about how to do that in the video, and I didn’t want to topstitch on the bodice (and I was feeling too lazy to hand sew lol). Also, because the fabric is structured, I took a few inches off the seams of the front and back skirt pieces so that I wouldn’t have to do quite as much gathering.

Pattern 2:        

Tilly and the Buttons Bibi Skirt/Pinafore – This pattern is from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch Book and this was my third time making the pattern. I’ve made the pinafore version twice, and I just love how simple and easy it is. This time I omitted the pinafore bib and just made the skirt. It came together so quickly! Once cut, I think it took me about an hour (and I am a take my time kind of sewist).

The Hack:        

I replaced the waistband with a decorative elastic that I harvested from a thrifted skirt. I attached it to the outside of the skirt. It’s a very simple hack. I serged the top edge of the skirt, folded it over, pressed and basted it in place, then stitched the elastic on with a zigzag stitch. I love the look of it and the elastic is very stretchy and extremely comfortable.

The Looks:

One of my favorite things to do when I finish a make is to experiment with styling. When I first started sewing, I would make whatever patterns spoke to me, but I wasn’t putting enough thought into how they would fit into my overall wardrobe. So many of my pieces would end up sitting in my closet and rarely seeing the light of day. Now that I’m a bit more experienced, (and hopefully wiser lol) I try to think about where I will wear the items, how often I’ll have occasion to wear them, and also what I already have in my closet that I can pair with the items. This way, my makes get to go out on the town instead of collecting dust, and the work feels so much more rewarding. So, with those thoughts in mind, I currently have more items in my closet that pair well with grey, hence my choice to choose the grey over the brown.

I love that these pieces can be worn separately or together and that they can be dressed up or down. So much versatility! The weather is still REALLY warm in St. Louis right now, so my feet are feeling a little too warm in boots, but I wanted to photograph some Fall looks because it’s right around the corner and I think this set has the versatility to work for most of the year. I even think layering the top with a turtleneck underneath could be really cute.

The Details:

I used my Serger to finish my seams for a clean finish on the inside of both garments, and I used 6 grey buttons on the bodice front. (I was going for a monochromatic look).

The Accessories:

After finishing my skirt and peplum top, I had some fabric leftover, so I decided why not make a few accessories to go with the set? I figured I’d try them out and see if they look good with the outfit, and if it didn’t work out, I could always just wear them with something else. So, I decided on a headband and a tie belt. Both were super easy to make and you don’t really need a pattern to make them. But I used Mccall’s 6996 for the tie belt since I had it on hand. I like how both of them turned out and I know I’ll wear them with the two-piece set, as well as separately. I like the way the tie belt looks tied in a bow at the back or even the front! J

And that’s all! Thanks for reading my first post!

Sarah @learningsewmuch

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