1940s | Jackets | Pattern Drafting | Skirts

UFO finished; a green linen suit.

May 2, 2013
Green linen suit

I finished a UFO that got stuck right after the first fitting, oh, about seven or eight years ago. That calls for celebration, doesn’t it? It’s a fitted suit jacket, aiming for a 40’s silhouette, and it was left unfinished because tailoring is, or was, kind of intimidating; but I really love the fabric, a heavy, bright green vintage herringbone weave in what I’m pretty sure is linen, and I needed a jacket for spring, summer and fall wear, so I went ahead and did it.

There were a few problems, to begin with; I made the pattern a very long time ago and had lost it, of course, so I made a new one from the cut-out pieces for the lining. I also had a couple of remnants of the fabric that I really wanted to make a skirt out of, but the fabric, having spent a number of years in someone’s attic, had a few large sunbleached areas that were unusable and needed to be cut around. I managed to puzzle out a skirt from tiny pieces anyway before I got to work on the jacket, which was stupid, because as it turned out, I hadn’t cut the jacket collar when I cut the rest of the garment. And this green, let me tell you, was not an easy shade to match – for a while I toyed with the idea of making the collar from the only matching fabric I could find, an upholstery canvas, and then covering it with tiny cross-stitching in a matching green mouliné yarn. My mother came to the rescue with a beautiful green silk twill from Burma, though; I sent a small sample of the original fabric with her. The rest of that fabric will hopefully make a nice dress some day.

Also, I had to refit the jacket, again, mostly because I made a false start at it about four or five years ago, did another fitting then and remembered it as being a bit tighter than I like jackets now, for whatever reason. So I put it together with a smaller seam allowance than originally planned to give it some extra ease now, only to find that it was huge on me and needed adjustments in the opposite direction. On the bright side the fabric was lovely to work with, firm but still pliable, with a nice drape for such a heavy fabric. It certainly wrinkles like linen, but that’s mostly only noticeable in the skirt.

The end result is alright for a jacket I made the pattern for almost ten years ago, and a skirt made from impossibly small scraps of fabric. I still love that shade of green and the herringbone texture. I could be happier with some of the details, but I always could, every single time. And I’m getting a lot of wear out of it at the moment. Mission accomplished.

Green linen suit
Suit in action. The snow is gone now, thankfully.


  1. I totally applaud your efforts to complete that UFO! AND you tackled some challenges that I think would have made me call it a wadder. Your efforts were certainly worthwhile as you now have a stunningly beautiful suit that looks amazing on you. I, too, am inspired to turn some UFOs into FOs. Good work and thanks for sharing! 🙂

    Maybe we should have a UFO challenge here?

    1. Thank you! Yeah, the collar issues were especially daunting. I think a UFO challenge sounds like a great idea – we all seem to have them, after all.

  2. it’s a lovely suit and the color is nice. but, it is NOT flattering to you or your figure. the first thing I thought of was a 1950’s communist secretary from behind the iron curtain. perhaps it’s the picture that makes you look stocky, middle aged and frumpy. because I KNOW you are none of those things! I’ve enjoyed everything you have made so far. but this is not a good look for you. I apologize if I have hurt your feelings, but you are WAY to young for this look.

    1. Could be the hat, the hair and accessorizing, I suppose, but I am a short and squat EU 46, after all, so I actually am sort of stocky. And 35, not exactly a spring chicken, which is such a relief, in general. And I do tend to go for the 50’s communist secretary look quite a bit, so mission accomplished? 😉

      Joking aside, the fit is good, if a bit more relaxed than I go for in my more festive outfits; I need to be able to fit a wool sweater under this one, and that’s not a consideration in those other types of garments.

      I also think it’s very much a function of the 40’s/50’s styling, which I like, but I am aware that it does tend to make everyone, regardless of actual age, look 47 or so; it’s an extremely mature look. Even though no middle aged women actually dress this way today, or have since the 60’s or 70’s at the latest. But yeah, I made the pattern and cut the fabric almost ten years ago, and I make far better jacket patterns today than I did then. Perhaps I should wear a sillier hat with it? Or the silk headkerchiefs I tend to wear a lot too, as in this shot hr. H took of me pottering about in the garden in it the day before yesterday:

  3. you look gorgeous!!! I just love it! congratulations. I think it is great colour and for something you supposedly had problems with, the fit is wondful. I often look at this website and wonder why people don’t make the extra effort for fit.

    1. Thank you! Fit is totally worth the effort, always. It can be difficult, though, especially when adapting commercial patterns – it is so much easier to get a good fit working from measurements. Constantly having to make large sets of adjustments to existing patterns made for an entirely different body shape would drive me nuts.

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