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A Nice Little Suit

My daughter snagged an adorable Yves St. Laurent Rive Gauche suit the other day at a consignment shop, and I thought I’d share a number of its charming details with you. And while it’s ready-to-wear, it’s full of first-rate sewing.

Let’s begin with the jacket.
The fabric is a firm cotton twill – strong enough to keep its shape with only a partial lining.

One of my favorite touches is the hidden tab under the sleeve placket.

And there’s some interesting decorative stitching on the side fronts and along the inner lower edge.

There’s beautiful hand stitching along the collar band.

And I love the way the under collar has been oriented so that its edge is just visible; it appears to form a narrow piped edge.

The skirt has its own share of lovely workmanship, too.

The pockets have been stitched on by hand (the inside stitching is nearly as pretty as the outside stitching!)

and are pleated to add a little bit of volume.

The waistband has its share of decorative stitching, too.

The raw edges of the side seams (though visibly altered) have been finished with hand-overcasting

And my favorite touch is the front band – here’s a close-up of one of the rosettes, formed with layer upon layer of fabric

Both sides of the band have been tacked to the front placket of the skirt.

And here’s a final row of handstitching along the inner edge of the front facing.

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  1. User avater
    jennyebner | | #1

    I was so very lucky to be in one of Susan's classes in Baltimore when her daughter got this suit and got to see and touch it first hand. Quite a lovely bit of couture workmanship, of course!!

  2. lou19 | | #2

    I don't like the skirt.
    But the jacket........it looks familiar.........I think I had a designer vogue 80's pattern (not YSL) very similiar. I made it in a black cotton twill!

  3. ElizaDolittle | | #3

    The workmanship is wonderful, and the jacket is nice, but the skirt is awful. I can't imagine it suiting any figure.

  4. deb222 | | #4

    I love it!! I am tall and thin and this would look absolutely wonderful on me. I wish I could sew like this. I wish I would find a "find" like this. Thank you for sharing! Deb

  5. sandyfromtexas | | #5

    I like the jacket but the pockets on the skirt are just too much with the front ruffle.

  6. User avater
    ustabahippie | | #6

    This suit is perfect for someone tall and thin, with a very flat tummy! How lucky to find it second hand. It's always a lucky opportunity to appreciate the workmanship that goes into a special garment like this.

  7. Tangabird | | #7

    Oh the whole, I really like the outfit, however I would not put the ruffle on the skirt either. I love the pockets on the skirt.

  8. bubbie | | #8

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful workmanship.
    From this I get ideas that might never enter my mind!

  9. bgibbs | | #9

    While I'm not personally fond of the skirt to this suit, I must say that this consignment shop carries much nicer clothing that those in my area!

  10. ipodgrannie | | #10

    I love it, including the front skirt. Are those ruffles frayed? Thank you for sharing. Gives me an idea for a doll skirt.

  11. puffinquilter | | #11

    Wow! Can someone please explain to me how to cut and construct this collar? Thanks!

  12. Gigi_Louis | | #12

    I absolutely love the skirt! Thank you so much for sharing the ensemble with us.

  13. gailete | | #13

    I wish I could find things like this just to see and inspect up close. Pictures just can't show all the detail that I want to look at. Even though it isn't my style either, I can really appreciate the amazing work and time that went into this suit. Especially thinking that this was made with twill which is not the easiest fabric to work with unless this was really lightweight twill.

    website: http://MoonwishesStore.ecrater.com

  14. Skymom | | #14

    Do you know when this suit dates from? It's great!

  15. User avater
    BarbaraHewitt | | #15

    Thank you for sharing I love this kind article.

  16. denise | | #16

    susan i would love an a piece in threads about ways to finish off jackets with little trims or hand sewing that bring a jacket to life and makes it just a bit different.
    i have just finished a tweed black and white and it needs something i think.
    also a green double cloth black in side, chanel style jacket needs some inspiring finishes.
    when you see the above you know there is ways of doing this but when you sew alone some time the creative insirations dont come we need a picture of two to put it together.

    any chance of an article like this.

  17. User avater
    SueatMagnolia | | #17

    What a wonderful find! There can't be too many of these treasures left languishing in consignment shops now. I too would love to see some more Threads articles on 'how to' techniques for these garments. I particularly like the little button tab under the sleeve vent.

  18. HighToss | | #18

    The workmanship is amazing. I'm surprised it doesn't have bound buttonholes given all the amazing details in other areas.

  19. PointPatou | | #19

    The discussion of the details was interesting. I am not, however, an admirer of the suit, especially the skirt.

  20. NoraBora | | #20

    The skirt is for the very svelte. No one else would ever want that much attention drawn to their tummy. Interesting touches, for sure, but way over-done. If one were anorexic, it would help to disguise that fact.

    Lovely touches in the jacket, which is quite charming.

  21. SusanKhalje | | #21

    My guess is the suit is from the 80's, with its safari-style pockets, and yes, the twill is quite light-weight (in fact, the skirt fabric is a little bit lighter weight. The rosettes on the skirt are all cut on the straight of grain, which is why they "deconstruct" so easily.
    Yes, it's young, it's fun, and while I wouldn't wear it (though back in the day I would have), I find the details charming and the workmanship first rate. And yes, it's a little surprising that the buttonholes weren't bound, but they are covered up, and they are flatter worked the way they are. And when I first saw the skirt, I figured that front band would be removeable - well, it is, but it's tacked, not hooked or snapped.

  22. rkr4cds1 | | #22

    The skirt & jacket look as if they came from two entirely different suits: different moods, different occasions to wear. The only thing coordinating them is their fabric.
    I agree with 'ipodgrannie': Are those ruffles frayed? Are we the only ones who've noticed the loose threads all over the riffles & bows??

    After all of the couture work in the jacket, could that awful mess of a ruffled, bow-filled placket down the front of the skirt (which doesn't even match its own 'safari' theme) really have simple torn/fraying edges??
    Even 30 years ago we knew how to pull out a few more warp threads to keep those future messies from happening.
    This skirt is wrong for this jacket on so many levels...

  23. rkr4cds1 | | #23

    Also, a comment on the skirt buttonholes - running vertically.
    The use of a keyhole-style is not going to save the fact that the buttons are more likely to pop out of the holes with the strain of sitting in this skirt.
    I'm wondering why they weren't stitched horizontally?

    The images are also confusing—are there actually two sets of buttons & buttonholes involving the placket? On the last page of images, the buttonholes appear to be on a right-hand side of the skirt and then on a left-hand side...

  24. ninnypoo | | #24

    The workmanship is inspiring. I wouldn't wear it but I'm glad to have see it outside and in.

  25. User avater
    ALY | | #25

    I love examining couture garments for ideas I can incorporate into my own sewing. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Stillsewing | | #26

    Thank you for showing the fantastic details of this suit to us. Most clothes I see nowadays fall into the category of admiration and while I don't consider wearing what I see, I constantly think of adapting what I see to make it suitable for myself.

    While I would never have worn a skirt with "knobs" on, this trim could inspire one to decorate a jacket, a top, perhaps a handbag, (should I call it a purse or satchel?) or whatever. I look to Thread's mag and online service to inspire and challenge me, and this certainly does.

  27. Jane63 | | #27

    I just love all those decorative details inside the jacket. I have used the lining in pants to create false binding but would never have thought of using the undercollar to do this. No sthe suit isn't for me but the information provided was very useful.

  28. SewFunKaren | | #28

    I LOVED the skirt and would have worn it back in the day as well!!! And the jacket is so cute too. Thanks for sharing! So charming.

  29. KarenLongo | | #29

    I wish I were lucky enough to find such a cool suit at a consignment shop!!! Wonder what city this was in???

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