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A Nice Little Suit

May 09, 2011
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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…

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  1. JennyEbner May 9th

    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 May 10th

    I don't like the skirt.
    But the 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 May 10th

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

  4. deb222 May 10th

    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 May 10th

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

  6. ustabahippie May 10th

    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 May 10th

    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 May 10th

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

  9. BGibbs May 10th

    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 May 10th

    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 May 10th

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

  12. Gigi_Louis May 10th

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

  13. gailete May 10th

    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.


  14. Skymom May 10th

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

  15. User avater BarbaraHewitt May 10th

    Thank you for sharing I love this kind article.

  16. denise May 10th

    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 May 10th

    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 May 10th

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

  19. PointPatou May 10th

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

  20. NoraBora May 11th

    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 May 11th

    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 May 11th

    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 May 11th

    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 May 11th

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

  25. User avater ALY May 12th

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

  26. Stillsewing May 12th

    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 May 12th

    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 May 14th

    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 May 31st

    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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