In a documentary about the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), we noticed how the top designer learned his famous couture techniques by practicing, for years, on making the perfect blazer. Or rather: 'men suits'. It is a craftsmanship to make a good tailor-made suit and only when you have mastered it, you know how Haute couture really works.
Alexander McQueen dropped out of school at a young age and became an apprentice to renowned Savile Row tailors Anderson and Shepherd (see video below) and later to Gieves & Hawkes. He learned everything about making tailor-made suits.
Alexander is sadly died in 2010, but his suits are still as refined and as stylish as ever.
The documentary is definitely worth watching, more info:
McQueen is a 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures. The documentary is based on the life and career of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. " ( Wikipedia)
Men in black
There is no difference in making feminine suits (or just a blazer) or men suits. Yet, the costumes for men and often getting more attention in terms of the couture techniques. The suits are more expensive because of it and because of the facts the materials are top-quality. Another argument: men suits are less trendy and beloved for years. Whether this is still the case nowadays is doubtful because men's suits are made just as well as by mass-produced industries, which means: the quality is not garanteed anymore.
Nevertheless, the 'tailoring-made' suits are an interesting concept because the men's suit has been less subject to change over time than women's clothing. A traditional tailoring mensuit has a long history and many Haute couture secrets are hidden in it.
Just like in Coco Chanel's famous Chanel jacket! Time to study the inside and learn a lot about all the facings, interfacings and structures which are making men suits (and women suits) the perfect pieces of clothing!
As a hobby seamstress you will not have the time or desire to study for years on just one type of garment. But if you are able to join a masterclass, think about it carefully. It is quite a challenge to make a beautiful blazer and you will learn a lot about Haute couture sewing techniques.
An other idea: you can also treat yourself a masterclass or study by purchasing the Vogue V8333 sewing pattern.
Vogue V8333 is a Claire Shaeffer sewing pattern published by Vogue. We know Claire Shaeffer from the books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, Making Designers Trims and The Couture Skirt. She describes in her books how Coco Chanel designed her famous Chanel jacket, the faux wrap skirt and other classics.
The sewing pattern V8333 is not a sewing pattern for a classic Chanel jacket, but a tailor-made jacket. It is almost a personal workshop/study to learn many couture sewing techniques.
The perfect blazer
The Vogue sewing pattern is a pattern for a 'semi-fitted' (we do not agree, the blazer is very tailored and has a tight shape), lined blazer, complete with extra inner lining, princess lines, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads, pockets with pleated sides panels (no side seams), a shaped hem. Two-piece sleeves with buttons at the sleeve ends.
Last but not least: with couture constructions on the inside.
Recommended fabrics are: wool for (men's) suits, wool crepe or brocade. Stiff/strong fabrics are needed to create the perfect shape of the blazer.
Advanced sewing level
The sewing pattern has been labeled "Advanced". This is not a superfluous comment. You really need a lot of sewing skills and knownledge of couture sewing techniques. But it can be done and it is a great challenge.
We have created the jacket by using red suedine fabric. It turned out to be not such a good choice. The collar is not shaped nicely due to the thickness of the fabric. Our point: always stick to the recommended fabric! If we used brocade or pure wool, the collar would have been better in shape. Suedine is a very nice fabric but the collar does not work well because suedine is just too thick.
Moreover, the top stitch did not fit nicely, but was necessary because the fabric cannot be ironed properly.
The pleat at the bottom with inside-pocket is easier than we thought it would be. It also gives a nice shape to the blazer and the waist is really nicely designed.
The sleeves are also super nice shaped. Pay close attention to the sleeves. If you really stick to the instructions with extra care about the interfacings, the sleeves will create the perfect 'couture' look.
We have made the jacket step-by-step as Claire Shaeffer explains in the accompanying instructions. We also went through the couture tips with a close look. And we learned a lot !! The result is not hundred percent good as we hoped, because of the collar that could have been better. But we are satisfied with the result anyway.
Vogue V8333 is not only a sewing pattern for a perfect tailor-made jacket but also a kind of masterclass or study. The sewing pattern designer Claire Shaeffer explains the entire process and is giving many couture tips.
The making off the jacket requires a lot of time, experience and techniques but it is a great challenge for every seamstress.
Apart from adding a beautiful timeless classic jacket in your wardrobe, you will be proud because now you learned to create the real couture jacket!