Tuesday, 31 May 2011

FINALLY: Vogue 8718 Suit in DKNY Stretch Linen


I started this suit back in February when it would have been very wearable and not shivery weather like now (coldest May in 40 years for Sydney), and I came very close to finishing it in a relatively short time. But for some reason I stopped at the point of press stud jacket closures and taking in / lining the skirt. There was so little left to do that I can't believe it took me so long to get here! Anyway, I got around to finishing the jacket one evening last week, and yesterday I finished off the skirt. 

All along I have loved this suit, but I was quite worried about messing it up, especially in the final steps - which is where I typically mess up. I didn't this time, and I  absolutely love the finished suit. I think it's a really interesting jacket shape - I love that it *makes* a waist, and accentuates shoulders. If I saw this shape of jacket in a shop I would really be drawn to try it on.

It also feels quite an achievement to have made a proper work suit!

The story of the suit - a series of fortunate events
Back in the first week of February this year, first week back at school, saying bye in the playground, I ran into a friend. She was wearing a gorgeous dark grey linen suit with raglan sleeves, a peplum with foldover details and I think also deep pleats in the bodice and skirt. It looked so flattering and unusual that I found myself really wishing I had one like it, to the point of nearly emailing her to ask where she'd bought it. I even went looking in the shops near my office - but I didn't find it. When I realised this Vogue pattern was rather similar I was just delighted.  I ordered the pattern, and popped along to the linen sale at The Fabric Store in Sydney on the off chance. Surprisingly I found a very similar looking fabric (DKNY stretch linen). No excuses left, I got cracking on my copycat suit!

Here's the pattern envelope picture of the V8718 suit jacket and skirt - it's one of those very useful wardrobe builder patterns, so there are also pants, top and dress patterns included.  

Fitting and sewing a suit
I was such a keen bean that I didn't stop to make a muslin or even check measurements - just ploughed ahead with a straight size 14, widened a little at waist and hips. This crazy fast start caused my only real fit issue - I should have made a small bust adjustment and removed a little depth from the front bodice. Otherwise the jacket fits well, albeit with raglan shoulder pads to create shoulders...

Fit seems OK at the back too!
The skirt is pretty straightforward but I made it too large initially, and have had several lots of take-ins on the side seams to get it to fit properly. The pattern has the skirt unlined, but the jacket is fully lined and ends up being quite heavy for a summer jacket so I thought the skirt needed lining so as to be a consistent weight.  I had different recommendations from different people about lining this skirt: one person counselled a stretch lining made the same size, one suggested a regular lining made wider than the skirt (the fabric is quite stretchy) and another said I couldn't possibly make my lining wider than the skirt and that regular lining didn't come with stretch so I should consider using a jersey (!!). In the end I took my own advice and cut and sewed my normal lining fabric a little wider than the skirt.  I then tried it on and wore it for a while around the house with every intention of taking in the lining if it was making the skirt bulge - but I don't think it does, and I don't think you can tell.

Feel free to let me know if you think it is particularly noticeable as it wouldn't be too hard to change, and I'm unlikely to be able to wear this for a while now that we're in winter weather here in Sydney...

Check out these crazy sleeves - the upper sleeve seam line is longer than the lining and is folded and sewn to the lining at strategic points.
There's some hand-sewing on the inside to attach the bodice lining to the peplum - here's a view looking inside the jacket. I used large black snaps, sewn on with top stitching thread (probably unorthodox). I didn't use any of Sherry's RTW tips because I came close to finishing this jacket before starting the RTW sewalong... which I have not yet completed :-(.

If you're on the other side of the globe and contemplating this as a summer suit, I can highly recommend it - so long as you're OK with having more than the usual number of pieces to cut out for the jacket. The pattern is very straightforward and the pieces go together well, and they make a really distinctive suit.


Late Edit:
Audrey mentioned in the comments below that this pattern was an exact copy of an Akris designer jacket, so I went image searching - and sure enough it is! So here's the Akris original in two different colours:

The skirt and pants are quite different from the pattern though.


  1. Love the sleeves on this jacket. It looks very couture. Great choice of fabric. Don't you think that jacket would also look great with jeans and cute ballet flats? Darling!!!!!

    Summer on the other side of the globe? Snicker. The worst spring since I have lived here. It is Northern Queensland tropical WITHOUT the sun, temps and double the rain. Add a tornado twister or two for good measure. And I LOVE Northern Queensland.....and this is every weekend.....arrgghh.

  2. It's gorgeous! You did a beautiful job, and it looks great on you!

  3. Just lovely. I am not a suits person, but yours looks divine. Beautiful fabric.

  4. Thanks Joanne - I had quite a bit of luck in getting the right fabric... yes, I think the jacket will go with other things too! Not summery in your neck of the woods? Heavy rain and tornados aren't summery - hard to argue - but lots of people seem to be blogging about summery frocks! I wonder where they live!

    Thanks Karin, thank you Katherine! I don't own many suits these days as corporate life seems to be getting more casual looking (or maybe that's just my career - oh no!), but this one did appeal to me a lot...

  5. That is a terrific, feminine suit. Love the style lines and the sleeves.

  6. What an amazing suit. It looks so smart but nothing like a uniform.

  7. What a great suit - it looks lovely and the sleeves are wow! I hadn't noticed that aspect from the pattern pic, I thought she had just pushed the sleeves up but they are terrific. Saw your message about the Vogue 1098 jacket - hee hee, we often completely independently alight on the same patterns don't we! There must be a pattern zeitgeist we are both tuned into. I was looking at the pants too so thanks for the thumbs up on that part of the pattern. I've sewn the outside of the jacket without the collar and tried it on and it is a really nice shape(hopefully I won't stuff it up before the end). I'm dubious about the collar though, it seems to look better without and I think I may leave it off. I'll be interested to hear what you think of the collar when you try it on too.

  8. Thank you for your comments! This is definitely a suit I'd recommend - I think the peplum and sleeves give the jacket its feminine style, but it's also really easy to make :-)

  9. Your jacket looks great. I have this pattern and hope to make it soon. The pattern is an exact copy of an Akris designer jacket from summer 2010. I have several pictures of the jacket that I tore from magazines at the time they were published, so I was thrilled to see the patten.


  10. Thanks Audrey - following your tip I went searching for the jacket and found a couple of pictures which I've added to the post. The pattern certainly does look to be an exact copy of that Akris jacket! I hope you do make it soon and expect you'll enjoy it - if you do, it does go together really well but just note that there's no turn of cloth allowance included.

  11. I was actually looking at this pattern today in spotlight!! But i was rummaging around the internet to see if there was any good patterns for suits ...and here you are!!! you did a great job, I think I will go and grab that pattern tomorrow :-) Thank you for your post it was very helpful to me (who also is in Sydney)

  12. Very resourceful! I read your blog and it is brilliant. I went through many articles On Linen Suits but none of them are as good as yours


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