Sunday, November 24, 2013

Back From Italy - And The Tippi Hedren Suit Obsession Continues

The Carpenter and I returned from our pilgrimage to Italy after ten days and what a glorious trip it was!  Above is the first photo I took in Italy - our view from our hotel room in Assisi when we awoke.  I would go back to Assisi in a heartbeat - wonderful views, small town, excellent food.  

There was Florence as well, but the majority of our time was spent in Rome:

The trip was a guided tour with members of our parish and our priest attending.  Mass was said everyday in amazing venues - St. Peters (!), the Catacombs, Santa Croce just to name a few.  

Of course, not all of my time was spent looking at amazing art and learning history - we ate gelato too. Lots and lots of gelato.  I mean A LOT of gelato:  

I guess I'm lucky I only gained one pound on the trip and the tour included 5 to 7 hours of walking every day.  : )

But my obsession with the suit Tippi Hedren wore in the "The Birds" was uninterrupted.  Before I left on the trip, I trolled Etsy for vintage patterns that could work for the jacket portion of her outfit.  I order this Butterick pattern from 1962 or 1963, which could form the basis for the jacket:

The film came out in 1963, so the above pattern really does represent the style of the suit and the times.  The shape, the collar, and the three quarter sleeves are exactly like the costume, although Tippi Hedren's version had cuffs on the sleeves, patch pockets that went all the way to the bottom hem of the jacket, and the collar wasn't in a contrast fabric - all changes I could make.  And of course, she wore it with a dress rather than a skirt and "overblouse" (as it is described in the pattern instructions).

When I got home the pattern was waiting for me, along with some fabric I ordered from Fabric Mart that was on sale that I thought might work:

The fabric on the right is a wool tweed blend, in a greenish color, and the fabric on the left is a rayon checked suiting fabric that could work for the contrast collar or blouse if I choose to go that route. 

But green tweed wool was still on my mind as I traveled the Land of Gelato and Beautiful Art.  Once I reached Rome, our tour guide gave me the name and location of the fabric store her mother frequents and I was instructed to mention Signora Gotti's name for the discount.  I entered Fratelli Bassetti Tessuit on Corso Vittorio Emanuele street and I can only describe it as the catacombs of fabric.  Bolts and bolts of fabric were stacked upon each other, from room to room to room.  (Click on the link above and you can see from the photos what I am talking about.)  

It is a place where I can become easily overwhelmed; I had to concentrate in order to avoid losing my mind.  The silks, the Liberty lawns, the wools; they were all calling to me like the Sirens of Greek myth.  I quickly saw a beautiful bolt of heathered green tweed wool.  I petted it a bit, and below it I saw another bolt of blue wool tweed.  I couldn't decide, but then someone who didn't speak English wanted to help me, so I pointed to the green on impulse.  

It was expensive, even with the Signora Gotti discount.  It turned out to be 80% wool and 20% cashmere, and I had to have it, so I got three meters:

 The top photo shows more of the true color; the bottom photo shows the beautiful sheen.  Unfortunately, the photo cannot demonstrate the incredibly soft hand of this stuff - you'll just have to take my word for it that it is fabulous.

So now I am in a quandary as to what to do with it.  On the one hand, it would be beautiful for the Tippi Hedren suit project - I like this wool more than the Fabric Mart tweed, and I could use the Fabric Mart tweed as my muslin jacket - but on the other hand, it seems this fabric needs a more fabulous design, like a jacket with interesting details that I could wear with jeans or as a suit. Like Hot Patterns Mandalay jacket.  I've never sewn a Hot Patterns design; anyone have any opinion on the fit and quality of drafting??????

So now I'm happily surfing the interwebs for the perfect jacket pattern.  Who knows what I will ultimately decide; searching is half the fun!

The weather wasn't cold enough to wear my new Butterick Coat before I left for Italy but it sure was today.  It had its inaugural wearing today when I went to Mass in the morning and for a walk in the afternoon.  It was warm as toast, and making the pockets in the camelhair wool, rather than the lining fabric, was definitely the right call.  My hands stayed nice and toasty without gloves during our afternoon walk.

I wore it with my new cameo pin I got in Rome.  Here it is on my lapel:

Happy sewing, y'all!

1 comment:

Vicki W said...

Glad you had a great trip! I think you must make the suit with the fabric. That's what you bought it for and it will be beautiful!