Charcoal and Cream

I knew I wanted to make something in the black and white family for our Fall 2011 collection, “Coherent”; and I wanted something with a bit of an old-world flair. I’m always very inspired by garments of the past, and several of the other pieces I’d already designed felt… well, not exactly vintage, or even period, but there was a very real sense of the days gone by that was holding them together.

One day while I was flipping through my book of images from Sears’ catalogs of the 50’s, I spotted a charming little jumper. It had two rows of buttons down the front, an angled waistline, and a gathered skirt. I was enchanted. I could tell immediately that it would fit right in to the collection. While I eventually scrapped the buttons, I kept the waistline (it angles all the way around from front to back) and added straps that crossed in the back.

Then, because you can’t wear a jumper by itself, Melody suggested a blouse with plenty of softness and a large, drapey collar. We added elbow-length sleeves with a bit of pouf and voila! There it was. All we had to do was tie a little tie around the neckline. It suddenly looked classy, old-world, and just a little preppy. Huzzah!

I was also quite pleased, technically speaking, with how the jumper came out. For ease of construction, as well as for a great finish, I wanted to line it; but since the wool was already a bit stiff, I knew it’d have to be a very lightweight lining. Otherwise the jumper would be so stiff it’d practically stand up by itself and refuse to move at all!

Imagine, then, my delight at finding an extremely lightweight cotton chambray — it’s a beautiful color, and very flexible without being cheapy or overly thin. Needless to say, I didn’t waste any time in putting them together. The finished jumper has just the right amout of body and stability. Not too stiff, not too floppy.

Old world-charm, meet new-world doll.

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