Saturday, February 24, 2018

title pic My Jacqueline Kennedy Red Suit Reproduction

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on April 26, 2017


Earlier this year I received a request from one of my readers to recreate the red suit worn by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and portrayed in the new Jackie movie.  I receive requests on a regular basis to recreate various film costumes, but due to my very full schedule I am unable to do so most of the time.  


{On the left is the original, on the right is the movie version. Keep reading to see my version!}

Jacqueline Kennedy is one of my favorite First Ladies, and her red wool Oleg Cassini suit which she wore for the televised White House tour was just impeccable.  So when one of my blog readers asked me to sew this iconic First Lady’s outfit for a school project she was doing, I knew I just had to fit it into my schedule!


The sketch above is the original that Mr. Cassini drew for the First Lady.  It’s worth noting that this sketch features a red pillbox hat, but I don’t believe we ever saw Mrs. Kennedy in that red hat while wearing this same outfit.  You can see in the sketch that it has a rather unusual crossover hem at the bottom of the jacket, and the skirt is either a wrap-around or mock wrap-around style.  The jacket also has a standing boatneck collar which was a gorgeous frame for Jackie’s pearl necklace.

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Since creating the pattern entirely from scratch and doing mock-ups would be a significant undertaking, Caitlyn and I decided that I would make something inspired by the original design, but not a total replica.  We chose the materials and fabric, and when they arrived at my house I fell in love with the red wool suiting…  It was such high quality that I wanted to sew the whole suit right there and then!  (Years ago I worked at a high-end fabric store, so I’ve handled thousands of fabrics – this one was special!)

But the more I worked with the fabric, the more I knew I needed to ditch this 1960s pattern on my sewing desk and create the outfit from scratch.  It was an exciting challenge as there wasn’t time to create a mock-up version for the out-of-state customer to wear, so the first version had to fit perfectly and come out looking like the original.  I emailed Caitlyn and told her I was upgrading her outfit, and she was all for it!

I spent several evenings drafting and perfecting the pattern pieces for the jacket – (the straighter skirt had been sewn prior to my realization that I needed to go “all in”), and I sewed the lining first to see how the design would look in fabric.  It went up on the mannequin and it looked nearly identical to the original.  

So after pre-shrinking the wool, I cut out the jacket pieces and sewed the remainder of the outfit.  The jacket was fully lined, and I attached large red buttons as close as I could find to those used in the movie.  The buttons are more decorative than functional, so I closed the front opening with sturdy gold snaps to avoid enormous buttonholes down the front.


When the outfit was finished, I was thrilled and a little sad at the same time – I was elated to have it all wrapped up and ready to go, but I’m not used to parting with my costumes. 😉  I took lots of pictures so I could remember what the inside of it looked.  The material was a joy to work with and I was so happy with how it turned out!


Caitlyn emailed me a few days later informing me that the package had arrived and it fit her perfectly. (Happy dance!)  And she looked fabulous in it!  She gave her high school living history presentation in full “Jackie” costume, right down to the triple strand of pearls and the 1960s hairdo.  Her teacher told her that she had the best costume there, and I’ll bet she gave the best presentation, too!  She’s graciously allowed me to share these pictures of her here on my blog.  



So there’s my latest project!  I hope you’ve enjoyed it!  You can see my other Jacqueline Kennedy reproduction (which I wore several years ago at the White House) here


And now, I’m off to a wedding this weekend, where the bride (my sister-in-law) will be wearing a wedding dress I sewed for her…  You can be sure I will share pictures!

Happy sewing!


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