Monday, February 3, 2014

Balenciaga Suit with Cape

When I first saw this outfit, I knew it was one that I wanted to make.  I started working on it last year, and took a few outfits to sell at the "Every Days a Holiday" convention in August.

Balenciaga 1950

 One of my favorite photos ever.

This photo shows the detail of this suit and cape very well.  I love this fabric, I have no idea what kind of fabric this is, though I am guessing it is silk (according to the book this photo came from, it is figured satin).  There is no way I was going to find this beautiful fabric in the stores around here.

This was my first attempt.  I used a jacquard that gave me a nice texture.

Figuring out how the front of the jacket looked under the cape was a challenge.  The collar is centered, but then the buttons go asymmetrical.

I had to guesstimate, and this is what I came up with.

I wasn't completely happy about how my first capes turned out, so I redesigned it.  I probably made 10 or more capes out of muslin to finally get something that looked more like the real design.

For the first cape, I made a fringe-like trim because there was no way I was going to make all those tassels by hand.

Here is the final version of the cape.  I was able to make several pleats in it like the real cape.  I still don't feel like it is perfect, but sometimes one has to accept that not everything can be replicated exactly in miniature.  There is always the issue of bulk, and getting the little lapels and collar to fold over the pleats in the cape was a challenge.

The most time consuming thing about this cape is the miniature tassels.  One morning I woke up obsessing about how to make miniature tassels.  I grabbed my phone on my nightstand and Googled "How to Make Miniature Tassels" and a miracle happened!  I found a blog and a link to buy Judee's TasselMaker!  I jumped out of bed and ordered myself one.  I was able to make 6 tassels at a time and after I got the hang of it, they were not that hard to make.  

I lightened this photo to show the details better.  Each cape has 27-29 tassels, and I made 9 capes.  You do the math, and yes I do know I am nuts.

The other recent purchase that I am excited about is this column.  I have wanted a column for a long time.  I found this one at Hobby Lobby.  It is very large, so I am pretending that she is doing a photo session at a building with massive columns.

To purchase this pattern click here.