Thursday, May 26, 2011


Who doesn't think of Lauren Bacall in the 1944 film To Have and Have Not when thinking of a classic 1940's houndstooth suit. 

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
To Have and Have Not, 1944

Houndstooth is a variation of a simple check pattern that uses the twill weave to produce a special effect.  It comes in many color combinations but the classic is black and white.  I love the use of an unexpected color such as jade green with the black and white check.

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This is a prototype of a circa mid-forties suit that is based on a Simplicity pattern.  I didn't like the fit of the original pattern so I started from scratch and drafted a new pattern to get the look and fit I was going for.  This pattern will eventually be used for a striped suit.  I decided to use some left over jade wool crepe fabric from another project and combined it with the black and white houndstooth crepe fabric.  This style jacket often closed at the waist with either a simple button or with self-fabric ties.  In this case I used a vintage button as the closure.

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Underneath the jacket is a linen dickey which were popular in the forties, and a great way to eliminate bulk.  The embroidery on the front of the dickey is actually from a vintage lace piece that a friend gave me.  Of course every great 40's suit must have a matching topper.  This one is made from Ultrasuede and banded with the black and white houndstooth crepe.  The velveteen bow and veiling are from a vintage hat.  The black and white Ultrasuede gloves are reversible.

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Integrity's Silhouette of the Fifties Ivy Jordan is my model/muse.  She is my favorite fit model as she looks great in any era!  The purse is borrowed from an OOAK ensemble for Barbie doll, and the shoes are from Integrity's Gene Marshall collection.

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Houndstooth is not just for clothing.  It also looks great in accessories.  This 1940's tilt topper is a great example.  From my private collection.

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