A few years ago I created a couple commissioned pieces for a Lady Gaga impersonator, and whilst I am sure I shall write about the more unusual pieces (the be-tentacled, PVC octopus number was thrilling and punishing in equal measure!), this Tailored Gold Applique Jacket was my favourite.
Tailoring a Jacket is always a complete joy... no, I'm not mad!... and this was created from a heavenly Duchess Satin- not silk but hey, you can't have everything on a limited budget! I love Duchess Satin because it just behaves itself in a way other fabrics simply refuse to, and it feels heavenly, faux or no.
The pattern was drafted according to my clients measurements, then I overlayed pattern paper on top of the pattern and drafted the applique pieces. I looked closely at the Lady Gaga original however; I simplified and adapted the design slightly so it wasn't an exact replica (don't wanna offend those lawyers, yo!).
The appliques' I cut from a Gold Lame, which wasn't too brassy, then backed with a fusible interfacing so it wouldn't fray too much. Gold Lame can be hideous like that. After carefully pinning each applique carefully on to the cut out pieces of Duchess Satin, I closely zig-zagged around the edge of each one so it would stay in place. I then set my Pfaff to a mid-size, very close Satin Stitch and went and the edges again. Finally, on the Gold Lame but exactly next to the Satin Stitch edge I stitched a small-ish straight stitch. This helped 'bed' everything in and created a line between the Lame and stitching, which in turn created a nice stitched border.
Once the applique was finished- which from memory took approx. 12 hours in total- it was time to make up the jacket, which was tailored by machine, not by hand as is tradition. Zig-zagging the Pad Stitching by machine is an incredible effective and quick way to create the Pad Stitching needed to assist the curve and shaping of the Collar.
This is a technique I learnt whilst training in the U.S., and proves very useful for Commissions like this where there isn't the time to tailor by hand. We used a book called Classic Tailoring Techniques - which I still have, and use- in the Costume Shop and I would strongly recommend.
It's a manual of Tailoring and takes you through every aspect of tailoring a jacket. A must have if you want to learn.
Using Horsehair Interfacing, and edging the Seam Allowance and Roll Line with Cotton Tape to ensure a sharp Collar edge when turned out, the underside of the lapel and collar were zig-zagged and steamed to 'roll' along the line of the Cotton Tape. This method is quick and accurate, but reduces the time needed to create a Tailored Jacket by a good day or so.
Once Tailored, I sewed up and attached the lining, finishing the Jacket.
Lastly, for this glorious little piece, was the hotfix crystals it needed scattered across the Gold Appliques...
I really did love making this commission, the finished look evoked the Lady Gaga original very closely.
As ever, I had a strict budget to stick to whilst creating this. I quoted £650, and I managed to create it for this price, just about. With anything as unique as this the money is spent on time- perfectly cutting out the appliques, painstakingly Satin Stitching them on, embellishing with Crystals... the list is endless however; this price would not have been attainable with out Quick Tailoring the Jacket.
I think she turned out beautifully, and she cut quite the dash on stage!
x Laura x