Peggy's suit is definitely one of the most distinctive pieces, and no, it isn't just a blue suit off the rack, sadly. It is clearly modeled on 1940s styled suits, with a longer length to the jacket and the A-line skirt.
|Photo by George Germaine|
Finding a reasonable pattern for this turned out to be quite easy. I used the Simplicity 3688 pattern as a base as it was already 40's in style. Although the piecing of the jacket was wrong, it gave me a good basis to start from. Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for a reasonable pattern this is actually quite a good basis to start from, but the suit I wore is certainly not a direct copy from the Simplicity 3688 pattern. The silhouette lines are right, and the pattern is easy to follow and if there's a better one out there to base a 40's outfit on that isn't from the time period, I haven't found it. But there were things that just weren't quite identical to Peggy.
One of the more difficult parts to get right for Peggy's suit is that it is not just one colour. A lot of cosplays out there just use a blue suit, and that's fine, but wasn't fine enough for me. You can see the different colours in the photos, and the designer talks about it in an interview, so I knew I wanted to make sure to have that detail in there. I had found a perfect blue rayon crepe for the suit/skirt, but finding additional blues that worked turned out to be a huge hassle (see previous posts on how dire Dublin's fabric selection is), so I settled on dying for my extra color.
To get the three colours in the jacket, I first had to find a polyester dye as none of the local shops had any. I did both colours in the same dye bath, just leaving half the fabric in twice as long as the other. The difference between the two secondary colours is not drastic, but I was happy it worked out at all. They probably used different fabrics in the show, but that just wasn't happening for me, so dye it was. Actually, I'm pretty happy with these results and it meant I had the same hand in the fabric, so it all came together nicely.
The jacket needed a lot more alterations than the skirt. The piecing had to be changed, the flare of the collar was wrong and needed broadening, and I had to get in the spaces for the three different colours.
|Jacket bodice from patterning to lined.|
I made the mockup, changed the lines, made a new mockup, change the lines again, and eventually got a pattern. I think I ended up sewing the jacket together 5 times in various versions of mockups before I was happy with the seam lines, collar, and silhouette. Fortunately, I didn't do this in the fashion fabric until I had the pattern right or else there would have been tears.
|Various process shots working towards the underlining.|
Then it was mostly a matter of construction. I also went to the trouble of underlining the jacket. This gives the jacket a lot more structure than if I'd just used the fashion fabric. It ended up being a lot of painstaking hand sewing, but it was definitely worth it when you feel the heft and weight of the jacket. It also sits better with the extra fabrics in it and I could attach the interfacing to the underlining instead of the crepe, which meant it kept its beautiful look.
|All the underlining ever....|
|Adding horsehair braid to the skirt.|
I chose not to underline the skirt, as I loved the hand of the fabric and wanted its swish, but I did give it a lining so there was no chance of it being see-through. The one thing I did do differently was add in horsehair braid on the lining of the skirt. I thought about putting it on the fashion fabric and decided against it, which I think was the right call. This way the lining acts as a mini-petticoat and gave the skirt a much fuller and poofier end than otherwise.
|I might have been a tad excited putting it on. Excuse the mess.|
|Photo by George Germaine|