A Retro 1950’s Raw Silk Suit

Hey there, friends! I’m back again with another outfit — this time a three-piecer!

raw silk suit 1

This is the next stop on the Blue Ginger Doll Betsy and Ava blog tour!

First off, sorry I am a bit late in the day with my post!  I just got over a horrible case of strep throat and have only been feeling better the last few days.  Unfortunately, that setback put me behind in my sewing plans and I was still hand sewing the lining on the jacket and finishing up my blouse yesterday.  Not to mention that I just took these photos this morning….. not an easy feat wearing a black silk suit when it is already 94 degrees (F) outside!  So sorry if there are no pics of the “insides” as I normally do….

raw silk suit 2

This is the beautiful Ava jacket pattern that I was so fortunate to pattern test.  It’s reminiscent of a bygone era and goes perfectly with a curve hugging pencil skirt like the Betsy.

[source: BlueGingerDoll]

I have some retro suits on my sewing list and felt that these two patterns were perfect to fit that need.  Both my Ava and Betsy are made of a black raw silk suiting I snatched from Fabric Mart last year for about $2.99/yd (what a steal!).  Although the fabric is beautiful, it is a pain is the arse to work with.  It has a very loose weave and I had to serge all of the edges before I even started sewing it up as it starts fraying as soon as you cut it.  It leaves little bits and pieces all over and I had to clean my cutting table and my machines (not to mention have my husband blow out my serger with an air compressor) after cutting and serging this fabric.  No wonder why it was so cheap! It’s a b*tch to work with!  I have only worked with one fabric as of yet that was as much of a bother as this one, and that was a white kind of wooly looking fabric that I used to make a sheep costume for Guinness.   That being said, I am very happy with the end result, but I definitely will not be clamoring to sew with a similar fabric again!

raw silk suit 3

My Ava is a size 22 and is lined with a gunmetal gray china silk.  It is so luscious and pairs perfectly with the black silk.  Unfortunately, you will have to take my word for it as it seems that I did not show it to you!!!

raw silk suit 4

My sleeves look a bit longer than the Ava promo photos. I’m guessing that that’s due to the fact that I doubled up the cuffs.  I already have a similar jacket (a velveteen capelet) with the shorter sleeves, so I made these a little longer.  Apparently, I never posted that capelet over here and only on We Sew Retro!  That capelet is a 1950 design and has some similarities to the Ava jacket.

raw silk suit back

raw silk suit 5

You may have also noticed that my Betsy is a bit shorter than the pattern.  I wasn’t really going for a mini, it’s just that I did not have enough fabric to make the longer length, so I made due with a shorter version of this fabulous pencil skirt pattern.  This is a size 24 in version three with the back kick pleat and I was still able to keep a bit of it.

raw silk suit 6

This raw silk is a wee bit sheer, so I underlined the Betsy with a black nylon lining.  I would have used the same china silk as my jacket, but I sadly didn’t have enough in my stash.  I wish I would have opted to line it rather than underline as the fluidity of the raw silk and the slippery fabric of the lining leaves the skirt to be bunched up a little sometimes as the skirt moves with me.  If I had lined it, I would not have that issue.  Having not sewn a kick pleat before, I wasn’t sure how to do that with the lining, which is the main reason why I underlined it.

raw silk suit 7

And as I like to sew outfits rather than just individual pieces, I also made this Blue Ginger Doll Mae blouse!

My Mae is made from a taupe-ish polka dot J Crew cotton lawn.  I purchased this fabric from Fabric Mart last year.  It was a Julie’s Picks Club fabric and it has been sitting in my stash ever since waiting to be made into a blouse. I think it pairs perfectly with the Betsy!  I graded up the Mae to a 22/24.

raw silk suit 8

And don’t you just love my audience?  I just wish they knew how to operate a camera and then I wouldn’t have to use a tripod and timer to take my photos!

dog audience

Doc and Rollie

I swear that Rollie is not relieving himself behind me!

I swear that Rollie is not relieving himself behind me!

Thank you so much, Abby, for providing me with these beautiful patterns! I’m definitely a fan!

Be sure to check out these lovely ladies and their gorgeous makes!

29th May – Tanya at MrsHughes – ( Betsy)
1st June – Liz at Sewn by Elizabeth - ( Betsy & Ava as well as a little interview with me.)
2nd June  – T at uandmii ( Betsy)
3rd June  – Mary at YoungBroke&Fabulous
4th June – Mary at Idle Fancy
5th June – Andrea at foursquarewalls
6th June– Tanya at MrsHughes – (Ava) 

7th June – Melissa at Scavenger hunt 
8th June –  T at uandmii ( Ava)

Happy sewing!

signature 2

  • Jacket:  Blue Ginger Doll Ava in black raw silk suiting, made by me
  • Blouse:  Blue Ginger Doll Mae in J Crew taupe polka dot cotton lawn, made by me
  • Skirt:  Blue Ginger Doll Betsy in black raw silk suiting, made by me
  • Shoes:  Nine West
  • Necklace & Earrings:  Gift from my mom
  • Initial Pin:  Hobby Lobby
  • Nail Polish:  OPI “Gargantuan Green Grape”


  1. says

    You look so sophisticated in this Tanya!
    Pencil skirts are not something I’ve ever wanted to wear, but seeing you in one gives me inspiration – maybe I could try one too. Thanks for making me think outside the box!

  2. says

    What a cute and versatile set! I bought the jacket pattern as soon as it came out but wasn’t sure about the skirt, now that I’ve seen it on a couple of stylish ladies I think I need to go pick it up as well. I love the suit idea!

  3. says

    Fabulous suit. Totally worth persevering with a tricksy fabric for such a great result. And I think the shorter skirt really balances the overall silhouette well.

  4. Naomi says

    This is absolutely stunning! And I love that you made an entire outfit of it. The Mae blouse goes beautifully with the rest of ensemble!

  5. gmariesews says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’ve been stalking your blog all day for this. I love that you included the sizes you made. I see a peek of the grey lining. It’s a fabulously wonderful retro suit and you are totally rockin’ it! g

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