Saving the planet... one garment at a time!

... and one upcycle at a time... Welcome to my blog: A place to have an "over the fence conversation" about sewing, altered couture, upcycling, and all kinds of crafts using found objects, beads, ephemera and other vintage finds!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Lessons From the Past - Suit Salvage!

So, one of my birthday presents to myself was Make and Mend for Victory which was published in 1942 by the Spool Cotton Company.  Chapter 5a deals with converting a men's suit to a woman's suit!  If you've ever been confusied about turning one garment into another, this chapter is for you.

In the chapter, old men's suits were converted to women's suits using three contemporary patterns of the day, Hollywood 949, Advance 2997, and Vogue 9137.  Prior to thinking about the pattern or the layout, one needs to acquire an old men's suit, too worn for daily wear, as is, but in goo enough condition to warrent a restyle.  For instance, severely worn cuffs on sleeves and pants might make the suit look too tacky for your man to wear, but if the main of the suit is in good condition, you're in business!  What?  Your man doesn't wear suits?  No problem!  Head on down to your thrift store and look for a larger sized men's suit.  These can often be had for a few dollars, when the wool suiting would cost scads if new!

Next, clean the suit in whatever manner you plan to use for your finished garment.  This will assure pre-shrinking, as well as give you nice clean fabric to work with.

Next, become best friends with your seam ripper and take the entire garment apart.  Save those buttons, and any detailing you think you can use.  Press all of the pieces flat for a proper layout.  Your pattern is laid out on the pieces as in this example (using Hollywood 949):

As you can see, the women's pattern fits into the pieces salvaged from the man's suit!  The sew your pattern as you normally would, you Goddess of Ecological Reuse!

Linked to:  Frugally Sustainable, The Thrifty Home


  1. I've always loved this idea! Maybe someday I'll get around to trying it.

  2. I've tailored bigger sized women's suits down to my size, but I haven't yet tried using a man's suit and completely deconstructing it to make myself a "new" suit made specific to my figure. As mentioned in other posts/blogs, maybe also yours, if the thrift store garment is musty, remember to use sachets filled with kitty litter and baking soda to get rid of the nasty, offending odor. Look forward to your next installation on the suit progress.

  3. OMG! I found this same book while cleaning out my mother's sewing room two years ago. My grandmother never threw out anything!! I haven't tried any of the projects yet. I'm hoping to use it as a resource to write an article about sewing through the years. Maybe I'll dig it out and do a project for a first hand reference.

  4. Oh my! This is so neat...I got to try this! I discovered you on The Thrifty Home and I'm now following; I would appreciate it if you could follow back. Thanks

  5. What a lovely birthday present, I also have this book, it's a great resource for 'make do and mend' I look forward to your posts as you make your suit from a man's suit.