Booth at celebration
Here I am at the’s 10th year celebration. PhillyCAM televises my videos to the Philadelphia community.

The Four-Piece Go-Anywhere Outfit

Had a great time at the @phillycam Anniversary Block Party on Saturday, Oct 23, 2021. Showed everyone how to make no-sew safety-pinned masks. I’m wearing a jacket I copied, a blouse I made from a home-sewing pattern, and pants that I drafted.

The little circular purse I’m wearing was a gift from a young woman I mentored after 911. She bought it in Morocco. I carry my mask and dark glasses in it. I’ve used it so much I recently had to replace its zipper.

White blouse. White lace sewn over blue ribbon conceals the princess seams’ seam allowances, sewn on the outside of the garment.

I selected a home-sewing pattern in my size, then inserted bust darting and rotated it into a princess seam as shown in our video, How to Insert Bust Darting.  I sewed the princess seam  on the outside of the garment. Then covered the princess seams with blue ribbon sewn under see-through lace. Snaps are sewn under the buttons to avoid machine buttonholes and to give the blouse a higher-end look.

The tied roll over the blouse contains the blue jacket’s patterns. The tie is a strip of fabric left from the jacket, used to identify the pattern.

Wore tie-dye pants because I thought they would generate more interest than the outfit’s classic pants.

Wore pants  that I made from tie-dyed fabric, probably bought at an outdoor market while on vacation. I thought the tie-dye pants would be more interesting to our booth’s visitors than the ensemble’s matching pants.

The skirt and pants, cut and sewn months ago, still needed a jacket and blouse to complete the outfit.


Pants and skirt:
The jacket was cut from fabric previously used to make its matching skirt and pants. I buy at least 6 yards of fabric in a basic color from my winter color palette. I then cut and sew a complete set of clothing: jacket, pants, skirt, vest; sometimes I also make a blouse, depending on the fabric. When I get dressed, I charge up the outfit with color, choosing a matching or contrasting blouse, jewelry and/or scarf.

Copied the jacket, then up scaled it with lining.


Blue jacket:

The blue jacket is a copy of a gray jacket I bought several years ago in Boscovs, my favorite department store. The original jacket was inexpensive. It is unlined, and was made quickly on factory overlock machines. Take note, the industry very often uses patterns originally drafted for the high-end market to make inexpensive garments. The pattern was complicated with good reason. It was well-designed.

I up scaled the jacket with lining. The buttons were purchased years ago at the Philadelphia Art Museum at a Elsa Schiaparelli’s show. The buttons are copies of buttons she designed.

Complete information on tailoring a jacket, including how to draft the supporting patterns, is included in my new book, Tailoring a Woman’s Jacket, scheduled to go on the market, hopefully by the end of this year or sooner.

Traced the jacket pattern off a jacket I bought years ago.

Gray jacket:

I copied a gray jacket that I bought years ago. Copying a ready-made garment is fairly easy. It’s done all the time in industry where almost nothing is copy-righted. I laid artists’ tracing paper over first one section and then another, traced off the underlying section (pattern), checked that the pattern’s seams sewed to the corresponding traced pattern’s seams, then added seam allowances. I checked my traced patterns’ fit by sewing up a muslin before drafting the supporting facing and lining patterns.

I’m currently working frantically to finish Copying a Man’s Shirt, which shows how to copy, then correct the patterns from a ready-made garment, and then how to correct the fit. This is the last and final book in my eight-book series that present how the industry drafts and sews. Interested in producing high-end garments? Here is the information you need to obtain a good job in the industry and/or to make clothing so beautiful, no one asks, Did you make it?

Learn how the jacket was cut. Next week, Thursday, November 11 at 7 am, the sequel to this post, 147: Cutting a Jacket, goes live. It shows how to cut high-end garments that last and look great.

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© Laurel Hoffmann, 2021


4 Comments. Leave new

  • Laurel, I am only counting 7 books of which I have 5. These two still to be published make 7. Could you please list the 8 books you mentioned that present how the industry drafts and sews? I purchased 3 back in 2016/2017 when I lived in Alabama on pants/skirts and the one that had the mini top and practice pieces for collars, sleeves, plackets, etc. (can’t remember the title and it’s in storage). Then I purchased the two grading books you published in 2020. Thanks for your informative newsletters.

  • Jeannette Antry
    November 4, 2021 7:24 pm

    Wonderful post and a very fun look into the process of creating a great ensemble that can fit a huge array of events. I don’t believe there are any copyright laws written that would stop a seamstress from copying ready made clothing today.
    I have make a lot of patterns from my clothing and from images of garments I admire and want. That is my go to method for determining what is current, fashionable, and will look great while still being completely custom and fitted for me.
    I make my own patterns from scratch now. And I use the design ideas I see in ready to wear. I am so close to being able to draft and create my own designs.
    You are so talented and have the best smile. Thanks for all your hard work, your great books and loyal support, for so many years. Jnetti

    • With rare exceptions the industry does not copyright their creations. Copyrights are given to original works. Just about any clothing design is similar to other previous designs. A good example is a man’s shirt. How would one copyright something that is just like what is already on the market and has been made for several hundred years? The same is true for just about any garment one can imagine. When it comes to clothing, there is almost nothing new under the sun.


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