Nettie Bodysuit and Silk Jacquard Skirt

28 Oct Nettie Bodysuit and Silk Jacquard Skirt

Pardon the cliche, but it’s true…..

IMG_0066  everything old is new again 😉

I wore the tea length silhouette for many years especially during the 80s and 90s
 – however I haven’t worn a bodysuit in nearly 40 years!

IMG_0043 2

Once again I was inspired by a photo from the Oscar de la Renta RTW collection.



The ODLR look features a merino wool sweater with corded lace bell cuffs and a gathered silk jacquard skirt.  Searching for a top pattern led me to the Nettie bodysuit by Closet Case Patterns.


I really like the pattern featuring two necklines and three back variations, but how I wish I had made the modest bateau neckline! I selected the scoop back which fits exceptionally well,IMG_0057
but combined with the front, I’m showing a little more skin than I expected.IMG_0062
I altered the sleeve to a 3/4 length and created the bell cuffs using leftover lace from an dress I sewed in 2013 (blogged here). The bodysuit fabric is a navy ribbed knit leftover from a dress I made this summer (blogged here).

Adding the cuffs was incredibly easy to do:

  1. cut a 7″ piece of lace 3-4″ larger than the circumference of the sleeve
  2. cut along a scallop if needed. My lace did not have a scalloped edge so I made one by cutting along the bottom of a floral design within the lace.
  3. sew  the edges right sides  together
  4. finished one raw edge before turning under 1 1/2″
  5. gather 1″ from the finished edge
  6. attach to sleeve (I did this by hand)


The Nettie’s snap crotch is a convenient feature – and worth taking the time to sew.

My only change to the pattern was omitting the bias neckband. My fabric was too bulky and I turned under the edge on the necklines stitched and trimmed closely to the stitching. ( leading to the very open neckline)


Unlike Oscar de la Renta’s fully gathered skirt, my skirt is an A-line and lined with a navy china silk. A gathered skirt would have produced a softer edge around the hem along with extra inches around my waist. It was a trade-off and I went for the smaller waist.

I used New Look 6492 for the skirt,newlook-skirt-overlay-pattern-6492-envelope-front  and once again finished the waistline with Petersham ribbon – the preferred Susan Khalje method.

  1.  Stitch skirt and lining at waistline wrong sides together
  2. Cut ribbon the same size as garment plus 2 inches
  3. Stitch ribbon to right side of skirt in a 1/2 inch seam
  4. Understitch, trim seam and turn ribbon to the inside of skirt.
  5. Turn ends under ribbon and handstitch ribbon to  lining.

My friend Ruth, gave me the beautiful silk jacquard fabric. I was unable to match the pattern on the back of the skirt which was frustrating. The sides are fine, IMG_0069 2but the back refused to cooperate no matter ……. even when I thought it was matched……….

IMG_0057 3

At least I don’t have to see it, but then again, people could be talking behind my back 😉

IMG_0071 2

Motto of this post: Tis better to have sewed and erred than never to have sewed at all……………

Lots of little things I would have done differently, but what would I have accomplished by letting these fabrics and patterns remain in the stash?

Happy Saturday to all!

  • Jennifer Mead
    Posted at 09:42h, 28 October Reply

    I just love this outfit! I am so happy I found your blog! I am trying to get back into garment sewing, and you are helping move along with some wonderful inspiration. Do you use the wobble stich or a narrow zig-zag stitch when you are sewing with knit? Also, what type of needle did you use for the skirt? Thank you again, this is a lovely outfit!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:45h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Jennifer!
      Coats and Clark manufactures a stretch thread – Eloflex – which allows you to sew knits with a straight stitch.
      I prefer Microtex needles for silks.
      Good luck with your return to sewing 🙂

  • Gail M.
    Posted at 09:53h, 28 October Reply

    Hello Sarah. This is one of the most inspirational posts, not only for the gorgeous outfit you created (which is right up my alley!), but also for your creative process. The skirt fabric is stellar. The outfit is both classic and on trend at the same time! Oh, and those charming shoes? Are they suede or velvet (which is popping up everywhere nowadays)? So, so nice!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:47h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you so much for your nice response, Gail! The shoes are actually cork!

  • Rianna brown
    Posted at 10:08h, 28 October Reply

    Honest post… it! Despite all, you still look lovely!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:49h, 29 October Reply

      LOL – it’s definitely honest! Many thanks, Rianna 😉

  • Heather Myers
    Posted at 10:46h, 28 October Reply

    Thanks for this creative post! Looks great, comfortable, lovely while a bit casual — and inspires me to continue to use stash fabrics. ;-)) Yours are the only flattering bell sleeves I think I’ve seen– maybe because they are lower?? Thanks!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 07:55h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Heather! Maybe you like the combination of textures on the sleeves or the fitted sleeve and delicate poof…….
      My intention was to create an outfit that bridges casual to dressy and am delighted to know it comes across as such to you 🙂

  • Jacqueline Harris
    Posted at 10:54h, 28 October Reply

    NIce work Sarah… Looks fab! Personally, I love the drama of an open back taken into a day look, and it looks great on you too. As to the matching of the jacquard, I can relate…I am currently working a shift dress with princess seams onto a Black Watch tartan fabric – lots of time and work to match and mirror things up!
    Love the quote you provided: “Tis better to have sewed and erred than never to have sewed at all……………”
    Even though we have instructions to make the garments we choose to make, there are still issues and situations that fall into that “problem solving” category, and sometimes the solutions we find have us realize that we could have done things differently, but the great thing is that this acquired knowledge gets carried forth into future projects, which is where the value is in having such experiences.!
    Thanks for sharing your work and experiences!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:01h, 29 October Reply

      So true, Jacqueline ~ Problem solving can be challenging and tiring, but with perseverance that acquired knowledge is unique and invaluable, Many thanks for sharing your insight 🙂

  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 11:21h, 28 October Reply

    Just lovely. Thanks for sharing your motto of it’s better to have sewn and erred than never to have sewn at all. I hear a project calling me!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:09h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Bernadette! While I wasn’t 100% certain about this project I had to asked myself whether I should have sewn it…… 😉

  • PsychicSewerKathleen
    Posted at 11:28h, 28 October Reply

    My favourite blog posts always point to the inspiration by a designer they like and what they made to emulate it – your post was delicious 🙂 I loved your inspiration to your completed garment. I’m a huge fan of Closet Case files patterns – I just finished making 2 Ebony’s a love them 🙂

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:10h, 29 October Reply

      Many thanks, Kathleen! This is my 2nd Closet Case pattern- great patterns so far 🙂

  • Lauren Loughlin
    Posted at 11:42h, 28 October Reply

    I love your new outfit. I want a similar skirt, but will likely make it a bit shorter. I don’t know how tall you are, but I am only 5′ 4″ and when I have dresses/skirts that are longer, I feel like I am all skirt! I could always make a petite version.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:12h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Lauren! I am 5’2″, and I think it’s all about balance and proportion. I like this length skirt with a close fitting top, but as I said I haven’t worn this length in years so I might do some experimenting 🙂

  • Carolyn Woods
    Posted at 11:51h, 28 October Reply

    I really like that skirt length on you!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:13h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Carolyn! It’s been a while since I’ve worn this length, but I like it too 😉

  • Carolyn
    Posted at 12:15h, 28 October Reply

    The outfit is gorgeous and a perfect replication of the Oscar de la Renta garment. Also no one will ever notice that your pattern doesn’t match on your skirt because it doesn’t match on much RTW. Beautiful outfit!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:14h, 29 October Reply

      Hi Carolyn!
      So nice to hear from you :). I know most RTW garments don’t care about matching prints, but I’m SURE Oscar de la Renta does!!

  • Paceda Petrone
    Posted at 12:17h, 28 October Reply

    The last sentence of this blog post really hit home for me. Why am I saving beautiful fabric? Thanks for the inspiration!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:16h, 29 October Reply

      I once saved a piece of fabric for 17 years because I was afraid to cut it……. I’m glad I waited on that particular piece but I believe in enjoying the things we buy such as china and fabric 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment Paceda!

  • Paula LH
    Posted at 12:37h, 28 October Reply

    What a beautiful outfit! It’s been so long that I had begun to think tea length was gone for good. In fact I just had my last longer dress shortened to knee length this past week.

    I love the way you captured the idea but added your own original twist.

    Now I am eyeing a beautiful lightweight wool jacquard fabric in my own stash. I’ve been wondering what to do with it for about ten years. Starting to get a glimmer. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:23h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Paula! I shortened a few things this summer too and will continue to try and update old RTW when possible. It’s interesting, I’ve discovered the return of longer lengths don’t necessarily mean my longer clothes from years ago are stylish now. I’ll continue to update from here to eternity 😉

  • Christine Johnson
    Posted at 12:42h, 28 October Reply

    Gorgeous inspiration outfit! Now for that back seam: It’s a fetching design feature, not a mismatched seam!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:31h, 29 October Reply

      Many thanks, Christine! …… ‘a fetching design feature?’ 🙂

  • Maggie ecger
    Posted at 14:11h, 28 October Reply

    Very high class looking!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:32h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Maggie!!

  • Pat Leonardi
    Posted at 15:28h, 28 October Reply

    The only thing they will be saying behind your back is “what a beautiful outfit.”

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:33h, 29 October Reply

      Very sweet, Pat! Many thanks for the vote of confidence 🙂

  • Sandy
    Posted at 15:42h, 28 October Reply

    I think the skirt is lovely. It will definitely catch attention, not because of the mismatch but because it is so pretty!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:44h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Sandy!

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 15:54h, 28 October Reply

    Hurray for the bodysuit!! I still have an old Burda bodysuit pattern I’ve used as a t- shirt pattern for years for the outstanding shoulder fit. Seeing your bodysuit I might just make the full version.
    Yours looks great and at the same time I agree the higher neckline in front would be more comfortable.
    I love the skirt fabric and who cares if the back seam doesn’t match? Suppose you could have cut the back on the fold and used a side zip. But I’ll bet only s few picky Aerostar will notice that.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:46h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Alice – and of course …….. I should have cut the back on the fold and used a side seam 😬

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 15:56h, 28 October Reply

    Autocorrect is so frustrating!!!

  • Nova
    Posted at 16:39h, 28 October Reply

    Love your attitude – no one knows if we were aiming for a totally different result unless we tell them! And if you feel too self-conscious, a pretty light weight wrap would easily do the trick. As it is, perhaps an elegant look for date-night in a candle lit restaurant. Then the only opinion that really counts is your husband’s!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:47h, 29 October Reply

      Oh my husband’s going to love this comment, Nova!!!

  • Deborah Penner
    Posted at 16:55h, 28 October Reply

    Love this! Thanks for the suggestion for a body suit pattern. I have a few vintage bodysuit patterns but this on looks like a good one for fit.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:47h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Deborah! The fit is excellent 🙂

  • susan gill
    Posted at 17:39h, 28 October Reply

    really striking

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:48h, 29 October Reply

      Many thanks, Susan 🙂

  • Joyjc
    Posted at 17:49h, 28 October Reply

    The entire outfit looks great. Now you have me thinking of how to match all three seams🤔. Be that as it may, your look is totally gorgeous. I am a fan of multiple dress lengths (although not too short) but tea length is classy. You nailed it with this outfit.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:49h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you so much, Joy! Let me know when you have it figured out ;). I agree different lengths for varying purposes and seasons!

  • ParisGrrl
    Posted at 18:10h, 28 October Reply

    Have you considered adding lace around the neckline? While that would differ from the inspiration piece, it would raise the neckline and could look even more luxe that the original.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:50h, 29 October Reply

      Lace would work so nicely, but sadly I’m all out…………… 😟 Many thanks for the suggestion!

  • Leigh
    Posted at 19:58h, 28 October Reply

    I love the look. It looks great on you and I certainly would never have thought a second about the neckline. It’s quite flattering. The back would have given me a frowny face too, but you know, RTW, even the expensive stuff, rarely bothers with matching anything, so I doubt anyone will talk behind your back .

    This is so important to remember: “Tis better to have sewed and erred than never to have sewed at all……………” I must go sew!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:52h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Leigh! It’s not that I don’t dislike the neckline but now I’m limited where I can wear the top.

      You’re right – you must go sew! 🙂

  • Pamela
    Posted at 20:04h, 28 October Reply

    The tea length is so elagant and it’ suits you very much indeed, It can look classy on petites and grown up for
    the mature woman.Although the length suits you I sadly don’t like the outfit combination, the recent garments you have made were stunning so elegant and fabulous fabric and embroidery touches. But hey who am I to not like this particular outfit when I haven’t sewn for years and your sewing skills are outstanding. So please forgive give me on this one. Still ,I love the length on you..X

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 13:02h, 29 October Reply

      Hi Pamela!
      Thanks for sharing your opinion. Fortunately, separates can be mixed and matched 😉
      I love the ODLR inspiration photo but my outfit isn’t quite there. Oh well – keep on sewing may be the solution!

  • Nancy S.
    Posted at 20:21h, 28 October Reply

    I think Exquisite sums it up. I love the skirt waist finish you used and have since Ladybug and Villager used it in the 60s and 70s. I am not a big fan of waistbands. Everything here worka perfectly together. Just beautiful..

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:58h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you so much, Nancy! Ladybug and Villager bring back memories 🙂

  • Joan
    Posted at 21:20h, 28 October Reply

    Really lovely look, Sarah. The neckline is low, but it looks elegant on you and well-proportioned.

    If you feel that the front neckline doesn’t feel “snug enough”, you could run round elastic through the seam and secure it at the shoulders (not sure if the neckline has any steam a seam or other stay in it).

    Don’t know if you’ve ever used any of Louise Cutting’s Cutting Line Designs patterns, but she is well-known for her mastery of matching difficult-to-match prints/strategies for this issue.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:57h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you for the suggestion, Joan! It’s not lose – just low 😉 I have heard so much about Cutting Line Designs and will check out Louise’s patterns and tips. 😉

  • peggyleah
    Posted at 21:25h, 28 October Reply

    Did you really use grosgrain ribbon on the waist, or did you
    use Petersham? If Petersham, what is your source? I really
    like your outfit. Such beauriful fabric?

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:55h, 29 October Reply

      Many thanks Peggy! It never pays to rush…………. I meant Petersham of course, and have corrected the text.
      The Sewing Place offers a huge selection of Petersham.

  • Judy Gordon
    Posted at 22:49h, 28 October Reply

    I keep a note by my sewing machine that says “the perfect is the enemy of the good.” As usual you look lovely. Love your posts.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:53h, 29 October Reply

      How true, Judy! Thanks so much for your comment 🙂

  • Yvonne Bennett
    Posted at 23:52h, 28 October Reply

    Yes ma’am, they (whoever “they”are, will be talking behind your back all right……..and saying things like, “Wow! Look at that Sarah! She’s got on yet another gorgeous outfit! Can y’all believe she supposedly makes her clothes?” That silk jacquard is exquisite!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:43h, 29 October Reply

      LOL – you never know, Yvonne! The silk is gorgeous and I’m thrilled Ruth wanted to pass it on to me! 🙂

  • Nancy Liedel
    Posted at 07:57h, 29 October Reply

    I’m fifty three and I’ve been able to get away with a lot of, “mom clothes,” for years now. I have my own business now and it’s arty, but I also do shows and sometimes have to meet with clients. I prefer to do that in a nicer outfit than yoga pants and a loose top. Ahem, and I sew. I even have a brand new Janome S7, that I put on layaway forever, received and have not used. I am dismayed at the styles for women who are not into mini skirts and want a longer skirt, midi, or tea length. My legs are not my best feature. This is a wonderful look and the skirt can be artsy, without being like everyone else. Something I have always strived for. I love this look and will be picking up the top pattern, okay, bodysuit. The skirt, I can probably wing, but I’ve been sewing since I was six, although not with the amazing finish I want and that is just being lazy on my part. Which I vow to fix next year.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:42h, 29 October Reply

      I find skirts to be the easiest garments to sew. Instant gratification for sure! I hope you’ll get your new machine out of the box and put it to good use soon – Good Luck 😊😊

  • Nancy Liedel
    Posted at 07:59h, 29 October Reply

    The only people who will notice your back are the sewing police. Like the knitting police, they are largely self appointed and often just too picky. I say the back looks better than many and face it, sometimes the amount of fabric you need to match patterns makes one part of the outfit not match, especially if you buy lovely fabric. I’d rather have a little less perfect matching, then really bad fabric. I have become a fiber snob. I can’t believe it, but I am. She who made a dress and wore it for years, out of lining material my mom had left over.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:38h, 29 October Reply

      Ha ha ha! I really scratched my head on this one and even cut one back piece out twice…….. I also love quality fabric Nancy. It’s hard to sew on poor quality once you’ve been exposed to the good stuff 😉

  • laura towe
    Posted at 11:48h, 29 October Reply

    please tell me what you wear on your legs with a dress. thank you .

  • laura towe
    Posted at 11:49h, 29 October Reply

    please tell me what you wear on your legs with a dress. thank you.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 12:35h, 29 October Reply

      In this photo I’m not wearing anything on my legs but when the weather turns cold, I’ll wear tights, boots and sometimes black hose with black shoes 😉

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 13:40h, 29 October Reply

    I for one am thrilled to see the come back of the midi or tea length skirt, especially with boots for fall and winter. The whole ensemble is lovely and the color palette is so warm and rich looking. To me it seems darn near impossible to match circle motifs due to seam allowances, so I wouldn’t give that a second thought. Like someone else said, people will be way too busy looking at all the other prettiness going on!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:44h, 29 October Reply

      Thank you, Julie! We are our own worst critics, huh? I’m looking forward to giving a couple of longer skirts a try this fall/winter, and who knows, they might become a cold winter staple again.
      Many thanks for your comment :). 🙂

  • laura towe
    Posted at 14:54h, 29 October Reply

    thank you for answering my crazy question about what to wear on your legs , it was high school homecoming in my town and . everyone had bare legs. I need you to decide if this is fashion or not .

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:46h, 29 October Reply

      LOL – I thought pantyhose might return to the scene when Kate Middleton was spotted wearing some, but apparently it hasn’t quite caught on again!

  • Celeste Yanisch
    Posted at 15:30h, 30 October Reply

    This is an absolutely gorgeous outfit in every way. As for people noticing the back wasn’t matched, I commented on a horribly mismatched large plaid to a very well-dressed friend once; she looked totally surprised and said she didn’t know patterns were supposed to match! This woman spent thousands on her designer clothes…that taught me quite a lesson. Your sewing teacher from high school might notice, but no one in the last 4 decades would even think of it. Keep on sewing beautiful things! You inspire us all.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 17:34h, 30 October Reply

      Thank you so much, Celeste 😉 Great story!

  • Linda LaMona
    Posted at 08:58h, 31 October Reply

    Great looking combo!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 06:35h, 01 November Reply

      Thank you, Linda!

  • Evelyn Matthei
    Posted at 13:50h, 03 November Reply

    I love your oufits. Always chic. Don’t worry about the top showing skin. It looks very beautiful and feminine.
    Tea length is elegant indeed. Still, I think you would look more vital and fun (and quite as elegant) if the skirt hem would be precisely at mid knee. But that is just my taste.
    I enjoy that you are always looking for new silhouettes, fabrics and techniques. I have been loving your embroidery. Thank you for taking the time to blog.

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