Celebrity Style Hack: Melania Trump Inauguration Outfit by Ralph Lauren.

Hello all. HAppy new month! How are you doing? So today we are delving into patternmaking. Yay! No better way than to start with this outfit designed by Ralph Lauren for Melania Trump for the Inauguration ceremony. So this outfit trended cos it was so gorgeous and very apt for the occasion. Me likey.
 I plan to make the “Celebrity Style HacK” a fixture on the blog where I will be showing you how I think a (trending) celebrity outfit has been patterned. Hopefully, I might get around to making and sewing actual samples for us to see, or you (yes you) might just help us with the sample and send it to me or tag me @sewexplicit on Instagram. Or let us create a hashtag #CelebrityStyleHack. Hehehe.

Now to today’s outfit. Let us analyse the style, the focus being on the Jacket. From the different pictures online-
The jacket features:

  • A high roll shawl collar with a seam on the Centre back
  • A raglan sleeve with a fitting dart on the shoulder. Note that the sleeve is quite loose.
  • A crossover front with at least one press button for fastening
  • No visible darting but still relatively fitted at the waist.

The dress underneath is said to be a “mock turtle neck” dress in the post I linked to. It features a built-up neckline with the bust fitting dart rotated to the neck. The waist dart is missing on the front of the dress and I am wondering why. The lack of it probably contributed to the excess fold of fabric noticed at the front waist (or is it just my eyes?). 

All the pictures were got from dailymail.co.uk. For a detailed view of the dress from different angles, please view the DailyMail online article here.

To draft, you can start with your basic bodice and sleeve block. I will be explaining using the SewExplicit Patterns Bodice block which can purchase here, or download the Size 10 for free, see how in this blog post. This block contains quarter scale pattern that you can practice with.
Since the jacket is worn over a garment, we might have to adjust the SewExplicit Patterbodice block by lowering the underarm point and making corresponding adjustments to the sleeve block to make it match the new armhole and also to make it wider around the bicep. This step will not be shown for simplicity's sake. We will use our blocks the way it is, though it is likely to result in a close-fitting sleeve.

Step One
  •    On the front bodice block, rotate the bust fitting dart to the waist, thereby making the waist dart deeper
  •       Reduce both front and back bodice by 0.5-0.75 inches at the side seams. (This takes out a total of 2-3” around the waist Circumference.)

  •       Widen the neck and front by about 0.5 of an inch
  • Note: Dash lines represent former lines, and Solid lines represent the new style lines.

Step Two
  •       Decide on your sleeve length and hem circumference at that length. Remember the sleeve is meant to be loose (not shown)
  •   Draw your Raglan style lines. Add balance marks

Step Three

   For the front cross-over style, Mirror the front pattern (with the raglan style line), Draw your crossover as shown with the tip Q, stopping just before the raglan style line of the mirror.

NOTE: Before going to the next step, trace the pattern at this stage before cutting out the raglan sections away. It will be used later on when drafting the collar.

Step Four
  • To create the raglan style, cut out the front bodice and back bodice sections and apply the front section to the front of the sleeve, and the back section to the back of the sleeve. The “V” that has formed in between the sections is the shoulder fitting dart.
  • Shorten the sleeve length as desired.

Step Five
  • To shape the jacket further without a visible dart, we will be eliminating the back darts as shown.
  • The back dart is shifted and tilted towards the underarm to close the dart, the waist seam is then blended (see Step Six image). At this point,  one is left with about 4.5 to 5” ease around the waist if one has used the SewExplicit block, this ease comes front the front dart only. 

Step Six
  • Blend the angular points on the raglan bodice and sleeve to smooth curves as shown. Next, we draft the collar.

Step Seven

To draft the collar,
On the front, 
  • Curve A-B-C is the fall of the collar on the front bodice. A to B along the shoulder line is about 1-1.5".
On the back,
  •  D to E is about 5 to 6”
  • E to F is equal to back neck length
  • G to H on the shoulder line equals A to B of the front.
  • Connect F to H
  • Point I is located somewhere below Point D, Connect to I to complete the back section of the collar.
  • Take note of the measurement F to G (dotted line).
  • Trace out the shape E-F-H-I

Step Eight

On the front,
  • A to J is equal to F to G (dotted line).
  • J to C is equal to A to C.

Step Nine

Place the traced out the back collar section and transfer to the front as shown.
Match point F of the back to point J of the front.
Point H does not quite match up to point B, so we blend from Point I to B with a smooth curve.
We can now trace out the new shape I-E-F/J-C-B as the collar.

Set-in Sleeve Options

If this were a set-in sleeve and not a raglan, there are two ways to cut the collar and front bodice- as separates or as a cut-in one.
F/J to C of the collar will fit in or sew into A to C of the front bodice while F/J to E of the collar will sew into the back neck.

Final Pieces

Below are what the final pattern pieces for the Melania Trump inauguration outfit designed by Ralph Lauren look like. Bear in my mind that this is how I will tackle this design and not necessarily the only possible way the style may be achieved.
Add balance marks and sewing allowances.

I have done a muslin test of this draft using the set-in sleeve option to test the collar and it turned out okay. (sorry no pix). When I do make an actual sample I will put up the picture so watch out for it.
Phew! what a long post if you have found this helpful or have questions, please drop a line in the comment section. If you make a sample using this draft, I would love to see it. 
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Let me leave you with the picture of an outfit inspired by the Melania Trump inauguration outfit. This is by a Nigerian designer, Tessy Oliseh. I got the picture from her Instagram page@tessloconcepts. Hers has got raglan sleeves too. What do you think? |Talking of raglan sleeves, we also have a raglan sleeve dress pattern, Renikeji. You can check out pictures and details on this blog post.

UPDATE (6th July,2017)
the Bailey Bolero Jacket inspired by the one in this post is up for download at the pattern store. Why bother to draft yours when I have done all the hardwork, right?


  1. Thank you for the explanation. Will make out time to study it

  2. Thanks so much for the explanation, ma. Though, I will love to know more about pattern drafting


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