Style Icons – and my next Tailoring Project.

Quentin Bryce via Adelaide Now

Do you have a style icon? Maybe like me, you have rather a few. But there’s one secret favourite of mine – and it’s Quentin Bryce, the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia.

Signing Julia Gillard’s commission as Prime Minister

She’s a class act – and always looks impeccable – whether she’s inspecting the troupes or shaking hands with dignitaries. I just love that she wears bright colours. I like to think that when I hit my mid-century I can look as glamorous and as well put together as she! 

Inspecting the Federation Guard, via

I LOVE that indigo coloured outfit! She has revealed that her favourite designer is Pia du Pradal, of Brisbane (naturally).

at Melbourne Law School, via

Not only does she have style, but substance too. She was the first woman on staff to lecture in Law at the University of Queensland, 40 years ago. She’s currently 70.

“She was given a terrible time by those men in the law faculty,” recalls Saunders, now director of the Brisbane Institute. “They were shocking — rude and sarcastic — but she never lowered herself to their level. She had a steely, pleasant demeanour and is not given to spiteful comments or losing her cool.” 
While never a “chain-yourself-to-the-bar or burn-your-bra” type, Fitzgerald says, she was “an ardent feminist”

Both comments were taken from Model of Style, an article in The Australian on 30 August 2008.

Quentin Bryce with the Duke of Edinburgh

If anyone ever offered me the opportunity to meet someone famous – she’s who I’d choose, hands down without even batting an eye-lid.

Quentin with Obama and Julia, via

So with Quentin’s classy style and colour palette in mind, I’m setting out on my most ambitious project-to-be yet. This little gem has been circling the hamster wheel in my head since the inception of The Octopus’ Jacket, and I’ve had the fabric specially for it for nearly as long. Until now I just didn’t have the confidence to (or the skills?) to pull it off. I think I’m ready to try this.

So! What happens when you mix a classic Claire Shaeffer tailored jacket pattern with the crater sleeve concept from Japanese Pattern Magic Vol. 1?


An EPIC jacket, is what. Or so I hope.

I’m practically swooning at the thought of all the lovely tailoring details that will be required for this beauty. I’ve got the shell fabric sorted, but as soon as I get home i’ll be sniffing out lining and notions :)



  1. I will be watching for your posts on this one. Actually have the Claire Schafer pattern. Good choice in role model. She definitely has a sense of style.

  2. She is SO amazing! I absolutely love her style too. That's a woman who knows what works and knows how to use colour to its maximum potential.That burgundy outfit is stunning! I want to look like her when I'm 70!

  3. Wow, she is quite a stunner. I would wear a lot of the clothes you've shown here, they're timeless! I love the idea of your classic jacket with the sleeve from Pattern Magic, those are amazing books!

  4. I've had my eye on that pattern for awhile. I can't wait to read about your progress making it. And, what an inspirational woman!

  5. Wow! Wowwowwow! This looks like its going to be so exciting and inspiring! I can't wait! And having never heard of Quentin Bryce before I'm very glad to be introduced! She's got great style. I especially like her coordinating lip!

  6. That lady sounds rad. And your jacket plans make me tingle with anticipation. That sleeve!! Yowzers! I'm loving your ambition. I guess its winter in Australia right now – a jacket is definitely the perfect winter project. Can't wait to see how it goes!

  7. Timeless is definitely the right word, and Ms Bryce has it down pat. This is my first foray into the Pattern Magic books – they are so inspirational!

  8. I'm really looking forward to making this pattern – the pattern pieces are quite different to your stock standard princess seamed jacket. The instructions are incredible too – the pattern is worth it for this alone!

  9. It most certainly is Winter… there's no doubting that! I need to get sewing for the season asap! Here's hoping the sleeve won't be too troublesome ;)

  10. Hi Melanie, I am so glad you have chosen Quentin Bryce as your role model. She is not only an inspirational woman but a very beautiful person inside and out. She also loves sewing and craft and I was with her at an awards day for Qld Quilters when she was Governor of QLD.She awarded one of my friends a prize for her beautiful 12 Days of Christmas quilt.If you would like to see who makes her clothes and get more inspiration, here is the web site.

    1. I tried many, many times – different fabrics, different interfacing – and wasn’t able to replicate it. Marine from Frabjous Couture tried as well… also unsuccessfully, unfortunately. If you figure it out, be sure to share it with me because I’d love to know!

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