Wednesday, December 30, 2009


it's don't settle! Whether it be shoes, a man or lining for a Chanel style jacket I have finally learned to have a little patience and wait to find exactly what I'm looking for. I know this blog is officially over but I had to find the lining I really wanted for this pink, gray and brown boucle. I wanted a print rather than a solid and it took about 25 swatches mailed from stores coast to coast, a trip to Nashville, OK City and NYC before I found it. Paron Fabrics came through for me with this brown abstract floral on a cream background and I am now well on my way to completing my second jacket. I am using Susan Khalje's techniques that I learned last fall in the class I took with her in ST. Louis. The pieces are all quilted, basted together and ready for a fitting. I am anticipating that the fitting will require some extra time since the last jacket was a much heavier wool boucle and I also want this one to have more wearing ease.

It has been fun to watch everyone's progress. I have been impressed by all the creativity, learned from the different ways problems have been solved and will miss logging on to see the latest. Bye for now.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Country Girl Couture: Deco Vibe Flippy Skirt

There is one solution...magic corset undies. That beaded cardigan is just beautiful.
Country Girl Couture: Deco Vibe Flippy Skirt

Saturday, December 19, 2009


The Chanel Knock Off

What did I learn?
  • This fabric, silk/linen/cotton- not so good for a Chanel. This fabric has the structure of a cloth diaper. This jacket could be wadded up into a small ball if so desired. And it just might. So, it does resemble an earlier Chanel that is more sweater weight than a structured jacket.
  • My next, true Chanel (months from now) will not have plaids. These were aligned perfectly and once the quilted lining was installed, this jacket shrank, moved, and shifted like you would not believe.
  • I think this fabric stretched. How can that be?
  • The quilted lining was a good experience. Laborious, but invaluable.
  • Trim disaster. I ran out of trim for the bottom of the jacket. Why is it that I can buy enough toilet paper to last my household until Y3K, but neglect to purchase an extra yard of trim, now sold out? So we picked a similar match and if you don't look too close.........
  • The faux Chanel CC gold buttons D1 insisted on. They do look kinda official. Purchased from MandJTrimming NYC.
  • She loves it. Whisked away to college before I had the chance to take decent pictures.
  • I recall Birgitte from Bubblegum for Breakfast referring to her Chanel as a "ragamuffin". Amen sister. I get it.
  • Overall-I enjoyed the experience. It does not meet my sanity standards, but for a first run, it was a great education, and I have one happy customer...........

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Quilting sneak peak

I first want to thank all the ladies that are bringing me their support. I would never have been able to undergo this project without your comments. This SAL is fantastic and I am learning so much everyday.As you can see back sections are sewn including the quilted lining .


To achieve this I am following Claire Schaeffer's method in Couture Sewing Techniques
This book is invaluable.


 After I quilted the lining the vertical seams were hand sewn with bee waxed thread


As is explained in Claire's book, one important difference between upscale Ready to wear and Haute-Couture is the huge amount of hand sewing used in Haute-Couture. For permanent sewing you have waxed your sewing thread before.
Ann from Ann's Fashion Studio sent me this great reference concerning tailoring techniques, including how to wax your thread. I know it is time consuming but I hope it will pay off. Furthermore, I find this hand sewing very pleasant to do.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Finished: Gold Chanel-Style Jacket for the Holidays

Glad this jacket is finally finished, and just in time to wear to holiday parties. I plan on wearing it most often with a white-and-navy striped French sailor's shirt and jeans. Here are the details (apologies for borrowing this from my Lindsay T Sews blog post):

  • Fabric: Metallic bouclé from Mood Fabrics in NYC that is gold on one side and silver on the other; you could ostensibly choose either or. Supposedly this fabric is from Ralph Lauren. Lining is sheer white silk organza and the Hong Kong seams are finished in silk charmeuse, also from Mood.
  • Trim: A blue braid with gold accents from M&J Trims. I really wanted to find a bolder trim but my teenage daughter was with me at M&J and she has all the patience there of an antsy two-year-old strapped in a stroller.

  • Pattern: I guess I'd have to say this is my own basic design. It started out a few years ago as Textile Studios' Mandarin Collar Jacket pattern, but I've altered it so much it really doesn't resemble the original pattern any more. I wanted this design to be very basic and not very fitted, hence no darts or princess seams.

I added lined flap pockets (decorative only) that are topped with piping in silk charmeuse. The most time-consuming part of this jacket was hand-sewing the trim in place.

Here's a close-up of the fabric so you can see it has a split personality: Is it a gold bouclé, or is it silver? I loved the gold side a little more, but I didn't want to hide that fabulous silver beneath a lining. So I decided to use sheer silk organza as a lining because it let the silver peek through.

I treated the bouclé and the organza as one layer, first hand-basting the two fabrics together before any machine sewing to prevent shifting. I Hong Kong-finished all the seams with strips of silk charmeuse and then I catchstitched the seams in place to the organza. The outer edges of the jacket and sleeve hems were bias bound: I stitched the bias strips of charmeuse to the wrong side, then flipped the strips over and stitched in the ditch to tack them down. The raw edges of the bias strip were then covered up by the trim, which I hand-sewed in place.

I got the idea to treat the interior of this jacket this way from a gorgeous Prada jacket I fondled at Saks Fifth Avenue. The lining and the fashion fabric of this jacket were treated as one unit, and the seams were all Hong Kong-finished. The inside was as beautiful as the outside. Now if a jacket was going to be worn a lot I wouldn't necessarily recommend silk organza as a lining–it's just too weak a fabric, even when treated like a layer, to withstand a lot of exposed wear. But for a jacket like this one, which won't get worn a lot, it's fine.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Better Late Than Never…

Through my recent web surfing activities I accidentally stumbled upon this blog and was just thrilled to see the topic of interest; a Sew-A-Long for making a Chanel Jacket, how lovely and exciting!!

I traveled through the accompanying links of the various participants and was pleased to see everyone’s projects in various stages of the construction process. Seeing that there had been a deadline I decided to give it a shot to see if the blog would be continuing and contacted Cindy to sign up

What luck…she mentioned that this sew-a-long would continue through the winter and I saw this as an opportunity to work on a great project and have a “some-what” structured time-frame to complete it in. I am looking forward to working on my jacket and receiving input…first up will be the pattern.

Please visit my post Mail Call…Another Sewing Goodie to help me decide. Let me know what you think and feel about your pattern of choice and any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Here are some of my choices:

Vogue 7975

Vogue 8369
Vogue 8259

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!

Thanks ~ mimi o ~

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I am so slow

This prject seems like a never ending story.
I've just sorted out fitting my muslin. Fitting the 3 piece-sleeves took ages. My sister pointed aout that the shouders were too long. So had to shorten them.
I thought I would feel better with a little bit of ease around the biceps line and add 1/4'' around the arm at the sleeve
Here's what it looks like.Plus the sketch my sister made to help me fiitting the sleeve end.

I know I am procrastinating  because I am anxious about quilting the shell to the lining. So yesterday, instead of cutting the fabric and lining I read everything could find concerning this step.
I must say that Claire Schaeffer's Couture Techniques is realy helpful. Eventually I ended making a swap following her method :

1 Cutting rectangles for each section from the shell fabric and the lining fabric about 4in. bigger than the finished garment section

2 Roughly outline the section shape ont the right side of the rectangles

3 Lay the lining wrong side up and top it with the fabric side up aligning grainlines.

4 Pin the sections together on on the intended quilting lines.

5 With diagonal stitches baste between the pinned rows and remove the pins.

That's where I stopped.

Today I will machine quilt the sample and that's where I need your help, please.

Some of you are using a walking foot. What is it and can it be donne with a normal foot?

The dominant colour of my tweed is off white and the lining looks like hand painted splashes (does it make sense to you?) of acid green and  deep purple. I intend to use invisible thread on the lining side because I fear that the off white thread that I want to use for the shell might be disgracious. Does it sounds correct to you? Do you have any other suggestions?

Thanks in advance.

Here are my fabrics. Forget about solid fuschia.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finished but only just begun

My jacket has been completed for some time now but I didn't want to post until I was reasonably satisfied with it.
The silk tweed fabric was beautiful – a gift sent from my friend Cindy - but I wasn’t happy with it. The braid around the neckline, front and hem of the garment didn’t work and I hated the boxy look of the neckline. This morning I the lights came on and I realized that my jacket would look so much better with the braid removed and the neckline turned back into a revere.
Now I love it. It hangs much better on my body than the dressform and the pockets are aligned. I'll post a picture of it on soon.
While I didn’t use the Chanel method of quilting the lining (my fabric was too lightweight), my silk lining makes this garment feel quite luxurious to wear. I didn’t use shoulder pads that the pattern asked for because I wanted a cardigan feel.
Why just the beginning? Because I want to apply what I learned on a winter Chanel jacket in wool boucle with quilted lining. And next time I’ll make a v-neckline or collared jacket which suits me better.

Finished and Grateful

I finished and haven't gotten around to doing all the detail photos, but if you've seen the inside of one Chanel jacket, you've seen them all, right?

I couldn't have done this project without the help and guidance of Susan Khalje, both in-person at the Sit and Sew class in NYC and also with her wonderful Threads article. I will definitely do another, now that I've know how it's done properly, and where I need to improve for next time.

Job well done to all of you who have finished and to those of you with "works in progress". You will reach the finish line, it just takes lots of time and patience!

Fabric - Haberman Fabrics, Royal Oak Michigan
Trim & Buttons - M & J Trims, New York City
Lining - Lace Star, New York City

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Not a UFO but...

Hello! The last month has not seen much progress on my Chanel jacket, although I have been playing with different ideas (still) for the trim and today bought the chain. It is almost finished and possibly would be if it were winter. However it is summer here, the fabric is wool and the weather is hot (like super hot) so I have put it aside for now. It will not be forgotten though ... I have it on my dress form with various trim combinations pinned to it and am so looking forward to wearing it in the Autumn. I'm still following all the posts, enjoying the reviews and will post again, if the sew-along is still open, when I pick up the project next. Thanks Cindy and Antoinette, this was a great idea and I've learnt heaps. It's been so enjoyable and fun to sew with such a lovely group.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Shabby chic: done at last!

My #1 trial Chanel: finished and inaugurated at work, and then - in the middle of taking pics just now, it "unfinished" itself. As luck would have it, the bottom hook broke- OK, I broke it, wanting to first tighten it a tad, then un-tighten. I will, of course, replace it - and all the others, as these here, though a great colour match to the rest, appear have been designed with form but no function - they keep popping open. Arrrrgh.

So, do I love it? Ummmmmm.... I DO love the three piece sleeve with the in your face vent and buttons running up to the earlobes! I'm not crazy about the slightly rumpled look, or the fact that my chain is too light to give the hem a good downwards tug - I think I'll replace that too. I think I might eventually replace the trim, if I can find something better, as this thin little twisted cord is doing a terrific disappearing act (you didn't even notice it was there?! what did I tell you!)

I love my leather buttons! Isn't it nice how the little things can give us so much pleasure?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chanel Deadline

I am not going to make the Chanel deadline-but I don't think that is a problem. I am learning a lot and know what I am going to do differently when I make my own jacket-next year.
  • Thread tracing- I hand sewed each seam line with bright red thread. The entire time I kept wondering why this could not have been accomplished with chalk. If you know the couture reason, please let me know. I am sure it has something to do with perfection and quality..............

Quilted Lining-the next time I will be exact with my pins and inches. Thank goodness for the quilting foot. This fabric is bumpy and shifts like quicksand.
I am enjoying the process. D1 is very excited. I will be more meticulous with the next Chanel....

Sew Chanel, Sew Happy

I certainly need a deadline to finish sewing projects so thank you for encouraging me to get this one done. I was heading to NYC on Nov. 7, a combined PR, Maryland ASG and friend visit so I wanted to complete this project...and happily, I did.
Recap, I used my TNT princess seam jacket pattern, Simplicity 4698, a tweedy silk, rayon, cotton blend I think from fabric Mart, the stitich and flip technique from Shannon Gifford's online class at, Ambiance lining and I followed the Louise Cutting article from Threads #121, the Master Class on raw edges. here are the results.

I spent weeks deciding on the trim since I was so taken with what the rest of you have done on your jackets. I bought ribbons at the Chantilly, VA sewing expo, in San Francisco at Britex and the beautiful Ribbonerie but ended up letting the fabric doing the talking. There were plenty of colors in thei tweed and every trim either seemed too contrived or cheesy looking. I loved the Louise Cutting technique, just 1" bias strips of the tweed stitich on then lightly brushed with nail brush. I will definitely use this idea again.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


This is the top that I wanted to make specifically for my Chanel inspired jacket. This is McCall's 5708 that I made the protype of earlier just to try the pattern out.

Part 3 of the Chanel inspired jacket will be a matching pencil skirt. I'll come back to show pictures as soon as I get everything finished....until then HAPPY SEWING!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Can you believe it?

My DH is taking me out on a (long overdue!) date tonight, and I really wanted to wear my jacket, so I have been hand sewing like a mad fiend for the last 2 days, but I did it! It's done!
And my chain, of course. I took Digs tip and bought it at Home Depot, and it is great! I really love my jacket. Next time, I'll do it up right, but I'm still happy with my first lined jacket. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to sew along with the wonderful group. The inspiration and help has really been invaluable to me on this journey.

Thank you!!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Trim for the Chanel

Today I am working on my Chanel jacket. I am taking a break from cutting out the charmeuse lining. More on that later...I was playing around with the trim too and decided to use a bit of fringe with the ric rac, velvet trim.
Here it is on the fashion fabric. I adore the pink! It reminds me when my girls were babies and we were surrounded by this soft, innocent color.
What do you think? And I am in need of advice...should I hand sew the velvet trim to the fringe then hand sew it to the jacket? I am guessing yes, but I just need a little reassurance! Thank you in advance.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Moving along...

Since I am totally cheating and bagged the lining without quilting it, my jacket is pretty much constructed. Now I have to set aside my machine and start in on the hand work.
I'm happy how it went together so far, but I'm not sure how I want to place my trim. Right on the edge or offset slightly?
Every time I look at it I "decide" to do something different.

What do you think?

WIP : 3rd version of my muslin

Last Friday, I tested my altered muslin. I made those alterations looking myself in the mirror as I had no dressform. As I expected the result was far from satisfactory.

Sunday, I brought the jacket to my sister who is a professional drafter. She was so helpful.
She pinned all that needed to be altered and I made a 3rd version of my muslin yesterday.
Moreover, my mother lent me her dress form, so that I can work more efficiently.

Here's how it looks like this morning

Today, I will work on the sleeves and hem lime.
I expect to cut my fabric tomorrow. I am so impatient to do so.
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