Monday, August 31, 2009

Dawn - Jacket Muslin - KwikSew 3258

I using KwikSew 3258 for my Chanel jacket. I plan to do view A with the CF zipper and long sleeves.

This is an XS from shoulder to bust. Below the dart I gradually went out to a S for my hips. I drew the grainline and pockets on only one side. The seam allowances at the neck have not been cut off but the hem has been tucked up and pinned.

I'm not sure what to do about these lines. I posted this photo on my personal blog and people said to put in the arms first and see what happens. Duh. I'll do that tomorrow and see how the back looks. The shoulders look really good. Although we'll see what happens when I put the sleeves in. They are the bane of my existence. There is a CB seam but the piece is straight. If I don't alter the back seam I'll cut it out on the fold.

Overall, I think it's pretty good for a first muslin.

Whattcha think?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Chanel shop window

In Cannes, where I was last week, there is a Chanel shop. I'm not brave enough just to go into the shop and see what's there (price tags for up to 5000 euro are not in my budget), but I took some pictures from the shop window. Hope you like to see them too. Next time I'll write more on sewing a jacket, first I must catch up on reading here.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

When a trim dictates the pattern

Dear fellows,

Do you ever have one of those moments when one minor and relatively irrelevant thing makes you completely change your mind and decision you previously made? I have those moments quite frequently, and today was the day I changed my mind on pattern. The reason was the trim band I found for the Chanel coat I'm about to sew. Seeing that band was a love at first sight, and all of the sudden I had a crystal clear vision of my future coat in my head.

I wanted to make a coat where the band would be the major feature. This meant the pattern would have to be quite simple. Hence, I decided to alter the coat pattern, and make it work for my idea. Consequently, it would make the coat construction much easier.

Here's the idea:

I will alter the pattern so that it incorporates shoulder princess seams, and I'll make a mandarin collar. The idea is to avoid overlapping the front panels of the coat, so I bought metal frogs (I hope they are called that way), that would replace the buttons.

And here are my fabrics and notions:

Now that I have all of the requirements gathered on one place, I can start with sewing. Yey!

Friday, August 28, 2009

How Lucky Am I??? (Brag Warning!)

I spent yesterday having Susan Khalje help fit my muslin. Yes, the Susan Khalje. I'm in New York for her (and Kenneth King's) 4 day "Sit and Sew" class, and learning so much! My muslin (now properly fitted) is ripped apart and ready for the fashion fabric. I purchased my silk charmeuse lining yesterday, but still have the undaunting task of finding/making the trim. My boucle came from home, and has a million colors in it, so it shouldn't be too bad. Susan said that since the weave is pretty tight, I don't need to use any interfacing. What a (pleasant) surprise that is! So, if you'll excuse me, I have to get to class. Just a short walk to the studio, which is in the heart of the garment district and a few blocks from the best fabric shopping in the world. See ya later, girls! (Please don't hate me, I just couldn't resist!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

My First Chanel

Two weeks ago I saw the movie Coco Avant Chanel (which I loved), then last week there was a wonderful sale at one of my favourite fabric shops "The Fabric Store" in Sydney and this week, as part of a pattern-making course I have been doing, I was able to have my muslin professionally fitted. The stars are aligning and I am now launched on making my first ever Chanel-style jacket.

The pattern is Vogue 7975 and the fabric a beautiful lightweight loosely woven wool coating in lavender, pink and aubergine tones.

Something I hadn't realised until cutting out the muslin is that the pattern is sized as a "Misses". When I checked my body measurements against the chart I noticed I was between a size 12 and 14, when I am usually a size 10. Since the pattern I'd already purchased was sized 6-8-10 I made the muslin in size 10 and surprisingly it required only minor adjustment at the hip (despite the variation between the pattern measurements and my actual body measurements). In fact, it appears to be a perfect fit everywhere with only slightly extra hip width needed at the front (less than .5 cm on each princess seam below the waist line).

I do love the cut of this jacket; it seems to be very well designed and elegant in its simplicity. I've decided on View B, with full-length sleeves and no buttons. If there is enough fabric over at the end it would be lovely to make a matching skirt as well.

Is anyone else working with wool? I'm not sure of the best way to pre-treat the fabric. I'd rather not take it to the dry cleaners, so am considering steaming it in the drier with a wet towel or rolling it in a wet sheet over night, then steam pressing it with the iron. These are two suggestions I read on the Great Coat Sew-Along archive.

I am also wondering about fusing a very lightweight (possibly stretch) interfacing to the fabric before cutting, instead of quilting the fabric to the lining. The fabric is a loose weave and I thought this might help stabilise it. However I don't want to loose the soft cardigan like quality and drape of the Chanel jacket design. There is an interesting and informative discussion on this topic over at Lindsay T's blog,

… and, having read further on Lindsay's wonderful site (under tag 'Chanel') I am feeling more confident about the interface as my fabric sounds like it is a similar weave, my pattern is the same and I LOVE Lindsay's finished jacket. So, after pre-treating the fabric, next step is to fuse a very lightweight interfacing to my wool, initially as a patch test to ensure I don't loose the softness I'm after.

I'm enjoying everyone's posts and looking forward to the Chanel journey.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

What Is Jersey?

Edited August 27/09 - thanks for your comment Jenny. Stretchy and drapey seem to be the key points. I looked up jersey at to see if that understanding matched up and it did. I ordered some black Vera Wang - not sure if it's for this project or the cozy but it's now on the way - LOL - Myrna

- - - - - - - - - -

This may be a stupid question - and it could be that I already know the answer - but what is the difference between a jersey knit and a knit fabric as I would understand it today such as a two way or a four way stretch? Is jersey an old fashioned term or does it refer to some characteristic?

Wickipedia (which makes me think that jersey is simply a knit fabric) says - Jersey is a knit fabric used predominately for clothing manufacture. It was originally made of wool but is now made of wool, cotton, and synthetic fibers. The fabric can be very stretchy single knitted, usually light-weight, jersey with one flat side and one piled side. When made with a light weight yarn, this is the fabric most often used to make t-shirts. Or, it can be a double knitted jersey, with less stretch, that creates a heavier fabric of two single jerseys knitted together to leave the two flat sides on the outsides of the fabric with the piles to the middle.

One of the aspects that I enjoyed about Chanel's personality when reading Chanel and Her World was how she went against the norm of the time creating comfortable garments using menswear and non-traditional fabrics. So far, I plan to use a "jersey" fabric.

Thanks - Myrna

Monday, August 24, 2009

Trim-What Do You Think?

I know I'm supposed to be tracing pattern pieces and cutting out my muslin, but. . .it's so much more fun to play with the trim. Here is what I've come up. What do you all think? Am I on the right track? Or should I chuck this and start over?
This is 8 strands of the yarn pulled from the fabric. Six strands are the variegated yarn, one strand is a white thread pulled from the fabric, then I added a pink yarn from my yarn stash to stand in the pink from the fabric. I pinned it along a folded edge of fabric to simulate actual use.

Quilting Dilemma

I am stuck with few issues regarding coat construction.

The things that bother me are facing and insertion of the collar. The collar should be sandwiched between the shell and the facing fabrics. If the lining is supposed to be quilted to the shell fabric, I am not sure how will I apply the collar... I've been meditating a lot on this issue.
I might sew the top shoulder yokes and insert the collar, quilt the lining to the shell fabric (the yoke parts), and then attach to the yokes the rest of the coat front and back panels (which would be pre-quilted)? Any suggestions?

Oh, and here's my fabric:

I haven't found the right lining yet, but I saw a nice deep purple satin silk, with unusual print. And, I still have to find the trim and buttons, something in deep purple as well, I think.

Fabric Decision Made & Questions

I finally chose this fabric from the 5 or 6 possibilities in my stash. I purchased this from Peggy Sagers of Silhouette Patterns at the Puyallup sewing show several years ago. Peggy & I discussed how this would be beautiful made up in Chanel-style jacket. It is a kinda loose woven wool with variegated yarn running both directions to create boxes approximately 4" square. The yarn running from selvage to selvage (Is that the warp?) is a smooth yarn with blue, purple, green, yellow colors. The yarn running the length of the fabric adds the pink with a thick/thin yarn. After reading the post from Claire Schaeffer about trims, I am playing around with pulling out these colored yarns and braiding or twisting them to create my trim. I have almost 4 yards of fabric so I should have plenty of fabric for the jacket with extra from which to make the trim.

Questions-In nearly everything I have read it seems that Chanel did not use interfacing in her jackets. In the Vogue pattern I'm using, #8259, Claire Schaeffer interfaces every piece. I am interested in what interfacing others are using in order to keep the jacket light. I'm almost settled on black silk charmeuse for the lining; white would get too dirty and I haven't found anything with a pattern that I like.

Have I missed a source for the chain? Also, I'm having a tough time with the buttons. If you have any additional sources I'd love to hear about them.

I am off work today so I plan to trace my pattern and cut out the muslin. I'm so excited!

Hello Everyone

Hi. My name is Ginger and I live in Northern California. I have made one Chanel jacket under the tutilage of Susan Khalje and have three more planned and one actually cut out and in the quilting process.

What I have learned for this next jacket is that when quilting, even the small pieces, stay at least 1 1/2 inches away from the seam line. I had my quilting too close and when I actually constructed the jacket, I had to remove lots of quilting so that I could hand sew the lining in and it left holes in my charmeuse.

I would strongly advise that for a first jacket, you not put in a collar. Nobody in our workshop used a collar. The trims add plenty of style around the neckline.

Count on 200+ hours on your jacket.

I have one under construction now that is a rusty color and the lining is a cream background print with turkish slippers in the print. I am hand quilting this going around the motifs. I don't know if this has been done before and I hope the hand quilting doesn't look funny so I am trying to keep the quilting even.

I really should finish a skirt to go with my initial jacket. It shouldn't take so long to make but I have been dwaddling over that. I don't really have anything to wear with my jacket and if I were to purchase clothes I could afford, they wouldn't be worthy of the work I put into the jacket. It requires a skirt made by the same method!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


I made a muslin for the coat. I made few minor alterations - took in back seams a bit, and narrowed the sleeves. I tried the muslin with original collar and with the mandarin collar, but liked more the first one.




Wrinkles on the back are a bit exaggerated by the camera. However, I think I will loosen those seams a bit.

Ladies, I have another question for you. I was thinking of the coat construction and quilting the lining. I wanted to sew by machine all the front/back panels of the shell and lining, and then sew the shoulder seams, apply the collar, and then quilt the lining to the shell. This way I would have to sew the lining seams by hand only on the sides. Do you think it would work?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A snippet from Claire Shaeffer

Hi everyone, Clare Shaeffer sent us another note with some tips:


When teaching a Chanel workshop, I begin with trims. I examined about 200 suits and have a couple of dozen of my own.
We spend the first day exploring a variety of trims that you can make from self-fabric, lining, or easy-to-find materials. (Very few jackets actually have braid.)

Determining a trim at the outset is particularly important when using either self-fabric or lining because you must think about where you are going to get the fabric for the trim or if you must cut the lining larger. I recommend purchasing 1/4 to1/2 extra to be sure you have enough fabric. That can be expensive, but it insures that you can create the design you want and won't be disappointed because you don't have enough fabric.

My workshop students make half of a sample jacket. If they want to take the workshop again, they can make a jacket for themselves. However, it's very difficult to make a jacket in 40 hrs., even if you have already fitted a muslin.

Hope things are going well.


Picking out a pattern from BWOF

I'm still in the process of picking out a pattern for my jacket- while I really love my "chanel lite" yoked & collared jacket, I'd like to try the classic collarless one. It's going to be black/white tweed with black trim, and so I'm thinking that the collarless style with 3/4 sleeves will work well.

BWOF patterns usually fit me really well, so I'm pretty certain I'll be using one of those. Here are a few choices:

BWOF 12-2007-103 (sans crazy fur collar & cuffs)

03-2008-120 -obviously just the jacket :-)

04-2008-104 A This one is cute, and I could just leave out the zipper. I'm not sure how well all those crazy shapes would work with quilting though.

09-2008-102 -this technical drawing looks pretty blah, but I really like the view of the jacket on the model.

Here's my material- it's from Vera Wang Lavender collection that had earlier. It's a really nice thick, soft boucle- mostly black with white threads woven through.



Hi, everyone. I'm really excited to join in here. I have been wanting to make a Chanel-style jacket for about a year now, so this is a great place to do it. I want my jacket to be casual and cardigan-like, something I can wear with jeans to go to playgroup (I'm a SAHM) or with a pencil skirt to church.

The pattern I'm using is the popular Vogue 7975. I'm not sure about sleeve length or pocket style yet. I ordered swatches from Linton Tweeds and can't wait for them to arrive. I think I want a white or cream or light tan wool tweed, but I also asked for pastels to see some options. I didn't put a price cap on my request, so this could be interesting... At least I only need a yard and a half!

I'll be using Claire Shaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques as a big help, although I don't plan to do everything by hand. If it takes too long to make, I'll get bored and give up.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

FBA: This looks crazy. Will it work?

I've decided to try to use the Claire Schaeffer's Custom Couture Collection V8259 pattern. Like most others, I can't find my size in this pattern (14-16), so I have the larger size pattern (18-20-22). My plan is to draft my smaller size based on what I have. Plus, I get to do an FBA for the first time. My high bust is 35" and my full is 40" so this adjustment cannot be avoided
I used Erica B's instructions for doing an FBA on a shoulder princess seam. (Thanks for the instructions, Erica B. Sorry for squatting on your website all evening.)
Here's a photo of the front piece (with button band on the right side). As you can see the original pattern piece is on the left and my drafted pattern is on the right with changes for a smaller size and for FBA.

Chanel front pattern piece with FBA

THIS LOOKS TOTALLY CRAZY. The original has a nearly straight line, but my drafted piece has an enormous open parenthesis.
How will this jacket go together with such a crazy looking front piece?
Should I try to draft this again in a different way?
Or is this ready to try on my practice fabric?
Do I need to modify the side front for FBA?

Thanks for your help!

visit me: daily ode of delaïdo

Back to business!

Hello everybody,

I'm back from my vacation, and ready to start working on my jacket. I haven't made up my mind on the pattern - I'm still stuck with the 2 patterns I mentioned before (BWOF 10/2005 #116 and BWOF 8/2006 #108C), but I think I'm slightly closer to the coat model.

I have read all of your posts, it was really interesting to see others' pattern/fabric choices and jacket construction progress. Many thanks to all of you who wrote detailed instructions and advices on making the Chanel jacket. I can't find any book nor article on the issue in my city, so I'm absorbing information from the internet as much as I can.

I have been constructing the jacket in my mind (a prerequisite brainstorming for me whenever I'm about to use a new technique), and I got stuck with few questions, so I would appreciate if anyone would answer.

1. Do Chanel jackets have shoulder pads? If there are shoulder pads, how are they applied to the jacket (between the shell and lining fabrics, or are they just sewn to the lining)? I can't imagine wearing a coat that doesn't have shoulder pads, so I guess there is an answer to this question.

2. Do Chanel jackets have facings (cut out of fashion fabric)? Is the facing quilted to the shell fabric, just like the lining? What is the order of sewing facing to the jacket (should I sew the facing to the front of the jacket and then hand sew the lining to the facing?)? Also, I'm wondering if the facing needs to be interfaced? As far as I understood, Chanel jackets should not be interfaced at all, but are there any exceptions?

3. If the jacket has a collar (as the coat pattern I'm considering has), what is the order of sewing the collar to the jacket and applying the lining?

I have some idea on how to construct the jacket, but I'm not sure it would be a Chanel technique. So, ladies, please help! :)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It must be fabric day

Living in Chicago, you would think I could find a wool boucle...somewhere... I haven't found the hiding place, yet! So besides researching Linton Tweeds, I turned to the Garment District in NY. Lindsay T. has a great list of resources on her blog. I called four fabric stores in the district, and explained what I was looking for-- basically a solid,light color with texture. All the locations were very helpful and quick. It was a very painless way to shop! I loved looking at the many, many samples that showed up by post. I threw them in my bag on vacation so I could make a decision before my return. Actually this was very helpful because by the end of the trip it was very evident which ones would show the dirt! That was the easy elimination....At that point, I narrowed it to three samples, and decided on the pink boucle (seen below--the pic looks a bit more orange-y than it really is) from NY Elegant. They are sending it out today along with matching China Silk for the lining. Like I said, quick and painless! But I have to say...I am still taken by the beautiful blue below. Hopefully I am not having buyers remorse...
Now to find the trim! Anyone have a great resource for trim?

Me too! Fabrics bought!

OK everyone else is showing their fabrics so I am happy to join in. These are the lining and outer fabrics I bought on my recent trip to Melbourne, Australia.

Both fabrics are silk and I have no idea about trims as yet. I am also undecided about the pattern (even though I had chosen one already!)

I have just (sort-of) finished my first jacket (not part of this sew-along). Photos are on my blog if you would like to see it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I found my Fabric

I visited The Fabric Store at Surry Hills last Friday afternoon and found this wonderful tweed and it was on sale as well.

It has a cream base with mauve, aubergine, brown through it and it really lifts my aubergine wool. I'm so happy.

I am trying to find some interesting lining to use. I keep changing my mind about my trim, will I use the fringed edge or braid. I have 2 Chanel jackets and they both have braid and I think I do prefer this style.

I'm also not sure if I will make 3/4 or full length sleeves, will probably make this decision as I'm cutting out my fabric.

Thank you everyone for all your informative posts, they are such a joy to read.

My fabric decision is made!

Yesterday I went to Textile Fabric (Nashville) for the first time. Wow! This is the fabric store of my dreams, definitely worth the drive to Tennessee.
I had intended to get a silk suiting for my jacket, but I wasn't crazy about any of the silk choices. I did find a cotton blend I really liked, plus some matching silk lining and pretty trim.
I also got silk thread, pins for silk, and some basting needles (long and thin).
My husband said this fabric made him think of his grandfather's (French) WWII uniform.
I'm very happy with my fabric choices, so now I am focusing on reading and studying the technique and methods.
My dad mentioned to me that my grandmother has "one of those mannequins you pin clothes on" in her basement, so I may have a dress form at my disposal! I plan to drive down there this weekend to check it out. I will be so excited if it's a dress form I can use.

Fabric choices

I am a little behind in my prep work for this jacket. I decided to do the classic Chanel style jacket. I am using V7975 . I am making the orange one in the center back row
I have not ordered my fabric yet. I have two options that I can't choose between. A yellow plaid boucle and a pink plaid boucle. You can see both of the options at my blog. Which do you think I should use?

I am planning on ordering the fabric next weekend from the Fashion Fabrics Club website. Does anyone know a good website I can get trim for it from?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Threads 121--Inside Secrets of a Chanel Jacket by Susan Khalje

I added the above article to the resource list in the sidebar. Both Claire Shaeffer and Susan Khalje have wonderful articles which describe the step by step Chanel-making process. The article in Threads #121 will be my number one "go-to" resource especially for quilting the lining and sewing the shell. Also, the article has a source guide for fabrics and trims. Along with a list of possible patterns.
Khalje talks about the Chanel-isms such as the chains for the hem and gives great suggestions like adding the trim to the pockets before sewing them to the shell.

And again, the step 1, step 2, etc. helps a newbie like me. Also, there are pictures for the visual learner!
Yesterday Dawn wrote a helpful post talking about another great article in the Threads' book, Great Sewn Clothes, by Claire Shaeffer. I recently acquired it "used" from Amazon. It is written in a very similar manner as the Threads 121 article. Claire Shaeffer, like Susan Khalje, has written a great "how-to" guide for making a Chanel inspired jacket. One thing which Shaeffer talks about in length is the trim. She, also, describes how to use the lining as a piping around the jacket. Another little touch that I just might add!
Are there any other articles, books, or DVDs which aren't listed in the sidebar that you feel should be added? Let us know.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I'm so pleased with how these sleeves came out. I used fleece as a sleeve head support, which is the first time I've tried this technique and it really makes such a nice job.

I had to pull in the centre back and add darts to get enough shaping through the back. It creates some funny effects with the houndstooth.

I'm so glad I got to reuse the lining as well. I thought it was beautiful. Because I pinched the facings to make my side panels I had to buy some plain fabric to replace the original facings.

Well, I'm done.  I'm really pleased with the result.  Surprisingly so, there were times I would have given up on it except my husband was breathing down my neck, "don't make Georgio turn in his grave" "he's not dead yet" "oh well don't make Georgio spin in his rocking chair."   (This jacket was originally an 80's power Armani RTW jacket of my husband's that he never wore.)

This sew along means different things to different people. For some, it's the opportunity to create something of workmanship of the highest quality - the quilted lining, the 3 piece sleeve, the meticulous fit. For others, it's about creating timeless style - the patch pockets, the buttons, the tweed, the trim. For me it's more about sewing in the Chanel spirit. Taking a piece of menswear, and turning it into women's wear in a simple, fitted style. 

I learned a lot about refashioning, that's for sure. I have a deeper respect both for its ethos and the skill it takes to work with small pieces of precut fabric.  Most of the decisions I made for this jacket were predetermined by the original pocket and seam lines.  

I understood something about the proportions of the Chanel - style jacket. The pattern I chose works because the broad shoulder is balanced by the jacket finishing at the fullest part of the hip, and the waist pulled in through the princess seams. It creates the perfect hour glass. Because of the position of the original welt pockets I couldn't actually follow that, and it's a little disappointing. But this is refashioning, you have to work with what you've got.

I wish I could show you a picture of it on me that reflects the work that has gone into this jacket. But that would mean getting up, and glamming up early before my husband left for work. Fat chance, so it's down to the ol' soft focus camera in the mirror trick.   You get the gist. I am now going to sit back and enjoy reading all about your hard work .... in my warm and snuggly Chanel style jacket, of course.

From this:

To this:

I'm really not a sewist, but I will play one on this Sew Along

Hello Internet, I've taken the plunge by deciding to commit myself to this Chanel sew along.

I've been thinking about maybe, possibly, perhaps, someday making a Chanel-inspired jacket ever since I read that Threads article about the iconic garment nearly four years ago. However, I never actually thought I'd get around to planning and implementing such a lofty goal.

Here's my To Do list, based on Cindy's list from last month:

1. Buy a silk suiting fabric and a silk lining.

2. Figure out the style of jacket and decide on a pattern or a mix of patterns. I have almost decided on using Vogue 8259 with modifications for the neck and button band.

3. Read up on Chanel jacket making and on Chanel herself: books, articles, and blogs. For someone who hasn't sewn much, I have a ton of resources on hand, including several Threads magazines and Couture Sewing Techniques by Shaeffer.

4. Buy a walking foot. I will call my local Viking dealer tomorrow and inquire about it.

5. Buy a good muslin for jackets. I have no idea how to choose an appropriate muslin. Tomorrow I will be visiting Nashville, so I will stop by Textile Fabric for help. If you have suggestions, please leave me a comment.

6. Find a great looking trim and some awesome buttons. Once again, I'll need some coaching on this step.

7. Get a real dress form.

8. Figure out how to do an customised FBA for myself. Ugh, I need a lot of adjustments here and I've never been able to do it with great success.

I am not a greatly experienced sewist. My mother taught me to sew when I was a kid; she taught herself to sew as a teenager by reading Simplicity and McCalls patterns. I've never had any proper sewing classes or instructions and I don't know any experienced sewists in my area, so I will need your guidance and encouragement to help me along. I'm really just a knitter who likes to play with her sewing machine!

Coco and Karl

Here are a few pictures from the book Chanel Collections and Creations. Photo 1 is from 1960 and photo 2 is from 2003. As beautiful as Lagerfeld's creations are I am admittedly partial to Mademoiselle's. She was all about functional design, elegant simplicity and rejected fashion that was restraining. I chose these 2 photos because I think they showcase the difference between Chanel today and Chanel, the original. The 60's version looks like I could just throw it on and run to the grocery store. Whereas, Lagerfeld's version would definitely be a little over the top for my local Wal Mart!

The center picture, a 2002 design, is my inspiration for this sew along. And yes, I know I just said I liked the vintage designs best but this jacket combines the best of both designers. It is more body conscious thanks to Lagerfeld and yet it has the understated elegance of Mademoiselle. (For the record, I'll be wearing something under my jacket.) Okay, enough of my editorial.

I'll just close with 2 quotes that I think best summarize the vision of the woman whose art still inspires us. " Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body" and "Luxury is not the opposite of poverty; it is the opposite of vulgarity."

Back in Town

Hello. This is Cindy, one of the three Admin on the Sew Along. Quickly, I wanted to post to say I am back from vacation. I have oodles of sew along emails and just wanted to let you know that I will be returning each one in the next few days, But.... if you don't hear from me...please, please just holler...I don't want anyone to be forgotten. I have been a bit scatter-brained with family chaos the last few weeks, but I am back all relaxed and ready to sew a Chanel jacket! And yes...100 smelly snail shells, 200 rocks, and roughly 300 pine cones came back with us from Northern Michigan!

Things I am Learning

I picked up a few books a while back at my second-hand bookstore. I was flipping through one yesterday morning while eating breakfast and imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an article by Claire Shaeffer about Coco Chanel. I won't scan the entire article for copyright reasons but it has some very nice techniques, diagrams, and tips. It's an older Threads article compilation. I would certainly recommend pick it up if you see it.

Here's an example of one of the diagrams. As I go through this Sew Along I'll explain the techniques I use that are from this book. This article focuses on the iconic Chanel jacket.

I have already learned a few things I didn't know before.
  • Most Chanel jackets have extremely narrow-cut shoulders and small, high armholes. This gives the wearer a lot of range of movement.
  • There's usually a narrow side panel which gives the jacket some shape around the waist.
  • There is usually a very fitted three piece sleeve.
  • The jackets traditional have only two layers: the shell (fashion fabric) and a blouse-weight lining.
  • The shell is machine-quilted to the lining. This provides support to the often loosely woven shell fabric. The quilt pattern should depend on your shell fabric design. Horizontal stripes would be quilted with horizontal stitches. A large plaid could be quilted with boxes etc.
  • Trim is important to a Chanel jacket. Jacket edges, pockets, and sleeve vents are trimmed.
  • This book mentions four main ways to trim the jacket: topstitched trim, grosgrain and plaited-yarn trims, selvage strip with narrow woven band, and piping which is an extension of the lining.
I am be no means an expert on the Chanel jacket. I've seen them but only because Claire Shaeffer was recently in Anchorage. I'm just sharing what I have learned because I figured there would be others out there who didn't really know what it means to sew a Chanel jacket.