Sunday, August 16, 2009

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.


  1. What perfect timing for a great find! I'm looking forward to learning more.

  2. I just bought the Thread book used through Amazon. I agree, there are some great tips in the Claire Shaeffer article! Along with the Thread #128 article--it is all the info you need to make an authentic Chanel!

  3. Actually, it is an article in the Thread #121 which is SO helpful. It is written by Susan Khalje. Excellent. I will write a quick post on it in the next few days!

  4. Thank you for the information, I am waiting for my copy from the Library.

    I need to try and find those Thread issues.