Monday, August 3, 2009


Hello everyone! A huge thanks to Cindy and Antoinette for organizing this sew along! I started a Chanel style jacket about 3 years ago and petered out in the quilting stage, so this should provide some incentive to make a full jacket this time!

Last week I kept thinking about the construction method & how it would possibly work. I have the Claire Shaeffer book & re-read the section on quilting the lining to the fabric, but it omits some steps. For instance, how do you insert the collar if the lining is quilted to the fabric? How does one hem the jacket? How do you attach the facings? Should the lining go to the front edge and then facing covers it? Do you then catch stitch the facing to the lining?? Can you do real welt pockets if the lining, again, is attached to the fabric? Would they hang loose inside? How do you neaten it? The one thing that really got me, though, was all the hand stitching to close the lining.

Well, if you're on the east coast you know that Sunday was a torrential downpour, so I retreated inside and locked myself away in my sewing room. I figured the best way to sort out this collar and hemming and hand sewing business was to try a chanel-lite jacket. I'd had my eye on Jacket #10 from Patrones 278 - March 2009 for a while and decided that would do.

After tracing the pattern I pulled out the material for the original jacket I'd tried to make a few years ago and was happy to see that I had enough to cut this one out. For lining I used what I had on hand, a very light lilac shantung. When quilting I first tried the "correct" method where you pull the threads to the inside & tie them off. That was too slow, so I took to using the "fix" on my sewing machine. We'll see which one holds better.

The outer fabric, a silk tweed, was super un-ravelry. Of course I helped it along... this is what I got when I stitched the front facings to the front lining and laid it under the yoke. Ooops. I'd sewn the facings on upside down. Ripping that stitching out was all kinds of fun.

I know Chanel suits typically don't have interfacing but the collar worried me, so I used some very light tricot interfacing on it. Seemed to work ok.

I didn't quilt the lining on the yokes of my jacket so that I could reach the shoulder seams to sew them and also so that I could flip the upper front facing around and encase the collar correctly when sewing the collar on. Anyone who knows the REAL way to get a collar on the jacket, please enlighten us!!

Shoulder seams

Here's the constructed jacket, inside out & ready for the hand sewing. By this time it was 5 PM.
Inside out

It took more than 4 hours, pretty much nonstop, to hand sew the lining shut. The Couture Sewing Technique book has a whole section on these stitches, which I read, but putting the theory into practice was very tricky. At least the stitching got a bit more invisible as I went along.

Well, to wrap up, here's the jacket on me this morning, with the pocket basted on. And in need of a lot of pressing.

One more note... it's SO warm! I was shocked that two very light fabrics made such a toasty coat. It's going to be perfect for my overly air conditioned office.


  1. Wow, were you productive! I love the pattern. 3/4 sleeves are up there with a-line skirts for me--love them!
    When I start thinking of the construction, I start to get nervous especially when I start to get "creative" and change design elements. And then the whole cause and effect thing starts to happen...

    Thanks for sharing all the photos and steps--it helps clarify the Chanel mystery!

  2. Thank you for posting the great pictures of the inside jacket. I am going to take a trip to Nordstom this weekend and specifically look at the insides of their Chanel jackets..... And it looks very good,love the shape.

  3. What an accomplishment! Chanel-lite looks really great on you. I am going to the library this week to see if I can find those back issues of Threads that have been mentioned as Chanel jacket construction resources, and I'll let you know if I find answers to any of your great questions.

  4. I think you are on the right track. I am not putting a collar on my Chanel jacket, but basically it seems you leave the quilting off the areas that you need to, then finish it later. If you hand quilt you can leave threads hanging so that the quilting can be finished off later. And there is a lot of hand stitching....

  5. wow -it's looking great .. as soon as I saw you post, I thought, collar! I want a collar! That jacket will be so chic ..

  6. Well, you got a lot done while it rained!! I'm impressed!