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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Chanel sort of

I can't thank you all enough for the comments to my last post. 

This has helped me decide what to do next.

Since my main travel machine is now in the shop (freak accident, my shirt caught and broke the take-up lever) a little hand-sewing is in the cards.

I am definitely going to order that Stylearc Coco jacket when I have a fixed address. In the meantime decided to jump in with my current version of a pattern (a Simplicity jacket that was so big that I took days taking it in and adjusting it and I do not recommend it) and my new approach to classic Chanel technique:

Do it in sort of a relaxed Babs way, and if it works out it works out and if it doesn't it doesn't.

Since this is my general life philosophy I am comfortable with this approach to this project.

Sometimes when I take a sewing class with other sewers I am amazed at how precise they are, how exact they measure, how careful . Now I am not totally reckless but I think I have more a feel for sewing than a precision in what I do.

There are a couple of things about the Chanel project that appeal to me:

1. No interfacing and heavy construction like sleeve heads. I like light clothes that don't get in my way.
2. Simple design lines. Princess seams and only patch pockets. No tricky lapels or welts that require Thought.
3. No separate and then attached lining. Sometimes this is a pain, I feel like I am making two garments.

What I don't think I will like:

1. All that slow hand sewing.

My intention is therefore to try to breeze through it. Pre-apologies to wonderful, brilliant sewists like Bunny who are so excellent in their hand stitching, and to anyone else who knows how to make one of these jackets properly.

OK. Here we go:

Step one: cut it out using the muslin which I cut apart at the basting lines, eliminating any seam allowances which I had to chalk in. Added 5/8" (yes I know) and 2" hem. Used the sleeve (which I converted to 3 piece- see earlier post) patterns as is as they were OK more or less. Paid attention to grain. If this works out I will make up a brown paper pattern piece with the seam allowances added in for the future (don't hold your breath):

The back looks weird I know. I added a bit to centre back at the bottom for butt coverage but hope it is not as exaggerated as this.

I then pinned the cut fabric pieces wrong sides together to the lining, single layer, and rough cut around each piece because the intended quilting should pull it up some. I will trim the lining down to match once the quilting is done.

Next I flipped the unit over and did sort of relaxed messy basting. Having the pins on the other side was a good idea as it meant my basting thread didn't get caught in the pins. If you do this use a long needle for basting to speed things up. I also used a cotton thread to baste so it would be easier to break if my basting stitches get caught, as they will, in my quilting stitching lines:

I did get only two pieces basted up yesterday. Then I had to go and finish the cherry pie before my husband came home and wanted to eat it.

So far to good.

You have to break this up and having HBO as I do in the hotel room is helpful. I can't imagine basting all these pieces up all day, day after day.

The way I see it this is a bit like teaching a course.

Every course I teach is 24 lectures. 

Now if you thought on day one about 24 full classes of having to think of interesting things to say you would just go home and lie with a cold cloth on your head and maybe read magazines. However, and I know this from experience, if you pretend to yourself that you only have to be intelligent and interesting of 1.5 hours (one class) you can do it. And before you know it you are marking the final papers and telling yourself it wasn't that hard after all.

Basting is just like that.

May do the sleeves today.


sewingkm said...

I love reading your blog. Regarding the Chanel-like jacket - quilting can draw up and make the fabric piece smaller so 1" seams (instead of the normal 5/8") are normally used.

gwensews said...

Hand sewing is rather therapeutic.One stitch at a time. Oh, and I love that Coco jacket pattern.

annie said...

You might enjoy a book titled "The Gospel according to Coco Chanel," by Karen Karbo. To be clear, I have no connection or vested interest. Just reading and enjoying it.