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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, April 11, 2012

Chanel jacket deconstructed

A lot to say about this project. Here is the summary:

  • Yes, the finished project is as comfortable as promised. This is a serious consideration when thinking about doing one of these jackets. I have long thought that so much sewn into women's jackets - all the interfacing, lapels, taping and shoulder pads, sleeve heads and shoulder stays really are all constructs of male tailoring. I do not need to look like a male banker and I don't want to feel like one. You have to be comfortable to get through a girl's day.
  • However you really need to love your pattern. Note to self. Any pattern that took this much time to fit, in the muslin and in process, was a bad pattern for me. A good pattern for you requires only a few tweeks - I have decided once you start to do more you and the pattern are at cross purposes and always will be.
  • You really, really need to love your fabric. I loved my lining and would have thrown the whole thing in the garbage at the first midnight otherwise. It would have been good to have felt the same way about my outer fabric, which I am convinced spent the whole time wishing it was something else, like say an A line skirt. Don't try to convert your fabric. Also you are going to spend so much time with this you have to like it to get past the worst part of for better or for worst.
  • All the hand stitching was wasted in the sleeves. Because I did a 3 piece sleeve (waste of time for a vent but worked for my rescue treatment) I ended up with 12 little flags of silk to hand stitch down before I could sew it in around the armhole. I found these little units most annoying. Next time I unit quilt the sleeves and hong kong the seam allowances on them. Done and just fine. I may still do the body traditionally as it does make a nice little inside next to your body. You never know when you will wear this with a bathing suit.
  • The chain is a good idea - might sew light chains to the hems of some knit jackets or cardigans as an experiment.
  • Forget tiny pockets unless you are a tiny person who carries tiny things. No dog leashes, no snacks.
  • On the subject of scale my expensive bought trim looked wimpy. I figure to scale it up to me I need a trim that is about 1.5-2 inches wide. This would require layering a couple and that would have required driving back to Nova Scotia to get it. I doubt there would have been much buy in for that.
Will I do it again?

Yes, but only because it is comfortable, but with a new pattern (I really enjoyed stuffing the old one in the kitchen garbage can) and something simpler. May even do this New Look pattern

After all if all I want is a sweater disguised as a jacket why complicate things?

BTW Janine's suggestion to add a button to the top of the vent is a great one, I even dug out a scrap from the garbage in case I can locate a button form somewhere.

Next I am putting my feet up and sewing Stylearc's Jane blouse.


Martha said...

Amen. I agree with your assessment of sewing Coco jackets.

I would add one idea to the fabric decision. I chose a silk tweed for mine. I will never make a Coco jacket again unless I am working with a wonderful, say a bouncy 100% wool boucle. Silk and other fibers simply do not respond to the pressing and all the rest the way wool does.

I'm sure you'll enjoy this jacket. It is charming and unique.

annie said...

You have the nicest button forms in Canada, a sort of nylon or maybe plastic. Anyhow, not the awful metal ones we have in the states. Several years ago, I ordered a "lifetime" supply and I love them. They tend not to come apart like the metal ones.

BeccaA said...

I love your jacket and your altered sleeves! I think using the lining as trim is beautiful and fun.

Lena Merrin said...

Love the tiny pockets for tiny person part :)) Maybe that's why my pockets are always large and numerous hehe

Jane M said...

I've made a few of these and your lessons are wonderfuly familarl. I tossed one last year when I realized that I knew the rayon silk tweed was going to start pilling the moment I touched it.

Terry said...

Sorry that it was so aggravating for you. I like turned back cuffs on jackets. Is there a possibility that you could do something to the sleeves tht will allow you to do that? Then your lining would show.

Dixie said...

Thanks for sharing this (agonizing) process. You showed formidible stick-to-it-iveness. The jacket looks great. I love the lining used as trim. And the sleeve vents - I agree with the button idea. But they don't look all that bad. I love getting a peek of the lining.
Enjoy your jacket!

Catherine Daze said...

Sorry it didn't work out for you. I think you're right about not fighting with the pattern or fabric! It's been interesting to read about the process - thanks!