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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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Saturday, April 7, 2012

Reinventing Coco

I had a real moment with my jacket yesterday. It was rapidly being renamed from "my classic Chanel jacket" into "this stoopid jacket."

I wanted something that felt like a sweater and I was starting to think, well why didn't you make a sweater then smarty-pants? 

I got the sleeves in and with the 3 piece sleeve change I made (remember that it ran a seam down the centre from the shoulder point to situate the decorative vent where it would show more, a Chanel detail apparently) the extra seam meant, in this fabric at least, that the sleeve didn't have the nice smooth cap I am used to. I am sort of missing interfacing and wonder if I should have fused the whole thing.

Of course that would have added 10 more hours to the 90 I have already spent on this project.

So I decided to do a moment of truth and locked myself in the bathroom with my black trim and buttons and four little pockets (what would I put in those pockets, the car keys?)  and stuck it all on my body and took a look.

Since I had read my vent instructions wrong the vents were also backwards.

Did I mention that? 

I haven't been this upset since I threw the EZI-Knitter out of a second story window, and listen I have gotten over marriages faster than I did my failure to master EZI knitting. I still don't want to talk about.

Back to me in the bathroom with the shadow of a Chanel jacket on me.

What I decided was that the whole effect was too old on me. I mean really a black jacket with black trim and conservative silver and black buttons. This is not me.

So then I had to ask myself why was this not in the garbage can already?

Well because it has fabulous zebra silk charmeuse lining and it feels so good, particularly if you are wearing a bathing suit under it.

So I decided that if what I really like is the lining, since that's the only part of this jacket to date that is really me, that I should pack up the trim and buttons, trash the pockets, cut off the mistake vents (done) and leave the slit where those things were open, so you can see the lining, and bind the whole thing in bias silk.

Can you see what I mean?

With the way the seam is on the top of the arm when I move my arms at all, and I will wear this teaching, it falls open so you can see the lining.

This, I figure, will look sharp.

So right now I am thinking this jacket is no longer in the style of Chanel, but in the spirit of Chanel, who I believe threw out old ideas to suit.

Kids I can spin anything.


Margy said...

I enjoy your posts so much, Barbara...you are funny!

BeccaA said...

This sounds like a superb update of the Chanel jacket! I can't wait to see your finished product.

annie said...

Well, I get your spin reference but that is a really really good alternative to a wadder. You ought to read "The Gospel according to Coco Chanel." She probably would have done the same sort of thing.

Mark said...

I am so glad to see that someone who I consider to be a superior sewer has moments like the rest of us. (Of course my moments like that are with much less intense garments.) When I finish pieces, I always seem to say the same thing, It won't win any awards, but if no one looks too close it works! Which is exactly what I said about my girls Easter dresses yesterday!

Melissa said...

Uh, that last comment was made by me, not my husband Mark. I think he'd be horrified to know he commented on a sewing blog! Don't tell him K?

Rebecca Clayton said...

Whew! Chanel jackets always make me think of Nancy Reagan. You've become my fashion hero, and I didn't like to think of you running around dressed up like her, especially since she is a tiny, buttoned-up little thing. I don't think those Chanel pockets and details scale up for normal-sized women such as myself.

I think your project here will look great in motion, which I imagine you usually are in. Very cool.

The Hojnackes said...

Definitely agrees with the spirit of Chanel! That lining is definitely fabulous.

Martha said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for posting this. My own intense Coco jacket experience is stuffed in the back of a very deep closet as of a week ago. You at least have saved yours. Great save, too. Nice jacket. Martha

Dixie said...

Great save! Don't you love it when it suddenly becomes clear what to do with a problem project?! It sounds like you really weren't liking the jacket, but because you were open to new ideas, you'll now have a jacket you'll wear and like. Fabulous lining, by the way!

Jane M said...

Hooray, so glad you saved this one since I think part of the appeal of these quilted jackets is always the cool lining. Too much fuss would have just made you uncomfortable wearing it. Now you'll glow because it reflects your openness to new ideas and a fun inner spirit (and lining.)