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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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Friday, May 4, 2012

Claire Shaeffer's Chanel Jacket pattern preview

Remember this pattern? Remember me nearly losing my mind over my Chanel jacket experiment fiasco last month?

Well thanks to the miracle that is US mail my BMV order arrived today in my mailbox. You have to know it often takes 5-6 weeks for patterns to arrive at home in Nova Scotia. 

Listen if Homeland Security ever wants to really tighten things up they should contact Canada Post/Border control. Those guys really know how to scrutinize. Last Style Arc order I got at home came with a letter to say they had to open my package and check all my patterns just to make sure that's what they were, and that I should inform the shipper to mark sewing patterns on the package, not just paper products or whatever. They held up my patterns for 2 months. That made me feel the world was a safer place.

Back to Chanel.

Claire Shaeffer has a reputation for knowing her way around couture-wise so I was interested/surprised to see some changes to her method vis a vis the original Chanel techniques that were so trying on my sanity.

Here they are:

  • Interfacing, on neckline and sleeve and bottom hems.
  • The units get pretty much done and completed (front, back sleeves) before they are attached.
  • This is the important part - she has you sew up the unit body, say the back and the lining back with all the princess seams and all that stuff and then you do the quilting of that part. This eliminates all those overlapped and hand sewn seam allowances (there are about 400 of them on the average jacket) you have to deal with in the old technique. THIS IS HUGE.
  • The side panels are not quilted at all.
  • She also advises little custom darts to be sewn in the lining only to pull it in here and there at the waist, wherever you think you need them as sort of an after market feature.
This will make the jacket far more manageable and when I am back at the homestead I am going to give this a whirl.

That's all the good stuff. I should warn you that the instructions for making the hand bound buttonholes take about half the written text and made me feel like I was reading the how-to's for a DIY Faberge egg. Not something you would whip off during the commercials.

Definitely going to be doing some trail runs on those and not letting myself get my hopes up.

But buttonholes aside mark me down as cautiously optimistic as we used to say in political spin.


Meg @ Mood Fabrics said...

Barbara, I have plans to make this same jacket. But I am NOT hand sewing the buttonholes!

annie said...

Waiting for my pattern to arrive. US Postal Service has some pretty major issues so I can't count on it in the next millenium. I have fabric, no lining. So making some progress, I guess. Hope you will hold our hands as we try again! Oh wait, I'll need my hands won't I?

katherine h said...

I read through these pattern instruction yesterday and I am not going to hand sew the button holes either! I have been reading Roberta Carr's Couture book and am thinking about Spanish snap button holes instead. Have you seen the You Tube video of the Chanel jacket being made in the Chanel workrooms? It is mesmerising. Looks like they sew their buttonholes by machine.

Watch it here: http://youtu.be/UIYSW9_CCCI.

Anonymous said...

I just got this pattern this week. I noticed that it differed from the methods in her books. Ready to try it thanks to your review. Thank you!


Denise said...

have you noticed that the front sleeve pattern piece is cut slightly off grain? Not quite sure why she recommends that, unless it's an error in the pattern itself. The pattern envelope says it's a two-piece sleeve, but it's a three-piece sleeve. Quilting takes up fabric, so I'm guessing the lining pattern is a little larger. But since I had to alter the pattern for an FBA and fuller hip measurement, and I don't feel like doing all that work to the lining pattern as well, I'm going to make mine the old fashioned way. I'm not making hand-bound buttonholes, either. Denise

Anonymous said...

I have just completed my muslin and the undersleeve does not match up with the upper and lower sleeve pieces. Notch this out and you will notice this is out. And it does not say to ease either pieces so I am at a loss.....I am thinking I will underline mine too but not do the quilting.....But I will do the hand sewn buttonholes....

Dragana Edwards said...

Hi Barbara, can you please let me know which pattern you are using and is it readily available? from whom?
would appreciate it. BTW I am going to Claire Shaeffer's class in January 2013 - from Melbourne Australia

Barbara said...

Dragana I am using Claire Schaeffer's own pattern the latest one from Vogue 8804.

Lynn Forester said...


I too will be at the Claire Shaeffer class in January 2013. This will be my first with Claire, and I'm wondering what tools to "not forget". Can you suggest anything you had with you in the class and were glad of . . . or that you wished you had had with you? I'm so excited! Have lots of fabric (okay, got over zealous after I registered what seems like a lifetime ago), and would like to play a bit before January to get a little familiar with the techniques.

Thanks for any tips!


Ramona said...

I realize you wrote this QUITE a while ago, but I'm wondering if you have anything new to add on using the Vogue 8804. I'm about to use it for the "Little French Jacket" sew along with TheWallinna.com.

How did you like the workshop with Claire?? I would love the chance to work with her. Thanks so much for any feed back you can give.


Anonymous said...

I, too, realize this was quite a while ago, but for the sake of anyone searching this astern, I thought I would share some information. First off, if you bought the pattern (like I did) a long time ago to make "someday", you may have an unrevised under sleeve (piece 14). The problem was that someone forgot to grade the piece, so it is a size 14 under sleeve piece and has to be scaled (graded) up. The grain line is correct, though. It is supposed to allow for a small amount of bias stretch to help shape the arm. I had a go-round with Vogue to ascertain why nothing seemed to match up, resulting with them sending a new sleeve piece. So... late, but hopefully, this will save someone else's sanity.

Rae Brietzke said...

I just put my muslin together and was wondering what I did wrong as the under sleeve was too short. Thanks for clarifying that the problem was with the pattern, notmy sewing ability!