This post has been a long time coming!
I bought this fabulous colourful jacket last year in a thrift store in San Francisco called ‘Out of the Closet’ (!!). The first time I saw it I knew that its loose weave fabric with golden threads wanted to be a Chanel-style jacket, but didn’t really want to take on such a large project. I changed my mind and had to go back and get it the day after! I paid US$ 8.50.
Making a jacket in the famous Chanel style was not a quick project, but I do love the finished jacket and wear it often, so it was worth it…
Here’s another picture of the original garment. The fabric is pretty saggy in places and it’s not looking good. There are large slubs in some places which I did my best to cut around, and reversed the fabric where necessary (it has two good sides).
I used Butterick 9476 as a base for my pattern, which I know fits me well.
The original jacket pattern has no side seam and the front darts at the shoulder. I traced it and cut it down the side seam, and moved the front dart to under the arm, where it would be less visible.
I cut the front from the jacket front, back from the back and sleeves from the original sleeves – happily, there was just enough, though it was touch and go on the sleeves. I cut off the buttons and kept them for another project!
I also cut a lining from the same pattern pieces from some black satin that I had in my stash.
Now, for the tailoring techniques, I used a mixture of the excellent ‘Couture sewing techniques’ by Claire Shaeffer and annrowley’s fantastic flickr photostream which was also incredibly helpful and very detailed. However, I am not a tailoring expert — this is just what I did to get a result that was acceptable to me. If you want to see what perfection looks like, either buy a real Chanel, or check out annrowley’s flickr photostream that I mentioned.
I cut a back stay from some strong muslin and made the darts in it, basting it to the fashion fabric (which does not have the darts in it).
I based around the bottom of the dart to mark the area that will be steamed to shrink it.
This is how it looks from the right side (before steaming).
After steaming, it looks more like this. I am not 100% sure that the steaming did not stretch the back stay, but either way it looks OK [the muslin stay was flat against the ironing board, so although it received a lot of steam, I did not explicitly stretch or try to shrink it with manipulation]. Not great, but good enough.
I added stabilising to the vertical seams to prevent stretching (I am using muslin selvedge). The muslin strip along the bottom is cut on the bias and is intended to give a nice stable line along the hem.
Here’s the quilting part! I pinned the lining to the fashion fabric in straight lines and diagonal basted between them.
Then I sewed along the pinned lines, without backstitching or finishing the ends of the seams, and removed the basting. Looks pretty good! (Note that the lining already has the shoulder darts in it).
Here’s what to do to make it really neat. Working between the shell and the lining, pull both threads through to the inside and tie them in a double knot, trimming the ends. I had to do about a million of these which took ages, but it’s worth it. You can see that I am using black thread on the top (lining) side, and had blue thread on the bottom (fashion fabric side) bobbin, to roughly match the warp of the fashion fabric. The blue stitches are not noticeable from the outside of the finished jacket!
For the front, I stabilised the edges I didn’t want to stretch with selvedge, and the hem with bias muslin as described above. I later realised that the trim would have been stabilising enough for the centre front edge, so I could’ve avoided some thickness by skipping it – but you live and learn.
Note that there is a large dart in the front. This wasn’t small enough to be shrunk out, so it had to be positioned where it would show least, I put mine under the arm.
Then followed the same quilting process as for the back…
…and repeated again for the sleeves.
Finally, after many hours invested in this project, came the time to sew the pieces together. I cannot tell you how exciting this was.
For the trim, I’m using plain grosgrain ribbon. I like to keep it simple :-)
But, how did I get it to curve around the neckline without pleats?
The answer is: I got the technique from annrowley’s flickr photostream… drew out a newspaper pattern of the edges of my jacket using the original pattern, drew on the position of the trim that I wanted, ran a running stitch along the inside of the curved portion of the ribbon, pinned it to the pattern on my ironing board, pulled the running stitches tight, and attacked it with steam from the iron (I did NOT iron it), pressing down with my fingers when the iron was a safe distance away….
…it was tough to avoid burning my fingers, but I took care.
Here’s how it looks pinned to the outside!
When I was happy with the positioning I sewed it down (only to the outer shell, mind).
The inside of the jacket still looked like this:
Basically the next step is to hand sew the lining to the fashion fabric around all the edges, and make the joins between the lining pieces in much the same way, using tiny stitches. Finally, press the hem and sleeve hems up, and sew those lining seams too. Not forgetting to remove any visible basing stitches from earlier, of course.
In the end I decided to add trim around the sleeve hems too – negating the need for the stabilising I added there earlier, but oh well.
Here’s the inside of the finished jacket:
And the outside:
All I am missing is the famous chain weight from around the bottom hem to help it hang nicely. I didn’t have any, and haven’t had much luck buying this anywhere, but when I find some I will add it.
I took this jacket on its first outing back in November… to the ‘Chanel: Little back jacket’ exhibition! The exhibition is Lagerfeld’s black and white photos of famous women, and some men, wearing the famous Chanel jacket in black. They are all wearing it in different ways. I really enjoyed it… even got a free poster of one of the photos to take home! Very exciting!
My favourite images were SJP…
…and Anna Wintour, who must have a sense of humour after all!