The Couture Dress »
InstructionsI used the method outlined in Susan Khalje's Threads Article about making a Chanel Jacket ("Inside a Designer Jacket") from Threads #121, and also techniques I learned from the Couture Dress course. After doing several muslins, I decided to use Simplicity 2145 to get a '60's look. Somehow I got the idea having made a jacket before (using the organza underlining method) that I could figure out how ...
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Type of item: Clothing
Style: Retro / Vintage, Classic
Chanel Wool Tweed for fashion fabric, Double Georgette Silk for Lining, braided trim with lurex highlights, Chanel Buttons snipped from a blouse bought on eBay, silk thread, coat hooks and eyes.
What was your inspiration?
I love vintage fashion and enjoy reading about it and wearing it. I started reading about Chanel jackets and how they were developed and constructed by Coco Chanel, and got curious about making one. I did a lot of research, which is now on one of my Pinterest Boards, which you can find here: http://pinterest.com/juleseclectic/make-your-own-chanel-jacket/ It includes links to Susan's Threads article, a great photo tutorial by Anne Rowley, and descriptions of other people's ordeals--er--enjoyment of Chanel jacket projects.
What are you most proud of?
That I hung in there and finished the thing! I thought using a pattern with kimono sleeves would be easier than set-in sleeves, but it ended up being harder to fit. I like the jacket pattern, though I took the sleeve top and armscye in quite a bit. All the hand-finishing of the lining, buttons and trim almost did me in, and unless you really enjoy hand-sewing, I wouldn't take on this project. The pockets alone took 3-4 hours each. The plaid matching took a lot of time and effort but worked out well. I bought the trim at a shop in Paris, and struck up a conversation with a male dressmaker who told me he worked with Chanel. I overheard him gossiping with the saleswoman in French, and they talked about how haute couture (made to measure for wealthy clients) Chanel suits cost more than 40,000 Euros--basically more than $55,000! Is mine as good as that? What do I care, it's not like Karl Largerfeld's going to bust me!
What advice would you give someone starting this project?
Do your research, take Susan's Couture Dress course, and keep breathing deeply. As I constructed the jacket, I learned why Coco Chanel put everything there...the quilting keeps the fabric from bagging, the trim supports the neckline, front opening, and cuffs, (though I also put in organza selvedges and lightweight fusible interfacing along the edges to minimize stretching--as they did in Chanel's video about the making of a "Little Black Jacket"), the chain helps to give the soft fabric some body and swing, and the upper pockets can cover the place where the plaids don't really match over the bust, though I didn't have that issue because I used a pattern with Kimono sleeves and side panels. Picking a fabric without obvious plaids or stripes will save you time. Also the fabric really started to pill, so pick a tweed that's fairly stable. Good luck and Godspeed!