Sunday, August 24, 2008

"Chanel" Jacket Construction

I’m in love.
I’m in love with Chanel
I’m in love with Chanel and boucle
I’m in love with Chanel and boucle and silk
I’m in love with Chanel and boucle and silk and hand stitching

What an experience it is to handle this rag-a-muffin. Each step in this process has been pure pleasure so far, and not on the basic level. On the highest, stratospheric, out-of-this world level.

I so appreciate all of you who left me helpful tips on how to approach this unique jacket construction. Thank you, thank you, thank you! Documenting the process has improved my sewing tremendously (thank heavens for the iPhone!), and all of you play a huge part in that. I always think of what needs to be explained with pictures, and those pictures help me catch errors before it’s too late. Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to leave a comment.

I made a muslin of BWOF 1-2008-127, eliminated the CB seam, and moved the back waist dart to the back princess seam. I also moved the upper backside toward CB, eliminating some gaposis at the back armhole. I raised the armhole about 3/8” and scooped out a bit in front, and added a bit of coverage to the back. The shoulder seam was moved forward just a tad.

After working with the boucle, I think all of this tweaking was a waste. It’s so drapey and forgiving, these changes will play a minimal (if any) role in the final fit.

Btw, if you're looking for a very fitted princess seamed jacket, BWOF 1-2008-127  is a great pattern. And the shawl collar is super flattering imo.

After taking apart the muslin and cutting off SA, I placed the muslin on right side of the fabric in a single layer. This is where matching the plaid (in my case; the satin ribbons) takes center stage. You will need lots of room around each piece as well, since a minimum of 2” SA is necessary. I thread-traced around each piece, and cut.

Since this is a shawl collar jacket, I needed to make front facings, which is not part of the Chanel construction in the Threads article. I cut four of the front pattern (like the BWOF pattern calls for), and put the facings aside to be quilted/attached later.

For lining, I dyed a piece of silk charmeuse in Light Pink (I know, here comes the dye again- but I didn’t have a choice, honestly! F & S didn’t have the right color.) I placed it on the table, right side facing down, and placed the cut boucle- one piece at the time- on top, right side facing up. I pinned down vertical lines, spaced 1 1/4” apart (due to the ribbon pattern), and 1” away from all seam lines and ending 2” above the hem fold line. I used silk thread- off white in needle, light pink in bobbin-, a walking foot and longer stitch length. I left thread tails at each beginning and stop, which I pulled to the inside and tied off.

Then I pinned the CB on the dressform and pinned the sidebacks, folding in SA, and matching each side square by square. After slip-basting in place on the form, I hand stitched all seams using small back stitches. The shoulder/collar seam point is the tricky part. I fused the point that needs to be cut, stitched the shoulder seams, cut the points and stitched the back neck/collar together. 

I needed three buttonholes, and after quite a bit of experimentation, I used medium fusible interfacing on both the front and welt, the stitched rectangle is 1” long by 1/2” wide. Next, I will make the buttonholes in the facing and quilt the facings on. Then the sleeve... and finally the trim. Very excited about the trim.


  1. Thanks for all the information on your jacket. It looks amazing, can't wait to see the trim.

  2. Its looking really good . I really enjoyed all the work too . I made my trim by unravelling the tweed and using one colour for a plaited trim which I mounted over a fringe which was the other colour in the tweed. This worked very well.
    I once saw a film about the creation of the 2004 Chanel collection and the old lady who makes up the trim lives on a farm outside Paris and has a long room above her barn where she goes to make her trims with very antequted equipment. Apparently Chanel have sent " apprentices " out to work with her to try and get her methods passed on but she is very difficult to work with and they have just persisted with her . Sometimes the production of the braids gets held up by her need to get in her hay!!

  3. Fabulous!
    Your buttonholes are exquisite (and isn't it a shame that they're so well done they Don't show? ;)
    It's coming along beautifully.

  4. This project is going to be fantastic. Looking forward to seeing the finished jacket.

  5. Oooh, I'm loving this information as j'adore Chanel and hope to make a Chanel-inspired jacket this fall. Yours is coming along beautifully.

  6. I love the jacket; really like the pattern, too! How would I go about buying this pattern?

    Judy if Boise, ID