Chanel Cardigan Jacket

 Jacket Front

Claire Shaeffer pattern – Vogue 8259 (out of print)

Coco Chanel was the epitome of elegance and her classic cardigan jacket is a timeless garment.  It is my humble opinion that no wardrobe is complete without at least one version.  Then, if you are going to be a purist, it must be constructed using classic couture techniques.  Being a huge fan of sewing by hand, this suits me just fine.

This year I will be teaching a 4-day workshop at the Australian Sewing Guild annual convention on constructing a Chanel jacket incorporating couture methods.  Although there is a considerable amount of hand sewing required, you still do get to use a sewing machine.  The order of construction is quite different to what you may be used to.  For example, normally the lining would be the last thing to be inserted into a jacket.  Not so with the Chanel jacket which has the lining quilted to the body.  This means you attach the lining to the fronts and backs BEFORE you join at shoulders and side seams.  Quilting the lining to the fabric provides wonderful stability and body to the garment particularly when using the traditional tweed boucle fabric which is a loose weave.

I now have two versions of this pattern in my wardrobe.  The first one I made was a a navy textured wool/polyester blend  I made it with a collar, two pockets only, and gorgeous retro-print silk lining.  The pattern (Vogue 8259) has a 3-piece sleeve with a lovely curved vent (with buttonholes, of course).  This sleeve is wonderful for fitting larger arms, as the extra seam gives you more opportunities to enlarge where needed, particularly in the upper arm area.

The fabric used was stable enough that back, side front and sleeves did not require interfacing – the quilting provided enough body.  The jacket front still requires interfacing and I choose to use tailor’s canvas.

For my second jacket I choose the more traditional boucle fabric with a check design which means careful cutting to match the pattern across seams.  This being a loose weave fabric, I interfaced the body pieces with silk organza before quilting the lining.  Four pockets in this version and no collar.  Loving the laser-etched Italian buttons.  In fact, the whole jacket was designed around the buttons!

What would I do different next time?  I should have made the front facing from a contrasting fabric like a silk dupion to reduce the bulk at the front.  I’m still very pleased with the result and it fits beautifully.  Now I just have to wait for winter to wear it.

Vogue 8259 is now out of print but a very similar pattern (also Claire Schaeffer) is V8804.  No collar with this pattern and a 2-piece sleeve but otherwise the same.  It would be easy enough to adapt the sleeve and add a collar.

Re-fashion competition

Check out the Australian Sewing Guild Inc.  They have got an exciting new competition, collaborating with Red Cross Stores.  This is for all those re-cyclers, re-fashioners, creative thinkers, fashionistas, etc., etc.  Anyone can win, you just have to collect votes.  Well OK, you do have to do a bit of sewing first but that’s fun!

Click the Enter Now button in the sidebar to get all the information.

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Vintage Lace Re-visited

It’s been a long time coming but AT LAST the beautiful piece of vintage lace I wrote about nearly a year ago has found its way into a garment.  This piece was a Christmas present from my husband in 2013, purchased from Chantilly Dreams.  Every couple of months I would unwrap it, gaze at it lovingly and then put it away again, waiting for inspiration and the right piece of fabric.

Early in the year I received an email from the lovely Amanda at Designer Fabrics, telling me her new shop in Bundall (Gold Coast, Qld) is finally open.  Drop everything and rush off for a bit of shopping.  As luck would have it, all old stock was drastically reduced so I came away with a nice top-up for my stash, including a printed chiffon that was begging to team up with my lace.

It may be a bit hard to see in the photos, but the front bodice has tucks.  I was a wee bit nervous about tucks in chiffon so tried a new product called Terial Magic which is a stabilising fabric spray – worked a treat!  Spray the fabric until saturated, squeeze out excess and then hang on the line to dry.  The result is fabric that handles more like paper.  Of course the lines in the pattern were a bonus, making pressing the tucks a cinch.  Once all tucks were sewn, back to the laundry to give it all a good rinse to remove the ‘starch’.

So, without further ado, here it is!

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