Sunday, 15 October 2017

Making a Chanel-type jacket day 2

In progress
Following my last class, my tasks were to quilt the lining to the fabric/interfacing combo. Purists will realise that a 'proper' Chanel jacket doesn't have any interfacing but the interfacing here was ultra soft and lovely and probably helped me handle the fabric. To quilt, I did large herring bone basting stitching across the pieces, to secure them together. I originally tried pins down the lines of my stitching. These nicely marked the lines and secured the fabric but a couple caught the fabric so I ended up not going that way.
The pins here show where the stitching is going to go

Each piece was quilted with a line of stitching from the right side of the fabric, starting in the middle of each piece and ensuring the combo lay smoothly. I had a suitable pattern to follow. Each line of stitching is finished at least 1" from the sides and 3" from the hem. The process is not difficult, I was glad to find. You can, by the way, handstitch the quilting but that's not for me. In my case, I had to reduce the machine thread tension - and now think I could perhaps have reduced it a bit more. In my practice piece, I used a piece of fabric that had inadvertently been fused with interfacing on the 'wrong' side and the quilting lines are completely invisible. That's not the case with the other side of the fabric but at least my lines are even! My fabric could be used either way. I actually preferred the side I've used as the wrong side but Gillian pointed out that it would be particularly prone to getting caught so I took her advice and used the other.

So the pieces quilted were - fronts x 2, side fronts x 2, back x1, undersleeve x 2 and sleeve x 2. I did make a new back piece as when I looked at the piece I had, it was skewed. I only found this when I went to start the quilting. So I made up a new pattern piece the full back piece (the original has you cut on the fold by whatever means you choose to interpret that - mine was not on the fold, but flipped over on a single layer of fabric). It might have been okay but I had enough fabric to redo so that's what I did.
The underlying pattern shows the discrepancy
Better focus than the previous one

The stitching lines from the quilting were left with long threads at the end. These were pulled through to the inside of the sandwich and we tied them off. My lines were too close to the ends, particularly as there were a number of adjustments carried out in my fitting so these will have to be retied. It's important not to tie the ends too tightly, or that causes a dimple on the right side of the fabric. My ends are much shorter now so that will be a challenge!

After the quilting, I had to baste the jacket together for the final fitting. The fashion fabric is sewn together, but the lining left free. I used a big stitch on my sewing machine for this. Margaret hand basted. We roughly inserted one sleeve only.

On the way to staying with Margaret prior to the second class, I made another attempt to get suitable chain for the jacket and was partially successful. I had ordered some on-line but it was much too fine.
On Friday night, Margaret and I sat finalising our homework. Of course, we each tried our partially completed jackets to see what we thought. I thought Margaret needed quite a whack taken in at the shoulder princess seams as the shoulders were much too wide and the sleeve was lying strangely at the top. Margaret had also allowed extra for her hips but this wasn't necessary. I thought mine was too tight in the sleeves.

Day 2
When I was making up my jacket, I had taken in at the princess seams on the shoulder, tapering downwards towards the bust apex in front, as recommended previously but in fact, I needed even more as the shoulders were still too wide. Still - no alteration to the armscye! Lesson learned. There was even more taken out over the back - the original curve there is now much straighter.  Just under the arms on the side seams was also taken in, only for a short way.
Jacket basted, one sleeve roughly basted in

Right shoulder and back pinned (you can see in mirror)

I addition, my right shoulder required fabric to be removed from the neckline. This shoulder also needed to be shortened by taking in another portion at the princess seams. The left shoulder didn't require this. Yes, my shoulders are wonky!
Gillian pinning changes. You can just see the alteration to the neckline edge of my right shoulder
To my surprise, I didn't need to use the extra seam allowance sewn to increase hip width.

The jacket looked and felt much better.

I spent AGES, far too long, making the adjustments necessary - this because the patterns needed to be matched. The first time around, I hadn't been too worried about 'perfection' as I knew adjustments would be needed, but this time, things had to be right. It was tough, particularly over the curved bust area where there is both easing and pattern matching to be achieved. Also, I had to unpick lines of quilting as these now interfered with my adjustments.

Adjustments made. Pinned on centre front. Not pressed yet. No sleeves yet.
Next step was to trim any excess fabric from the seam allowances and insert the sleeves. Time was actually rather short so we trimmed just enough to finish sewing the shoulders and insert the sleeves. The jacket got a good pressing before this - apparently the last opportunity!

Gillian was happy with my jacket so far.
None of the hems done as yet so lots of raw edges and loose threads

She showed us the next stages.
  • Taping the neckline.
  • Folding up the hem and inserting the curtain chain weight.
  • Margaret is doing buttons so she had a facing and will need to do buttonholes. She is planning to do machine buttonholes. I have no facing as my lining goes right to the edge. I think Margaret is also planning to insert flange piping between her lining and facing. That looks rather nice.
  • How to sew the ling beautifully, by hand. Margaret got to start hers but I'm quite a bit away from that as yet.
  • How to add braid to the jacket edges. I was going to add braid but Gillian showed me how to fringe the fabric and I decided I'll go with that. Basically a strip of lining, two strips of fabric laid over it, sewn longitudinally down the middle. Then lining folded away from fabric (this is sewn to jacket fabric on right side on seam allowance for front) and fabric fringed by removing the warp threads. My sleeves ended up a bit short so I have decided that this is a suitable fix - fringe added to the sleeve cuffs.
  • How to do a mock welt pocket. Not a working pocket, which neither of us wanted. I need to decide whether to do a button or a fringe trim to match the front I'm planning

·        You'll realise that I'm not intending to do 'couture'

Since getting home, I have decided again that the sleeves are a bit tight. I had originally thought that perhaps after trimming the allowances etc they would be fine but I'm thinking not so best to do this now. I'll add just a touch at the two seams - even 1/8" would add a total of 1/2".

I don't think the finishing touches are difficult to do - fitting is clearly the biggest issue - but they are time consuming. I'm short of time at the moment so will probably do what I need to do a very little at a time and it will be a while before I can model the finished jacket.

I haven't yet made the amendments to the pattern for future reference but will do that soon, maybe today, before I forget what they all were!

I made the long jacket version but the length is fine for me as a shorter version and to do the long version with buttons, I'll need to lengthen the pattern by at least 2".  I'll also lengthen the sleeves.


  1. Your jacket is coming together so nicely! How wonderful to have professional fitting help. I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the longer or shorter version so I cut the longer one. So glad I did, because it ended up as the shorter length on me as well. Finishing will be time consuming but hand sewing the lining is a perfect job for those longer autumn nights!

    1. Thanks, Marianne. I agree about the hand sewing. I don't have a further class but have a pretty good idea of what to do - I just hope I can make the end result look fairly professional.

  2. It's looking good already Anne - so I am sure it will when you have finished. Couture is not for me either - I just don't have the time either.

    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I need to solve a little problem with the neckline...

  3. Looks great Anne, I've just ordered a ham to help with the finishing! Looking forward to seeing yours finished, thanks for coming with me :-)

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Thanks for asking me. I've had to dismantle again so finishing a bit further off than it was! Good luck with yours.

  4. Even though your jacket is not quite finished it looks wonderful. The fit is spot on and well worth all the time spent. I've made a few without all the couture handwork; the jackets are lovely even with a few shortcuts. You can also do the fringe using bias strips. I often do it this way as I think the fringe is a little fuller and it has a diffent look than straight cut fringe. Try a sample of both and use the one you prefer. Please show us the finished product.

    1. Thank you, Mary. I've still got a way to go. I've fixed the issue I had with the neckline - uneven sewing cause the problem - and redeemed and reset the sleeves, which have a little more room as they felt too tight before. I'll do as you suggest with the fringing. I also have Susan Khalje's trims book and DVD. I'll certainly show the finished jacket but it may be some time as I am so busy just now.

  5. Great job. It looks fantastic. I'm working on a Chanel jacket too. :D

    1. Thank you. Good luck with yours, too - I'd love to see it when it's finished. Mine has had to be put on hold for the moment - but not for too long, hopefully

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