I know that some readers were interested in hearing how the progress of my latest sewing project is going. I’ve finally stopped reading and looking at videos and photos, and I’ve begun the actual work.
To be honest, the hardest part has been deciding on the features I want the jacket to have. Above you can see the classic jacket as drafted by Claire Shaeffer. It has all the bells and whistles and immediately calls to mind the work of Coco Chanel. I’ve realized that if I’m going to put this much work into a sewing project, the end result is going to have to really suit my needs and style.
The classic and basic jacket is just too “dressy” for the life I lead. I know that a 20-something model type could throw on that jacket over jeans and look perfect. But I’m older, and I want something fun and playful, not something I’d only wear on dressy occasions.
So I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the past collections at Chanel, looking for inspiration. One of my all time favorites is the fall 2004 collection, and I especially loved this one:
I’ve actually been saving photos of jackets I love, just waiting for the time I could buy one. But my gosh, the price goes up every year, and the $3000 suit that seemed to be such an extravagance in the 1980s today looks like a bargain compared to $6000 for a ready-to-wear jacket alone. My only option was to make my own. Luckily I had all those photos going back fifteen years to show what really attracted me.
My jacket will be quite similar to the one above. To the original pattern I’ll be adding a collar and removing the button closing. I’m planning on just two pockets and self-fringe trim. I’m still using Claire’s pattern but with the modifications.
As for now, I’ve finished the toile and the fitting. The only major alteration was in the shoulders, as mine are very narrow. I’ve begun work on the pieces, using Claire’s book and video as a guide to marking and thread tracing the fabric. I just about have the front finished.
So far, the process has been quite easy, but all the hand work takes a lot of time. I actually enjoy hand stitching, so it is not a chore. But it does require lots of patience. I’ve always been a slow sewer, and so that helps.
I cannot stress how helpful Claire Shaeffer’s book, and especially the accompanying dvd, have been. If you are considering making your own jacket using couture techniques and cannot take a class, I highly recommend the book and dvd. Even though I’ve been sewing for 40 years, t is just amazing how much I’m learning about construction.
Unfortunately, I have problems with inflammation in my hands, so I’m limited to only a couple of hours a day of hand work. So don’t expect to see the finished product for a while yet.
I’ll not be posting any more updates here, but I am trying to post a daily photo of my progress on Instagram. You can see the photos without having an account.