Tag Archives: jacket

Little French Jacket Update

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.



Filed under Sewing

Sewing Project – Vogue 8714

I really do prefer to sew with vintage patterns, but I do buy new ones on sale and when I find them at my not-so-secret shopping place.  After losing my old stand-by sweater last week, I had to scurry to make a replacement once it became obvious I was not going to find anything I liked in the stores.

This is where it pays to “collect” fabrics.  Most sewers call it their “stash” but I’m a little too 1970s to apply that word to fabrics.  At any rate, I do love shopping for fabrics, both new and vintage.  For the past five years or so my favorite not-so-secret place for finding fabrics is my local Goodwill Outlet.  The outlet is not a regular Goodwill thrift; it is where the sorters pile the rejects into big bins and sell the contents for $1.10 a pound.  It is an incredible bargain.  The Goodwill stores in my area do not sell fabrics and patterns in their stores, so sewing supplies always end up in the bins.

For my jacket I used a black wool and poly blend twill, and for the lining I used a vintage black and white mini gingham.  I wanted something light and casual that can substitute for a sweater.  Just throw it on over whatever else I’m wearing.  I like the combination, but to be honest, the outer fabric is a bit on the synthetic side, and if I were shopping today I probably would have passed on it.  But it sewed up nicely, and it looks like it will wear well.

I added a bit of colorful trim on the inside waist, just for fun.

I used only one button.  This one came from my button box.  Yes, I do collect buttons as well.

I put vents at the ends of the sleeves, and they can be turned back to show a bit more of the check.

And finally, a quick look at the supermodel and her new jacket.  I’ll be making another jacket, this time from jersey knit.  I’m still trying to find just the right pattern, but for now at least I have a jacket to warm up things a bit.

I want to add a small plug for my Instagram photos.  I find that I like this photo format very much, due to all the interaction and the fact that 95% of the photos seem to have been made by the poster.  And there is no re-posting, so the ownership of the photos is not so questionable.  I’ve been posting little previews of my blog posts, along with with lots of things that never make it here.  It’s a fun format.


Filed under Sewing

White Stag and a Bit of Vintage Serendipity

Yesterday’s post opened with a White Stag ad from 1955.  I didn’t deliberately pick a White Stag ad, I only needed one that clearly showed the idea of sportswear separates. When reader April, owner of NeatBikVintage, opened my blog yesterday she did a double-take.

Without me knowing about it, the day before she had dropped in the mail a White Stag jacket, in a very similar style to the ones in the ad.  She thought surely the mail had not gotten to be that efficient and that I was posting about the jacket!  Pretty quickly she realized it was just a nice coincidence, an occurrence of vintage serendipity.

Back when the internet was relatively new, and eBay was the only selling game on it, quite a few vintage sellers and collectors gathered on the chat board that eBay was hosting.  It got to be a bit of a joke that “finds” went in bunches – one person would excitedly post about finding a Shaheen sundress, and then another and then another…  It got to where I was almost expecting to find the latest lucky designer whenever I was out shopping.  And once when the lucky designer was Bonnie Cashin, I found a super green leather tent dress designed by her.

I have another friend, Susan, who is all the time emailing me to tell me that I posted about something that she had been looking at just that day.  After I posted part one of the sportswear series, she emailed an illustration from a 1917 Delineator showing the work bloomers I’d written about.  I replaced my 1919 illustration with the 1917 one she had scanned.

It is just amazing, the subtle ways we influence one another!

But back to my new jacket.  It is made from the typical White Stag sail cloth, or Topsail as it was called by the fabric maker, Wellington Sears.  The edges are bound with white cotton braid and it has nice shell buttons and that cute little button tab.  In thinking about a date, I knew it was late 1950s, or early 60s.

The label is one I’ve seen only on early 1960s garments, but I don’t know exactly when White stag changed from a medium blue with white print label to this one, white with gold print.  But there was another important clue.

The moment I looked closely at the zipper I knew that this had to be from the 1960s.  The zipper was a nylon coil one, and Talon released their nylon zipper in March, 1960.

So many, many thanks to you, April.  This is a very nice addition to my sportswear collection.


Filed under Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

A Good One from the Pendleton Archives

I posted this photo of this jacket last year after I discovered its twin resides in the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  Now it appears that Pendleton probably has one as well, and they have reproduced it for the up-coming fall and winter season.

They have only posted the one photo, but with the exception of an additional line of stitching on either side of the front opening and the type of buttons, it looks to be pretty much the same.  I am quite impressed that the stripe  is actually matched better on the new one.  Note the top of the sleeve.

According to the sales page, this is their “famous Glacier Park stripe,” and the coat is pictured in the 1930 catalog.  I’m not crazy about the neutral colors, but maybe they will offer it in red as time goes on.  And now I’ll have to spend time looking through the Pendleton site, looking for more faithful reproductions.

photo copyright Pendleton Woolen Mills


Filed under Collecting, Curiosities, Made in the USA, Shopping

Picasso for White Stag Jacket

So how many times have I written about this Picasso for White Stag line?  At least six times, and there will be more as long as people keeping finding me and sending in the photos.  If you have not read the series on this collection, and you love art and textiles, then follow the link to read about this ongoing obsession, and to learn about how it all came about.

This jacket belongs to Pascal, who found this in a thrift shop in the 1990s.  He had been looking for information about it for years until a friend pointed him to The Vintage Traveler.  This is what makes blogging fun, and keeps me at it!

Several weeks ago a twitter friend posted one she spotted in Las Vegas at the Funk House.  And I have  an ad for that one.


Filed under Collecting

An Early Pendleton Jacket

There are times in my life that I’ve been very happy to be wrong.  That statement will come as a shock to those of you who think I’d never admit to ever being wrong, but that’s another story.  Let’s just say I was wrong about this jacket, and I was thrilled to discover my error.

The jacket has been in my possession, and actually in my closet, for at least 15, and probably closer to 20 years.   There are no labels, and when I found it I thought it was most likely from the 1940s, and maybe from a Southwestern US weaver, or possibly Mexican.  Was it the colors that made me think this?  I’m not sure, but I was definitely not as experienced at evaluating a garment then.  To be honest, I have not even thought about it , nor worn it, since 1997. My father always complimented me on the jacket whenever I wore it, and after he died in 1997, I just haven’t had the heart to wear it.

Last week I was sitting here wasting time on that huge time-suck otherwise known as Tumblr.  If you don’t know Tumblr, it is a photo blogging site, where people post anything and everything, most of it taken from other sites.  One blogger does vintage and antique clothing posts, pulling dozens of photos from around the web, all on a theme.

Last week she was posting coats and jackets.  As I was scrolling through them, I found myself feeling envious at some of the wonderful skiwear in the holdings of various museums.  Suddenly there was a photo of a jacket, labeled as 1929-1931 Pendleton,  that looked very familiar.  It looked like… my jacket!  I clicked through to the Metropolitan Museum of Art‘s site, and there it was – not exactly my jacket, but one that is so similar that I’m sure it is indeed a late 1920s Pendleton.

As you can see, the only differences are in the stripe and in the collar.  Every other detail is identical.  Even the buttons are the same.  Mine, however is missing the label.

If I were to have found this jacket today, I would have suspected that it is earlier than the 1940s.  But as I’ve pointed out in the past, we often see what we think we have, rather than what is really there.  I’m quite content to be in the wrong.

Of course, this really does point out the value of a label.  The graphic is clearly from the 1920s, though it could have been used a bit later.

The label also contradicts a bit of often-read information that is even alluded to on the Pendleton website, and that is that the 49er was the first women’s garment made by Pendleton.  The 49er was certainly the beginning of Pendleton developing a line of sportswear separates, but it is pretty obvious it was not the first garment Pendleton made for women.

Jacket and label photographs copyright metmuseum.org


Filed under Collecting

Liberty Style Jacket from a Scarf

As I suspected, this jacket was constructed from one 37″ scarf.  I’ve drawn a few quick diagrams so you can see how it goes together.  I think this would be pretty easy to reproduce.  Keep in mind the size of the scarf, as this 37″ one fits about a 34″ bust, if tied with the two halves meeting.

I’m going to give simple directions, but I’m assuming you know the fundamentals of sewing – basics like right sides together to stitch seams, and things like that.

First, the cutting diagram:

Note that it is symmetrical.  Here are the measurements for a 37″ scarf.  You could adjust these depending on the size of your scarf.  And because the diagram is symmetrical, I only labeled one half of it.

Cut out the 5 pieces.  For the body, make two slits, 8″ as shown.  These will be the arm holes.

Take the two sleeve pieces.  As you see them on the diagram, they are up-side down, with the sides being between the ties and the extra piece.  Stitch the sides together to form each sleeve.  .

My jacket is hemmed along the front opening and along the bottom.  If you want to hem yours, do it now.

To make the shoulder seams, you will need to put 2 or 3 pleats in the front like this:

Then fold the front shoulder to the back shoulder and stitch on the wrong side.  Then stitch the sleeves into the armholes, placing the point on each piece at the shoulder .

Make the ties by stitching them on the long ends and turning them inside out.  Attach to front.  Slip-stitch the neckline to finish it.

And that should be it.   If anyone tries this, let me know how it goes.  I’m now on the prowl for the perfect scarf myself!


Filed under Sewing