The Savvy Sage of Sewing Stimulation

When we last left Claire…

…she was still swooning over the Fall Chanel 2012 Couture show – it was sooooo classic (or as Karl like to say: “The vintage of tomorrow!”).

And although there are some funky parts to this (we can’t have it too classic) the main body of the garment is so fabulous.

So this leads to the question, if I wanna make this little ditty, what would I do?

First pick out a pattern that’s pretty close.  The new Vogue 8804 which is Claire Shaeffer’s updated Chanel jacket (if you haven’t purchased this pattern, here’s a heads up:  before this came out her old Chanel pattern was running about $80 on Ebay as it had been out of print for a long while.  So buy this one!).

Here’s the schematic for it and it has all the Chanel jacket bells and whistles.

The features on this pattern that are little Chanelisms include the 3-piece sleeve, quilted lining, patch pockets (although I like the update pocket locations, I’m not hot about the upper two pockets), trim (and to make this a really fabulous jacket, play with your trim and do something creative and wild, but execute it excruciatingly perfect!) and the chain in the hem.

Here’s another favorite:

And this pattern too includes some “Chanelisms”.  One is an excellent technique for making that fuzzy trim.  If you’ve never done this before, it’s a great alternative to a purchased trim.   There are some other things I love about this pattern – that dart from the princess seam on the side, is an excellent fitting mechanism.  It takes a little manipulating darting the fabric then quilting the lining to the piece, but it can be done and look like a million bucks.  To achieve the three-piece sleeve, you just make a center top of arm seam.

But there are other patterns out there – here’s some other patterns that will work.  Remember what makes a great classic is that you can vary it over and over and it still retains the same classic style.  Here are some other variations (click the pictures to go to the site for explanation and some of these are downloadable.)

What I would do with this one is: add a princess seam or at least a side bust dart and a bust/waist dart to this one.  Of course the 3-piece sleeve (characterized by the tell-tale seam from the shoulder down the top of the arm/sleeve to the cuff) can be done here too.  Remember this is YOUR Chanel version, not anyone else’s so you get to choose what to do.


I particularly like this one as it has excellent pocket placement, however these are besom or welt type pockets, and Chanel traditionally had patch (not only are they cheaper, it’s easier to do that put a welt in that bouclé which is what Chanel typically used for her jackets).  Need to add the shoulder to cuff top seam on the sleeve for a Chanel look, but that’s about it on this jacket, unless your figure requires a front bust dart.


Here’s a newer hipper look for the Channel jacket which would have the peplum.  If you were to do this one, then stick the rest of the jacket to the traditional hallmarks – top sleeve seam, some really REALLY creative trim (executed excruciatingly correct), nix the upper pockets (although these are traditional, I’m not really hot on them and don’t think they add anything to the hipper look of the peplum – let the peplum shine and do the rest traditionally).



This is also a newer look – I like the button placement here (although would be excellent to have a hook and eye at the top right at the point the collar meets but doesn’t show when it’s open.  And nix the pleat thingie in back and that seam at waist.  IOW when you cut the center back piece, cut it all in one piece from the shoulder to the hem (just put the upper and lower pieces together on the seam line and cut it out as one piece).  Also notice the special cuff treatment – a vent with button at the top.  That might be interesting to do on the top seam (which needs to be added) and do it 3/4 length, and instead of the buttons on the overlapping cuff as traditionally done, do them right at the top of the vent.



Although this one doesn’t look like the classic Chanel jacket, it is conducive to the Chanel techniques.   And stepping out of the tradition mold, but using the Chanel techniques (3-piece sleeve, quilting bouclé to silk lining, doing really really creative trim), will make this jacket look like an updated Chanel or even the vintage of tomorrow!  (I just love saying that!)  You might even thing about doing the pleated binding piece with trapunto (consecutive even stitching around the whole edge) for another great look.  Just a short zipper would look smashing here.


Ok – that takes care of some pattern ideas – next we’ll talk about some fabric ideas.

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