Thursday, 8 December 2011

Chanel No 2

The vintage jacket is progressing slowly - the organza is cut for the underlining and the tailor tacking has begun - it will be a real vintage jacket by the time I'm done with it! I thought I'd show you a previous couture outfit that I made about a year ago. I'm also hoping this will inspire me to attend to the vintage jacket because my heart just doesn't seem to be in it.

A few years ago we were driving down England on choir tour and were passing close to Carlisle where Linton Tweeds is located. I couldn't pass up this opportunity to visit the factory and, more importantly, the shop. Linton Tweeds produces the most amazing fabrics for all the big design houses in Europe, renowned especially for Chanel. After three years the shop sells the leftover fabric that the designers didn't want - so while not in season, you still end up with a unique fabric that you know was created specially for a haute couture house. What else to make but a second Chanel? 
Husband selected this navy, pink and white tweed that has a fine sliver thread running through it. I also purchased a metre (yard) of matching plain pink wool for a skirt. I'm not a pink person - but these two fabrics were made to go together - so why not?

Having already made one Chanel jacket, I was a little better informed for this second try. I used the same Vogue pattern as before but did the usual and left the collar off, only added two lower pockets  and did an edge to edge lining rather than the facings. There were no interfacings or underlinings used but I did reinforce areas of the jacket in alternative ways - see below.

The lining is a soft navy 100% silk.  This was cut from the same pieces as the jacket, quilted onto the shell fabric and sewed by hand to the seam allowances on the inside. The button holes on the inside are bound in a complimentary satin that was also used to line the skirt, but handworked (rather badly) on the outside. The quilting lines on this jacket are much more even than Chanel No 1

To finish the hem of the jacket, I cut a strip of the skirt fabric and slip stitched to the edge for a neater finish and to add a bit of weight. This also provided a more substantial fabric  to which I sewed the obligatory chain. This time I used a silver chain rather than the traditional Chanel brass one to match in with the colours of the jacket. 

For once I also used real buttons instead of my usual covered ones. I was lucky enough to find these in my local fabric shop and bought two sizes - larger size for the front and slightly smaller for the sleeves. The buttonholes on the sleeves work and you can just about see the uneven handworked buttonholes here. 

 The trim for the jacket took weeks and many samples before I was completely happy with the look. A purchased navy braid was hand stitched all around - but it seemed 'lost' and insubstantial when viewed from any distance. I crocheted single chains in a furry cerise mohair wool that has flecks of multi-coloured fibres in it.
I sent teenage son up the stairs to hold securely three of the crochet  chains while I backed down the steps plaiting (braiding) as I went. This was then sewn onto the jacket around the edges and alongside the navy trim. 

Never one to waste a scrap of leftover fabric - I made a pull through belt to tie the skirt and jacket together.

 The whole outfit was completed with a silk chiffon blouse from Vogue.

The neck edge of the jacket was faced - but simply to give myself something to sew to as I was down to less than 1cm (3/8") of seam allowance around the top. It also added a weight and body that the jacket needed over the shoulders.

I was determined to create a full couture suit so the skirt received the same kind of attention that the jacket did. It is underlined, lined and the waistband finish was taken, in part, from Claire Schaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques. Apart from the zip insertion (see Zen & Zips) it is a perfect fit even if it is pink!

The jacket is surprisingly heavy when just carrying it, but it really has that comfy cardigan feel when worn. As always, it goes with jeans and I've made navy trousers (pants) to ring the changes. A very versatile style.

Thanks for reading. Ruth


  1. fabulous and the colors beautiful,the skirt matches very well

  2. Good work, Ruth. Your handwork with mohair is making the jacket more gorgeous! I like this linton tweed. I wish I could go to its factory too.

  3. Jun, want Chanel? - Go to for an online shopping experience. Every colour you desire and will send you samples. Very friendly and helpful people.