Monday, 3 December 2012

Start of SWAP - Chanel

Instead of twiddling my thumbs and getting nothing done, I made a start on the first item of my SWAP 13 - the Chanel jacket. According to the rules, you can pre-sew one item before the start date and this is going to take A LOT of time!

Pattern is Claire Schaeffer Vogue 8804. Lots of couture techniques, hand sewing, steaming, shaping, basting, tacking and hardly any machine sewing!

If you ever find yourself stranded on a deserted island with no electricity make sure you have this pattern, 2m of boucle tweed, a few needles, two thousands miles of basting thread and of course, matching thread, a bit of trim (but you can always knock that up from coconut fibres) and you will be able to construct this jacket. The last and most unimportant item required for this jacket is the sewing machine.

It's from the Audrey side of the Hepburn collection and although she wore mostly Givenchy, I'm making Chanel, so there!

Fabric is from Craftswoman Fabrics (local shop). It is a rich dark navy blue boucle with a black strip of 'tinsel' woven in for shine and glitter. As I don't wear black, it's a great alternative to Chanel's Little Black Jacket.
Chanel Little Black Jacket

It took nearly three hours just cutting this out. I'm multi tasking on this one, doing lots of little things simultaneously - goes like this;

Marking up the lining pieces and the shell fabric pieces as and when I need them.

When I get bored doing that I can always do a bit of shaping and steaming.......

There are no darts on this jacket but a neat little way of adding shape. Gather up a bit at the edge of the side front with running stitches.

Sew a dart in a bit of interfacing and handstitch this in position - matching the dots on the side fronts.

This creates the bubble on the outside that you can see in the pic above.
Pull the running stitches up so that the interfacing bit lies flat on the inside but you have gathers on the outside.
Steam the living daylights out of the shell fabric until it shrinks and lies flat. Voila, as they say in Rue Cambon, a shaped piece of fabric without darts!

While that's cooling off, I can go back to crocheting a chain for the trim. Made with fibres pulled from leftover fabric and sewn (by hand) onto a grosgrain ribbon,

When I have enough trim, then I can go back to the 4 pockets - all hand sewn - attach the grosgrain ribbon, sew on the trim, turn in the seam allowances, catch stitch them down, slipstitch the lining in place and press. Basting all the way!

And when I've had enough of all this I can always go back to the hand bound buttonholes on the front.

Maybe one day, I'll actually be able to construct the jacket!


  1. What can I say other than WOW. There is certainly a lot of work involved in this jacket! I love your fabric choice, and I'm sure that the finished product will be superb.

  2. Now this is a labour of love! It is going to look gorgeous when you have finished all the hand sewing...

  3. I love your concept of combining the two Hepburns - both so stylish but different. This will be great to watch.

  4. That is going to be one awesome jacket!

  5. Oh my that is a lot of work and this jacket is going to be amazing.

  6. Way too scary for me to tackle. Go Ruth! ;)

  7. I need a lie down after reading about all that fiddly stuff! Great fabric; it should make a super jacket.

  8. Phew, I am on edge watching this- so many litle things to do! I'm going to enjoy this- I hope you do too!

  9. Great post! I love seeing all the little details. I have this pattern, but not the motivation to attempt it. I have to admit, your post is quite motivating...

  10. Whaou!!!what a great work,nice fabric,and lot of hours to do that.Do you know the top model from Chanel:Ines de la Fressange.She is the Parisian girl,and whrote a book:What makes a real "Parisienne" or something like that.
    Thank you for your post,and i hope you are quieter with your skin(i have the same problem:blonde)

  11. Big excitement in this part of the world tonight for fashionistas because Karl himself is only 7 miles away from me at this minute !!! A Chanel Metier des Arts Fashion Show is being staged at Linlithgow Palace. Sadly they overlooked me when compiling the guest list but it is rumoured that Keira, Brad and Angelina are all attending . Meanwhile I can admire your jacket which is already looking beautiful.


    1. Much envy being sent your way - but imagine them leaving you off the guest list!!!! Merely an oversight, I'm sure.

  12. Thanks folks for the encouragement on this seemingly never-ending project. Sometimes I just need that 'oomph' that I can't find within myself.
    For you, this jacket WILL be completed!

  13. phew there is so much to do here - make sure you look at some of the threads for this jacket on SG as there were some issues on the sleeve construction I think. I am sure it will be beautiful if your other jackets are anything to go by.

  14. You've done so much already. This is going to be a lovely piece in your SWAP.

  15. WOW Ruth that is going to look sensational when completed. I can see myself weakening and taking on this challenge??? Thanks for the indepth detail - have you been frequenting Ann R's picturestream? I have used her photos for other sewing (Vogue dress) which were incredibley helpful!!!

  16. I bought this pattern, and now I am wondering why on earth I did. There is no way I am advanced enough to make it. I will live vicariously through you, watching you make it. I love the fabric you chose.