What better way to start 2023 than with a Chanel style jacket! This version used fabric from Linton Tweed and features trim created from coordinating yarn plus yarns pulled from the leftover fabric.
Vogue 7975 is a great starting point for the jacket. I shifted the princess seams closer to the neckline and shaped the fabric as described in several previous posts. The round neckline as shown in the pattern was changed to a V neck.
Creating custom trim to compliment the fabric is the part of jacket construction I enjoy most. Here’s my method for this trim: step by step.
Using a size E crochet hook, chain as many stitches as you need for the length of trim desired. I make samples using 20 stitches. Measure the length of your sample to calculate number of stitches needed. If 20 stitches makes 4 inches of trim, then I need 5 stitches for every inch of finished trim. I measure the length needed for the sleeves and make that length first just to double check that I’ve calculated right. These sleeves required 13 inches each. I add a couple of inches to allow for turning under the ends. 15 inches per sleeve times 2 sleeves equals 30 inches. If every inch requires 5 stitches then 30 inches needs 150 stitches.
I used Sesia elegant yarn and a size E hook to chain 150 stitches. Turn the chain and make a double crochet in every stitch. Here’s the (what felt like miles) length needed for the hem, front edges and neckline in one length.
To even out the stitches I use my set of Trim Tubes. Weave a larger size tube (I used sixth largest tube) through the stitches and steam. Allow to cool and block the next stitches. This is the same as blocking your knitted or crocheted work.
Once the stitches are blocked use a smaller tube to weave two strands of yarn pulled from the leftover fabric through the crochet stitches. The yarns from the fabric are 54 inches long but they can be joined on the wrong side of the trim so the joins don’t show.
Nudge the blue yarns to one side and weave another double strand of blue yarn through, alternating the up/down with the previous row in a basket weave pattern.
I used an eyelash yarn in light grey and made a chain stitch along the edges.
Finally, a chain stitch using a smaller hook (size C) with silver cord along the middle of the trim.
Handworked buttonholes and silver buttons to complete. More jackets with new trim ideas in the works.
Finding trim for your French jacket is easier when you are working with a multi color fabric, especially one with black, white or another neutral color. I think finding something pre-made for this color would be near impossible. You could introduce a contrasting color but often that’s not what you want.
Here’s a step by step tutorial on the process I used for this trim. If you’ve taken one of. my Zoom trim classes, much of this will be familiar. I used a silver metallic yarn for the base of the trim. Using a D hook, chain the desired length. Turn and make a double crochet in the fourth stitch from the hook. Chain 1 stitch. Repeat this pattern (double crochet, chain 1) in every other stitch.
If you make several lengths of trim, be sure to be consistent in which side you choose as the “right” side. Some trims look better when one side vs. the other is used as the “right” side. For this jacket, I used the side with the purl stitches for the right side.
I used the shiny yarn with variegated shades of teal. Some yarns can be pulled through the fabric. This one didn’t pull easily, so I cut closely along each shiny yarn and pulled it out. Tie the strands together and work a chain stitch along the long edges of the metallic base. To determine number of stitches needed, I make a sample using 25 stitches. Measure the sample and multiply number of stitches by the desired finished length. This jacket required 600 stitches for a length of trim which would go around the hem, along front edges and around neck. The trim for the sleeves and pockets was worked as another piece.
The trim is uneven and needs to be steam blocked into shape. I used the third from the largest tube from the Trim Tube set. Weave the tube in and out between stitches and steam. Hover the iron over the trim; you don’t want to compress it. The tube is 12 inches long so steam 10-11 inches at a time, let cool, and weave the tube through the next section. The ends where the teal yarn has been tied together will be tucked underneath when stitching to the jacket.
Stitch the trim in place. It works best to sew the outer edge around corners, then work the trim in place along the inner edge. The join between lengths of teal yarn can be tucked to the underside. The trim is very flexible and easily navigates curves and corners. I join the trim at the left hem.
When you’ve determined where to join the ends, press hard to flatten only the trim which will be turned under. Use a tailors clapper to flatten the trim as much as possible and let cool. Turn the ends under and stitch. The join will be almost invisible.
To create a finished end (nice on pockets and the sleeve vent), measure the finished length needed. Starting along one long side (it’s harder to stop and start at a corner) make the chain stitch with teal yarn. To turn the corner, make two chain stitches in each corner. One stitch for the long side and one stitch for the short end. Make 1-2 stitches across the short end of the trim. Then two stitches in the next corner. When you reach the starting point, pull yarn to the underside and fasten with a few small hand stitches. To secure the metallic yarn, machine stitch across a few times, compress the end with steam and cut off close to the stitching. The flattened end will turn under.
I will be offering additional trim classes via Zoom. Probably one in December and more starting in January. There are also a few openings left in the January class if you would like to work in person. We’ll be doing a variety of projects in the class: pattern drafting, French jackets: both starting one and completing ones already begun, dressforms and more.
My trim classes have sold out quickly in the past, so leave a comment if you would like advance notification of the schedule. Have fun creating your custom trims.
Winding down after a wonderful week of non-stop sewing with a lovely group of women. Here’s a glimpse of the varied projects.
First up is a Ziggi moto jacket from Style Arc patterns. The toile was tweaked until we were happy with the fit. Front neckline was raised and we opted for thin shoulder pads to eliminate drag lines in the back.
Style Arc patterns have minimal instructions. Marvine had chosen a luxurious piece of navy wool for this upscale jacket, and wanted to incorporate traditional tailoring techniques. She chose a lightweight Italian hymo canvas to support the front panels, collar and shoulders. Look at the beautiful pad stitching; too bad it gets covered up. Custom zippers from Botani Trim in NYC.
Robin chose this wonderful boucle for a French jacket. Like most boucle fabrics, this one frayed like crazy. Serging the cut edges kept things under control. I set up the serger for a four thread overlock using a very fine thread. Unlike regular sewing thread, the thin thread adds no bulk to the fabric. The studio was equipped with a professional boiler iron for superior pressing results. The combination of a supple fabric plus plenty of steam allowed us to reshape the side jacket panels, eliminating disruption of the fabric pattern along the princess lines.
Contrast the two front side panels. One is before shaping, the underneath panel shows what happens when you transfer the large dart to the armseye and side bust area.
I provided an assortment of professional style pressing tools. Everyone loved the large press buck. It’s a great tool for pressing long, gently curved seams such as hip curves, side seams and sleeve seams. Also works well for pinning the lining of French jacket seams as the gentle curve adds just enough ease to the lining. I have a post from December 17, 2020 with instructions for making your own. https://cloningcouture.com/category/tailoring/
Sandra Kay had several goals she wanted to accomplish. One was refining the fit of her moulage, making a custom dressform cover which she will use after padding her form at home plus developing a basic sloper to use for personal patterns.
We also tweaked the fit of her French jacket and set the sleeves in. She’ll be able to complete it at home. Rather than a goal of completing projects, I think class time is better spent on working out the complicated details which are hard to do by yourself.
Anne Kendall of Apple Annie Fabrics also joined us. Anne’s goal was to tweak the fit on several garments and perfect some toiles. Anne is a very accomplished sewist and wanted to utilize the time fitting rather than sewing. I didn’t get any photos of Anne’s fittings but she generously kept her shop open for us one evening.
How could we not shop!! One never has enough fabric and we left with large packages. I was particularly impressed with her selection of heavenly soft cottons.
This class was a small group which allowed me to give more individualized attention to each person. Shuffling between widely varied projects also takes a bit more time than when the entire class works on a single style. Additional workshop dates for 2023 will be published as soon as I work out my schedule. Hope you can join us.
Finding trim is easier if you’re looking for black, white or common color. This fuschia jacket made from a wonderful soft Mendel Goldberg boucle wasn’t going to be easy, particularly if I wanted to avoid introducing another color. I did add silver or gold, depending on buttons.
When creating a trim, I make several variations to experiment with different yarns. If you’ve attended one of my trim classes, the techniques will be familiar.
All examples of trim use the same basic method. I make samples about 4 inches long. Once you decide which version to use, calculate the finished amount of trim you need. Measure the sample created with 20 stitches. If 20 stitches gives you 4 inches of trim and you need 40 inches, then start with a chain of 200 stitches.
First create a crochet base. Chain 20 plus 3. Turn and make a double crochet in every stitch. Weave a brass tube through the finished base to block it and even out the stitches.
Let cool and remove the tube. Weave a smaller tube through the stitches as shown. Pull the desired yarn or fabric through. Push the woven strand to one side and weave the tube through, alternating in and out with the first strand.
Chain stitch around the edge. Here I’m using a strand of flag yarn pulled from the boucle fabric. Using strands of yarns from the fabric guarantees a perfect match.
Finish with a chain stitch in the center. I did a version in gold and one in silver to audition with different buttons.
Trim 1: Using a size F hook, crochet the base with Sesia Elegant yarn with color: Rose. Chain 23, turn and make double crochet in every stitch.
Cut bias strips of fuschia silk double georgette 1.5 inches wide, fold in half lengthwise and stitch scant 1/4” from folded edge. Turn and stuff the silk tube with bulky yarn.
Weave the silk tubes though alternate double crochet stitches. Make a chain stitch through the middle with gold yarn. Finish the edges with a chain stitch using flag yarn pulled from leftover boucle.
Trim 2: Same as trim 1 except use size D hook for the base. Weave 3/8” wide bias strips of silk georgette through. Chain stitch through the middle with size C hook. Edge with the flag yarn from fabric.
Trim 3: Crochet base making double crochet every stitch. Weave one row of gold tape yarn, one row 3/8” wide silk georgette, one row gold tape yarn. Edge with flag yarn from the fabric.
Trim 4: Crochet base using gold metallic yarn and size E hook. Chain stitch along each edge with flag yarn from boucle fabric.
Trim 5: Use 3/8” wide bias strips of silk georgette as yarn. Crochet the base. Weave 4 strands pink tinsel yarn plus two strands metallic yarn through. Chain stitch inside the edge with gold metallic yarn.
Hard to make a decision. Possibilities are endless and by making your own trim you can guarantee a perfect match. Two opportunities to further explore French jacket construction and trims: New England Retreat, September 19-24 and Couture Sewing Class, Palm Beach Gardens, FL, January 16-21. 2023. These classes are not limited to making a French jacket but if you choose to work on a jacket, you will receive the identical information presented in the November French jacket class. The classes are small and allow for individualized instruction. You will receive my 100 plus page manual describing construction techniques unique to the French jacket plus an extended session on trims.
What do you do when this extraordinary fabric finds its way to the sewing room?
Here’s the designer dress to clone.
The pattern is a slim fit basic bodice with princess seams ending in the armseye, both front and back. The skirt draft is a flared skirt, split along princess lines and pleats added. Precise pattern matching is critical. The easiest way is to cut every garment section from translucent pattern paper; full front bodice/skirt, right and left bodice/skirt pieces. Lay everything out and be sure the motifs line up before cutting anything.
Notice that the grain lines are centered on each skirt section. The fold and lap lines of pleats are also marked, making it easy to position pattern pieces accurately.
This fabric frayed like CRAZY so each edge was serged using super fine thread; my favorite is Gutermann Scala 360, TEX weight 8. The serged edge adds no bulk and can’t be felt. This fabric was also super resistant to pressing. It folded easily along the crossgrain but required loads of steam plus my large tailors clapper (made from lengths of unfinished hardwood) to convince the seams to lie flat.
I chose a crisp silk taffeta line the skirt but felt it was too stiff for the bodice lining. Silk charmeuse was perfect. Lining extends to the edges of armholes/ neckline and fell stitched in place. For the skirt hem, I cut a 4” wide facing from silk taffeta and applied it to the hem. Edge stitching along the inside of the pleats keeps them in place. French thread tacks keep the skirt lining in place.
Monday, September 19 through Saturday, September 25, 2022
What could be better than 6 glorious days of uninterrupted sewing in the picturesque town of Bristol, Rhode Island. Join me for expert help creating your custom design. This is a great opportunity to work on a French jacket, tackle lace, refine fitting issues or work on an unfamiliar style. Class runs from 9 AM to about 5:30 PM but you will have 24 hour access to the studio in case you want to work overtime.
Those choosing to work on a French jacket will receive my 100 plus page manual of valuable construction tips plus we’ll do a session on creating your own custom trim. I also bring a number of jackets I’ve constructed for you to examine.
If you would rather work on fitting issues, bring a few toiles you would like help with. I’ll fit you and mark any changes needed. Then you’ll learn how to transfer those changes to your pattern. You can also work on creating a master sloper to be used in making necessary changes to commercial patterns.
Our home for the week will be a lovely 4 bedroom house with detached finished garage which will be setup as a spacious sewing studio. One block away is an additional house with 3 bedrooms. There will be a large cutting table, individual work spaces as well as professional pressing equipment. Bring your own sewing machine or borrow one if you prefer. Let me know you need a machine when registering.
While investigating the area, I discovered that Apple Annie Fabrics, owned by Anne Kendall is a 15 minute drive from our studio. Anne and I spent the morning chatting sewing and I received a tour of her well stocked store.
In addition to fabrics she has a large selection of thread, notions, patterns, etc. so not to worry if you forget to bring a necessary item. I also loved her inspiration wall of fashion.
I also spotted a wonderful bolt of boucle which I’ll be using for an upcoming custom trim class. This particular fabric combines black with deep rose threads; I’m envisioning multiple variations using coordinating yarns along with the fabric fibers.
Cost of the 6 day class plus 7 nights accommodations is $2250. Class without room is $1500. There will be welcome drinks/snacks on Sunday 9/18 plus 2 dinners: an authentic New England lobster boil and Portuguese style grilled feast. All are welcome to join us for dinner.
Registration is open for classes in Palm Beach Gardens. Join the 7 day French jacket class from Monday, November 7 through Sunday November 13, 2022. These jackets involve considerable hand sewing and do take time, so expanding the class to 7 days made sense.
What is unique about this class? We will start with fine tuning the fit of your jacket toile. Detailed instructions will be sent several weeks prior to class.
Vogue 7975 is often used as the basis for a French jacket. It is easy to change the jacket’s length, neckline, sleeve and front closure. The pattern has princess seams ending in the shoulder which simplifies many fitting issues. Curvy figures need more shaping which can result in any horizontal stripe in the fabric to be mismatched along the upper part of the front princess seam. This photo shows the difference.
The right side (right side of photo) of this sample has been cut and sewn according to the pattern. For the left side, I’ve made some simple changes to the pattern and shaped the front side section with a steam iron. Note how the horizontal lines in the weave carry across the upper chest uninterrupted.
We will examine techniques to eliminate darts. For this sample, I wanted a very curvy figure, easily accomplished by a bra filled out with extra padding. It’s easy to achieve the look on a small busted model but harder when dealing with more curves.
The pronounced curves of this figure required additional shaping which could have been accomplished by adding a dart either from armhole to bust or side seam to bust.
Either dart placement isn’t ideal and will create unnecessary bulk. Fortunately most boucle fabric is pliable and can be molded with steam. Any distortion in the weave is hidden under the arm and a better solution than darts.
A few patterns have the classic three piece sleeve. Vogue 7975 has a standard two piece sleeve. It’s not difficult to convert the pattern. This method can be used on any sleeve.
Learn how to customize the look of a basic pattern. The neckline is easily converted to a stand collar, round or V-neck.
Coco Chanel said, ”never a button without a buttonhole.” Machine buttonholes are an option but handworked buttonholes are a true couture finish. Loosely woven boucle fabric isn’t the easiest to work with and mastering buttonholes does take practice. There are a few tips and tricks that make the finished result more professional.
Trims are the final embellishment. Shopping for pre-made trim can be difficult. You rarely find something that’s the perfect color, width and texture. Often trims are rigid and difficult to navigate curves and corners. Creating your own trim using fibers from the fabric and coordinating yarn isn’t difficult.
November dates not convenient? Another Couture Sewing Class is scheduled from Monday, January 16 through Saturday, January 21, 2023. This class isn’t strictly for French jacket construction but you can certainly work on one. It’s a perfect opportunity finish (or make significant progress) on a previously started jacket. Work on anything you like. Maybe you’re hesitant to work on tricky fabric or an unfamiliar style? Take advantage of expert help with planning and executing your project.
Register by clicking on ”Classes” from the main menu. Any questions email me: email@example.com
I’m presenting a couture trim class with the ASG (American Sewing Guild) Atlanta chapter on Friday March 25 and Friday April 1. This is an 8 hour class (split into 2 four hour sessions) which will be presented via internet on Zoom. Both sessions will run 1:30 to 5:30 PM EST. One fee includes both sessions. The class fee also includes the trim kit so you will be able to create the trims along with me. This class was designed exclusively for the Atlanta ASG and open only to their members. The class has a few available openings and I have permission from the Atlanta group to open the remaining spots to my readers.
This trim from a Chanel jacket has always intrigued me and I FINALLY figured out a way to replicate it. It will be demonstrated in this class along with numerous other techniques including Kumihimo braiding.
If you’re interested, go to http://www.asgatlanta.org and register. The class will not be recorded so you will need to be available during class time. Registration will close on March 19 to allow time for your trim kit to be shipped to you.
There will also be a class on couture custom sleeves on Saturday, March 26 from 1:00 PM to 2:30 PM EST if you’re interested.
I will be offering additional trim classes later this spring and summer on my site. Thanks for reading.
A distinctive feature of many French (Chanel) style jackets is the iconic three piece sleeve. Vogue 7975 is a favorite starting pattern for many; however the sleeve is a standard two piece. I’ll go through my method for converting the pattern from a two to three piece sleeve.
First, trace the pattern onto translucent pattern paper. Eliminate the seam allowances. It’s much easier to alter patterns when you aren’t dealing with seam allowances. Make changes to the pattern, then add seam allowances back if you are more comfortable working with patterns which have seam allowances included. Include the marks indicating underarm and shoulder points as well as grain lines. Mark the front and back of the sleeve cap to eliminate confusion.
Working on a grain board/cutting mat makes it easy to keep the pattern properly aligned. Arrange the pattern pieces as shown with grain lines parallel to each other and seam lines just touching along the back armseye seam. Tape or weight the paper so it doesn’t shift.
Using a second sheet of pattern paper large enough for the entire sleeve, trace the shape of the sleeve cap from the underarm point to shoulder point, continuing through the front armseye seam. Mark the underarm and shoulder points. Also draw a line at a 90 degree angle to the grain lines intersecting the underarm point. This line represents the biceps width.
Move the undersleeve pattern to the front, arrange grain lines parallel to each other and trace the remainder of the arsmeye seam to the underarm point.
Also shift the grainline on the upper sleeve section so it is in line with the shoulder point. Connect underarm points with a horizontal line which should be perpendicular to the grainline.
Your draft should look like this:
Draw dashed lines from the underarm points to the hem. They will be parallel to the grainline and be the same distance apart as the biceps width. Measure the distance along the biceps line from back to the new grainline (intersects the shoulder). Measure distance from grainline to front underarm point. Compare the measurements. I’m working with a size 10 pattern. The back measures 7”; front measures 6.5”. Therefore the grainline is offset 1/2” from the midpoint of the front and back underarms. If your pattern size varies slightly, then use the measurements from your size. The additional curves which are mirror images of the armseye seam will be covered in upcoming steps.
Now calculate the sleeve taper from underarm to wrist. Measure the wrist on front and back sleeve sections and add them together for total sleeve wrist measurement. Size 10 is 9 inches. I want to offset the wrist by the same amount of the biceps. Divide 9 by 2 equals 4.5”. Add 1/4” to 4.5” for 4.75” back wrist. Subtract 1/4” from 4.5” for 4.25” front wrist. 4.75” plus 4.25” equals 9” so the total matches amount measured in the previous step.
Also draw in the elbow line. There are various methods for determining the elbow placement. You can measure from underarm to elbow. If you’re not sure, divide the underarm seam in half. Place the elbow about one inch higher than the midpoint.
Where the elbow and underarm seam intersect on the sleeve back, mark a point 1/4” wider than the elbow. Measure the distance from this point to the center grainline. Divide this distance in half (should be about 3 inches). Measure 3/4” down from the elbow line. Draw a line from this point to the halfway point just plotted, forming a dart at the elbow.
At the back wrist, mark a point 3/4” towards the center and 3/4” below the wrist hem. Connect the lower elbow dart leg to this point. The wrist will be shortened 3/4” so 3/4” needs to be added to the front underarm. Draw a line from the elbow to a point 3/4” to the right of the original seam.
Connect the front and back wrist hem with a smooth curve. Also shift the center grainline from elbow line to wrist 3/4” as shown.
Fold the pattern vertically, matching back underarm to grainline. Turn the pattern over with underside up. You will see the armseye curve. Using a red pencil, trace the curve as shown. Repeat for the front.
Now you will draft the narrow under-sleeve. Starting at the underarm, measure 1 and 1/4” to left of grainline; 1 and 1/8” to the right. Move to the elbow line. Measure 1 and 1/4” to the left, 1” to the right. Move to the wrist. Mark 1 and 1/8” left of the angled line, 7/8” to the right. Connect the points to form the under-sleeve. Shown in green.
The under-sleeve now needs to be removed from the outer edges of the back and front sleeve. Measure towards the center of the sleeve on both back and front, the same amounts that were used to draft the under-sleeve. Back underarm, measure in 1 and 1/4”, front underarm 1 and 1/8” towards center. Elbow line 1 and 1/4” along the back, 1” along the front. Wrist 1 and 1/8 at back, 7/8” at front.
This is the right sleeve. The under-sleeve as drafted is for the left sleeve. To create a right side pattern, flip the sleeve draft over and trace the under-sleeve onto pattern paper.
Flip the draft back to the right side and cut the back and front sleeve sections as shown. The elbow dart won’t be sewn as a dart. When constructing the sleeve, you will ease about two inches either side of the dart, drawing up the excess length to match the under-sleeve seam.
Shorten the front sleeve seam about 1/4” and redraw the wrist hem curve. The front seam will be stretched during construction to produce a better curve in the finished sleeve. Yes, the front sleeve seam that attaches to the under-sleeve will be slightly shorter than the corresponding seam on the under-sleeve pattern.
If you want to add sleeve vent for buttons/ trim, tape extensions onto the pattern. I used 1 and 1/2” wide and 4” long. If you want longer vents for more buttons, then just make the vent longer.
The grainline of the undersleeve can be changed to bias providing a little more flexibility in the sleeve.
Want to add a stand collar to your French jacket but don’t have a pattern? Here are easy directions for drafting your own. Two jackets to which I’ve added a stand collar.
I used Vogue 7975 which has a high round neck. To draft the collar measure the pattern from center back to the shoulder seam. Note that measurement. Then measure from shoulder seam to center front.
Draw lines at right angles to each other in the lower left corner of pattern paper.
Mark the intersection of the two lines CB (center back). Measure to the right of CB the length of CB to shoulder seam as measured on the jacket pattern. Mine was 3 5/8 inches. Be sure to measure the seam line, NOT cut edge. Mark shoulder point.
From the shoulder point measure towards the right the distance from shoulder to center front on the jacket pattern. Mine was 4 1/2 inches. Mark the point as CF (center front).
Draw a line 3/4 inch long up from CF.
Using a French curve draw a smooth curve from the shoulder point to the point 3/4 inch above the bottom line.
Decide how wide you want the collar. I used 1 1/4 inches. Draw a line parallel to the bottom line.
You can leave the top edge square or round off the corner. I use a circle template to determine how I want the curve shaped.
Finished collar pattern. This pattern has no seam allowances. I cut it from card stock so it’s sturdier and can be used as a template for pressing the seam allowances under.
The collar is slightly curved. Rather than cutting the collar so that the horizontal weave of the fabric is interrupted, the couture way of working is to cut a straight strip of fabric on the crossgrain. The fabric is shaped with steam into a curve to match the collar pattern. Position the fabric wrong side up with the neckline seam away from you. Using a steam iron, stretch the upper edge and ease the bottom edge to create a curved strip of fabric. The curve of fabric should match the curve of the collar pattern.
Thread trace the seam lines. To make the curved edges identical use the card stock template to press seam allowances under. A machine basting stitch along the curve can help ease in fullness. Add either fusible or sew-in interfacing. I used fusible for this demo.
Press the seam allowances along the outer edge of the collar under. Don’t press the seam which will join the collar to the jacket. The template will ensure the curved ends are identical. The inside of the collar can be either self fabric or lining. I’ve used self fabric for this inside collar. Attach the outer collar to the jacket along the neckline. Fell stitch the turned under edges of outer and inner collar together.
Next up will be transforming the two piece sleeve of Vogue 7975 into a three piece.