Trim for the French jacket was slightly delayed because Elmo was needed at my grandson’s birthday party this past weekend. When we asked mom what he would like for his party, she said, “He would really love a visit from Elmo.”
Hoping to avoid having to construct Elmo, grandpa and I made the party store rounds but everything looked so amateurish that there were really no other options. Off to JoAnn’s for yards of red fur.
There was no way that stuff was getting all over my sewing studio so the kitchen was set up as a workshop. Finally, after a trip back to the craft store for additional materials, Elmo materialized. He travelled to Florida in his own suitcase and made a grand entrance singing “Accidents Happen” from the Elmo potty DVD. Grandpa got talked into wearing this getup in 90 degree heat! He did have one couture detail: spiral steel boning was used to keep his mouth from collapsing. It was the only thing that flexed in two directions yet held the shape.
On to creating custom trim for my French jacket. Many of the trims available are simply too stiff and inflexible for this type of jacket trim. Many of the Chanel jackets I’ve seen have trims made from the fabric fibers and coordinate with the jacket.
I decided to try fringing bias strips. One layer looked too skimpy and two layers sewn together resulted in trim that I thought too stiff. The solution was to gather bias strips, compressing the fibers into a fuller fringe. This also produced a flexible and lightweight trim. I started with one inch wide bias strips cut from the jacket fabric. Leave the ends at at 45 degree angle; this makes butting them end to end invisible.
Adjust the fullness. You could measure but I just pulled up the threads until the gathering looked even. Then steam pressed the bias strip flat.
I fell stitched a narrow braid down the center. The bias strips were just butted end to end. Hand stitching controlled the fullness; don’t try this by machine. The feed dogs will push the fabric into all sorts of unwanted directions. Machine stitching is done after both sides of the braid are fell stitched.
Using a zipper foot, stitch along both edges of the braid using about a 2mm stitch. This locks the fabric threads in place.
Looked good but I felt it still needed something. Narrow silver snake chain was coutch stitched along both edges of the braid. Light grey thread makes the stitches almost invisible.
The edges looked a little scraggly so they were cleaned up. I used a transparent ruler and rotary cutter to keep a consistent width. Fluff them up after attaching so the edges don’t look quite so neat.
Attach to the jacket with a pick stitch using doubled waxed thread. Pick up just a thread or two on the right side and don’t stitch so deep you catch the lining. The stitches can be half an inch or so apart and will keep the trim in place just fine. Do this along both edges of the braid.
Fit the outer edges of curves first and ease the inside curves.
The sleeve trim was steam shaped before applying.
Sleeve and edge trim finished.
Looks good but I think I still need pockets; haven’t decided whether to use two or four. I usually do the trim one step at a time before deciding if the jacket needs more. One more tip. If you opt to use hooks and eyes to close the jacket, it stays closed better if you alternate them on each side rather than putting all the hooks on one side and all eyes on the other.
I’m exploring other ways to do custom trims and have several other ideas in the works.