forgive me, susan, for i have sinned.
will this cost me my spot at this month’s camp chanel?
for a long time – even before i completed my first jacket – i’ve been stashing this loosely-woven, wool/poly/metallic sorta-boucle i found stashed at paron’s annex. i knew i wanted a classic black and white basic with a shiny pink lining. three years later, i no longer remember why, but the idea stuck, and it gave me an excuse to try a few things. for starters, i wanted to re-draw my chanel muslin incorporating the changes that susan made in the fitting at last spring’s excursion. i also wanted to incorporate some design details from NL6028, namely the V-neck and the cute short sleeve. i decided to keep my cutaway hem and combine all of the elements in to one.
i also wanted to test a construction method outlined in threads #128 (shortcuts to a designer jacket). most of the 70 hours of construction in a couture version is dedicated to hand-finishing all of the side, neck, sleeve and hem seams (with about 15-20 hours just on the sleeves), and i was curious to see how much of a difference would become apparent in trying it a different way. a bit of an experiment, if you will.
so here i present the seven sins of the shortcut jacket:
sin #1 – interfacing. when making a chanel jacket, it’s typical to eschew interfacing because it changes the hand of the fabric and can make the quilting feel less soft. also, more importantly, the purpose of the quilting is to replace the interfacing and give the jacket strength and body on its own, while still maintaining the integrity of the fabric.
sin #2 – fusible interfacing!! a couturier never, ever, ever uses fusible interfacing. but i had some gorgeous pro-elegance sheer from pam at fashion fabrics supply, and a swatch test confirmed that the pro-sheer firmed up the fabric while keeping the basic hand of the fabric. because the fabric is relatively cheap (about $20/yd, instead of the $200/yd couture boucle can cost), i wanted the backup of the interfacing to keep the plaid pattern from drooping or otherwise getting manhandled during construction.
one of the things i did decide to do as prep work was the step of thread-tracing all of my pieces in a single layer, so that i could ensure good stripe placement. that went pretty well, but not bang-on perfectly. some of the stripes got a bit unruly, but not enough to be distracting. (it also added about 6 hours to the “shortcut” method, which promises a finished jacket in about 15 hours)
sins #3 and 4 – pre-assembling the jacket body as well as the lining body. in the couture method, the jacket pieces are cut out and then quilted to lining before assembling anything. in the shortcut method, you assemble most of the jacket and most of the lining before doing any of that.
sins #5, 6 and 7 – then, you take the finished jacket and lining layers, put them RST, and attach the lining from just below the neck seam all the way around the hem of the jacket. then you are meant to press the pieces and move on, but i took one look at that and knew that i could not accomplish anything without understitching all of that. so i ended up pick-stitching the jacket lining to keep everything nice and neat (adding about another half-hour to the “shortcut” method). after that, you stitch in the ditch on the side seams – to take the place of the extra-large seam allowances in a traditional jacket (which i kept anyway because the weave of my fabric was not super-stable) – and then, finally, you start quilting.
and that’s where i am in the process. it’s been a huge eye-opener – if you are at all interested in the classic cardigan jacket, i think it’s hugely instructive to try it both ways. it’s one of those things where doing it the “right” way means you know how to do it…and doing it the “wrong” way means you understand why the “right” way is right-er.
more soon. i will probably bring this number to camp chanel – not to show susan, who would likely expel me – but to finish it up. i can already picture the disappointed shake of her head and the sorrow in her dulcet voice…