let me first direct you to marina’s excellent and thorough recap of her class last year. it’s practically the same thing–i mean, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
day one: fabric shopping
ok, this was actually sort of funny. as you probably know, i live in the center of the fabric universe: a mere ten blocks from mood fabrics, paron fabrics, B&J, lace star–all the good stuff. but the class was in baltimore, so to baltimore i drove. and then on monday we all piled in the van for the drive back to good ole NYC. we had plenty of excitement along the way, and evidently the NJ state police agreed with us, because they pulled us over for speeding. (i am assuming that a 12-seater van full of women passing around magazine cutouts of chanel jackets and fabric samples was not what trooper b expected when he spotted an oversize van zipping along at 83 MPH in the left lane.)
some of my thoughts on fabric:
- when you sew, you only get out of it what you put into it. for a jacket like this, one that takes somewhere between 60 and 70 hours of your time as you fit, baste, and hand-sew it, that absolutely means buy the best you can afford. there are places where you can buy couture-quality boucles, and the price tags match the designer names. but in this instance particularly, it makes a noticeable difference in the final product. i spent a week’s salary to get
chanelfrench designer wool boucle, but the fabric literally sparkles. the quality was worth it for me. (fun fact: even at michael’s/a fabric place, the chanelfrench designer wool boucle was in excess of $200/yd)
- this goes for linings as well, with an addendum. you want a good silk lining–either a charmeuse or a crepe-de-chine. the moment you start quilting you will feel why you want a good quality silk. however, do some pricing research. i was blown away by what mendel goldberg were charging for their designer silks, and not in the fun way. i skipped lunch and hit up a few other fabric stores, as well as my own personal stash, to find the
pucciitalian designer silk i was looking for at a more palatable price (thank you, mood!).
- it can be fun to do a crazy silk print lining. in fact, most of the women in my class AND the week before had some serious fun with the crazy silk print linings (me included). but sometimes, a nice solid color is all you want or need. it’s your jacket. run with what makes you happy. ask yourself: what will most make you excited to put it on in the morning? and pick that fabric.
some of my thoughts on patterns:
i went with the classic vogue 7975, and it’s a classic for a reason. a basic princess seam jacket, already in the general shape you want to be working with, and a two-piece sleeve that is easy to adapt to a three-piece sleeve using susan’s techniques. susan felt very strongly that for a first jacket, stick with the classic silhouette before getting too seduced by the chanel signature one-layer lapel or a long, lean trench-y version. that said, my next two pattern choices (for jackets two and three, already in the works) are:
i had a chance once to try on a one-layer lapel chanel blazer, and i loved everything about it, from the crepe-de-chine lining to the beautiful drape and the fringed lapel. i don’t think V8692 will be the actual pattern i end up using, but i want to start with darts instead of stylelines. the jacket i tried on had converted the darts to ease and it just sat on my body like a (beautiful, silky) glove. fun fact: the RTW blazer was lacking in many of the things that make the chanel style of construction awesome, most especially the quilting and the hem chain.
i love this vintage 60s long, lean, slightly flared coat. i will take in the flair just a bit but keep the length. bonus: it is easily adaptable from my already-fitted V7975.