When I brought Doris home, patched her up and gave her the honoured position in the sewing room, I thought I had been transported to an atelier in the Rue Cambon. So one of the first projects just had to be a Chanel suit – what else?
I read every blog at the time on Chanel construction techniques and bought the Claire B. Schaeffer books on couture sewing – read cover to cover and back again.
Fearless, and completely innocent I went straight for the shell fabric – no mucking about with toiles (muslins) for me. The pattern was Claire Schaeffer’s own couture jacket, which sadly is completely out of print – not even available from the Vogue web page, so I’ll have to take great care with mine.
So this gallant premiere main proceeded undaunted – removed the stand-up collar, skipped most of the facings and interfacings for a genuine Chanel look of round neck line and edge to edge lining.
The fabric came from a local fabric shop and I thought at the time that it sort of looked Chanelish – being wool and checked and sort of tweedish.
Construction went pretty well considering I hadn’t a clue. As usual, choosing suitable buttons was beyond me so I opted for the covered version.
The trim was made from lengths of the fabric, sewn over on one edge to stop fraying and then I sat for weeks deliberately fraying the other side, then sat for another few weeks sewing the stuff on by hand.
I’d bought plenty of fabric to allow for mistakes and ended up having enough to make a matching skirt. Pattern for this is forgotten but it’s just a straight, below knee (keeping Coco in mind) side zipper skirt.
I think the suit looks more like country English librarian than Parisian chic, so I rarely wear the two together. The jacket is really comfy and goes well with jeans or plain dark brown wide-legged trousers (pants). The skirt is usually worn with a short slim-fitting dark brown suede jacket and dark brown boots.
Those of you who care about these sorts of things will notice that the ‘black’ side of the blouse matches the ‘black’ side of the lining on the left and white on white on the right hand side. That was pure fluke by the way! The button holes on the inside were bound in this same fabric.
I went a bit anal on the blouse.
On the right is the side seam and I matched up the flowers from front to back – sad…….
Did the whole quilting thing with the lining and of course the famous brass chain for weight. I must admit this really does make a difference to the hang of the jacket, though it weights a tonne when you’re carrying it.
I had to do a few other things which I can’t really remember now how I did them but I had to edge the hem and the inside neck line with a bias strip because I wasn’t following the exact pattern instructions.
Oh, and as I cannot leave a scrap of fabric untouched, the remainder of the blouse fabric became a scarf that ties in a bow at the neck to complete the prim and proper look.
Thanks for reading. Ruth