Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



Chanel 2012 (JBB)

Doobee posted the other day about where she finds inspiration from – and boy she can not only find it at risk to her personal safety but also uses it. So I got to thinking about where the inspiration comes from. Mostly I pick ideas up from the Internet – other blogs, reviews and the like including a quirky French blog I follow – Folie de Mode – where JBB takes surreptitious photographs around Paris including the windows of the big designer houses. At the beginning of January she posted this image taken at Chanel. I fell in love with this suit, not just because it is Chanel though that’s a big reason, but I loved the skirt – that extra panel at the bottom just made a plain pencil skirt a little bit different.

Chanel 2012

Then lo and behold at Fashion Week, what walks down the catwalk (runway) but the same suit. Note the button changes for the fashion show compared to the window display.
This was going to be my next project. Now that I have a stash – I dutifully selected one of the Shetland wools called deliciously, Watermelon, and set to. Got a problem. I only ordered 2 yds (2.2m) and this is very limiting when you want to make a below knee skirt and jacket to match. Careful pattern selection, placement and cutting is essential. 
Burda 01/2012
Around the same time I purchased Burda magazine and they featured a 6 gore pencil skirt. It’s supposed to be made up in their lingerie section but when have I ever listened to advice? Looking closely at the Chanel skirt – it has a centre seam (which I don’t like) and a yoke (which I do). So using the 6 panel skirt pattern I looked for a yoke. This probably falls into the vintage era: a 1980s DKNY American Designer pattern, but the centre skirt has a yoke. And better still it’s 6 panels! Perfect.

 So the yoke from Donna, the skirt pattern from Burda – appropriately modified to allow for the yoke- and off we go.  I opted for a side zip instead of a back placement to keep the yoke intact.

While making up I decided to add a few extra touches. All the front and back seams are topstiched and just sit back and admire the matching of those seams. I added the bottom panel, just like Chanel, but put in a small kick pleat at the back so that I could walk.

The zip is an old fashioned non-invisible one so I put this in by hand and that’s when I went retro……
I needed a jacket that didn’t use up too much fabric but looked right with a straight skirt. So internet image hunting produced some further inspiration. I’ve moved a decade from the late 1940s (vintage suit) to the early 1960s

There’s Jackie O in nearly the same colour as my suit – must be an omen!  I like the Butterick pattern on the right, but I wanted to sew this weekend not wait around for a pattern to arrive via post. So I went to my pattern stash – oh yes I have one of those – and dug out Vogue 1127 for the jacket. The jacket is unlined apart from the sleeves in the pattern instructions but I line most of my clothes and this was not going to be the exception. 
To make a lining for a jacket without specific pieces is easy. Just cut the same pattern pieces in the lining but remove the extra for the front facings. Lay the front facing piece on the cut lining and mark in 1.5cm (5/8″) for seam allowance. Stitch the front facing to the lining and then sew the lining and the jacket together at the edges, right sides together. Do not sew the hem. Then turn right way out and voila! a lined jacket. You might have to put a small pleat in here and there but this helps with ease when wearing the jacket. I went for the 3/4 sleeve length again

The skirt is finished – ready for a final press but the jacket needs hemming on the sleeves and bottom. I’m at a dilemma about the buttons though. 
What do you think? Covered as in catwalk style or large and fancy for statement?
Thanks for reading. Ruth

15 thoughts on “Watermelon

  1. Ruth this looks great so far and I too love Chanel so would probably go for the more decorative buttons. I am very impressed with your top stitching. Look forward to seeing it on.

  2. Your suit is beautiful – love the color! I agree and would use decorative buttons. Thanks too for the JBB tip!

  3. I would use decorative buttons. You got all of this out of 2 yards??? Amazing!

  4. Hmm…I like covered buttons- feels more Jackie to me. Big ones, tho!

  5. Yep, I think I'm more pleased with getting a skirt and jacket cut from 2 yds than the suit itself.

  6. Earlier today I was going with the majority – decorative ones, now you've sent me back to square one. I'll go shopping and see what's out there before fully committing though my personal preference is leaning towards covered – Jackie O and catwalk can't be wrong. But the jacket's quite plain and would suit a statement – Oh I can't decide……

  7. I like covered buttons for this.

  8. That looks wonderful, what an excellent combination of patterns to get the look.Could you do covered buttons with a little beading or hand embroidery on the fabric to get the best of both worlds? Is the Shetland wool sufficiently thin for covered buttons? The wool I have from FabricMart called Shetland is rather thick.

  9. When I ordered the wool I intended to make a jacket but this Watermelon has a soft, flexible hand and when pressed is even softer. The grey/blue colourway is a heavier fabric. Funny, I was just thinking of a fancy covered button myself – great minds!

  10. Hi Ruth, wonderful suit! By the way, your guest post on dress forms is up! Thanks a lot for contributing!

  11. Pure class, I can't wait to see the finished product! I think the Chanel-style button with self-fabric on a ring and a gold button on top would look super on the jacket.

  12. I just love your knock-off of the Chanel Suit, however, I'm confused about how you transformed the collar of the pattern shown to the finished jacket, as well as how you made the 6-gore skirt into a straight skirt? What in my lack of creativity am I missing? Please don't stop creating because I'm stumped as I love your blog.

  13. HI, the jacket collar is as the pattern – I used Vogue 1127, but you can fold the collar down so that it looks more like the Butterick style I was hoping to achieve. As for the skirt – the gores were straight, not flared (see the line drawing above) I cut these separately, not from the DKNY pattern shown here. I used three different patterns to get this suit. Hope this helps explain things and don't stop with the creativity.

  14. You know I tried to do this once but couldn't even find the right size of rings so it was a non-starter. But you're right – they would look perfect and a mix of covered and shiny.

  15. Pingback: Vote For Me | corecouture

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