The pattern and the fabric sat in my pattern drawer until just after Sewjourn last December, when I saw Leith's version as a work-in-progress. Seeing her's spurred me on and, nearly six months later, I have a French Jacket.
Let's start with my muslin.
This is a terrible photo, sorry! I started with a size 12, which is my standard size in a Vogue Pattern. Overall, the fit was okay, however, I made three adjustments to get a closer fit and the look I wanted:
- Starting at the CB bottom, I took about 3cm in total out of the CB up until about half way up.
- In the jacket side front and starting at the shoulder seam, I took about 3cm out of the princess seam, until about 10cm down (ending just above my bust).
- I trimmed off the button placement allowances. I wanted it to close with hooks rather than buttons, so I just left a 1.5cm seam allowance on top of the CF.
I figured if it needed any other adjustments, I'd do them as I sewed the jacket. There were no glaring fit issues so I figured minute fitting could be done as I sewed.
My muslin sat in a box for about two months. I just couldn't concentrate on it. Then, one day, about 2-3 months ago, WHAM! French Jacket sewing was all I could think of.
If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have seen some progress shots. I'm going to start here with the finished shots and then show you some progress shots. I wore it for the first time to my sister's engagement party, which was last weekend.
I wore it with a black ponte Vogue 1314 - I'll review this dress again in another post soon.
Can you tell I'm a bit pleased with it?
Those buttons. I love them. They're from Buttonmania and I want a million more.
The lining. Silk satin. Such beautiful stuff. So easy to sew for a silk.
The venue was actually so overheated that I wore the jacket for these pics and then took it off. I lovingly placed it on a table at the back of the venue and nearly had a heart attack when I went out there about an hour later to get my lippie and discovered it under about 20 jackets. I felt like doing a mother lion roar and yelling "this is my FRENCH JACKET, DON'T TOUCH IT"!!! Instead I secured it in a safer spot and went and got another champers.
So... a few changes I made to the pattern:
- I didn't quilt the lining and shell fabric together for two reasons. One, I did a practice quilt on some scraps of fabric and it showed way too much on the outer of the shell. I didn't like how it looked. Two, after consulting with Leith, we both thought that in the 'Making of a Chanel Jacket' video clip on YouTube that they do not quilt the jacket in the video. That made me think that Chanel jackets are not always quilted together.
- I interfaced the jacket pieces (not the sleeves) using a very soft and fine fusible interfacing. The difference to the tweed was amazing.
- I reinforced the sleeve head. The tweed I used was so soft and fine that the sleeve head was collapsing on itself.
- I put trim all around the bottom hem - V8804 doesn't call for that.
- I put very slim shoulder pads in. Again, I think the tweed really needed them.
Here are some progress shots:
First bit of trim I sewed on.
Pockets completed. You hand stitch the pocket lining on.
This is my one regret - I wish I had attached the trim on the sleeves closer to the bottom of the sleeve hem. There is a little bit too much fabric showing under the trim.
Getting there! At this stage there no machine stitching left to do. All hems are hand stitched, all the trim is hand stitched. I loved it. To me, this project signified hand stitching, and lots of it. I wanted such a project. I really love hand stitching. It is therapeutic to me and I think achieves greater accuracy in detailed projects like this.
Final stage here. Attaching the metal chain to weight the hem. I still cannot believe how much this little chain makes a difference to the way the jacket hangs. It is not a step to be missed.
I thought I'd also include where I sourced everything from:
- Tweed fabric, silk-satin lining, interfacing and slim shoulder pads: Tessuti Fabrics.
- Mohair braid trim: M&J Trimmings in New York.
- Buttons and French Jacket hook and eyes: Buttonmania.
- Chain trim for hem: Clegs.
- Fleece for sleeve heads: an old jumper of my daughter's.
Finally, I used a few resources A LOT:
- Every single post Poppykettle wrote about making hers.
- Couture Sewing Techniques by Claire Shaeffer.
- Goodbye Valentino's posts about making her own.
- A Threads article about sleeve heads that I now can't find anywhere.
- A bucket load of internet resources, including blogs for inspiration and tips. I looked at other sewists' versions of the French Jacket constantly, and at images of Chanel Jackets. I also constantly looked at the white version Cate Blanchett wears in Blue Jasmine after I saw the film last year. I love that white Chanel Jacket. I cannot wear white like that until Little M has moved out of home.
So there you have it! I made a French Jacket! And I love it. I'm slightly afraid of wearing it, but plan to tomorrow to work.
I also really want to make another jacket now too. Bellatrix, I'm looking at you....