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by Marga van der Vet
November 6, 2020
Whether you are an absolute beginner, a hobby seamstress with little experience, or an experienced seamstress, the success of a project often depends on choosing a good pattern. Which sewing pattern is the best if you want to create a DIY Chanel jacket?
Do you want a shaped and formal Chanel-style jacket? Or casual and comfortable? Very important! Take a look at the reviews or the backside of the sewing pattern envelop. If you look for a tight, shaped and slim jacket, then choose a sewing pattern which is "fitted".
If you want your Chanel-inspired jacket to be more comfortable, maybe with front sides open and with a casual appearance, look for the "semi-fitted" jackets.
Loose fitting is a more comfortable shape which gives belly freedom and does not follow closely the contours of the body.Fitted jackets: Vogue V7975, Burda 6705, Simplicity 1421, McCalls M7058Semi-fitted jackets: Vogue V8804, Vogue V8991, Vogue V9095, Butterick B6382, Burda 6465, Burda 8949 and Neue Mode M23079Loose fitting jacket: Vogue 9250, New Look 64962. What about underlining?The classic French Chanel jacket is famous mostly because of it's quilted lining, which offers an exclusive sense of movement, freedom and luxury. The "invention" of this jacket was innovative in the time that came after the corsets and the tight clothing code. The jacket gave the wearer a sense of freedom and made sure that it was still chic and exclusive enough to continue as a couture. Anyway, if you want to go for the classic and most exclusive version, choose a pattern of Claire Shaeffer which offers the possibility and the instructions to quilt the lining.Examples: Vogue V8804 and Vogue V8991.The other Chanel-inspired jackets offer the normal standard way of attaching linings. In advanced options, we will talk about quilting linings in other sewing patterns, but as I said; it is only an extra option. If you prefer a jacket which is not underlined at all: New Look 6496, Burda 8949, and Simplicity 1421.These unlined jackets are great options for hot summers or a way to practice and to get to know your most beloved or desired Chanel-inspired jacket.
3. Your skills or sewing levelKnow your skills about sewing techniques. It might be a challenge to create a perfect, complicated and advanced Chanel jacket, but realize that it is also very, very frustrating if you need to stop your project because of problems or a lack of sewing experience. Sewing patterns give codes or names for the desired levels in different languages. Easy/Beginners/Basic/Facile/Very easy, Average/Mittel/Moins Facile or Advanced/Difficult/Plus Difficile.But.....This is based on classical training and is sometimes based on principles that seem logical but are not logical at all.If you want to be sure; read reviews. 'Average' is sometimes more difficult as it looks and even Easy or Beginners may require sewing techniques that you may not have mastered. The instructions on the Sewing Patterns are sometimes loud and clear. But sometimes they are not loud and clear at all.If you want to be sure about your skills, you need to finish the project from the start till the day you will wear it with glory.... have a helping hand nearby or do not start with a sewing pattern which requires too much dedication, knowledge and advanced couture sewing skills.4. Know your sizeNeedless to say... But do realize that size DOES matter. You can try on different sizes if you buy a jacket in a store. They stock more common sizes because of mass-production and non-global standards.If you start to sew (and cut the fabric) there is no way back. So be sure about your size, or even better: first create a mockup like they do at the big couture houses. Musline fabric is ideal, or just a cheap fabric you do not use.....5. The Fabrics Read the Sewing Patterns requirements about the fabric and the reviews. The quantity you need is important (do not forget to order or buy some extra fabric to create more pockets or self-made fringes), but also the kind of fabric. How a pattern or final result looks depends largely on the type of fabric used. Some patterns are great for tweeds or bouclé. Others are more suitable for wool or wool-blends.There is a warning on almost every sewing pattern like: "Unsuitable for obvious diagonals". This means that it will be a hell of a job to work with fabrics with squares, dots, stripes, shapes, patterns, corners, triangles, lines, diagonals on the pattern etc, to make it visually attractive. It might work, but you need a lot of extra fabric and advanced skills to construct the pattern pieces to match the pattern on the fabric. It is really Haute Couture when a checkered or striped jacket looks visually symmetrical and perfect. Unless it is a big challenge, stick to choosing a fabric which will not be a burden.On Claire Shaeffer's sewing pattern, there is a warning: "Unsuitable for obvious diagonals or uneven plaids. Allow extra fabric to match even plaids or stripes. Use nap yardages/layouts for pile, shaded or one-way design fabrics."A yardage is a distance or length measured in yards. A fabric with nap is one that usually has a pile and it will have different color shades depending on different angles. Velvet, velours, panne de velours ... Fabrics with one way design will also need cutting layout to allow for nap, so that the pattern on the fabric runs in the same direction on the finished item.
6. NotionsWhat about buttons, fringes or adding pockets? Do you want a sewing pattern with a lot of pockets, fringes and trims? Or do you want a Chanel-style jacket which is plain...7. It's the time of the season...Last but not least: Think about the seasons. Are you going to sew a Chanel-style SUMMER jacket or a warm WINTER jacket?
Marga van der Vet is a 50+ Dutch model and seamstress. She specializes in sewing Chanel-Style jackets and started https://www.sewingchanelstyle.com/ a few years ago to share information about sewing Chanel-Style jackets and all about the brand Chanel. Lately, she has expanded the website with blogs about sewing for LARP, Cosplay and Fantasy events. Marga lives in the countryside in the North of the Netherlands with her family, her dog and horses. Modelling and Haute couture are, of course, very glamorous but she has a sustainable and green lifestyle. SewingChanelStyle promotes sustainability and women who are having small arts and crafts businesses.
Why should I make a mockup or toile when I have a pattern? Isn’t it overkill? This concern comes up often so I think it’s important to clarify the importance of making a mockup, or a test run of your garment, also known as the toile or muslin.
Your mockup should be a shell of your garment that you can actually try on complete with zipper, collar, pockets, sleeves and any relevant pieces of detail, such as marked or drawn placements of your buttons and buttonholes, and even a rough drawing of applique, embroidery or beadwork.