Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Chanel-like jacket (2)

I worked on the jacket the entire evening and another hour and a half this morning (woke up earlier with the jacket in mind). I'm done quilting the entire jacket, stitching the side seams and shoulder seams in the fashion fabric - the lining seams are not hand sewn yet, because of the collar and cuffs that need to be attached first to the fashion fabric. I've pinned the lining seams in place and they will get sewn later.

I've also inserted one of the sleeves, only to discover that I pinned my sleeves wrong - the left sleeve to the right part of the jacket ouch ouch ouch. Never made this mistake before, why did I have to make it now of all times when the sleeve was inserted by hand? Lots of work to insert it and now I will have to take it out. That should teach me not to sew/pin when I'm tired!

Regarding quilting: my fabric being a tweedy wool knit, not a boucle, I've decided to space the quilting lines 1.5 inches apart instead of 1 inch. Let me tell you, working with a knit (one that is quite stretchy both lengthwise and crosswise) is a pain. The knit kept growing. Pinning the quilting lines helped, using a walking foot helped but the knit still grew a bit. I found that holding the fabric taut crosswise helped. Using lots of steam also helped, as the knit is wool and the steam shrank it back to its initial shape.

After quilting and pressing, I found that the quilting lines are almost inconspicuous. To hide them even more, I brushed the lines in both directions (from top to bottom and from bottom to top) with an old nail brush and then pressed again, holding the iron at about 1 inch from the fabric and using lots of steam. This fluffed the knit a little bit and the quilting lines are now buried in the fabric. Pictures later. So far I've tried to put "normal" batteries in my camera and they don't work, I really don't know why.

Another lesson learned: when working this much on a jacket, make a muslin!! I don't make muslins because a size 6 or 4 in Big 4 patterns fits me right out of the envelope. Now, I should have. First, when trying it on, the jacket was a bit too large and I will need to take out another 5/8" at the center front on both sides. No problem, this is easy to do since those seams are not finished yet, but that means that I will also have to shorten the collar which is already cut and interfaced. Second, I would have liked the armhole to be a bit higher - it fits very well, but I really love high armholes and I read so much about Chanel jackets having really high armholes that I'm probably picky without having much reason.

Third (and last), I think I would have liked a shorter shoulder but am not sure yet. One, the sleeve was inserted backwards when I tried it on. Second, I think that the neckline grew quite a bit. I will have to do some crowding on it, especially on the back neckline. That will make it hug my body closer and probably (hopefully) solve my problem.

UPDATE: Looking again at Marji's photoset, I see the the shoulder is a bit dropped, so I might not need to shorten the shoulder. Look at this picture to see what I mean. I just need to reinsert the sleeve correctly, press it in place and maybe crowd the neckline and see how I like it.


Vicki said...

Oh thats not good news for you. Hopefully you can fix it and then the rest of the construction goes according to plan.

Summerset said...

Yikes! That's not fun at all. I hope you can fix the whole thing to your liking. I'm very familiar with quilting fabric and I quilt a piece of fabric in the rough shape of the pattern piece first, then cut out the pieces, to make sure the fabric hasn't been distorted. Could you take apart the jacket (sounds like only the side and shoulder seams are stitched) and recut the fronts/backs? I know it's no fun to take something apart, but I'm always happier that I did.

LauraLo said...

Thanks for your sympathy, Vicki and Summerset! Summerset, I think that method of cutting the piece in a rough shape is the best one - I thought of doing that when making a jacket out of boucle. Didn't do it on this jacket because I want to have enough fabric left for a coat and it doesn't fray. The fabric distortion I managed to control and everything looks great. I'll keep you posted about the fit. And yes, Summerset, if I am not pleased, I will definitely take it apart!

dawn said...

I haven't had much time to read blogs lately, but this is one project I can't miss! I am so *not* a Chanel jacket person, but I love them just the same. There were so many gorgeous Chanel jackets at the recent PACC conference I attended. And they seem to be appropriate for casual to business to evening.

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time but it will be all worth it in the end b/c you'll have a piece that is timeless and one of the most useful things in your wardrobe.

I wonder, the fabric being so "spongy" (at least that's what it sounds like) if you couldn't make an underarm gusset to in effect bring the armhole up? I had to add over 1 1/4" to the underarm of my Vogue jacket recently!!! Note, if the sleeves are dropped, that may be why the underarm is lower, though I suspect that they are meant to be right up on the shoulder and, as with many patterns (it's a U.S. pattern?) the armholes are just too darned big.

Can't wait for pics. hang in there.

LauraLo said...

Hi, Dawn and thanks for the suggestions. It is an US pattern (Vogue 7975) and yes, I think the armhole is too big. Tonight I'll insert the sleeve and press and look at it very critically. If I don't like it, I'll take it apart (again) and insert a gusset. That means that I will also have to alter the sleeve, doesn't it. And take in the shoulder too. Hopefully tomorrow or the day after I'll report having solved the problem or having a solution and working on it :)

Tany said...

Ouch! I hope you can fix this... I hate taking things apart but like Summerset said, I never regreted it. Just think how you will love this jacket when it's finished! All the hard work to make it perfect will be well worth it!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

This is a really interesting process...I can't wait to see pictures of your jacket! Because I didn't make a Chanel jacket, I only borrowed the quilting technique for my suit.

Johanna said...
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Johanna said...

I too find this project fascinating. Looking forward for some photos!

Regarding the sleeves and shoulder, I borrowed this great book called Dressed in black from the library the other day. It's a fashion history book featuring only black clothes, and what makes it so great is that there are line drawings of all the garments.

There is a Chanel suit from 1994 in the book and yes the sleeves are high and the shoulders too. I scanned the line drawing, you can see it here:

LMH said...

What a pain--but think of it not as mistakes but just part of the process of crafting a garment, which is such a different thing than just sewing one up.

I can't wait to see how this turns out.

Also, there's another schaeffer article on making chanel jackets in a book of collected Threads articles. I can't remember the name right now, but if you want the citation, let me know & I'll find it for you. The book has a lot other great articles too, all of them from the early days when Threads was a bit different. I think I wrote about this book on my blog some time ago; it's one of my mainstays. Anyway, just let me know if you want the title.

Donna said...

Ouch indeed..... If you've ever worked with silk boucle (have you?) you will find that it stretches also. We now know why Coco Chanel quilted her jackets. I didn't quilt the sleeves on one Chanel jacket. The girl who ordered it was thrilled because she wanted longer sleeves anyway....I think you'd like my sewing blog: . There is a new sewing tip about five times a week. Check out the archives for tips you may have missed.