I’ve just had a lovely sewing weekend with Anne, we’ve met a few times at sewing bloggers meet-ups in Dewsbury and Leeds, I discovered she also fancied doing the Chanel Jacket course at the Yorkshire School of Sewing, so when I found one I could go on I contacted Anne and we made a weekend of it …
I met Anne in Harrogate for a bit of retail therapy first so we hit Duttons for Buttons, the remnant shop and finally Fine Fabrics. I haven’t been to Fine Fabrics for years as it always felt it was a long way out of town, (as a non driver) but having discovered it’s less than a 10 minute walk, I’ll be back again soon!
We both had a specific shopping list for our Chanel jacket, as it happened, Gillian, our tutor, was at Fine Fabrics teaching on Saturday when we went over, so we said a quick hello. I found some braid and some buttons at Duttons and some gorgeous taffeta to use as lining at Fine Fabrics.
The Chanel Jacket course is a two day course with usually a week in between, though we’ve got two weeks, which is probably a good job as I’ve quite a lot on at the moment. We had some homework before we arrived. We are using Vogue pattern 7975, choosing which view we fancied, I’m making a longer length, full length sleeves with buttons down the front.
We were asked to cut out and make up a toile in our size. Now I don’t routinely make a toile, if I’m not sure of the fit I’ll make the lining first and check the fit with that (I didn’t even make a toile for my wedding dress!) but I found a remnant of curtain lining in my stash which was perfect for a toile. I usually cut out with size 12 at the top and size 14 round the hips, but strictly according to my measurements I should be a size 14, possibly 16 hips. I decided to do it properly and cut a straight 14. It made up very easily, it felt a bit big on the top though. It looks even bigger on Florence, my muse!
The class was held at Gillians home in Roundhay on the outskirts of Leeds. She has a conservatory at the back which is perfect for sewing, lots of natural light. The first task was fitting our toilles. She agreed it was too big at the top and advised me to cut a straight size 12 but with a 1″ side seam allowance, just to give us a bit of lea-way. She gave us lots of tips on fitting clothes, the biggest one being NEVER TOUCH THE ARM SCYTHE, there’s just too much maths involved in armhole and sleeve construction, change one bit and it throws all sorts off. With this pattern she did any alterations along the princess seam, so the sleeve could be lifted up the shoulder if needed by reducing the shoulder seam .
There’s a lot of cutting out…first there’s the fabric, I was lucky not having a pattern to match, but Anne’s needed matching so we had a very helpful lesson in how to match right across the jacket. My main issue was trying to get the grain straight and I’m not so sure how well I succeeded there! Everything was then cut out in lining and finally everything was cut out in interfacing. All fabric pieces are interfaced with a very soft iron-on interfacing to give a bit of support to the loose weave.
Once all the pieces were cut out, they then need quilting. In Chanel jackets the lining is quilted to the outside fabric so we started to hand baste the lining to the interfaced fabric. Now I’m not a great lover of hand basting so I asked about spray basting, Gillian isn’t a quilter so she was interested to hear about it and to see if it would work. I hand tacked a couple whilst I was there but I’m thinking of experimenting with the others. I’ve been mulling it over in my mind…the quilting stops about 2″ from the edge to allow for seams and hems etc as the lining seams are hand-stitched down. With 505 spray I know I can easily separate them, but my concern at the moment is that the fabric can be slightly tacky which could cause an issue with a smooth flow through my sewing machine when I’m stitching the jacket pieces together. My thought at the moment (to try on one or two pieces) is to simply mask off the edges with a sheet of paper, so the spray baste only goes in the area that needs quilting. Any suggestions welcome!
Our homework for this week is to quilt all the pieces and then hand tack them together for the final fitting. Most Chanel jackets are quilted with simple vertical lines, though you can do checks etc to follow your fabric if you wish. As my fabric doesn’t have a pattern I’m just stitching lines about 3 cm apart. The weave of the fabric is followed, aiming to be right next to a thread, my wool thread in my fabric is variegated which actually made it quite hard to follow. This is where you find out how straight your grainline is…or not!
So I’ve a bit of homework to do over the next couple of weeks. I’m still tempted with my original plan of making another one alongside as I have enough stuff to do that but I’ll have to see how time goes.
I really enjoyed Sunday and Gillian is an excellent teacher, very knowledgeable and very patient! As there was just the two of us in the class, Gillian had lots of time to give us individual help. I’m learning lots, but I was tired by the time 4.30 came, all that concentrating…it’s hard work sewing all day!