Tag Archives: handmade clothing

Projects Revisited

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From Start to Finish

IMG_3443I recently went through a box in my sewing room marked “winter projects.” The box contained the best of the best projects I salvaged during our sizing down move three years ago.  I have always found it difficult to start up work on old projects.  It is usually a lack of interest as whatever it was that got my creative juices flowing has long since dissipated and the prospect of picking up in the middle of an uninteresting project seems like work more than fun.  Fortunately, that was not the case with this piece.  It had been long enough that I had forgotten I had ever started this jacket.  The fact that I still loved the red quilted fabric was good and I still liked the striped douppioni… so far so good.    After studying the pattern and the pieces that were already cut, I decided I definitely needed a third piece to create additional interest.  So off to The Mill End Store I went with swatches in hand.

 It’s really quite remarkable that I was able to find a douppioni print that complemented the stripes so perfectly, but not without considerable effort.  I was in the store for at least two hours searching, searching, and searching again every piece of fabric at least five times.  I was finding nothing suitable and finally decided it was time to surrender.   Resigned to defeat, I headed for the exit pausing only to notice a silk display… and there it was.  It was exactly what I’d been looking for; the colors were right, the scale was right, it was perfection and obviously meant to be.   And so I begin the satisfying endeavor of resurrecting an old project to new life.    More to come…

Chanel-Style Jacket

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Streamlined Couture

Applying Braided Trim Tutorial

I’ve been working for the past week or so on a Chanel-style jacket to go with the skirt I made recently.  I studied Vogue designer Claire Shaeffer’s pattern with the wonderful couture details, but decided instead to use the much simplified Vogue 7975 which has the Chanel look without all the extra work.  I thought for my first effort at making a Chanel jacket choosing the easier pattern might be the best option.

Chanel jacket

I used the same fuchsia boucle that I used in the skirt I made recently; I’m thinking Spring suit.  Easter comes early this year and the prospect of shivering in the cold made a wool suit seem like practical, if not entirely seasonal, option.  Finding a suitable trim proved to be a challenge.  I began with one that unfortunately didn’t provide the look I wanted bringing about a full scale city-wide search for the perfect Chanel braid.  I lucked out by finding this particular piece in the home decorating department of Fabric Depot on a clearance rack. Clearance is good as it takes in excess of 5 yards of braid to complete the jacket.

fuchsia boucle and trim

After studying the pattern, I decided that I preferred the look of two square pockets on each side as shown in Vogue 8804, so had to make size and placement determinations.  I interfaced each pocket square and then pressed the 1 inch pocket facing.  Before stitching the facing in place, I determined trim placement taking care to pre-shrink the trim first.  Some trims stretch out quite a bit from being stored on cards or spools; a good shot of steam will draw up the slack and avoid unwanted puckering.

braid placement on pocket

Using a basting stitch, I attached the braid to the pocket and then permanently attached it using two rows of back stitching.

applying braid by hand

back stitching braid into position

After securing the braid into position, I completed all four pockets and hand stitched them into position on the jacket front.  Lining them up was a little tricky, but after measuring like a Turkish tailor, I finally got it.

completed pocket

I decided not to apply braid around the bottom of the jacket, because I had made the longer version and preferred not to draw the eye to the hip line.  If I were to make the shorter view, I would definitely put braid all the way around.  To my surprise, this jacket has no shoulder pads and wears more like a sweater than a jacket.  I also want to experiment with the sleeves,  I really like the braid on Claire Shaeffer’s vented sleeve and will be experimenting with adding a vent to the basic design sleeve pattern… the next time I’m feeling adventurous.

finished jacket after a final press

I highly recommend this pattern and intend to make it again.

Creative Collaboration

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Show and Tell

I’ve decided to start a new section of my blog called, “Tricks of the Trade” where I can share tips on finishing details and methods I’ve learned that have helped me achieve good results.  Mastery of the smallest details are what add up to creating the perfect garment.  Ah… perfection, that worthy and elusive goal so difficult to achieve.  Sewing can be hard!  And yet, for me, contained within that sometimes irksome and painful striving for perfection is the creative satisfaction that keeps me interested and wanting to stay with it.
Everything I know about sewing, I learned from someone else; in homage to creative collaboration I happily share with you.