Thursday, 2 October 2014

French jacket, design choices



 Aren't those French jackets Chanel-inspired and thus boxy and square, with high rounded necklines and made from pastel coloured tweed? Boxy jackets don't look good on my curvy frame, high necklines are to be avoided at all costs and I don't do pastels. It's no surprise that when I visited the Chanel exhibition in The Hague the overall look of a lot of the garments on display did not really appeal to me. Of course I admired the details, the beautiful fabrics and the stunning techniques. I just could not picture myself wearing the 1960s iconic jackets.


We followed the exhibition's timeline and when we reached the Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel collections the look and feel of the jackets definitely changed. Especially the yellow 'Scuba' jacket from the 1991 spring/summer collection caught my attention. Not because of the colour, or the sequins. This jacket had a v-neck, a zipper, it was a bit longer, had a sleeker outline and waist definition!


Or how about this cropped jacket?


Finally the penny dropped. It was never my intention to knock off an existing jacket. All I wanted was to learn some new techniques and create a soft tailored, comfortable jacket in beautiful fabrics. The only way to go was by choosing a pattern with the right style lines for me.  A pattern however that would have to meet the needs for making a quilted jacket. 

Bouclé or tweed are the most suitable fabrics for making a couture cardigan jacket. The lining is quilted to the fashion fabric and you need texture and loft to hide the quilting lines on the outside. Working with a textured fabric means you don't want to work with darts because they may end up bulky. Princess seams, and especially princess seams ending at the shoulder, are the best to create shaping in a French jacket. I own lots of beautiful jacket patterns but most of them had design details like yokes or double darts in front and back that made them useless for this project. Guess what I ended up with: V7975. Quelle surprise!


After mixing up all views I'll make the longer jacket with abutting front edges and bracelet length sleeves. I redrafted the neckline to a v-neck.

I found my fabrics at Harry's Stoffen in Enschede, The Netherlands. The cotton bouclé is very soft and the lining is so beautiful, love at first sight. My only regret is that I did not think of buying more to make a matching blouse. Unfortunately it is out of stock now. It will be a pleasure to look at those colourful flowers during my countless hours of hand stitching!




6 comments:

  1. Vogue 7975 is the "go-to" commercial pattern for these jackets - and is the one I and many of my classmates used for our Susan Khalje French jacket class (Susan has developed her own French jacket pattern which will be part of her video series - can't wait for that!) However, the sleeve in 7975 is a two-piece one instead of the classic three-piece one, which you probably know. The princess lines on this pattern are really lovely and the high armhole gives it just the right "Chanel" look. Your lining fabric is beautiful - a matching blouse would have been exquisite, but next time you can plan for that! Trust me - there will be a next time. These jackets are addictive!

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    1. You're so right, Karen! I already planned jacket #2. I do hope Susan's pattern will be released by the time I'm ready to start the next one. For this summer jacket I will skip the vents and I'm saving the three-piece sleeves for later. I just saw some pictures on Instagram of the jackets Susan is making for the video series, they are very beautiful!

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  2. I agree, those boxy 60's jackets are not for you - they are made for my sort of shape. Wild colours and a great shape. I think Vogue patterns also has a three piece sleeve jacket - Claire Schaeffer, but this pattern will be just as good.

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    1. Yes, I also looked at V 8804 but for now I prefer princess seams in the back over a three-pieced sleeve. I really like the button sleeves with the shaped lower edge from Claire Shaeffers V 8991, but also two-pieced sleeves and no princess seams in the bodice. It looks like V 7975 has the best options for shaping the bodice. And yes, I agree. You would look stunning in a 60's pastel coloured jacket!

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  3. Your fabric is stunning. I keep saying I'll make one of these jackets because I live very close to Linton Tweeds. It's not going to happen this year but I'm very inspired by your journey, so maybe next year I'll actually take the plunge.

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    1. O yes, go for it Evie! Living close to Linton Tweeds? What's keeping you?

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