Thursday 30 January 2014

A Shanel apron

What's a party chez Chanel without a proper themed gift? The chief designer of Foxgloves and thimbles, aka me, got an idea with only a few hours left to buy fabric and just one evening to execute the plan. Typical.

I wanted to make a Shanel* apron. Typo intended.
Coco Chanel herself saw imitations as a huge compliment, was happy to see women dressed 'à la Chanel' and commented on Yves Saint Laurent's little black dresses: "Saint-Laurent has excellent taste. The more he copies me, the better taste he displays." Nowadays the Chanel firm's lawyers don't like anyone to use the C-name in vain. (*Thanks to Goodbye Valentino's Sarah for enriching the vocabulary of the online sewing community with 'Shanel'). Not that anyone will mistake my product for French haute couture, but better safe than sorry.

Back to the plan. I made a little drawing of an apron with patch pockets, grosgrain ribbon details and long satin ties, closing with a bow at the back. I ran of to the fabric store and bought one meter pink cotton with tiny white polkadots.

For the skirt I cut a rectangle, finished measurements 55 x 107 cm.

I cut some pieces of paper to establish the size of the pockets and added some black grosgrain ribbon. Finished measurements 10 x 12 cm and 12 x 16 cm.

The pockets are lined with pink satin from my stash.

The top (26 x 29 cm, slightly tapered towards the top) was also lined with fake silk charmeuse, because, well. Just because.

When I reached this stage my husband entered the sewing room and said: "Really? I wasn't aware you were making something horrible for the box in her cellar labelled 'Things To Be Displayed When Parents Visit'!
NOT the best supporting actor.
It was already late and after this remark my motivation to work till silly o'clock ebbed away. So I took some pictures in order to show the birthdaygirl and let her decide if this was a top or a flop.

On seeing the pictures my daughter said: "O, yes! Can I have some quilting lines too??"
She's got my DNA! Or inherited my bad taste? Whatever you prefer to think of the matter.

Who am I to refuse such a fun request? Since I already missed the birthday deadline I had enough time to work on a diagonally quilted waistband.

I also changed the neckband for a quilted one. Waistband 68 x 4 cm, neckband 54 x 4 cm, finished. I found four buttons with a combination of pearls and chains in my stash and made some satin ties.
Tada! A bespoke Shanel apron.

and the back:

The jury's still out. Whatever the verdict, I had lots of fun making it. Just about as much of fun as we had on the girl's day out.

So, maybe it was a, uhhmm, weird thing to make but I think Coco would have understood.

Happy birthday, darling!


  1. That apron is hilarious, and I love how you went the whole nine yards (as we say in the US) and did the quilting. Having made several Chanel jackets I totally understand what a labor of lunacy is like. Somehow I can't picture Coco in an apron, though. A chef's jacket and toque perhaps...

    1. I agree. But she would like unexpected makes and out of the box thinking. I"ll soon start my first jacket and meanwhile keep an eye on your Steampunk Chanel!

  2. Haha, I love it!!

    I was already half a sleep when you were sending the pictures.
    Bf: "deartje, you're iPad is beeping"
    me: "can you check it?"
    Bf: (in delighted voice) "your mom is sending you pictures of pretty dresses"
    me: running to iPad to open pictures
    Bf: "oooooooo...... ehm, that's interesting"

    Guess he is on team dad. What's wrong with these boys ;)
    I will wear it with pride. Thanks mom 💜

    1. Quelle surprise! Just bake him some matching cupcakes, Bree.

  3. What a gorgeous little apron - what a fun idea.

    I do love your new blog header. Do you take the photographs yourself?

    1. Thank you! This picture was made last summer before I even had a blog. I knew what blog name I wanted to use, so in June I shot this composition of homegrown foxgloves and my grandmother's thimbles. The downside to taking my own photographs is I'm never in them, so I ordered a remote. New challenge: selfies!

  4. Chanel would prbably go to a great party with your apron! What a great idea!
    BTW... the banner is stunning!

    1. Thanks! Hmmm, I think Coco had better party outfits in her closet...
      Did you visit the exhibition in The Hague?