How to recognize a real Silk?
If you really want to buy a 100% Silk fabric but you are not sure about the fabric you want to buy in a store or on a market, here some help to recognize it.
Do a Touch test.
This is a quick spot test that one can do especially before buying a silk fabric. The idea is to rub the silk with your hands. If you feel warmth on rubbing it, go buy it! It’s real. With artificial or synthetic silk, it is impossible to experience warmth on rubbing. One more thing, real silk sounds like walking on fresh snow. It crisps. Think about crisping a piece of tin paper. Aluminum foil; now you know.
Perform a Ring Test.
If the silk that you are planning to buy is not very heavy, this test is perfect! Genuine silk can be easily threaded and pulled through a wedding ring because silk is naturally flexible and smooth. On the other hand, artificial silks would scrunch up and would be impossible to pull through.
Consider the price.
Of course, real silk is almost ten times costlier than the synthetic ones. Sometimes the synthetic silk is priced much higher and looks like silk to an untrained eye but mostly low price is a very good indication of its poor quality. The reason you should know the secrets to recognize a real Silk. It happens to us more than once. You think you buy a real Silk, but it isn't....
The Lustre of the material.
Silk is especially known for its lustre. The lustre is usually because of the combination of threads which gives a particular sheen to the material. The colour on the surface appears to change as the angle of the light changes. Artificial silks, however, gives a white sheen no matter what the angle of light falling on it.
Look at the Weave.
Hand woven silk boasts of uniqueness. There are minor variations in the evenness of the texture which is quite noticeable. But fret not! These are natural and expected. These imperfections are what lend distinction to the product. Machine woven silks look perfect. They are flawlessly even in texture and hence… lacks character! Synthetic fibers look perfect too even though sometimes slight imperfections are deliberately included so that they could pass off as real silk.
Note that Dupion silk looks a bit "messy". But that is correct. Look at Dupion characteristics to understand the difference.
Perform a Burn Test, if possible...
This is perhaps the best and most definitive test to find genuine silk. You can take a few threads from the material and burn it with a flame. Genuine silk burns with smell of burnt hair. When you burn the edge of real silk fabric, the flame is invisible and it will stop burning as soon as the flame is removed. The ash produced hence, is black, crispy and brittle. It turns to powder when twisted in fingers.With the artificial silk, it is quite the opposite. When synthetic silk is burnt, there is a flame and smell of plastic. No ash is produced. Needless to say, you might need to exercise caution with this step. You don’t want to end up setting fire to the silk shop or a marketplace.
If you really need to know, consider a Chemical Test. If you have a lab with necessary chemicals on the standby, ready for some experimentation, what’s stopping you? Or maybe you know a chemical student who wants to do the test for you ? For starters, you need: Mix all the below and dip a small piece of silk that you want to test into the solution. Real silk dissolves in a few minutes while artificial silk would not dissolve.
Remember that Old is Gold.
The older the silk gets, the more beautiful it becomes. With the fake silk, it is quite the opposite. The fake silk tends to fade with time. But again, it is a better idea to buy a genuine silk rather than end up with a fake one.Now that you are armed with some really good tips for the next silk shopping spree, sleep easy. You are going to get the silk fabric you so rightly deserve.
Whether you are an absolute beginner, a hobby seamstress with little experience, or an experienced seamstress, the success of a project often depends on choosing a good pattern. Which sewing pattern is the best if you want to create a DIY-Chanel jacket?
How to choose YOUR sewing pattern
A great sewing pattern is the most important start if you want to create a Chanel-Style jacket. It is not only about WHAT you want to make but also how you will make it. Which fabric do you need?
Which size do you have? How much time does it take to finish the project ? (Last one is important if you are creating some garment for a planned date, party or event...)
We assume you are looking around on our website because you are going to make a Chanel inspired jacket, skirt or other couture classic. But you are not sure yet which sewing pattern is the best option for your sewing project.
We will help with a step-by-step guide.
It happens to everyone; halfway a project, you realize the project is not what you had in mind, too little fabrics or lining, wrong size, your expectations were too high or you just do not have enough sewing skills yet to finish the project. No shame. Just continue with your goal and try to plan and oversee the next project a little better.
Now let's rock and roll:
1. First, think for a moment what you want
Do you want a shaped and formal Chanel-Style jacket? Or casual and comfortable? Very important! Take a look at the reviews or the backside of the sewing pattern-envelop. If you look for a tight, shaped and slim jacket, then choose a sewing pattern which is "fitted". If you want your Chanel Inspired jacket to be more comfortable, maybe with front-sides open-hanging and a casual appearance; look out for the "semi-fitted" jackets.
Loose fitting is a more comfortable shape, belly freedom and not following the contours of the body closely.
Fitted jackets: Vogue V7975, Burda 6705, Simplicity 1421, McCalls M7058.
Semi-fitted jackets: Vogue V8804, Vogue V8991, Vogue V9095, Butterick B6382, Burda 6465, Burda 8949 and Neue Mode M23079
Loose fitting jacket: Vogue 9250, New Look 6496.
2. What about underlining?
The classic French Chanel jacket is famous mostly because of it's quilted lining, which offers an exclusive sense of movement, freedom and luxury. The "invention" of this jacket was innovative in the time that came after the corsets and the tight clothing code. The jacket gave the wearer a sense of freedom and made sure that it was still chic and exclusive enough to continue as a couture. Anyway, if you want to go for the classic and most exclusive version choose a pattern of Claire Shaeffer which offers the possibility and the instructions to quilt the lining.
Examples: Vogue V8804 en Vogue V8991.
The other Chanel Inspired jackets offer the normal standard way of linings. In advanced options, we will talk about quilting linings in other sewing patterns, but as said; it is only an extra option. The sewing pattern is not focused on this process, as above mentioned sewing patterns specific do.
If you prefer a jacket which is not underlined at all: New Look 6496, Burda 8949 and Simplicity 1421.
These unlined jackets are a great options for hot summers or a way to practice and to get to know your most beloved or desired Chanel Inspired Jacket.
3. Your skills or sewing level
Know your skills about sewing techniques. It might be a challenge to create a perfect, complicated and advanced Chanel jacket, but realize that it is also very, very frustrating if you need to stop your project because of problems or a lack of sewing experience.
Sewing Pattern give codes or names for the desired levels in different languages. Easy/Beginners/Basic/Facile/Very easy, Average/Mittel/Moins Facile or Advanced/Difficult/Plus Difficile.
This is based on classical training and is sometimes based on principles that seems logical but are not logical at all.
If you want to be sure; read our reviews. 'Average' is sometimes more difficult as it looks and even Easy or Beginners may require sewing techniques that you may not have mastered. The instructions on the Sewing Pattern are sometimes loud and clear. But sometimes they are not loud and clear at all.
If you want to be sure about your skills, you need to finish the project from the start till the day you will wear it with glory.... have a helping hand nearby or do not start with a sewing pattern which requires too much dedication, knowledge and advanced couture sewing skills.
4. Know your size
Needless to say... But do realize that size DOES matter. You can try on different sizes if you buy a jacket in a store. It is more common sizes are living their own lives these days because of mass-production and non-global standards.
If you start to sew (and cut the fabric) there is no way back. So be sure about your size, or even better: first create an example-size like they do at the big couture houses. Molton or mousseline fabric is ideal, or just a cheap fabric you do not use.....
5. The Fabrics
Read the Sewing Patterns requirements about the fabric and our reviews. The quantity you need is important ( do not forget to order or buy some extra fabric to create more pockets or self-made fringes), but also the kind of fabric. How a pattern or final result falls depends largely on the type of fabric used. Some patterns are great for tweeds or bouclé. Others are more suitable for wool or wool-blends.
If you want to try a fabric which is not mentioned on the sewing pattern; read our reviews. Sometimes it is a good idea to use a different type of fabric. But more often it is not such a good idea to ignore the advises.
On almost every sewing pattern a warning is noted: "Unsuitable for obvious diagonals". Meaning: it will be a hell of a job to work with fabrics with squares, dots, stripes, shapes, patterns, corners, triangles, lines, diagonals on the pattern etc, to make it visually attractive. It might be work but you need a lot of extra fabrics and have advanced skills to construct the pattern-pieces to match the pattern on the fabric. It is really Haute Couture when a checkered or striped jacket looks perfectly visual symmetrical and perfect. Unless it is a big challenge; stick to choosing a fabric which will not be a burden.
On Claire Shaeffer's sewing pattern a warning is noted: "Unsuitable for obvious diagonals or uneven plaids. Allow extra fabric to match even plaids or stripes. Use nap yardages/layouts for pile, shaded or one-way design fabrics."
Meaning: A yardage is a distance or length measured in yards. A fabric with nap is one what usually has a pile and will look different color shades from different angles. Velvet, velours, panne de velours ... Fabric with a one way design will also use the with nap cutting layout, so that the design on the fabric all runs in the same direction on the finished item.
What about buttons, fringes or adding pockets? Do you want a sewing pattern with a lot of pockets, fringes and trims? Or do you want a Chanel-style jacket which is plain...
7. It's the time of the season...
Last but not least: Think about the seasons. Are you going to sew a Chanel-Style SUMMER jacket or a warmth WINTER jacket?
Read all about the right fabric for a Chanel-Style SUMMER jacket.
Read more: Sewing patterns step by step
Different types of Sewing patterns
There are many different types of sewing patterns, which can lead to confusion. We have listed a number of important points for you. Our points are not an assessment, but general things to look out for when you start to work with a pattern.
Every seamstress has sometimes made the classic mistakes: she did not cut enough seam allowance cut, she made a wrong choice in terms of sizes or not reading the instructions of a pattern.
To avoid stress and a waste of fabrics; read the list well before you start to cut and sew.
Vogue sewing patterns:
Vogue sewing patterns are one of the most expensive sewing patterns because they are designed by many great couture designers, they are exclusive and they are always fashionable of timeless.
Vogue patterns are also available on the second-hand market. Many vintage patterns are worth a lot and collector's items are worth even more.
Vogue brings couture from the New York runways and they are truly in a class by themselves
If you're into vintage clothing, you will love the Vintage Vogue patterns, with styles that echo the exquisite wardrobes of movie stars from the 1930s and 1940s, including fabulous hats and accessories.
Very Easy Vogue patterns are great for beginners.
Vogue designers names like:
Vogue divides her patterns into the following collections:
Vogue comes every season with a new collection that they present through a lookbook. You can also buy a subscription on their magazine to be informed about the latest sewing patterns available.
Vogue patterns important details:
- seam allowance included
- great instructions
- great Vintage collections
- collector's items !
Almost needless to mention: we especially recommend the Claire Schaeffer collections as they are specialized couture classics and a very good choice if you want to sew a Chanel Inspired jacket !
Marfy sewing patterns:
Marfy sewing patterns are high-fashion, sophisticated home sewing experience for expert-level sewers. There are no instructions included !
The patterns are pre-cut and single-sized. This means you really have to be sure about your size ! Italian sizes are completly different from European and US sizes. Be careful about yur choice about sizes ! All sizing is European and all measurements are in centimeters. See the special Marfy Body Measurement Chart on each design page to calculate your size.
Pre-cut on very good paper. You are able to use the patterns for years.
Fabric requirements are only estimates and are for your chosen size only. You need to calculate the amount of fabric required. Contrast and trims are not calculated. Seam-allowence is not included.
No instructions about lining or cutting the lining fabrics !
Conclusion: Marfy patterns are collector's item but only designed for advanced seamstress.
Burda sewing patterns:
Burda is a German company which is creating the magazine and sewing patterns since 1949. Two collections a year, a nice little catalogue available in stores and online.
Burda patterns are for sale in a little envelop; on the backside alle information about requirements (fabric, lining, notions), the sizes and sewing level.
Categories: normal patterns, plus-sizes patterns, young patterns, easy-level patterns and carneval, costumes and cos-play patterns.
- seam-allowence NOT included.
- instructions included but not easy to follow.
- Burda magazines offers workshops and details about the patterns.
- not expensive patterns.
Neue Mode sewing patterns:
Neue Mode has a great website with lots of categories. Good services and nice testimonials.
European sewing patterns originally. Great gorgeous patterns classics and casual.
Sewing patterns for women, men and children.
- seam allowance NOT included
- great instructions included
- good fit
Kwik Sew sewing patterns:
Kwik Sew: as the name already shows: quick, easy to sew sewingprojects especially designed for knits, stretch fabrics and fleeces, though many designs are perfect for woven fabrics.
Kwik Sew patterns are far easier to work with than most because they are printed on white paper that is much sturdier than standard tissue pattern paper, with size lines in different colors.
Kwik Start patterns are ideal teaching patterns if you are new to sewing, and can even be used by children who want to learn to sew.
- detailed instructions
- seam allowance included
- good over-view
- serger-friendly patterns
- great for beginner levels
New Look sewing patterns:
NEW LOOK Patterns, designed in the UK are fashionable, trendy and very modern.On the patterns are always more varieties of the pattern and good examples to be creative with the pattern.
Some patterns includes skirts, trousers, top and a jacket as well. A whole wardrobe to sew !
Modern look of the pattern, great drawings or pictures.
- seam allowance included.
- good instructions
- all sewing levels
- not expensive and worth the money because of all possible varieties !
Same as New Look: fashionable, trendy and always the latest street fashion looks.
A lot of categories: women, or children, fun accessories like hats and scarves, home decor such as slipcovers or custom window blinds, or cute crafts and doll clothes.
Even uniforms, apronś, home collection and dog wear's.
Some beautiful designers collections as well:
McCalls Laura Ashley collection (exclusive patterns for girls and women's dresses, infant clothing, hand bags and crib accessories), A lot of other designers as well!
Easy Stitch N Save McCalls patterns are for beginners or fresh newbies. These patterns come with several sizes printed on one sheet and include design variations that make even simple projects look terrific.
- great website, lots of choices
- seam allowance included
- many sizes; some patterns even adjustments possible
- many varieties of the pattern
We especially love The Archives Collections, which offers beautiful fifties dresses and timeless classic like coats and skirts.
Simplicity is THE sewing pattern company since 1927. A lot of Vintage patterns are worth a lot !
Simplicity patterns are now over 1600 !
Wardrobes, bags, homewear, uni-wear, menwear, cos-play (your teenagers will love them!) handbags, designers wear, all categories are available.
We especially love their Amazing Fit patterns.
For real beginners: the Simplicity Sewing Patterns for Dummies collection. We would not like to call seamstress "dummies" but of course everybody needs to start some where....
- seam allowance included
- many varities
- a few choices if you like to make the Chanel Inspired jacket.
Butterick sewing patterns:
Butterick makes patterns since 1863.
Butterick patterns are modern, fashionable, classics and fit perfectly. Butterick also specialized in patterns for modern, sophisticated suits and separates that are perfect for the office, or indulge in patterns for beautiful casual dresses and fun skirts and tops.
Beginners levels: Butterick Yes! It's Easy See & Sew patterns.
We especially love the Lifestyle Wardrobe's collection !
A good choice for the Chanel Inspired Couture collection:
The Couture Skirt: Butterick B 5466 and the jacket: Butterick B6382
There is a lot of difference between sewing patterns from different brands. This isn't just price (Vogue's sewing patterns are the most expensive, Burda's are the cheapest). But the difference is also in the target group. Some brands focus on timeless fashion, others on easy sewing patterns and others specialize in Cosplay, Fantasy, carnival or workwear.
When you are buying a sewing pattern, make sure that the seam allowance differs. Some sewing patterns require 1 cm. or 1.5 cm. cut extra fabric, with other sewing patterns the seam allowance is already inserted or included in the pattern pieces.
Also take a look at the Internet to see if you can find reviews about the sewing pattern and maybe tutorials.
Good luck making something beautiful!