Mc Calls 6041 is a sewing pattern categorized: 'make it crafty'. This is a series of sewing patterns from Mc Calls that give the possibility to vary a lot and especially to add artistic finishes. The Chanel-style jacket is a good example of 'making an outfit artitic and personal' and therefore we can only embrace this sewing pattern.
Mc Calls 6041
The Mc Calls pattern is a pattern for a lined jacket in five different variations. The jacket is enclosed by straps and has princess lines. The sewing pattern is less fitted than Vogue V9095 which is very similar to this pattern. We were very excited about this. The sewing pattern is from size 6 to size 20 and therefore cheaper than the Vogue V9095, which carries the same sizes but has this spread over two pattern releases. So if you are going to work for others and have variations in sizes, it is more sensible to buy this pattern.
The pattern does not specify the sewing level. This is unfortunate because a beginner would like to know if the pattern from them is suitable. In our opinion, the sewing pattern can be made by anyone. There are no pitfalls for a beginner and for an advanced seamstress it is fun to use the pattern to apply Claire Schaeffer's couture sewing techniques. That is, quilting the lining on the outside.
The fabrics recommended to use are: silk linen, cotton blends, garbadine, bouclé and lightweight woolen fabrics. The contrasts (bands on the jacket) can be made from chiffon (the flowers, model B, and all other types of fabric, so that's just how crafty you are!
We made the jacket from lightweight bouclé with black contrasting edges. We have also added a border at the bottom. This is because the jacket would otherwise looked 'unfinished'. This is of course not necessary. With no brim at the bottom of the jacket, the jacket appears longer and may fit better with trousers or a skirt.
Splendissima shows the black jacket and has also styled it with turquoise color as a blouse and shorts. This makes the jacket very 'young' and modern looking.
Mc Calls is an ideal sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket. The pattern is based on the 'boxy' original Chanel jacket with lots of embellishment. With this you can vary endlessly.
The lining also offers the possibility to really make a Haute Couture jacket that is perfectly finished both on the inside and the outside.
The Chanel-Style jacket can be a truly personal, creative expression. And in terms of styling you can go in all directions: from super modern to timeless or vintage.
First of all, we all need clothes, nobody is walking around naked in our society. And the range of enthusiasm about clothing goes from total disinterest to a very exaggerated mania. From fashion haters to fashion addicts. From unbelievably cheap clothing to over-the-top expensive Haute couture. There is a lot going on about clothes. But why should you create your own Chanel style jacket?
Your own personal style
Your wardrobe or style is saying more about you (on first sight) than your curriculum vitae. Stupid but true. It actually always have been. Every generation, every culture, every time has its own standards, values, (moral) codes and fashion build around clothes. And what about religious norms and values? Or status/profession related clothing rules? It has always been a big issue.
From that perspective, talking about a beloved couture item is not such a big deal.
But why do we love the French Chanel jacket so much? Why do we want to know about the construction, the sewing techniques, the history and above all: how are we able to manage to make one on our own? A lot of reasons, not just because….
Chanel style and Coco Chanel’s vision
If we know why Coco Chanel invented the couture Chanel jacket, we would want to make it even more. Even though the Chanel jackets are shaped till perfection, in the early fifties, they were a totally new symbol of freedom after decades of tight corsets and an over-the-top hour-glass silhouette with almost unreachable waist size and pointy high breasts. The shape of the first Chanel jackets seemed almost boxy and masculine in that perspective. Chanel was indeed inspired by menswear but kept an eye on the total look of the suit or outfit which was very feminine and elegant. The jacket has its history and all women loved the new feeling of freedom while looking classy and sophisticated enough to be admired by everyone. The combination of easy-wearing and still looking awesome is something we always wanted. Let’s call it reason number one.
Luxurious clothes are just awesome
Number two is probably because we love the feeling of luxurious clothing. It is very easy to buy mass production these days and we all do it. Cheaper than cheap. Big deals. Bigger Shopping bags full of clothes or delivery within 24 hour.... Apart from cheap, fast and easy-going, we also love the idea of having something special, something unique and very personal. Creating a Chanel Inspired jacket is a very personal experience. Everything personal feels luxurious as it makes you feel unique and not just a face in the crowd.
Therefore reason three goes hand in hand with reason two. Reason three is probably the idea of being unique and having your own style. Style is very important for people and specific women. We want to show our taste, our status, our profession or job and our self-esteem. A Chanel Inspired jacket is a status and a signature and it is very stylish. If you wear your Chanel jacket, everybody will be flabbergasted. It is like being at your very best.
We are the makers!
Reason four. “Did you make it yourself?” Is actually not something a seamstress wants to hear. Why not? You should be so proud. It took “some” time and knowledge to make it yourself. You should be so proud! But yet we do not want to hear this question. We want to let people think you bought a real Chanel or you ordered some very luxurious piece of couture from a professional seamstress or atelier…. Whatever your feeling is, it does not matter. It is still a very big compliment because the jacket shows you have a lot of styles.
Reason five. You always have been very creative. It shows. You are very handy with needle and thread and it is a piece of cake for you to make your own curtains, pillows, trousers, skirts or even coats. The Chanel Inspired jacket is next in line. It is a challenge as there has been no challenge before. Finishing the project and wearing the jacket one day, will be a big reward. And maybe you already planned the next jacket-project for yourself or somebody else. Talk about creativity.
Reason six is almost the same. The Chanel Inspired jacket might be a tightly directed approach, but it provides a lot of freedom as well in being creative about the fringes, the buttons, the binding, the colour-combinations and even the length. You can spend more creativity in this jacket than in any outfit you ever produced before.
Personal fitting should be one of the first reasons. The reasons are not in a logical list here. Seven. The jacket will suit you as a comfy sweater lounge outfit. If you took the time to fit and shape it on your body, it will be very perfect.
To make this socially acceptable and a little less selfish, we can also report that it is all very sustainable. A big reason eight, although it could be reason one for sure.... The materials are often of the best quality and last a lot longer than the cheaper ones.
The construction of the jacket also provides the opportunity that it can be repaired or changed if needed. Sure it will be a hell of a job, but it is possible and it is an option if you’ve lost or gained weight or if it is accidentally damaged. (reason 9?)
The most beautiful gift!
And now the most generous reason. We are assuming that the seamstresses are making the DIY Chanel jackets for themselves. But it is also likely that you are going to make the jacket for someone else. A very nice niece is begging you for years now, a good friend knows your sewing skills and gives hints on a regular basis or some other beloved girlfriend wants to pay you more than you ever had earned before. Whatever the reason might be, it is very rewarding to sew clothes for somebody else. It’s a pity it can not be a total surprise ( because the fitting-steps really can not be skipped), but the gift will be a big thing anyway.
It will be very satisfying spiritually to do this for another. Enjoy the process and especially enjoy the moment when the receiver unpacks the package, try it on and she will be happier than you could imagine. (And pictures will flow around the internet soon...)
The receiver will be in your debt for a long time, and you will be the absolute hero for years.
Last but not least...
(Are we still counting?) Sewing is a hobby or a profession which is very peaceful. Women have been busy with needle and thread since the beginning of times. Mostly out of necessity, but also often as a relaxation in the form of a moment of rest. Crocheting, knitting, sewing, embroidery, they are activities that people like to do. Mindful meditation is a great way to reduce stress and relax. The results are mentally satisfying and very rewarding.
Last but not least (really….)
Talking about mindful sewing; producing this jacket is certainly not a hasty job. It will take hours, days, weeks, maybe even months before it will be done. Do not make a deadline. Just enjoy the process and realize it will be a slow-sewing project. Especially with all the hand-sewing which requires a bit of experience and skills. It might be even a good option to deliberately delay it yourself sometimes. Step away from it and start something easy. Come back to it when you really have the spirit. However you work, it should be fun.
Nothing is as unfortunate as finding out halfway through a sewing project: it is a hopeless failure ... It happens to everyone. From beginners seamstress to advanced seamstresses who have been behind the sewing machine for years. Do not grieve and do not stop! With our tips & tricks you can prevent failed projects.
'What does not kill you, makes you stronger'
A rather exaggerated statement, but there is encouragement in it. Of course it is a shame when a sewing project fails. All those hours you were working on it ... very unfortunate. And especially the materials: the fabric, the lining, the interlining, etc. Throwing them away hurts a lot. You may have become a seamstress to be more "zero-waste". And now you throw everything away ...
Where did it go wrong?
Of course you will learn from every failed sewing project. This is our number 1 tip! Because you don't learn anything from just throwing it away. Ask yourself for a moment: where did it go wrong? You learn from it.
Did you choose the wrong fabric? Was the sewing pattern too difficult? Were you able to intervene in time or did you stubbornly continue even though you knew that the sewing project was not going to be a great outfit? Or did you really have no idea but only found out when you tried on the garment itself (or on the sewing mannequin)? Learn from this for the next time. Write it down in a sewing journal or if the pattern is not right, on the sewing pattern itself. Is that really necessary? Yes, in a year you will have forgotten it and you might make the same mistake again.
so .... tips & tricks to prevent unsuccessful sewing projects:
And even more tips & tricks:
Failed sewing projects happen to everyone. Don't give up, but try to learn from it. Do you have wasted fabrics or materials? Maybe you can still do something with it. See our tips: What to do with leftover fabric
Or: a tip for people with pets: cut the fabric into strips, braid the strips and tie them in a thick knot. Now at least your dog or cat has been made very happy with the new toy ... (make sure there are no needles left in it!)
And especially be happy with the sewing projects that do succeed. We just don't talk about the failed sewing projects anymore ... deal?
As a child you learn to cut at school and you will continue to do it all your life. It is such a basic action in life, you never think about it for a minute. In the couture world, however, cutting is a big deal. In fact: cutting is an important couture technique.
Cutting as a tailor
In Haute couture world, expensive materials are used. As a hobby seamstress you are probably buying less expensive fabrics. Maybe you bought a fabric of 10 euros per meter, or maybe one of 30 euros. Suppose you need 1.5 meters for a jacket, so you are cutting a piece of fabric of 45 euros. In the worst case, and that happens a lot, you make a mistake and you screw up the piece of fabric.
This happens to everyone a few times. Even advanced seamstress are making mistakes.
You forgot the grain of the fabric or you forgot to cut extra inches for the hems. Or you will find out that you have cut two right sleeves.
Not a disaster, if you have bought enough fabric, but a (small) disaster if you have to buy the fabric, but it is just not available anymore.
Cutting is part of the entire project that should not be underestimated. The more accurately you cut the pattern, the better the next step of your project.
Scissors are the workers!
When you start sewing, it looks like the scissors are no longer needed. But nothing is less true. Cutting is a big part of the whole process. You have to cut the corners, you have to make notches for the curves and you often have to trim the hems when the fabric has to be sewn together on the right sides.
And: the scissor is your big friend if you don't have a lock machine (yet). You have to cut precisely and zigzag the hems. And even if it is just the inside of the garment, the more accurately you work, the better and more professional are the result(s).
Cutting as art
In the book Ultimate Sewing Bible beautiful drawings about cutting or "couture cutting" are described:
A lot of precise work but it will be worth the effort!
We want gold!
It is therefore soooooo important to work with good scissors. A wire cutter for finishing the remaining wire. A stork scissors for small secure work and a golden pair of scissors to cut the fabric and the lining and to keep at hand for cutting during the sewing process.
A very fine pair of scissors is the Golden Scissor. Razor sharp, very precise and comfortable in the hand. These scissors are the number one in quality sewing scissors for the sewing world.
Our best buy:
Nothing as ordinary and unimportant as scissors? No, nothing as important as good scissors! A small investment but a tool that makes your sewing project looks like a piece of couture-art.
On the Vogue website we read a nice article about 'La Réunion's Patchwork Dresses Turn Symbols of Suffering Into Things of Beauty' Sarah Nsikak, fashion designer, focuses on sustainability and is fully focused on making patchwork dresses. Fortunately, she is not the only one: patchwork is back in fashion!
Patchwork or Quilts?
The difference between patchwork and quilting is that quilting works more with patterns and manual sewing. Quilting is a unique profession. At least three layers of fabric are stitched together, very small pieces of fabric are used and there is often a symmetrical pattern that is worked out. Quilting is a very old tradition and craft and in some cultures it is an important part of social activity, as part of traditions and sometimes even of commercial importance.
Patchwork is nothing more or less than sewing pieces of fabric together. These can be pieces of fabric of different fabrics, materials and colors. Often this is then used to make clothing or simpler patchwork quilts, cushion covers, etc. The name for patchwork and quilting is often used interchangeably. But quilting is really something else than working with patches and making clothes or something else from here.
The revival of Patchwork
Patchwork sounds out dated' and might remind you of Grandma's patchwork quilt who has been lying in the guest bedroom as a bed spreadfor ages.... Patchwork has always had the image of extremely economical people who work with scraps of fabric and sometimes create combinations that really don't look like much.
But there is also magic with patchwork and beautiful quilts, patchwork quilts and clothing are made. Patchwork is experiencing a revival as we become more aware of the waste that the clothing industry entails. Moreover, the Corona crisis has opened people's eyes. We've all climbed behind the sewing machine ourselves to make face masks and most people discover they like to sew!
Fashion designers have been working on sustainability and 'greening' for some time. See our review: Green Designed fashion. Not always successful, but every initiative is one. Working with remnants of fabric or upcycling of already used materials is a good goal! And making something beautiful out of it is a piece of cake for many designers and (hobby) seamstresses.
During a broadcast of British Sewing Bee we saw several episodes in which the candidates were given an assignment to make something beautiful from their leftovers of fabric. The results were jackets, skirts, dresses and very nice children's clothing. The assignment concerning upholstery fabrics was also 'amazing'. The candidates were instructed to bring something from home. From old curtains to bed linen. These were all transformed into beautiful, usable summer dresses. Making a summer dress from net curtains and a sheet ... it is possible and the result was more than beautiful!
Chanel & Patchwork
Unfortunately we can only find a few items from Chanel. But they are nevertheless eye-catchers par excellence. And the Fashion Industry is changing, so who knows, the following collections may come up with more sustainable patchwork designs if the workshops have to make do with the fabrics that are dusting in the warehouse or smaller pieces of fabric that have already disappeared in the trash can .
Who cares whether something is 'in' or 'out of fashion'? For a fashion house a lot, but for people who would like to own 'a Chanel', the year of the collection is less important and the story behind it all the more.
Tips & Tricks: patchwork with Bouclé fabrics
Chanel has always been associated with Tweeds and Bouclé fabrics. These are not really the best fabrics for 'patchwork'. Yet the result is often great. Chanel's famous 2.55 bag has often been made of various tweed fabrics and also Bouclé. Also other bags and accessories.
A few tips:
In the fashion world there is a huge change going on with regard to sustainability. The use of remnants of fabric or fabrics that are supposedly 'out of fashion' is picked up in the form of patchwork. In principle, you can make anything with patchwork as a basis. From Haute couture to cushion covers for the camper.
Patchwork with Bouclé fabrics or tweeds? Yes we can! And to get a beautiful 'Chanel-style' look, there are plenty of examples of the famous Chanel bag and some outfits from the catwalks. Be creative, sustainable and join the new trend: this is the fashion image of 2020 and the future!
This book is new in my library and it exceeded my expectations in every way. It tells about Balenciaga's humble beginnings, his success story, design process, the suppliers he worked with, his famous clients and it includes plenty of great photos to highlight his style.
Respect for women
He was such a private man and a true gentleman who never revealed much about his private life. The book does tell about his dressmaking background which started with his mother when the family lived in Spain. Because of his mother’s influence, Balenciaga had a great respect for women and he understood the lines, colours and designs that flatter the female figure. He didn’t like corsets and closures of Dior garments. He wanted women to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. The book leads us through his professional journey from San Sebastian to Paris highlighting the historical and political context of this period both in Spain and in France.
What this book really excels in is describing Balenciaga’s style, his inspirations and Spanish influences. There are plenty of images throughout the book that show how the designer’s style evolved over the year. Yet he stayed true to his impeccable construction with engineering precision. He was one of those rare fashion designers who could make any garment from start to finish. He considered himself a tailor and a dressmaker and his pieces were constructed based on his solid tailoring training. He was incredibly meticulous in his designs and he paid great attention to detail. If he didn’t like the lines, he would pull the garment apart and start again.
Dressmaker ánd businessman
He was also a shrewd businessman and he was procuring fabrics and notions based on the best price rather than loyalty. He had a great list of the best European suppliers, including Abraham, Agnona, Dormeuil, Chanel, Velours de Lyon and many many others. He was fortunate to open his business in Paris where he got access to the best textiles, buttons and trimmings and where the best embroidery artisans, such as Maison Lesage, were available. He kept accurate ledgers of his expenses which show how the fashion house grew over the years.
If you love vintage fashion...
I was hungry to know how he designed and procured his fabrics, his creative process, and also price, advertising and publicity strategies he used to compete with other fashion houses at the time. The luxury fashion market is very difficult to enter and he was one of the designers who was able to dominate this market and seed other budding designers some of whom actually apprenticed with him. Hubert de Givenchy, André Courrèges, Emanuel Ungaro come to mind.
I will not spoil your read by revealing too much detail, just to say that the book is very interesting with plenty of details and quotes shared by those who worked with the designer or bought his clothes.
If you love vintage fashion, you will love this book.
How do you turn a (men's) shirt into a fantastic blouse of 'Chanel style'? Very easy. By 'upcycling' the shirt. Upcycling clothes is very trendy. The shirt can be an old shirt, a second-hand one or a shirt that has not been used and is waiting in your closet for years. Until now!
Upcycling clothes is more than recycling. In recycling, something is reused. A good thing, but upcycling is turning clothing or just fabrics into something different from what it originally was. Even better! Think of a beautiful but out-dated evening dress that is transformed into a hip cardigan, or even more creative: a curtain that becomes a beautiful summer dress. There are plenty of examples and how creative the average seamstress is, we could also see at 'The great British Sewing Bee'. Upcycling is popular because we do not like to waste materials anymore. Or things which are made to throw away instantly. And nothing is so much fun to shop at a thrift store for useful items and fabrics that you can use to create something beautiful.
A shirt becomes a stylish blouse
And so a normal (men's) shirt suddenly becomes a stylish blouse that also fits within our concept: the beloved 'Chanel style'.
Many variations are of course possible. This blouse is specially designed for a summer party or special occasion. The sleeves are made of thin silk-look fabric and the blouse is loose-fitting. This gives freedom of movement and a feeling of freshness. Moreover, you see less sweat stains on dark fabric. The blouse is therefore ideal for hot days, or when you can't wear a tropical blouse, a sleeveless shirt or a standard tunic.
We opted for puff sleeves. Very large puff sleeves. Are these still 'in fashion'? Well, we don't really care much about that. As long as they are beautiful, stylish and unique.
Puffed sleeves always create a special look because they have something bombastic and a luxurious look. After all, a lot of fabric is used and beautiful fabric is not always cheap. But if you have leftover fabric of a nice thin fabric, that is just not enough for a dress, blouse or tunic; then it could be still enough for two puff sleeves.
Or use that 'in-between-curtain package' that you once bought but never used.
You can find instructions on how to make puff sleeves on many tutorials on Youtube.
Or take a standard sleeve from a pattern, make seven notches down and draw on a new pattern paper the exaggerated head sleeves that will be created when you carefully unfold the pattern.
If you prefer an existing pattern, Butterick 6537, Simplicity 8127, Butterick 5217 or McCalls 8120 are sewing patterns that include puff sleeves. Making the puffed sleeves in the blouse is not a problem in itself because you can fold the head of the sleeve completely. So they always fit.
How to make this exclusive blouse:
It is not difficult to create an upcyling blouse likt his example. And time consuming? No, the basis is already there: the shirt. You no longer have to worry about the facing, buttonholes, pockets or seams. Follow these steps and you'll have a unique blouse upcycled with style in no time.
The blouse is now a unique, personal blouse and it has cost little money. The shirt is now usefull, the fabric for the sleeves is no longer a leftover. The trims had been in the closet for years, and buttons: many a seamstress have a lot of buttons storage. If you do not have a large stock of materials, we recommend that you to start your own haberdashery collection.
Upcycling: how easy it can be! We would also like to see your examples!
All about creating your own Chanel-Style jacket, Chanel-lovers information, Historic Costumes, Couture & Sewing book reviews and tutorials.