It is all in the Haute couture books: designer-samples are always made of Muslin before a garment is ready to be made from the real fabric. The fabrics used for a test model is 'Muslin'. But what is 'muslin' fabric and why is it so important to make a test model?
Haute couture Claire Shaeffer's sewing patterns (for example V9099, V8991 and V8804) always have instructions: "Make a muslin toile to fine tune the fit before cutting the fashion fabric. This also helps to preserve teh pristine quality of the fabric and design; and it reduces the temptation to try on the jacket frequently during its construction."
In the couture world, using muslin fabric is a normal routine because the final fabric is often very expensive. Muslin is an inexpensive fabric, feels soft, and cuting and sewing is very easy. When the test-model is really perfect, then the muslin sample is used as the basic pattern.
In the hobby sewing world, this extra work is often skipped. That's a shame, because once you are used to make a sample with muslin fabric first, you know it is really necessary. It may avoid a lot of frustrations because, for example, the model is incorrect or does not fit properly. You have your garment completely 'finished' and it is disappointing. You are disappointed that you have messed up the beautiful fabricbecause you will probably jnever wear the garment. If you made a sample of muslin first, you could have save yourself a lot of time and money. Just make it a routine and you won't regret it.
Muslin or canvas
Muslin is a light and soft, transparent fabric, woven in a plain weave, from lightly twisted yarn, creating a recognizable crinkled structure. Often this fabric is also called 'hydrophilic'. This is because the fabric is soft and absorbs water. As a result, the fabric is often used for burp patches, diapers and baby clothes.
But the fabric is mainly used to make test-samples of garments by seamstresses from Haute couture to the hobby sewing world. The fabric is usually plain, but there may also be a print (one-colored) on it. It is also a great advantage the fabric is always in the cheaper price range.
If the design requires a firmer fabric, the sample will be made of canvas. This is an easy fabric, 100% cotton, inexpensive and a pleasure to work with. The fabric is only firmer and does not drape smoothly, like muslin does.
Muslin is therefore ideal as 'exercise' material. To make a sample of a Chanel-style jacket, but also, for example, to practice if you have to perform a sewing technique that you have never done before. Think of tied buttonholes, pleats, welt pockets or folding techniques. Or maybe you just want to try out buttonholes before you make them in real life on the garment piece you are working on.
As 'practice' material we bought a black muslin with a white print. We made a shirt and practiced with the collar and buttonholes. We doubted the fit of the shirt but it turned out to be good. Of course, you don't have to take a sample of muslin from a garment off and use it again as a basic pattern. Especially not if the pattern turns out to be correct and fits perfectly. It is a nice soft fabric and ideal to wear at home as 'home wear'.
Are you going to make a Chanel-style jacket? We advise you to first buy a few yards of muslin fabric and make a test-sample of the jacket. Instead of sewing, you can also thread roughly by hand. Sometimes a sewing machine have a 'baste' stitch, or you choose the longest regular stitch.
Don't tink of working with muslin fabric as a waste of materials and time: but above all it is very wise and educational. Now it turns out that the sample fits well with a few adjustments, you can put your scissors in the (expensive) Bouclé fabric and the (silk) lining. And the result will be perfect because you already know the pitfalls of the sewing pattern and you have adapted the shape.
It is very wise to buy a few yards of muslin fabric. You can use it as test pieces to practice sewing techniques or to make a test sample of a sewing pattern. Muslin is a nice soft fabric and never expensive. It is well worth the investment in time and money!
Burda 6465 is a sewing pattern 'Chanel-style jacket' with two variations in length and finish. We created Model B as a jacket for autumn.
The Burda sewingpattern is a sewing pattern of a short jacket (Model A) with fringes and a longer jacket (Model B) made of Loden fabric and finished with a piping. Model B is typically a jacket as it is often worn during Oktoberfest * in Germany. Especially the color, the finish and the fabric: loden is striking. Both models have princess lines, a round neck and sleeves that consist of two parts.
* = The Oktoberfest is a German festival and event that takes place on the Theresienwiese, a public place in the center of Munich. It's every year, from the end of September to the beginning of October. It's a big social event. People eat and drink a lot and there is a typical folkloric clothing style for men and women.
Recommended fabrics are: Model A: Bouclé, Model B: wool, Loden. You also need: shoulder pads, buttons, fringes or edges, bias tape, lining and interfacing.
Sewing level: average
The sewing pattern has been referred to as "averages". We agree with this. It is not a difficult jacket to make, but especially Model B: the princess lines trimmed with a piping, requires accuracy and experience from the seamstress.
We made the jacket out of brown thick cotton fabric (see below) and a silk lining with dots. The silk lining fabric is no longer for sale, but a nice alternative is next to the brown fabric: a beautiful mint-colored lining fabric. Our jacket is not really meant for the Oktoberfest, but we will definitely make it again. The jacket fits like perfect and has a beautifully tailored shape.
We will come back to Model A later. This short jacket is also ideal for making scraps of Bouclé fabric or as the ultimate upcycling project from existing jackets that can lead a different life as a slightly shorter jacket, made up of multiple types of fabric. The princess lines: smaller pattern parts are ideal for this.
With Model B you could make the piping in a contrasting color for a super nice effect. You can also omit the piping in its entirety, as we have done and go for a special lining.
Or completely Haute couture: make the piping in the same color as the lining.
Burda 6465 is a nice sewing pattern for the Chanel-style jacket (Model A) and a longer jacket for various clothing styles. The jacket looks great because of the lines, but is less comfortable, 'semi-fitted' would suggest...
An interesting Vogue article today:
Virginie Viard, the Woman Behind Chanel’s New Chapter
Read all about the new Chanel's creative director: her story, lifestyle and vision!
The clutch bag is a small, flat handbag. The handbag is usually without handles or straps. Sometimes the larger clutch do have handles or detachable straps. The clutch is made a some sort of envelop and designed to be handheld or carried under your arm.The Clutch is compact and is usually used for evening occasions to carry minimal essentials like a phone, credit cards, or cosmetic items.
Clutch bags are very old!
Bags and purses are known from very old paintings and tapestries. But just a few survived history and are shown in musea. The materials were often not good enough to save the clutch bags for centuries.
A seven hundred year of bag owned by the Courtauld Gallery in London may well be the oldest surviving example of a clutch bag. The bag is originally from the city of Mosul in Northern Iraq and is a clear indication that such accessories were, from the outset, signifies of wealth and status. Extraordinarily modern in design, the bag has a solid brass body and is inlaid with scenes of courtly life in gold and silver. A front flap is fastened with a catch, just like a contemporary ‘envelope clutch’.
In Medieval Europe, women wore small bags attached to a belt. Bags and purses were mainly concealed for reasons of security but a change in fashion led to the purse/bag becoming a beloved object.
Last centuries clutch bags were mostly a combination of some sort of jewellery and bag. Metals, exquisite gems and fabrics were used to create clutches. More recently the clutch is mainstream. Cheap, comfortable or very exclusive and expensive.
How to wear a clutch bag?
One of the attractions of the clutch is its theatricality. A clutch bag means you do not have to carry your own stuff, you only need to worry about your lipstick, a small mirror or whatever. Somebody else is probably carrying your other stuff. A P.A. (= personal assistance)? Yes, you are probably a star and it shows because you only need to wear a clutch.
Clutches are designed to focus on your middle-waist, your hands and the clutch itself. They are mostly small jewels, carrying under your arms or with both hands. Wearing them with both hands also indicates, you are not going to shake hands. That's looks very upper-class, and nowadays (2020) also very Corona-safe.
Nowadays clutches are also more handy than ever; you can wear a face-mask in it and be prepared if it is necessary to wear a face-mask for your own safety or somebody else safety.
Modern clutches are not jewels anymore, and not only exclusively made for the rich and famous. Clutch bags are mainstream and sometimes even very sustainable because they are made of fabric leftovers. Or recycled plastics, paper or environmentally friendly materials.
Chanel clutch bags:
Chanel has been making clutch bags for some time. Often these are very similar to the famous bag the 2.55. But with fewer compartments, lighter weight, even more handy and with or without a chain. Some larger wallets are also called clutch bags because they can easily pass for a graceful evening bag.
The real authentic vintage Clutch bags are worth gold and very beautiful. These are often more 'jewels' than bags.
The leather variant is no longer alone. The clutch is also increasingly made in tweed fabrics and even in plastic and other futuristic fabrics. Characteristic: the perfect finish, the symbols and the logo. And the hefty price for an authentic or vintage Chanel Clutch bag.
How to make a clutch bag?
It is not that difficult to make a perfect clutch bag. Certainly not for an 'advanced' seamstress, but it is also fine for a beginner seamstress. If you only work step-by-step, take the time for it and ensure a nice finish. Take a good look at google and tutorials and even better: an example of a clutch nearby in sight, to study and copy.
Which materials do you need?
The outside fabric: a nice tweed, Bouclé or something more easy to sew: goblin or another sturdy fabric. The lining: go for a real silk fabric, taffeta silk or a fabric that folds nicely and is not too flexible. Inner lining: flannel fabric or thinly padded fleece liner. In addition, you need a larger press stud, a metal closure or a decoration.
Do you have a nice piece of gobelin, Bouclé, tweed or jacquard fabric? And a silk lining or regular lining fabric? Make a nice clutch to give away during the holidays or make one for yourself. A clutch is always chic, handy and you really can't have enough clutches...
If you also make them from fabric leftovers, or 'upcycling' a curtain, jacket or tablecloth; then you are completely good and creative!
'The little book of Chanel' is a great little book. The book is small but has a perfect design and contains beautiful photographs. Do you want to know everything about Coco Chanel and the fashion house Chanel? It is all in the 'little book of Chanel' this booklet, summarized and beautifully in the style of Chanel.
Yes we like:
We do not like:
We love the beautiful hardcover-design and photographs. The book is a great nice 'small' gift for a Chanel-fan. A perfect suggestion for the holidays.
The holidays will be different from 'life as we know it' this year. City trips to the big cities for Christmas shopping, going on a skiing holiday or large dinners with family and friends, these are all impossible because of the corona-crisis....
But people are creative and so we are going to celebrate it differently. But how? We have found some nice suggestions and ideas, beautiful sewing patterns (achievable in terms of deadline!) and above all: beautiful (affordable) fabrics!
Sense and Sensibility: a romantic blouse
We came across a beautiful blouse from Sense and Sensibility sewing patterns on the website of the online sewing pattern shop. This blouse is striking and beautiful and has three advantages that we would like to mention.
1. The blouse falls under the category: Historical clothing and is therefore suitable for L.A.R.P. (= Life Action Role Play) and Cosplay. It is a Victorian blouse that is actually a kind of basic garment. You can wear it with vests, but also corsets, coats, capes and dresses. The blouse is an eye-catcher but also a great basic garment.
2. The blouse is quite easy to make. The sewing pattern is clear and has no pitfalls or really difficult things that require a lot of sewing experience. It looks like a difficult-to-create blouse because of all the ruffles attached to it, but the basic pattern is quite 'basic'. You can also create a lot of extras with it.
For example, tailoring even more by adding more pleats and darts, or making it even more 'Victorian' by working with many ruffles and lace.
3. The blouse is timeless and is very comfortable to wear. Ideal for holidays-series. This blouse seems very 'dressed' but is really just a blouse that fits and wears comfortably. The holidays 2020 will, in most cases, be celebrated at home in a limited social circle. Wear a nice blouse, a skirt or jeans underneath and you will look festive without too much fuss!
Which fabric and color do you choose?
These fabrics are recommended for the sewing pattern: cotton, pima cotton, linen, voile, organic cotton, batiste, silk, and all other lightweight to medium weight fabrics.
DO NOT use stretchy or elastic fabrics. For the ruffles and other decorations you can choose: lace, bias band, decorative band, band with dots, fringes or embroidered trims.
Our fabric choice: a 'chain' viscose fabric with a nice and supple drape. Supple fabrics will look better and wear more comfortable. But you can also choose a stiffer fabric, the blouse will have more volume and appear more grotesque. This fits nicely with the new trend: The bubble.
Consider Taffeta silk or a poplin cotton. Do you really want to make something chic out of the blouse: choose silk or a special print. Create super chic cuffs in a contrasting color or let the special buttons be the eye-catchers.
Sewing and cutting:
Sense and Sensibility is a brand of fine, special patterns. The sewing pattern comes in a large sturdy paper envelope and the sewing pattern is drawn on sturdy white paper. So you just have to cut it out.
The instructions are very clear and nicely handwritten.
The only comment we have: the sleeves are short and the cuffs are quite tight. Adjust this yourself if you want the sleeves longer and if you want the cuffs to be slightly wider.
Also make sure that the seam allowances is 5/8 ". This is, quite untraceable, in the text on the cover of the sewing pattern.
'Sense and Sensibility: a romantic blouse' is a sewing pattern that you can use for many purposes. From an L.A.R.P. (= Life Action Roleplay) event to a blouse for daily use. Or a special blouse for the holidays.
The blouse is timeless and you can make it whatever you want. The blouse is also completely the new trend when it comes to shape and comfort (in Corona stay-at-home times).
Chanel collector and couture sewing expert Claire B. Shaeffer returns with Couture Sewing: 'Making designers trims' to teach you everything you need to know to create and attach the perfect trim to any outfit.
The devil is in the details
After spending weeks creating a couture, Chanel-inspired suit it would be a shame to skimp on the trim. With more than 280 photos paired with step-by-step instruction, Shaeffer takes the mystery out of creating designer trims. You can easily make them yourself as long as you keep an eye on the right combinations, colors and you know how to work with the materials.
Learn how to easily swap out one trim for another when you want a fresh look without creating a whole new garment. In this book you will get great instructions. Learn to topstitch like a pro to achieve a simple yet elegant trim, apply ribbons, prairie points, piping, bands, and braids. Create intricate seamed, lining, and facing trims. Make your very own cord-filled piping and crocheted trims
About the Author
Claire Shaeffer is an internationally respected author, lecturer, college instructor and columnist. Her innovative sewing techniques and easy-to-read instructions have guided readers and students through many sewing facets of the garment industry. Claire Shaeffer based her knowledge of haute couture construction and meticulous research studying original Chanels in museum archives and her own collection. She wrote the celebrated Couture Sewing Techniques for Taunton Press and has authored and starred in a multitude of successful videos on couture sewing.
Not thát great:
We specially love the "Lining and Facing Trims" paragraph. Now that is Chic Couture !!
'Making designers trims' is a great book for Chanel-style couture lovers.
It is also a great gift for the holidays!
We hope it will the next publication of this book contain be a bit more modern, bold and daring trims and fringes. We also hope the book will have more photo's and examples of self-made trims like braiding, crochet and knitting. More Etsy and Craftsy stuff.....
Chanel jackets or Chanel-Style jackets are usually made of Bouclé fabrics and silk linings. You have to be careful with the jacket because it is impossible to wash and dry it like your other clothes. How do you take care of Bouclé fabrics? And how do you clean it? We will help you.
Cleaning Tweeds and Bouclé fabrics:
Tweed is a woolen fabric used for clothing, upholstery and various types of cases and equipment. It is a tough fabric that is moisture resistant because it is closely woven, but the tight weave of the fabric can allow dirt or stains to become embedded. Care needs to be taken with cleaning techniques to keep your tweed looking its best. When in doubt, bring the tweed item to a dry cleaner for professional attention.
What are you wearing underneath?
Try to limit yourself to clothing made of cotton fabrics. Fabrics as polyester and synthetics can be sweaty and give off to the jackets above. A simple blouse or cotton underwear guarantees more limitation of smelly odors. Be careful with deodorants as some can easily ruin the silk lining. Treat a Bouclé jacket as a woolen outdoor-coat. Do not wash or dry clean it too often and hang it outside regularly in the fresh air (shade!).
Maintaining Tweeds and Bouclé Garments:
Store tweed clothing and upholstery fabric in a cool dry place. Moths are attracted to wool. Put tweed items in a cedar chest or other cool dry receptacle, where moths cannot eat them. You can also buy moth deterrents at home improvement stores. Follow the instructions on the packaging to apply it.
Washing a woolen jacket:
Wool is a warm and durable fabric, and a wool coat or jacket will give you years of wear if you care for it properly. It is necessary to wash a wool coat a couple of times each season, but you do need to take special care to avoid piling, shrinking, and distorting the fabric. While it may be possible to wash some wool coats in the machine, it’s usually safer to wash by hand. Another key to cleaning a wool coat is to avoid putting it in the dryer, because this will lead to shrinkage.
Read the care label:
You should always read a garment’s care label before washing it, because the care label will tell you exactly how to proceed. Check the care label for:
You spent a lot of time creating your Chanel-style jacket. Therefore, spend time on maintenance. Preferably take it to the dry cleaner for a dry clean. But you can also do a lot to prevent the jacket from getting dirty or smelling like sweat.
The Overlocker Technique manual, Julia Hincks is an interesting manual and a great gift for the holidays. For fast and professional edging, hemming, seaming, and decorative stitching, you simply can't beat a serging machine. This all-skill-level book is the perfect guide to make sure you get the most out of your new machine (or out of that old serger that you've never got the hang of!)
The serger or overlocker
Photographs and step-by-step instructions guide you through the essential techniques, showing you how to set up your machine, how to adjust the settings to get the best results on a range of different fabrics, and how to edge your fabrics quickly with perfect results. The troubleshooting section provides tips and quick fixes for skipped stitches, snapped threads, and uneven stitching. Also includes a buyer's guide to different sergers, providing you with advice on finding the right machine for you.
An overlocker: yes, but why?
First of all: an overlocker is not a sewingmachine. A (good!) sewing machine can do almost anything, but an overlocker is a the dessert after a delicious meal. The finishing touch, the whipped cream on the cake, the golden thread that makes your sewing work so professional finished. Do we know more metaphors? Probably, but let's stick to the (sewing) lesson.
For example, an overlocker can sew elastic materials together and finish with a 3 or 4 thread-stitches without any difficulty. For example: these stitches at the end of a t-shirt. Turn your t-shirt or sweater inside out and take a look down. So now you know why! Even the best seamstress in the world can't get it done with a sewing machine. An overlocker sews and CUTS the fabric at the same time.
So put those zigzag scissors away and from now on finish your own clothing with an overlocker. T
In addition, an overlocker also creates decorative seams, even threads beads or pearls on the fabric and is able to do a lot more magical tricks.
And imagine you are working with a sewing machine to deal with a huge piece of fabric that should become a curtain: an overlocker would turn the big job into a piece of cake.
A great book:
A bit less interesting:
We love all the beautiful examples. But it all looks a bit like a mamma or grandmother is sewing (locking) for her baby. Next edition: please provides us with more pictures of modern clothes or beautiful couture.
Nevertheless: the book is a great gift for a seamstress for the holidays!