How do you make your own Chanel-inspired jacket ? There is a simple answer to that question: read the books by Claire Schaeffer! This American lady has written many books about the history of Haute couture, how to make your own couture and in particular everything about Chanel couture.
Her books are for all seamstress or hobby-sewers. But they are also interesting for people who are not interested in sewing.
The history of Haute couture
Claire Schaeffer is an expert in Haute couture. She has a wealth of knowledge and an own collection of vintage couture. She gained her knowledge by looking around in museums and studying couture in detail. Couture houses often do not reveal their secrets. However, Claire has unraveled many couture secrets by studying original vintage items. These literately inside studies enabled her to gather a lot of information that normally remains behind closed doors.
Think of it as recipes from special menus from top restaurants. It is not only about the ingredients of a menu, but also about the specific cooking techniques that suddenly make eating a plate something very special. Apart from detailed sewing techniques, the books contain many beautiful photos of special vintage clothing.
Classic and timeless chic!
A beautiful Chanel jacket worn on trendy jeans. Who doesn't want this? Or a beige tweed coat for the winter? Just as timelessly beautiful as the perfectly fitting business blazer you would like to wear on occasions where you need to look beauty and brains. Everyone likes photography and information about the fashion of the past and the fashion of today. The only difference between a Vogue or Hapaar's Bazaar magazine and Claire Schaeffer's books is the idea to make these great pieces of clothing yourself. Perhaps you should first start with making potholders or pajama pants, but after a few years of practice it will probably work...
Claire Schaeffer & Chanel Couture
Anyone who says 'Chanel jackets' in the sewing-world, says Claire Schaeffer. Conversely too. Claire Schaeffer is a Chanel expert par excellence. Her books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, The Couture Skirt and Designer trims deal specifically with the phenomenon: the Little French Jacket.
The books are about how-to instructions and inspirations for color combinations, choices of fabrics and the very specific decorative trims and fringes of these jackets. A very nice ode to Coco Chanel. Some of her books were reissued in 2013, exactly one hundred years after Coco Chanel opened its first store in Deauville.
A gift or a "silent" hint!
If you have a girlfriend who likes to work with needle and thread: the books for this special lady are nice to give as a gift. Perhaps the silent hint is understood. You hope she will make a DIY Chanel jacket for you some day....
The word "day" is misplaced here. It is known that the "making time" of the Chanel jackets is on average 80 hours. And don't forget to add a lot of reading hours too, because you will soon loose the time if you step into the world of Haute couture through the eyes of Claire Schaeffer.
More and more people are buying their fabrics from an online store. It often takes a while to find the right fabric. Fortunately, most online fabric stores have good search filters, such as color, design, fabric type, stretchable or non-stretchable, thickness and, last but not least: the price category.
Designs, prints or motif
An important filter is the design of the fabric. There used to be a subdivision into plain or non-plain, nowadays there are many 'motifs', 'prints' or 'designs' per fabric. Most designs speak for themselves: hearts, dots, diamonds, flowers or stripes. Everyone understands that!
But what about, for example, 'chains', 'ornaments', 'garland' or 'chevron'? Many different terms are mentioned. To save you some time, we have made a list below of designs that are increasingly used with certain terms.
Can't find the right design? Do not panic! Here we have an overview!
Paisley is an ornament-like print that is mainly based on the teardrop shape. The drop is always round at the top and tapering to the bottom. The paisley print comes in many shapes, colors and directions. The thread direction is therefore often less important, depending on the fabric type (cotton, jacquard, tweed or jersey).
Note: 'paisley' design is sometimes categorized in the retro or ornaments filters.
An ornament (Latin ornare en ornamentum) means: to decorate and adornment, and is a composition or decorative elements to decorate objects. Think curls of buildings, arches, circles and everything 'barok'.
The shape of ornaments on fabrics is always symmetrical, beautifully curled, styled and repeated continuously.
In contrast to 'Paisley', ornamented fabric often has a clear top and bottom, or direction of the fabric.
Ornaments are often based on emblems, family crests, French lilies and architectural shapes.
Herringbone is a design characterized by rows of stripes that go up and down at an angle of about 30 degrees. The pattern is best known in the tweed fabrics, where it was really created by a certain weaving technique.
But herringbone can also be found as designs on jersey, cotton and demin fabrics. Be careful with the thread direction with this fabric, if you are going to use the fabric for a sewing pattern!
Herringbone is also sometimes called 'chevron' or 'zigzag'. In Dutch is it called: 'visgraat'.
Pied-de-Poule or Houndstooth
Pied de poule, means chicken legs. Also called: houndstooth, or: dog teeth. There are a lot of terms for this symmetrical pattern. The pattern is usually in black and white but can come in many other color combinations as well. Always two-colored and characterized by broken squares in an abstract pointed shape. Absolutely symmetrical from large patterns to very small checks.
The design is very recognizable and is widely used for woolen fabrics, cotton and jersey. In a rare case, the design falls under 'chef's or baker's fabric', because the uniform (the trousers) of a cook is often made in this black and white pattern.
'Vichy checks' is also a two-tone check, but ordinary squares. It is often used to make custom patterns because the checks often have standard sizes and there is a good explanation on the patterns about how you can make the sewing pattern completely your own size. The squares are working here as an extra help with the sizes.
Vichy checks is mainly seen in cotton fabrics and soft chambray.
Animal or animal fur
Fabric designs 'animal motifs' cannot be compared to 'animal fur'. Animal fur is always the well-known tiger print, zebra stripe or the pattern of the skin of giraffes.
Sometimes the categories 'camouflage', 'safari' or 'army' fall under the same filter or category. The design animal fur is mainly found in colorful fabrics, from fake fur to real fur ...
Animal motifs can be anything, as long as an animal is recognizable.
Garland is used in multiple senses. On the one hand, 'garland' means nothing more than a flower garland. Wherever designs are flower garlands, this fabric is therefore called 'garland'.
But it also applies to slightly 'vintage'-style designs with the atmosphere of flowers depicted in soft colors and a romantic atmosphere.
Finally, 'garland' often coincides with 'Christmas fabrics'. This is mainly because Christmas is often associated with lights, garlands of flowers and lamps. The atmosphere is therefore also called 'garland'. Garland is therefore a broad concept and is used for several types of designs for fabrics.
Geometric designs have everything to do with circles, triangles, squares, pentagons, honeycomb, rectangles, triangles, etc. The designs are always symmetrical and usually multicolored. Sometimes there is a kind of 3D effect, the fabrics seem to give depth as soon as you look at them or the fabric moves.
Retro designs mainly remind us of the sixties and seventies. Bright colors, lots of orange, green, brown, pink and yellow. Round shapes, psychedelic or imaginative. Any letters are convex and open and are usually outlined.
Retro designs can also be adapted to this modern time. It is then a combination of the shapes and slightly more modern colors. Or the reverse: the typical, strong colors of the flower power era, cast in a slightly more modern design. Especially with dark blue, retro can be a very good combination. They are often ideal, cheerful designs for summery cotton fabrics.
In some cases 'Batik' also is known as retro design. Batik is the design of dyed fabric in the typical round shapes and colors that blend into each other.
Vintage designs for fabrics are often pale in color and look 'fragile' and old. They have beautiful floral motifs, old photos or just a combination of old-looking colors. You often see vintage designs on canvas or gobelin. They are timeless fabrics that always remain beautiful.
'Nature' also often falls under 'vintage'. These are often the fabrics with botanical drawings of flowers, leaves, birds, gardens and animals. The colors are never harsh, glaring or bright.
Last but not least:
The name says it all: the design is based on chains, watches, belts, horse bits and fringes which are print on the fabric. The 'chain' motifs have a chic look that is a bit 'Hèrmes' style.
In a few cases the design also falls under 'Chanel-like fabrics' because of the golden chain that symbolizes the classic famous 2.55 bag.
Fabric designs come in many colors, patterns and variations. From beautiful symmetry to an image that can be purchased in 'panels'. This means that the fabric is cut per image, which is for example 1.25 meters. The 'panel' is then not interrupted if it is sold from the roll. You do not buy the fabric per meter but per panel.
More and more search filters are being used to find the right fabric online at fabric stores. That is of course a good thing. We would like to keep you informed of new terms.
If you know a category / term that is not self-evident and is not listed here ...? Please let us know and we will gladly add to our list.
Vintage sewing patterns are very popular. Not only because their value is high (especially when they are collector's items!) but mainly because many seamstresses also consider it as a sport to actually make clothes of the sewing patterns. They make the clothes to wear themselves or for Cosplay and LARP events. But there are some common problems and we have tips to avoid them.
Vintage sewing patterns are more popular than ever
If you make yours clothes yourself, you are aiming it does not show... Seamstresses prefer not to hear, "Selfmade?" when they should actually be proud of the fact they made the cloths themselves. But they are afraid that there is always an undertone in that comment like: "You can see that, it is just not good enough". Of course that is nonsense, because self-made cloths are often unique, beautifully tailored and much more sustainable.
With vintage clothing, however, there is a different tenor. "Self-made" makes more sense and sounds like a compliment. Finally, vintage clothing is often striking because of the shapes and lines and therefore super feminine. If you have found the right size, or if you have done some pattern adjustments, the clothing is also nicely tailored.
Cosplay and LARP
Vintage sewing patterns are often very popular for Cosplay and LARP. Sewing patterns: 'Historical clothing' ánd Cosplay, but also all other retro- and vintage patterns.
Because of the shapes in the vintage clothing, they are often nice to expand with corsets, crinolines underneath or to make mega dresses. But eventhough... you can run into problems while making vintage clothing ...
Pay attention! The pitfalls of vintage sewing patterns:
1. The times when 'vintage' or 'reto' was reallife, there were no elastic or stretchable fabrics. The sewing patterns are therefore all based on fabrics such as: garbadine, chiffon, linen, lace, cotton, jacquard and wool. The clothing must therefore be properly tailored because the fabric will not help you to feel comfortable or make you look super-shaped like stretch fabrics do...
Tip: don't make these patterns of elastic or stretchy fabrics. This can cause the pattern to be incorrect and give strange results. Choose fabrics which are recommended for the sewing pattern or the onces you like to both sew and wear.
2. In vintage patterns there are many darts and pleats. If you want to create a nice upper body or a nice waist, you can count on it that there will be a lot of darts in the pattern that will create the desired shape. With some fabrics this is difficult to achieve and it looks less beautiful than you had hoped.
Tip: learn to work with darts and pleats and consider it as a challenge. Use a sewing mannequin (adjusted to your size) to pin the darts in and 'play' with it until it fits. Take your time so it doesn't become a frustration. Once you get the feeling for 'shaping', it's more fun than you thought it would be!
3. Most of the patterns that show over-exaggerate waistes, often illustrated on the cover of the sewingpattern. But remember in these times women were always wearing corsets under their outfits. Nature was given a helping hand to create the waist that most women can now only dream of ...
Tip: Do you still want a (very) small waist to fit in the vintage dresses? Buy an elasticated waist corset, one that fits snugly but creates a little more waist. In the 'shapewear' section of underwear, you can often find pleasant waist shapers that you can wear comfortably without gasping for breath or torturing your body. A tight, shape shirt also works wonders and often not only fits comfortably, but also looks really nicer under tighter dresses or blouses.
4. Collars often have different or even strange shapes (see picture above). The ends of the collars are often sharper, longer or sometimes weirdly shaped. Or like the top photo, far right: floral. Sometimes this really fits into the overall picture. Sometimes they are over-the-top or make the clothes look old-fashioned instead of interesting.
Tip: adjust the collars to your own ideas. Copy the bottom length of the collar from the pattern and the rest of the pattern with a pencil. You then have the basis. After this you can make the collar ends as long, as straight, as round or as short as you would like.
5. Finally, we would like to point out that vintage dresses are often midi length. Or blouses are just a little too long (these were often worn in the skirt, never loose / casual over it). The length of the midi dresses and skirts can look nice, but also old-fashioned or messy, or accentuate thick calves, for example.
Tip: very simple: adjust the length. Do this as the very last action. Try on the dress for a mirror, or on the sewing mannequin and let someone else help you. Your own perspective from above often gives a different picture than a person who is further away and sees a better overall picture. The length of blouses is easier to adjust. If you like to wear a blouse loose, don't make it too long, this looks more sloppy than nice and casual.
Advantages of vintage sewing patterns:
But there are also many advantages of vintage sewing patterns. As we have already mentioned: the sewing patterns are often ideal for Cosplay and LARP and often eye-catchers because of the beautiful shapes and special lines. Moreover, the fabrics that are used are also different than usual or have a nice 'retro print'.
Another plus is that many patterns can be used as a 'normal pattern'. See above: The blouses are often classic, timeless and just super feminine. Especially on the left: the blue blouse would look great combined with jeans, and high heels or higher boots.
Remember what Mary said about Downton Abbey clothing: "I really wanted to take the blouses home, I was totally hooked."
Finally: the vintage sewing patterns are often ideal for indulging in buttons and beautiful trims. Just like our beloved Chanel style jacket! Be creative, indulge yourself and make it unique. Get rid of mass production, throwaway clothes.
Create your own clothes with beautiful vintage sewing patterns!
Magic of Upcycling: From Rugs to Riches
I love creative projects where everything can be flipped upside down which allows you to look at things with a new angle.
An old rug from grandmother
I inherited this rug from my grandmother who had a trunk full of these. I don’t know what material they were made from, but they feel very soft as if they were made from natural fabrics. This is a heirloom work of the old traditional weaver. I have one such rug in my bathroom, and it’s so pleasant to walk on.
I liked the texture and colour combinations of this rug and I always wanted to make something interesting out of it. And so I decided to make a summer jacket without a lining from this rug that looks as if it got bleached in the bright July sun.
Finishing & embellishments:
Use these strips to finish side seams, shoulder and sleeve seams. If you don’t do this, your fabric will fray because of the type of weaving used in the rug.
Then stitch darts, side and shoulder seams. Press.
Cut more bias strips but don’t fold and press them. Use these strips to finish the edges of front and neck as on the photo below. Take another bias strip; fold 2 cm on one side and press. Stitch the tape over the back and front fusible tape you attached earlier to stabilize the fringed edges.
Insert the sleeves and finish the seams with bias tape.
I already had embroidered trim in mind which was too straight and it didn’t look good around the neck edge. I looked in my stash and found bias pieces of silver fabric and matching white and silver beads. So I decided to make the embroidered beaded trim for the neck edge.
To do that, cut 3.5 cm bias tape from silver fabric, fold the seam allowances towards the center and press. Slip-stitch the bias tape to the neck edge. Press again.
Slip-stitch embroidered tape to the center front and the neck edge. Sew the beads to the tape. You can make a pattern to make it easier.
The beading is finished and I am happy with the result. It’s time to attach hook and eye closures to the front of the jacket.
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!
Butterick B6382 is a sewingpattern from Butterick. It is a sewing pattern for a lined jacket in four different variations. Especially models A, C and D are typical of the 'Chanel look'. The jacket is comfortable and easy to make.
The butterick sewing pattern is a pattern for a loose-fitting, lined jacket. The neckline can be varied from normal to a low neckline or a collar. There are also variation in lengths. There are no variations in front closure. The jacket is hanging open and therefore does not close. It is clearly a jacket to put on over a dress, blouse or t-shirt.
The jacket is intended for the fabrics: Tweed, Gabardine, Bouclé and Linen. This makes the jacket suitable for both summer and winter. You can go in many directions with this pattern.
Sewing level: easy
The pattern is suitable for the novice seamstress. We agree with this. The jacket has no pitfalls or difficulties. As a novice seamstress, this jacket is easy to sew. However, it is advisable to adjust the fabric. Don't start with Bouclé. This is a difficult fabric to sew. If you do, read our article: How to sew Bouclé fabrics.
The recommended fabrics: garbadine and linen are a lot easier to sew.
Butterick B6382 is a fun and easy pattern to make the Chanel-style jacket. The instructions are very comprehensive and clear. The jacket is comfortable and nice variations are possible.
If you want to give the jacket a little more 'couture' look, make folds in the jacket: 'shape' it to your own shape.
As a seamstress you might wonder WHY you need an overlocker and WHICH overlocker.
We will answer loud and clear and help you to decide which overlocker works for you.
An overlocker: yes, but why?
First of all: it 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. The result will be the difference between: "Nice jacket, mmm ... homemade?" And "Wowwwww, such a nice jacket. You are kidding me, did you make it really yourself ???”
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.
But we won’t tell anyone, because you have just saved a huge amount of money by making your own curtains...
Why do you need a lock machine?
That's why. For all those things that an overlocker does and a sewing machine does not. Or maybe the sewing machine is able to the job but you need special feet. And above all: an overlocker is cutting and sewing at the same time.
Now don't dump your sewing machine straight to the thrift store because with an overlocker in addition to a sewing machine, you create beautiful sewingwork and it definitely looks more professional.
Which overlocker do you need?
Overlockers are for sale in different price ranges.
The cheapest is around 200-300 euros and the most expensive are around 1000 euros.
The difference between the cheaper variants and the expensive ones is often in the fact that an expensive overlocker has an air pump threading system.
The threads are blown through the machine, on the way to the end at the needles. This is especially easy for people who are less handy or who don't have the patience to manage the threading themselves.
The expensive overlockers often have more options in terms of stitches and some options are automatically. The same as with a sewing machines. The more expensive the sewing machine, the more options and possibilities.
Often the remark "Did you make it yourself..." does not feel like a compliment. Somehow people are noticing the difference between self-made clothes and the stuff you buy in a store. But as soon as you start working with an overlocker, you will no longer hear these words. Why not? Because your sewing work is now so precisely finished; it looks very professional!
Let’s start adding beautiful labels with your own name or "self-made" on the clothes, because from now on, nobody believes it anymore. With an overlocker: your sewing work looks like Haute Couture Yourself.
And "Oh wow, did you really make it yourself???" becomes a very big compliment! And you will answer very proudly: "YESSsss!"
The best buy: Overlocker Lewenstein 700DE
Vogue V9250 is a Claire Schaeffer designed pattern, published by Vogue. We know Claire Schaeffer from the books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, Making Designers Trims and The Couture Skirt. In her books she describes how Coco Chanel designed her famous Chanel jacket, the faux-wrap skirt and other classics. The sewing pattern V9250 is an example of a classic Chanel jacket and completely focused on the couture sewing techniques.
The vogue pattern is a pattern for a loose-fitting, lined jacket with princess lines, two-piece sleeves and many fringes. The fabrics for this jacket: Tweeds, Linen, Wool and crepe. It is advisable to stick to the fabric recommendation, although we have opted for a green summer bouclé. You will need buttons, shoulder pads and lots of extra fabric to make fringes.
Sewing level: advanced
The pattern has been titled "Vogue ADVANCED". We agree with this. Claire Schaeffer provides great detailed instructions, but you must have sewing experience to understand them. Also 'bouned buttonholes' are really only possible to make if you have a lot of experience. As a seamstress with a fair amount of sewing experience you can figure it out on your own, but make sure you can ask for help if you get stuck in the project or do not fully understand the instructions.
Sewing-by-hand or 'Hand-sewing'
As mentioned, a lot is work for this project is sewing by hand. You gotta love this. You can find the stitches you need in most books and on the Internet. Claire Schaeffer also explains it nicely, but first learn more about it. Sewing by hand is more than just basting, the stitches have to be really strong and above all demonstrable.
The sleeves consist of two parts and we think the sleeves are quite narrow at the top. Make the pattern out of muslin first, to make sure it fits properly. Sleeves that are too narrow is really a pity. As a result, you cannot move comfortable in the jacket and there is even a chance that you will tear out, especially if you use delicate fabrics such as tweed and Bouclé.
Claire Schaeffer's extra 'couture instructions' are very nice. This allows you to really learn to sew with couture techniques that you will enjoy later on. The instructions are "the secrets of the master". This way you can make a real couture jacket from an affordable pattern and fabric of your choice.
We made the jacket from light green summer bouclé. The Bouclé fabric was light and not too loose. This Bouclé offers the possibility to easily make the fringes.
Note: make the fringes from a double row of fabric. This gives a nicer effect and thus the fringes are easier to see. Use an overlocker to make a nice flat edge that you can easily sew onto the jacket. Or rather: between the different pattern pieces.
The Chanel-style jacket has a classic look and is easy to combine with any kind of outfit. Green is not really a popular color, but it is certainly special, especially if you are looking for Bouclé fabrics in green tones. Everything about the color green & Chanel! Moreover, green is very easy to combine with jeans for a casual look, but also with black and white for a chic or business outfit.
Vogue V9250 is a special sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket according to the vision of Coco Chanel and explained by Claire Schaeffer. (in the instructions for this pattern and in all of her books). The instructions are very comprehensive and clear. Yet this jacket remains a challenge for every seamstress.
Keep this in mind if you don't have much experience with 'couture sewing techniques' yet. The sewing pattern is a Chanel-style jacket par excellence. Good luck !
Organza fabric is a synthetic fabric woven with polyester and nylon. It is a very thin, transparent fabric, but because of the mix of the fabrics it is still very strong and very easy to sew. Organza is a cheap fabric and can be used for many sewing projects. The fabric is also extremely 'Haute couture' and chic. The two-tone organza is especially worth magic!
The use of organza fabric
Everyone has 'met' organza fabrics in their life. As a party decoration of flowers, in bridal clothing or draped around tables. Also for parties an festivals, the fabric is bought in bulk and used to decorate the cars up to beautiful costumes.
And this fabric is used a lot for Cosplay and Fantasy costumes. A party fabric par excellence!
But we also come across organza in everyday life, such as net curtains and furnishings for bedrooms. Also think of ribbons around gifts or decorations in flower arrangements.
Despite the cheap image now, organza was once made exclusively from silk and acted as a super chic fabric for Haute couture. The former designers made the most beautiful evening dresses from organza. These were exclusive masterpieces. The fabric was and is also very popular for wedding dresses including decorations such as flowers.
Organza & Haute Couture
Organza is liked by designers for Haute couture. In the past but also today. We are talking here about the silk variant and not the synthetic one. Chanel used organza very recently in a beautiful dress. See: "LAYERS OF ORGANZA, FALL-WINTER 2020/21, HAUTE COUTURE, A story of transparency plays out in an organza cape" worn over a silk dress - the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2020/21 Haute Couture collection, photographed by Mikael Jansson .
Organza is loved because of the possibility to process in many layers. From one layer: extremely thin and sophisticated (and sexy) to multiple layers that give shape and structure to the clothing. Don't confuse it with tulle. Tulle is more the cheapvariant and does not have the qualities that Organza does. You hardly see tulle in Haute couture.
Organza is often combined with silk. A dress of pure silk and organza guarantees luxury and exclusivity. The fabric is mainly used as 'over-fabric' to give clothes extra mystery. Or a more luxurious look due to the transparent nature of the fabric. The fabric also provides movement, dynamics in the clothing. With the slightest movement or breath of wind, the clothing (extra) comes to life.
LARP, Cosplay and Fantasy
In LARP we hardly see the material. The fabric is delicate and hardly ever appeared in historical clothing. In terms of decoration, lace and velvet are more often used. Organza just does not fit in the total picture.
Cosplay likes to work with the material. Think especially of wide skirts and Cinderella dresses. Despite the fact that tulle gives more effect, organza is a beautiful and chic addition to these costumes. Gothic and Steampunk prefer to work with tulle, as this gives it more strength and a more robust appearance. Although with organza more beautiful drapes can be made, such as black over fabric over a crinoline or red skirt.
Organza is ideal for Fantasy. Especially the two-tone organza offers endless possibilities to make skirts, capes and dresses that have a beautiful mysterious and graceful effect. See the photos of Erik Bolding. A big advantage is that the fabric can be processed in many meters without the costume becoming heavier. The fabric also gives movement and light effects to the clothing. Events and Fantasy fairs are of course all about action, movement and posing for photos. Clothing of or processed with organza fabric is highly recommended, showstoppers!
Tips & Tricks
However, working with organza fabric can be a crime. The fabric is thin, slips under the presser foot and is difficult to make hems. The fabric is difficult to fold and seaming and finishing is not easy. Moreover, cutting the fabric is not a pleasant job either.
The layers of fabric slide off each other and are difficult to lie on the table. Still it is doable if you follow these tips and tricks:
Organza is a very beautiful fabric. The silk variant is truly sublime, but the synthetic fabric certainly also has its advantages in terms of price and the beautiful two-tone colors. The material is not that easy to work with, but you can avoid all frustrations by taking our tips and tricks to heart.
Making a dress, cape, skirt or costume with organza may not be a party, but it is a party as soon as you see the result. The fabric is a real eye-catcher and worth all the extra time you have spent on it!
Vogue V8804 is a Claire Schaeffer pattern published by Vogue. We know Claire Schaeffer from the books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, Making Designers Trims and The Couture Skirt. In her books she describes how Coco Chanel designed her famous Chanel jacket, the faux wrap skirt and other classics. The V8804 sewing pattern is an example of a classic Chanel jacket and focuses entirely on the couture sewing techniques that make the jacket something very special.
The vogue pattern is a pattern for a lined, quilted jacket. This means that the lining is attached to the outer fabric and is therefore not only Haute Couture, but also very pleasant to wear.
The jacket is intended for the fabrics: Tweeds, Bouclé and Mohair, it is important to stick to these fabrics to create a real "Chanel Style" jacket.
You also need an iron chain, buttons, trims or fringes and a beautiful silk lining. We recommend real silk, this makes sewing easier and is worth the investment.
Average sewing level?
The pattern is labeled "Vogue AVERAGE". However, we believe that it does require experience to create this jacket. You first need to prepare the pattern pieces separately (quilting the lining at the outer fabric) then you need to construct the jacket together. This also requires the necessary hand sewing experience. The instructions are comprehensive and clear, but it remains a complicated sewing project.
As mentioned, there is a lot of handsewing involved to creat this jaacket. You need to like this kind of sewing. Most books and the Internet have guides to 'do' the stitches you need. Claire Schaeffer also explains it nicely, but first try it yourself on small pieces of fabrics (leftovers). Sewing by hand is more than just basting, the stitches must be really sturdy and above all demonstrable.
The sleeves consist of three parts and end in sleeve openings. Make sure you put the sleeves together well and keep in mind that they are very short. So adjust this in time if you want them longer.
The inside of this jacket will eventually be just as beautiful as the outside. But take your time and practice on a sample first. It is also advisable to buy really nice matching yarn that is the same color as the lining. This sounds logical, but you often see that in clothing yarn is used that differs in color. This makes the garment suddenly a lot 'cheaper' in terms of appearance. Rather search a little longer for the right color than choose a color that you happen to already have at home.
We made the jacket in black Bouclé fabric with a colorful lining (unfortunately you do not see this in the photos.) The Bouclé fabric was slightly heavier and firmer. The Chanel-style jacket has a classic look and is easy to combine with any kind of outfit.
We also made the sleeves a lot longer. We also made the jacket in beige Bouclé. We have extended this jacket with additional edges around it in contrasting colors, just like the buttons.
Read more about the beige color in Chanel's vision and the making of this jacket: Beige Bouclé Chanel-Style jacket.
Not so good:
Vogue V8804 is the ideal sewing pattern to make the Chanel-Style jacket according to the vision of Coco Chanel and explained by Calire Schaeffer. (in the instructions for this pattern and in all her books). The lining is sewn to the outer fabric (quilted) and has the appearance of Haute Couture in all respects.
Take plenty of time to make this jacket. It will take longer than you think. But the result will undoubtedly be very beautiful and unique!
Nobody likes to talk about it: but there are really fabrics which are hard to handle. The fabrics are difficult to cut, to fold, to sew. They can't help it either... But be aware: only start working with these fabrics if you have a lot of sewing experience.
Sewing pattern, sewing experience and the fabric!
What determines whether your sewing project succeeds or not? Often the combination of the sewing pattern, your sewing experience but also the fabric. Sewing patterns always mention specific fabrics that are suitable for the pattern. You can deviate from this in terms of color and print, but it is recommended to choose the recommended fabrics. (Logical!) Simply because the sewing pattern has been tested or made specifically for this.
Your sewing experience also determines whether your sewing project will create a successful garment. This is indicated in nine out of ten cases on the sewing pattern. The pattern is considered suitable for a beginner, a seamstress with moderate experience and a seamstress with a lot of experience.
However, just as important is the choice of fabric you make. There are very nice fabrics for sewing and there are fabrics which are more difficult. The difficult fabrics require a bit of extra experience from the seamstress. You don't have to avoid the fabrics, but if you read our tips, it will save you a lot of frustration or even failed sewing projects.
Tips for 'difficult' fabrics
Fabrics are always neatly arranged or type or by color in stores and online stores. Sometimes you can also search for properties. Is the fabric non-stretchable, stretchable or elastic in both length and width? Is the fabric smooth or very firm? This is all very important to know when choosing a fabric for a sewing project.
Rarely, however, is it indicated whether a fabric is 'difficult' to cut or sew. We mean that the fabric slips between your scissors, during cutting, or slips under your presser foot when you are sewing the fabric. Think of silk-look fabrics, velvet or smooth satin.
It is also difficult if the fabric 'fringes' quickly or even enormously. This is especially the case with Bouclé fabrics that are also loose-fitting. In 'how to sew Bouclé fabric' we give tips & tricks to handle it well.
Firm or thick fabrics can also be difficult. They are often difficult to fold and you will need a sewing machine that can handle really thicker fabrics. Think of jeans, canvas, goblin, jacquard or heavy wool.
Finally: elastic fabrics. Is your first sewing project making a bikini? Then ask extra help and be aware that sewing super stretch fabrics is a difficult job. It is also especially recommended to use a coverlock machine which is capable of making coverstitches. Finishing the seams in a different way (for example zig-zag) on a regular sewing machine will give a beautiful finish.
Haute couture fabrics
Haute couture often works with expensive and exclusive fabrics. These are of course very beautiful. But be aware that the expensive fabrics are often not the easiest fabrics for a sewing project.
We already mentioned the 'Very Bouclé' fabrics that often fray when you look at them. But brocade fabrics, jacquard fabrics and sequin fabrics can also be difficult. You have a chance that your needles will break on the embroidered additions / sequins on the fabric or on the golden lurex threads. Or pull the threads with you in your sewing machine, and your entire front piece is suddenly destroyed.
Take extra time for these fabrics and baste everything in advance.
In addition, with jacquard fabrics you often have to deal with patterns that are woven into the fabrics. Pay particular attention to this when cutting. Or that the front pieces fit nicely and the sleeves fit in the patterns of the fabric. This is really a job that requires experience and a lot of patience. Always buy extra fabric, then you can cut any incorrectly cut pattern parts.
Organza, Voile, Chiffon, Pleated and stretch lace are difficult fabrics because they are very thin and do not keep well in shape during cutting and sewing. Provide extra weights on the fabric while cutting and thin pins for the fabric. Buy special silk pins that are thinner and longer than regular glass head pins. In addition, make sure you choose the right thin sewing machine needles. A needle that is too thick can easily destroy the fabric.
Silk and taffeta fabrics are very pleasant to sew with, although here also applies: make sure you use the right pins and sewing machine needles. They fold fine, do not slip and ensure that you can work accurately. Silk-look fabrics, satin silk or mixes are often a lot less pleasant to work with. These are of course cheaper, but in the case of a 'Chanel-Style' jacket for example, the investment in real silk is definitely worth it. Moreover, the pleasure in your sewing project is not spoiled by a fabric that does not want to cooperate.
When making costumes for LARP, you run into problems less often. Most fabrics are based on fabrics such as canvas, jute, cotton, cotton twill, linen and sometimes leather. Leather-sewing of course a profession, but the other fabrics are nice to cut and sew. In LARP costumes less elastic fabrics are used because they were not there before. In addition, most fabrics must be strong and able to take a beating. LARP events are not just about posing for a photo, but there is often action and movement. Tough robust fabrics are key elements!
However, velvet is often used in medieval clothing. This is a difficult fabric because it is difficult to fold, you have to pay attention to the wing in the fabric while cutting and because the fabric slips during sewing. Make sure you use a special presser foot to avoid this problem and especially pin the parts very well. Better yet, baste everything before you start sewing.
The whiff of the fabric means that when you stroke the fabric, one side rubs flat on the hair and the other way the hair will stand on end. This changes the structure / color of the fabric. When you smooth the fabric, you go with the whiff, when the hairs stand up, you go against the whiff.
Take extra time while cutting and pay attention to the whiff. If the fabric is on the table, this seems less important. But once you put the fabric on as a garment, and the whiff isn't right, it can ruin the entire costume. Pay close attention to the WIRE DIRECTION indicated on the cartridge parts. So always buy extra fabric, you will need it to cut all the pattern parts correctly with regard to the fabric whiff. 'Fabric-saving' or cost-saving cutting is not applicable here.
Velvet is so beautiful that it is definitely worth it. However, if you choose stretch velvet or velor de panne, you have a lighter type of velvet and it is also elastic. These are not beginner fabrics. Ask for extra help and practice on test patches first.
Brocade fabrics can be very pleasant to sew, especially if it is not too thick. Goblin also sews nice and stable. These substances are often expensive. And make sure you order some extra fabric. The cutting will require extra fabric because there is often a drawing or pattern / drawing in the fabric.
Brocade fabrics can be thick or thin. Goblin is thicker; jeans sewing machine needles are a must.
Cosplay uses more lace, silk and stretch fabrics. This is easily done with mediocre sewing experience. If the costumes are more Fantasy and Steampunk-esque, make sure not to choose too thick fabrics or leather, if you do not have a special leather sewing machine. A lighter leather look is a better alternative and also less expensive.
Stretch lace is not an easy job, but the same applies here: baste everything in advance and then sew everything together. This extra action ensures that it succeeds in flat that your sewing project ends in the trash. Where possible: work by hand instead of the sewing machine.
Satin is not pleasant to sew with. A finer alternative is taffeta silk or real silk. These last two fold better and sew very pleasantly.
If you need a lot of fabric for a costume, such as with our Star Wars Kylo Ren costume, you can choose Garbadine or a cheaper alternative: Texture or Terlenka. These fabrics work fine, do not shrink and can take a beating.
Texture fabrics are often categorized under 'party fabrics' at online fabric stores. Do not let this be confusing. Texture of Terlenka are fine fabrics and are a great base for costumes.
Sample patches and alternatives
There is often an alternative for every fabric. Of course you cannot replace a recommended stretch fabric with a non-stretch fabric, but solutions can be found. Ask for advice in the store, ask the customer service of the online store or an experienced seamstress. Anything better than getting frustrated and quitting your sewing project. That would be a real pity and is often not necessary.
It is often possible to request a sample of the fabric. It can save you a lot of trouble.
Always buy a little extra fabric. Here you can practice in advance and test sewingmachineneedles or find the right stitch. It can also be reassuring that you have some extra fabric, in case something goes wrong while sewing or cutting the fabric.
Fabrics are often chosen or based on color and print. But the property of a fabric is even more important. Some fabrics are a lot more difficult to cut and sew than others. Be aware of this when choosing a fabric. When in doubt, request a sample or sew a sample first. A good sewing pattern, your experience as a seamstress and the right fabric determines whether a sewing project delivers a good result.
Good luck !
Once upon a time fashion gloves were stylish, unspoken symbol of luxury and class, a powerful combination of modesty and glamour. Would recent events make us revisit this obsolete fashion accessory and make gloves come back to our lives?
In these anxious times, gloves may help psychologically by forming a thin barrier between us and the outside world. Although cloth gloves do not provide the same level of protection as plastic gloves, but as with cloth masks, any protection, in my opinion, is better than no protection. They stop us from touching the face and transferring germs from surfaces for once.
A little bit of History
Gloves were first worn by cardinals and kings as ornamental accessories to signify social status, wealth and elegance. (BARGER) In the Middle Ages and during the Renaissance, gloves were often given as gifts and tokens of love and respect. Looking at the vintage painting and photos, it’s interesting to see how gloves evolved. Gloves are often associated with women and strict social rules, but actually up until twentieth century both men and women made considerable investments in their clothing, including gloves. The gloves were adorned with jewelry and elaborate embroideries and, if not worn, they were always carried around as a status symbol. (Smithsonian)
From daily wear to pure luxury
Gloves gradually disappeared from every day wear after the 1970s along with hats, but they continued to be associated with luxury. Looking through the books about Chanel, Dior and Balenciaga, I see how these designers thought about the total ensemble, matching the outfit with the hat, bag and gloves Balenciaga’s simple black wool suit transforms when accompanied by black gloves. The famous ‘Caracas’ Dior silk dress had matching long black gloves, which added the air of unmistakable glamour to the dress. Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy and other designers used gloves as a powerful accessory on runways and in catalogues to make their couture garments stand out.
There are many glove patterns available online, and they are actually very similar. The prices vary widely, however. PDF patterns are the cheapest, but keep in mind that they require a certain level of computer skills to make sure your print scale is 100% and you will need A4 paper supply. If you don’t have a printer, call your local office supply store before ordering a PDF pattern to see if they can print it for you and for how much because it will add to the cost of the PDF pattern. For your free options, online Threads magazine offers a free pattern which is great for those who have solid sewing skills.
Start making handgloves!
If you are new to making gloves, however, I suggest getting a pattern with full sewing instructions. Original vintage patterns are the most expensive. Although I was tempted to get a 50s pattern, I opted for the brand new Vogue gloves pattern from mccall.com which also happened to be on sale. (Buyers beware: when shopping for patterns, check official sites like McCalls or Burda first before shopping at other places like Etsy or online vintage pattern shops. Butterick, Vogue and McCall’s reprint some of their vintage patterns and you can get their selection when you go to mccall.com and type “vintage” in the search box. )
Sewingpattern Vogue V8311
This Vogue pattern has large, medium and small glove sizes and varieties of designs. To determine your size, you need to measure the circumference of your palm at the widest part (small is 7”, medium 8” and large 9”). To get a perfect fit, cut the pattern on a bias and use a stretchy material. Perfect fabric for making reusable gloves is cotton, especially stretch cotton, but you can make the gloves from leather, rayon, silk, linen, wool and, of course, jersey. Once you perfect the basic pattern, you can play with the design; include buttons, buckles, elastic panels, lace, embroidery or beads. Be bold and express yourself.
Choose your color
What colour gloves to make is really a matter of your unique taste. If you want to stay traditional, look at your bag or shoes and get the gloves to match. Make a mask in the same fabric and the colour coordination will be perfect. Although white gloves are probably impractical, little black gloves would be the most elegant choice for any outfit. To remember your gloves, keep one pair in your purse and another in your car. Wash the gloves as soon as you come home, just as you do with your cloth face mask.
This is a new reality for most of us, no matter where we are in the world. Cloth gloves, like masks, are another way to adapt and move on. But for all the artists and creators out there, gloves don’t need to be unsightly nuisance contributing to landfills. They can be a way to express our unique style and they need not disappear again.
About the Author:
Elena Tran is a Canadian dressmaker and an entrepreneur passionate about haute couture sewing using
beautiful fabrics and notions. After her career as a college administrator and mathematics professor, she
pursued her interest in sewing and opened an online luxury fabric store baudekinstudio.ca. She is
constantly learning and improving her craft. Her training includes lessons with the legendary couture
instructor Angelina di Bello (Montreal, Canada), dressmaking program at Mohawk College (Hamilton,
Canada) and online needlework courses at the Royal School of Needlework (London, UK).
A new trend was evident during the latest spring 2020 Paris Fashion Week. John Galliano for the Maison Margiela brought a spotlight on integrating used fabrics and fashion items into his haute couture ‘Recicla’ collection. (Mower) The focus was on sustainable fashion through upcycling.
Upcycling is simply repurposing old clothes.
My generation still remembers how our mothers used to make dresses from leftover fabric, or how they fixed husband’s old shirts so they fit the son as he grows bigger. The clothes had value as they passed over from older siblings to the younger ones. That value of quality clothing disappeared over time. Buying cheap clothes for the season and discarding them or bringing them to never ending isles of thrift shops is spiraling out of control. Recycling can make you feel better, but it doesn’t solve the problem of growing landfills. Buying less and better quality clothing and upcycling old clothes may be the answer to making an impact on the environment.
Garments must have value so that they are not so easily discarded. Vintage clothes are often associated with value and quality. Vintage doesn’t mean old-fashioned. Remember that fashion evolves constantly and designers often seek elegant and timeless vintage pieces for inspiration. For example, the 70s style is evident in the contemporary maxi dresses. Stella McCartney’s summer collection is a vivid example of fashion déjà vu. (McCartney)
You can use vintage patterns to repurpose old clothes and remnants of fabrics and create bespoke one-of-a-kind couture garments. The first step in making a vintage garment is to discover your taste without being influenced by the latest fashion fads. Find your own unique style. As the famous designer Hubert de Givenchy said: “The secret of elegance is to look like oneself.” (Beyfus) Vintage is a broad category and it includes items from 20 to 100 years old. Ask yourself a question: do you like 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s or 80s style? What designs flatter your figure the most? Do you like particular fabrics and colour? Remember the outfit you got the most complements on.
Once you discover your own style, you can start shopping for vintage patterns, fabrics and haberdashery. There are so many vintage patterns available online. You can buy Givenchy, Dior, Laroche, Alexander McQueen and other couture designer patterns. The important thing to watch out for is making sure that the patterns are complete and in good condition.
Tips & Tricks
Make a copy of the pattern on Pellon 830 Easy Pattern, or a similar pattern tracing material every time you want to make modifications to the original. Don’t do the alterations on the original pattern. Label your modified pieces clearly so you don’t forget what was done. I keep my versions of the same pattern in a separate envelope with a photo on the front. Watch tutorials on how to make simple alterations, take a deep breath and give it a try. Make a mockup outfit using leftover fabric or old sheets to check for fit.
Sewing using vintage patterns is not that complicated, it’s like reading a fashion history book with hands-on learning experience. When I sew with vintage patterns, I cannot wait to get to the next step to see how the designer accomplished the final look. For instance, you can master classic techniques, such as making rollaway collars and dolman-style sleeves with gussets à la Givenchy. The hallmarks of haute couture are illustrated in the instructions to vintage patterns, such as basting through construction lines and marking notches by thread, always basting before stitching and overcasting by hand among others.
Create your own style
Incorporate your own unique style into the vintage design by adding reused trimmings, buttons, and fabrics. You can find discounted couture fabric remnants online if you have a particular vision in mind. Alternatively, you can pull apart old clothes that no longer fit or wedding and bridesmaids pieces that have yards of fabric that you can use. Take them out of the storage bags and examine if the fabric is still in good condition, and you can use buttons, zippers, beads, lace or trimmings. Another great way to make a couture garment is to make your own fabric by stitching complementary colours together or make insets and appliqués for a striking effect. (Shaeffer) The treasure-trove of design will open right before your eyes.
You can give a new life to reused fabrics and clothing by incorporating them into your limited-edition vintage garments that you will wear and treasure year after year.
Beyfus, Drusilla. Vogue on Hubert de Givenchy. London: Quadrille Publishing Limited, 2013.
Lucioni, Alessandro. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2020-couture/maison-martin-
McCartney, Stella. https://www.stellamccartney.com/ca/stella-mccartney/midi_cod15034082jt.html#dept=main_dresses. n.d.
Mower, Sarah. https://www.vogue.com/fashion-shows/spring-2020-couture/maison-martin-margiela.25 September 2019.
Shaeffer, Claire B. Couture Sewing Techniques. Newtown: The Taunton Press, 2011.
About the Author:
Elena Tran is a Canadian dressmaker and an entrepreneur passionate about haute couture sewing using
beautiful fabrics and notions. After her career as a college administrator and mathematics professor, she
pursued her interest in sewing and opened an online luxury fabric store baudekinstudio.ca. She is
constantly learning and improving her craft. Her training includes lessons with the legendary couture
instructor Angelina di Bello (Montreal, Canada), dressmaking program at Mohawk College (Hamilton,
Canada) and online needlework courses at the Royal School of Needlework (London, UK).
If you are sweaty and overheated because of to the hot summer, you will not think for a moment abo ut winterfabrics. But the winterfabrics are often NOW for sale and it is time to replenish your stock. Think ahead and you will be very happy, in a few months, with the bargains you have bought now.
Offers / Sale
In the middle of summer, winter fabrics are often for sale. Logical, but this does not take long. As soon as we have passed the first summer months, the autumn collections of clothing are already back in the shops and the fabric shops are again concentrating on the autumn and winter fabrics.
After all those thin chiffons, the tricky lycra for bathing suits and the cotton for tunics, you long for beautiful sturdy fabrics for jackets, trousers and of course: beautiful Bouclé fabrics for the Chanel-Style jackets.
Where to find them?
So pay particular attention, in the fabrics online stores, to the categories Sale and offers. Or select/filter 'the least popular'. In the realworld fabric shops or in the markets you will have to look at the bottom of the stacks and where nobody is stalooking for fabrics. Or ask if there are still beautiful Bouclé's or tweeds available. Sometimes they are still in the warehouse or in the car. Or you will be told when the new autumn and winter fabrics will be available. Maybe they promise to send you a mail or text message! Just ask, although you may be looked at strangely because you are a bit ahead in time...
But 'time flies' and before you know it, summer is already gone and all winter fabrics are in the store, at eye-consumer-level and on the tables in between all new and popular fabrics. Or advertising at the online fabric stores: the new autumn and winter fabrics. And now they are really a lot more expensive. Even those from the years before which are timeless and still very popular.
Do you really want to stay in summery spheres? Then take a look at the beautifully woven, cotton blends. Also very suitable for making summer Chanel-Style jackets!
A summer in Chanel-style
How to make and wear a Chanel jacket in the summer? Hell yes ! Good plan! Nothing as chic and easy as wearing a t-shirt, top or blouse all day long and a jacket on hand to put on when things get a little chilly. We have tested a few good sewing patterns for you and give you information about the suitable fabrics.
Choosing a sewing pattern - pay attention!
We have already tested many sewing patterns for you and have also briefly sorted the sewing patterns by number for you.
But the home page about sewing patterns that are suitable for a Chanel-Style jacket is even easier because you immediately have an overview in terms of the sewingpatterns, appearance, model etc.
How to choose your right sewing pattern? This is an important page for you to make it easy to make the right choice.
Do you only look at the model, or do you also have to look at the recommended sewing level and especially: the choice of fabric?
First the fabric or first the sewingpattern?
It often happens that you have already bought the fabric and are looking for a sewing pattern. This appears to be the case more often than the other way around. Some seamstresses do indeed first look for a sewingpattern and then buy a suitable fabric. Very sensible, but practice shows that it is often the other way around. You see a beautiful fabric in the store, whether online or at a trade fair and you immediately buy two meters of it. Enough for a jacket .... a Chanel-Style jacket .... ever. And then there is the moment when you want to get started with the material. In this case, take the fabric as a starting point and pay close attention in the description of the sewingpattern that the pattern is indeed suitable for the Two, the Jacquard or the Bouclé fabric.
But now it is summer and the suitable fabrics for a Chanel-Style summer jacket are:
- summer tweed
- cotton-wool blend
- cotton woven fabric
- summer jacquard
- scuba or neoprene (very modern!)
Make sure that the fabric breathes well and don't forget the lining: preferably silk! Read all about suitable lining fabrics here.
Sewing patterns for a summer Chanel-Style jacket:
We will discuss the best sewing patterns one by one for you.
This week: Butterick 5712. A "very cute" summer jacket! Reasonably easy to make and perfect for a beautiful summer linen fabric!
Read more on the page about this pattern here!
A sewing machine, a piece of fabric and an idea ..
these are enough to do the job..? many novice seamstress might think... . But that is unfortunately not true. With a sewingmachine, a sewingpattern and a piece of fabric, you can go a long way but you are not there yet.
Let's think for a while: cooking or baking is your passion. A pan, a recipe, the ingredients and let's start cooking. But that is not the reality. In an average household you should not just open a kitchen cupboard, chances are that a load of things will look at you. As soon as cooking or baking is a passion, a lot of kitchen tools are needed and wanted. From spatulas to food processors. They make it easier for you, they give you more options and possibilities and you enjoy the cooking big time.
Sewing as a hobby or passion!
This also applies to sewing. No overcrowded cupboards full of stuff are needed, but we like to mention the best sewing supplies, tools or accessoires. These are simply very useful and make it easier for you. And make you enjoy sewing even more. Of course you do not have to purchase all these items immediately. But put them on your wishlist. Or buy the tools as soon as they are on sale. On the market they are sometimes in large containers, or on webshops they are listed under 'parts' or sometimes under 'haberdashery'. In this case, the following applies: cheap is expensive. It is better to buy a good good pair of scissors than ten times a bad cheap version. And the first option is also a lot more sustainable.
These little sewing tools are BIG friends:
Beautiful fabric leftovers?
Do you have a few centimeters of beautiful tweeds or silk fabrics left from your project? In this chapter a few examples of how to use small pieces of fabric to make beautiful and fun accessories.
Of course we know that the entire internet is already full of blogs from creative people with fantastic ideas with step-by-step guidelines to help you to make some lovely gifts for yourself or your beloved friends or family. We are not pretending to show on this website some unique projects which has not been around already. But our ideas are unique as they are just small objects which you are able to create in order to match the jackets or the skirt. When the jacket or the skirt is made for a client or a friend, it is a nice present as a personal "extra" and a very personal touch. The jacket or skirt IS already something very personal, but a small gift extra, makes it even more luxurious and personal.
Apart from the fun of gratefulness when you give the little extra away, we are also very sensible for the idea of being sustainable and not just throwing away expensive beautiful materials.
Tweeds, bouclé fabrics and Silk or other lining-fabrics are not always very useful to save for quilts or patchwork-projects. They are too thick, too much loose threads or silk; too delicate and difficult to match with other fabrics.
So we stick to some useful ideas to make wonderful accessories from our left-overs. If you have some ideas yourself or if you want to show your project; your wonderful bag, your beautiful laptop-cover or whatever; just send it to use and we will publish it.
Haberdasheries are always needed!
When you start as a seamstress, you often run into the problem that you think that a sewing machine, sewingpatterns and a piece of fabric are enoguh to do the job, but then you find out that you need much more. You need a zipper, buttons, interfacings, a hook and eye closure or perhaps bias-tape. For Chanel-Style jackets you would like trims, fringes or beautiful edges. All in all, it is often small items but large expenses. What can you do to be better prepared, have a nice stock in your house, and not have to keep looking searching and searching for these small items?
Shopping until you drop? Theslogan certainly does not apply now. But for seamstresses and creative people, it probably didn't apply at all.
The average seamstress probably loves shopping, but we often hear that they are very critical about the quality of clothing. Or they think: Oh, I will do a better job! Especially when it comes to cheap, mass production clothing. The finish is often lousy, the fabric is cheap and probably survives only a few washes and the clothes are by no means unique or personal.
Many reasons to start (learning) sewing yourself.
But where do we shop?
With these search terms on Google you will find what you are looking for:
A Chanel-Style jacket without trims or fringes? Impossible !
Coco Chanel made her signature trims and fringes longggg time ago and they are still famous and SUPER modern !
Let's start making trims and fringes and be creative as never before!
Read the book: Making designer trims by Claire Schaeffer
We have selected sewing patterns for reviews. These sewing patterns are all suitable for making the Chanel-style jacket. Our reviews are based on actual testing, ie: cutting, sewing, wearing the results. If you click on a sewing pattern and no new page appears: it is work in progress!
Most sewingpatterns are available at SewingPatternsShop or Naaipatronen.nl.
But some sewingpatterns are not for sale (anymore) or are even real collector's items, which we will mention in the blogs and reviews.
How do you make a mouth cap yourself?
Mouth caps are now hard to buy but we need them to protect us against the Corona virus.
So, maybe an idea to create them ourselves. We found the best videos for you.
. Making a mouth cap without a sewing machine:
How to sew a mouth cap:
Buy a real Chanel mouthcap? That will be difficult. Better to make one yourself. A real 'Chanel-Style' mouthpiece, indeed.
We are already working on it and will come back to it soon.
Take care of yourself!
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Pardon my English