|Check out details on my blog, JetSetSewing.com.|
Pattern Description: This 1962 Spadea pattern, which says "Chanel reproduced by Suzy Perette", is most likely the only officially licensed Chanel jacket pattern ever released. In the 60s, before the days of off-shore apparel manufacturing, American retail fashion companies would license actual designs from French companies like Chanel and manufacture exact copies in the US. The company that released this pattern, Spadea, created their patterns by deconstructing those retail garments to make exact copies. So this pattern was drafted from a Chanel-designed retail jacket.
If you look closely, you'll see it's for "the mature figure." That's me LOL! I sized it up slightly from the 36 1/2 bust, but kept the 60s boxy fit and tight armholes that, according to Diana Vreeland, are what "make" a Chanel jacket, since you can lift your arm without the shoulder coming up with it. I used Susan Khalje's couture sewing techniques to make and fit a muslin, mark and cut the fabric, and construct the jacket, much of it by hand. I learned the techniques by taking Susan's "Haute Couture Dress" class on Craftsy.com. I highly recommend that class for projects like this! Rumor has it Susan is coming out with a Chanel jacket pattern and DVD later this year.
Here's my Chanel Jacket Pinterest Page with links to that class and other resources I've used when researching and making Chanel Jackets.
Also FYI, Claire Shaeffer has a new book out called "Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket" that comes with a DVD and describes her technique to make this type of jacket. It has a lot of interesting background on Chanel Jackets from various eras.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, although I added trim and skipped the frog closure. I made sure that the center front seams were hanging in parallel lines even when the jacket is open, which is the hallmark of a couture jacket like this.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
For a vintage pattern, they were thorough and clear. However, they were written for women in the 1960s, who generally had high-level sewing skills. The pattern itself is unprinted, but I knew how to interprete the notches and holes to find the grainline, darts, ease markings etc.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Having researched Chanel jackets from the early 60s, this is the real deal. I particularly like the two center panels that intersect with the neckline and have parallel lines in the CF and over the bust. It gives the pattern a very clean line that was surprisingly easy to fit. There are also vertical lined welt pockets that give the jacket a little different look. Though vertical pockets are not the norm on Chanel jackets, I have seen authentic versions from the 60s and 90s with vertical pockets like these. The sleeve is a one-part sleeve that very cleverly mocks a three-part sleeve by using a slash and facing to create the vent. The Mandarin collar is typical of Chanel jackets from this era.
I used a blue/gray wool herringbone-weave boucle (with silver threads woven through for sparkle) from Janssen et Janssens in Paris, with a silk organza interlining quilted to the boucle. The lining is a Carolina Herrera silk crepe de chine from Emma One Sock. The chain weight, woven into a twill tape, is from Mood Fabrics in LA. The resin buttons from from the Bon Marche in Paris. I used silk thread throughout--so much easier for hand-sewing! The trim is also from Janssens et Janssens, into which I wove in fibers from the boucle to have it go with the jacket better. That was at the suggestion of an elfin male French dressmaker I met at Janssens et Janssens, who told me the trim was "too taupe". I was skeptical at first, but he was so right! He also told me he had worked at Chanel, and that haute couture suits like these now go for more than $50,000!
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I stayed true to the pattern in construction, though the pattern only calls for an organza underlining for the center front panels. It didn't seem to have enough body, though, so I decided to underline the entire bodice with organza and quilt the organza to the fashion fabric. I also added sleevehead under the sleeve caps. I hand-sewed in the lining and also hand-sewed the trim to the neck, pockets and sleeves. Since the trim is wide, I used woven thread loops instead of buttonholes to go around the buttons.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Oh, hell yes, if I ever get in the mood to make another one of these, which will probably be never. It takes 100 hours! It's lovely and soft without shoulder pads and stiff interfacing, though, and the construction makes it really strong. I've thrown my other haute couture jacket in my carry-on and it jumps out ready to go, thanks to the organza underlining. But honestly, I think this is the only copy of this pattern that still exists. If you come across it, you should make it!
This was my 4th Chanel jacket, and now I'm done. When I saw this pattern, I couldn't resist giving it another go. If you undertake a "Chanel from hell" I recommend adding the organza underlining to give it more body. And give yourself plenty of time!
Check out details on my blog, JetSetSewing.com.