Behind the seams of Project Sewn Chanel Jacket and tailoring techniques

Hi friends,  I hope you are enjoying Project Sewn as much as I am. Wowwww!
There is so much information regarding our projects that is hard to pack all in one blog post. After sharing my inspiration and research, today we will talk more in-depth detail about my self drafted Jacket.
Princess seams are one my favourite design features for my body shape. The round neckline  is a classic and allows for fun customisations like a decorative ribbons and trims. 
The pattern is longer than a traditional 5 cm bellow the waist. The idea is wear it loose over jeans just like the cool kids do theses days.  Classical tweed and “put together look”without trying too hard.

A flap pocket and a inner pocket were drafted but never added to the final design. You get so overwhelmed with so much to do. Even tho we had an advance warning during Christmas, my sewing room was closed till mid January. Was like panic SEW SEW SEW for the last 2 weeks!

I’m not going to spell every construction details for this project, only point out a few tips along the way.

Preparation. 

My soft wool blend has been on my stash for almost as long I remember. Sadly, the quality and beauty of this fabric doesn’t translate as well on the camera. I assure you that is something really special and  took me a nerve hacking challenge to boost my confidence and courage to use it. 

Partly because of many fabric bolts lack on vital labels and partly because I’m terrible at organising my stash, I had to take come precautions regarding to pre treating it. 
#1 Making sure the fabric is balanced and on grain. I didn’t doubt this but some cheaper fabrics will have defects on the bolts and there is nothing more frustrating than making an outfit and discovering the fabric was defected off grain, even when you took care in cutting everything correctly.
#2 Pre shrink or not pre shrink. The quickest test is to arrange the fabric on the grain as you would when cutting and steam it smooth. With the fabric even and without any wrinkles, and the iron set on steam,  hold the iron on area putting down not hard, checking if there is ironing wrinkles around the iron. If it doesn’t, you don’t need to pre shrink. Use light steam, with no pressure on the fabric, gliding and steaming the fabric on a flat suffice. If you steam fabric to shrink and the fabric is not flat, you run the risk of stretching and distorting your fabric. If you want to try, steam each area, leaving to completely cool before you move it. 
Lining was washed and ready. Another prep I like doing is getting a piece of my lining and of my jacket, sew them together ( incl the fusible interfacing I plan to use) and do a small wash test. Sometimes if not before sewing, at least before it goes to a wash.
Fusibles is so important to test if you are not using hair canvas or silk organza.  For this project I selected a few different weights and types, tested and choose a  black medium weight. I do recommend you to invest in good quality and variety of interfacing. We sometimes concentrated our spending on pretty fabrics but having a stock of good quality equipment like interfacing, silk organza, stabilisers, ribbons, bias, elastics, threads, needles and presser feet. All adds to the quality and satisfaction of your make.You know, perfection is a lot of little things done well
My jacket was interfaced both the front pieces and the facing where it meets the lining. In tailoring, generally lining is hand sewn, however I didn’t. I made sure a pleat was added on the back of my lining to help the movement.
Marking is so crucial, but my fabric wasn’t collaborating, no chalk,waxing paper, fabric pen, pencil was marking it. Seriously? So enters the old method of thread tracing the whole thing…

Took a long time…  You would find me back to the dinning table so I work and catch my eye on the telly. Hrh wasn’t impress… The whole house was transforming into my sewing studio. Ohh and let me tell you, it gets worst and worst as the project sewn challenges progress.

Is expected that a tailored garment have some underline support, and since I fused most of mine the fabric was still soft and needed some structure. Hello, shoulder pads. So I drafted and sewn my own but you can just interface the sleeve head to help give body to your jacket if thats what you want. The thickness of shoulder pads varies to the propose you are giving them to your garment.

I just wanted a light support and used quilt wadding I had at home.

To make your own, connect your front and back piece removing the seam allowances. Draw a shoulder pad shape, if you like me have a hollow chest, square off the front portion. Connect armhole curve between front and back, gradually extending curve 3/8 (10mm) at the shoulder line. Draw the shoulder curve with the top edge 1 in (2.5cm) from the neckline. Graduate this pattern using flannel or wadding. Stitch the layers together using a running stitch or make a shoulder pad cover. Mine had 4 layers, sandwiched with the smallest between the top and third layer.

Finalising, let’s talk about tailored hems. As a rule, interfacing is added along the hemline to give body and maintain the shape. The position depends if is a feminine or masculine jacket, positioned just over the hemline or on top.  For my hem,  I thread trace the hemline and the finish seam raw edge. Using a herringbone stitch  to hand sew along the folding the hem along the hemline.

If you are in London, stuck on a project or need some advice to start, why don’t you drop by on my Dressmaking Clinic. Next one is saturday 8th.

Voting closes today If you haven’t voted. Only one vote for computer Ip. Don’t try to vote to many times because your vote can be blocked.

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  • Great construction tips and your jacket is gorgeous, as is your entire outfit.

  • Wow – looks like it was a lotta work hun :)!

  • Beautiful construction, Rachel! I’m especially impressed with the pre shrinking that you did. Making sure fabric is on grain is something I recently have gotten into.

    • Thanks Maddie, we get so excited to start and we skip a lot of important things, specially self learners.

  • You put a lot of thought and care into the construction of your jacket, and it shows! It eally looks beautiful.

  • the work you put into this, and the result, is just incredible.

    • thanks darling. It was worth to make it. If I was leaving i wanted to leave with a big bang

  • Your jacket is beautiful – the fabric is just gorgeous. All the best with week 1.

    • thanks darling, best wishes for you on the readers link party x Go Brasilia dress!

  • Thank you for the tip on making shoulder pads, particularly about the hollow chest thing. I had no idea that the shape of the pads would have an affect there. Is the intention to have less of the pad at the front of the shoulder??

    BTW, your jacket is awesome 🙂

    • The intention is to give structure to the shoulders. each person’s body is different therefore you need to experiment with different variations until it suits your shape. For my body and as I seen in designs, the decrease over the curve.

  • This is so beautiful! I love it! I’m so impressed by all your work!

  • The fabric and the work you put into this jacket makes it stand out for all the right reasons. It’s just lovely:)

  • Beautiful, girl! We are totally on the same page:
    http://mertxeshomesewing.blogspot.com.es/2014/02/jacket-la-chanel.html
    Good luck with Project Sewn!

  • Anonymous

    Please,please blog about the shorts. They are why I voted for you.

    • Hi, I never got a chance to talk about the shorts didn’t I? It was so busy and stressful. I wrote it down for a future post.

  • This jacket is absolute perfection and I love the fabric which would work with my entire wardrobe! Did you make the belt yourself also? How clever. Beautiful.