Moderne Mademoiselle:Coco meets Rachel

Chanel began designing clothes at a time when women’s bodies were constrained by whalebone stays, complicated trimmings and accessories. Besides constraining, clothes at that time were impractical and had a rigid set of rules. Indeed at the time one would struggle to find pockets outside menswear. She challenged that ideal, letting function determine form. Her clothes propose would influence it’s design. Outfits were comfortable, sensible, stylish and dare I mention, for many, affordable due her simplicity of shapes and fabric. She made trousers acceptable, revolutionised swim and sportswear for women.  
A real fashion innovator of her time. Her slim, androgynous look, stripped from all superfluousness defined the contemporary woman of 1925 and still defines the women of today. Her comfortable style and heavy inspiration of mens clothes, didn’t mean her clothes weren’t feminine.
She adored tweed, which satisfied all her personal requirements and became her favourite fabric, but as usual, she had a very personal way of using. Bringing it directly from Scotland so she would avoid over washing it like they did in Paris, to keep it softness.
Coco’s creations were based on herself and as a perfectionist she would revised her designs, tweaked them, remodelled, using her sharp eyes to detect the slightest of imperfections. Many biographers would say she strove to create clothes that would fit as a second skin, spending hours trying to fit a sleeve to the point of obsession. Sounds familiar to anyone?
My Chanel style self drafted jacket features princess lines curved along the bust line finishing at the arm hole. When designing the jacket I kept in mind the essence of my inspiration. Simplicity, comfort and style. Something that could be used formally when closed or, loose, draped over the body.
I studied her design carefully going though archives and found out a few design details I wanted to incorporate. The sleeves were fixed high on the shoulder, at the outer tip of the collarbone, to look narrow, that make arms appear slim but the secret really is the sleeve volume is moved to the under arm, allowing free movement. Seams were fixed into place by overcasting and top stitching. She has a trick to join the suit lining and the fabric, by stitching them together vertically to prevent the jacket of losing it’s shape. Tailoring techniques were used throughout this project.
My fabric is a navy medium weave tweed and a cotton lining.
Coco often matched the blouse and the lining to create a neat effect of top to toe harmony. 
Starting with Papercut Meissa blouse, the plackets been removed and the collar redrafted with a small pleat.The seams were binded with gingham bias and fold over for a neat finish. You know this cute fabric, don’t you? Thanks to Roisin’s for gifting me the swimming ladies after I couldn’t join them on shopping trip.
My shorts have a double pleated wide leg, with wrap waistband, side pockets, flyer zipper. With my trouser slopper to correct the crotch length, used Burda Style “Pleated Shorts 07/2012 #127” as a base, removing the waistband in favour of self drafted wrap around waistband. 
A belt and a waist band all in one. The side seams pockets highlighted with a rectangular shape topstitching. The shorts was made in viscose. 
To avoid overwhelming you with details overload, check out “Behind the seams: Project sewnseries of posts about the competition projects, including outfits constructions techniques.
Ps: Don’t forget to vote for your favourite design.( me me me PLEASE!)
  • I’m obsessed with those shorts! Adding the tie waistband was genius.

    • Thanks, I also shortener from the original. Its a lovely pattern!

  • I can’t get enough of these shorts! The tie waistband is pure genius.

  • I love everything! And I love your refined taste and how everything just suits you so perfectly!

  • Love the print of your blouse and lining. Coco would be so proud of those shorts and the wonderful pairing with the jacket!

    • Thanks my friend. I tough the fabric print shared the spirit of Coco’s revolution

  • Lovely outfit hun :)!

  • Lovely outfit hun! 🙂

  • This is fabulous, that print is gorgeous & you look spectacular in this outfit!

  • Great work Rachel! But forget the outfit look how long your legs are, they go on forever!! Seriously though you did a really great job I love the jacket but those shorts are pretty awesome too!

    • Thanks darling, I don’t know how did I just managed to make shorts in freezing weather.

  • Love this whole outfit, beautiful work! And really interesting to read about the inspiration behind it 🙂

    • thank you. I really wanted to make an outfit that reflected both my inspiration and personal style.

  • Aah, love this whole thing! Just gorgeous.

    • Thank you Sarai. The post on wardrobe arch tech been very helpful to use as a guide to what to make.

  • I really like this whole outfit, you did a fantastic job! Good luck!

  • Beautiful outfit Rachel! You got my vote 🙂 good luck!

  • rachel girl, you totally took coco’s style and made it YOURS. so effortlessly sexy, although i KNOW this took forever!!

  • Rach, you look amazing! This outfit is fantastic and is a really interesting take on Coco! Seriously, beautiful work!

  • Gabrielle would be so proud! Honestly Rachel, this is such a stylish and original combo. You get my vote any day! x

    • Oh Janene, thats so lovely specially because I love your work. Thanks xx

  • I love it. Totally voted for you!

  • Done ! you are just amazing… Good luck

  • Rachel, this is great! I bet, if Gabrielle were alive she would have offered you a job,.

  • Just fabulous! I too am a serious Chanel lover and you have perfectly joined her style with your own. Fantastic job lady! Just wonderful!

  • Gosh, as much as I know about Chanel, there is always more to that woman!

    As much as this outfit is you, I’d totally wear this. I’m absolutely in love with the lining and incorporating it into the lining. I’m going to hop on over to check out your construction techniques. Good job Rachel!

    P.S. – do you know if that cotton/lining is still available? I have to have it!

    • Thanks for the love Maddie. I have emailed you about the fabric! xx

  • Beautiful job! The research you did really shines through, what a thoughtful and lovely project.

  • puu

    i love the way you took the classic chanel but really made it your own with that fabulous, unexpected print and your genius tweaks to the meissa blouse. beautiful work!

  • Those shorts! That top! That fabric! The jacket! Rachel you are blowing us all away. Truly spectacular lady!

  • Amazing!!! You are an inspiration!!!

  • I am extra proud of you Rach. You look amazing . That outfit looks so simple yet so classy.

    • Oh dibs, this is one of those looks that took AGES of hard work to look effortless.

  • Gorgeous as always, loving the shorts on you, and the jacket looks impeccably finished lady 🙂

  • I voted for you!!! I am learning to sew- and am playing along at Project sewn too, although my project was a DIY failure… lol . Yours turned out beautiful- and your attention to detail … so amazing! I hope you win!

    • Oh Laura, your vote means so much! Keep practicing. I sewn many failures to gather the knowledge I have today

  • I love your style icon inspiration and your outfit sure doesn’t disappoint! What amazing attention to detail and everything fits you so perfectly! And can you please stop looking so much like a super model! I can’t stand it! 🙂 Amazing work as usual!

    • Ohh darling, you done such an amazing job last year and you do look great yourself and i totally stock you !

  • So pretty… Love the sweet blouse with those shorts.. and the jacket is just perfect. Happy sewing.

  • Wow, what a fabulous outfit! I love that the lining matches the top, a great detail, I love it

  • Love everything about this outfit. All that research, totally a labour of love which has paid off fantastically. Blouse and jacket lining the same, sheer genius 🙂

    • Hey darling, are you coming back to FQR? I hope so.. we need to catch up x

  • Oh darling how beautiful is this. The devil truly is in the detail. I can hear Coco up there cheering you on 🙂 Also on a side note your eyebrows are lovely.

  • Beautiful jacket and lovin that lining. Love how it matches your blouse. I’ve got the same fabric in my stash.

  • this is a beautiful outfit! i love how you paid so much attention to the details. your jacket is absolutely fabulous, and those shorts are just inspired. love it all!

  • Great concepts and those shorts make your legs look sooooooooooo long!

  • Rachel, you are stunning in this! I so love those shorts on you! You have legs for days!!!! All the little details must have taken a lot of thought and time. Lovely.

  • love those shorts!!!!

  • Really great outfit, very chic and very wearable! Your attention to detail is amazing! If you decide to make a pattern to sell from that jacket, please let me know, it’s beautiful!

  • Tudo lindo! Adorei o forro combinando com a blusa demais! E esses shorts então…sem comentários ta um arraso!
    Votei em vc e estou torcendo para que vc ganhe 🙂

  • Rachel, what ‘s not to love? I adore the idea of matching the lining and the top (especially with that fabric!), the shorts are ever so pretty and the jacket is just the perfect simple design you could imagine your icon wearing! Such an inspiring outfit!

  • I’m so in love with those shorts!!!

  • Am I too late? I need to congratulate you for such an acomplishment…I mean: you drafted that jacket!!! I´m in awe of you. Everything you are wearing is so pretty, unique and matching so well… You have a great sense of proportion, too.

  • Hi, Rachel! Pela primeira vez estou navegando com calma pelo seu blog. Gostaria de já ter feito isso há mais tempo, mas minha vida é uma loucura! Estou muito encantada com sua criatividade, seu apelo fashion, suas poses de top model e sua costura habilidosa.

    O outfit deste post é PERFEITO! Fico imaginando quantas possibilidades para usar essas peças. Este é um conjunto incrível para viajar para aqueles lugares que vc não sabe bem qual temperatura vai enfrentar. Além disso, dá para criar looks que vão do parque (o short com um chinelinho) ao mega restaurante fino (a jacket com uma calça social preta).

    Estou sonhando em costurar uma jacket como essa. Até comprei uma aula no Craftsy, mas ainda não recebi o molde para começar! Ela seria perfeita para usar em junho em Brasília.

    Aliás, acho que agora estou sonhando em costurar tudo: o short, o top com gola peter pan (ah! como eu amo gola peter pan!).

    Estou cada vez mais fã do seu trabalho!!!!!

    Aguardo sua visita por aqui!

    Beijo grande!
    Vivi Basile