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Choosing Chanel-style jacket trims

I always think of a Chanel-style jacket, pre-trims and pre-buttons, as an un-iced cake. The basic structure is there, the charm, the fun, and much of what really makes these jackets distinctive comes with the addition of the right trim. The sky’s the limit, of course, when it comes to choosing trim for your Chanel-style jacket and I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the possibilities.

Here’s a beautiful fabric – lots of nice brown in it, which has a little bit of sparkle. I think the trim should reflect this special quality of the fabric– so here are a couple of good trim choices. Sometimes a trim is lavish enough to stand on its own with out buttons, which might be the case here.

I think this one is too subtle; plus, it’s got a bit of a greenish cast to it. And while a trim can sometimes introduce a new color to the mix, I don’t think it works in this case.

Here are some trims for this black and white tweed – I like the two of them stacked together. These are often busy fabrics, and sometimes you need a bigger impact than that given by a single trim.

This is a classic – the nubs on the fabric are echoed by the nubs on the trim; and the buttons sort of continue the theme.

Self fringe is another way to go and interestingly, the warp fringe can be different from the weft fringe, so it’s worth examining both. Layering them can help, too; Sometimes a single layer is a little flimsy. And, although this trim looks to be the jacket fabric, it was in fact a purchased trim. Initially it was much longer, but it looked a little unkempt; I gave it a trim, and…

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  1. platexas | | #1

    Susan, your article is a very special treat. For some of us (pointing the finger at myself) it is very difficult to start the imagination process. This has definitely inspired my imagination. Thank you.

  2. denise | | #2

    have been wondering how to make my jacket look jut a bit better think the grosgrain with crocket on top is a great idea as if it does not suit then you dont apply it.
    Perhaps make three strands of crochet and plait it.

  3. User avater
    SewingForKids | | #3

    I have a question...I'm not very experienced in fine finishing or making suits... How would you apply the trims? Would you use fabric glue or hand stitch? (I would think machine stitching on the yarn would take away from its look.) I only dream of having the skills to duplicate Chanel. thank you in advance for your advice!

  4. boweavil | | #4

    Great ideas and suggestions here. Another one I use is to make my own trims from the yarns of the fabric. An easy one to start with is a braid, if you have a fabric with enough bulk. Unweave the scraps, tie the ends together and hang over a naid and begin a braid - a 5 braid makes a good size.
    Keep adding yarn as the ends run out. It's better not to tie knots. If you like this, then investigate kumihimo braids for variations.

  5. idabelleh | | #5

    While examining some Chanel-type fabric I noticed how interesting the selvage was. Voila! I used the selvage as trim on my Chanel-type jacket Matched perfectly.

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