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Chanel jackets

SewNancy | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Many years ago, 1989 I think, Threaad published an article by Claired Schaeffer on constructing Chanel Jacket.  The current jackets are fabulous and I wondered if anyone has seen them close up and knows if the construction is still similar.  Also, the sleeve is very narrow and high, how does one move? 



  1. KarenW | | #1

    Great topic, I'd also like to ask what patterns those who are making Chanel style garments are using?


  2. becksnyc | | #2

    Although it seems to run contrary to logic, a higher armseye actually allows for wider range of motion, as less of the garment is lifted as the arm is raised.  Close attention is needed to the fit, but the Europeans love the higher, closer armseye for the freedom of movement it allows.


    1. bellefille | | #14


      You're back!  You hadn't sent any messages for a while, and I posted, wondering 'aloud' where you were, and then I kind of took a break from the Forum myself.  I've just recently returned, and third message I read is from YOU!  If I'd known how to send this message to you personally only I would have, but I just wanted to say that everything I've read by you on this site has been so insightful, I'm SO glad you're not gone!

      Linda 03052

      1. becksnyc | | #20

        Thanks, Linda.  I enjoy this forum very much.  My visits will be sporadic this next few months, as I am travelling and moving out of NYC. So, see you all as am able!


  3. lin327 | | #3

    I've seen a couple Chanel jackets at the Chanel boutique in Toronto. they were ready to wear, not couture.  The sleeve is very high and very comfortable. It had an old fashioned dart at the elbow.  The linings were cut on the bias to add some stretch and so they wouldn't tear while being worn.  The store clerk said this is something Karl Lagerfeld started when he took over the line, it's one of his signature details.  She liked what Lagerfeld did for the Chanel name, he returned it to its former luxury and quality.  In the thick wool signature couture suits of Chanel, the lining was invisibly hand quilted to the outer fabric.  The braid trim was also carefully hand stitched.  The couture Jacket was locked up...no one was allowed to try it on unless accompanied by a financial statement saying one could afford it!  (Just joking)  That's all I remember, other than the staggering price tag.

  4. ShannonG4d | | #4


    I've seen a few current Chanels in ready-to-wear boutiques.  The lining/quilting technique which was Coco Chanel's construction trademark is not seen so much in the current line.  Rather, the bagged linings are the most frequently seen.  I cannot speak for couture, as I have not seen them.

    For making current Chanel-type jackets, many people use Nancy Erickson's jacket pattern.  She has good materials, and good support.  If you "come in a larger size" as I do, you may find the size range of Burda WOF Plus Size issue to be a better starting point.  There are also a couple of Vogue patterns that would work well, and Shirley Adams has a base pattern with the appropriate dart shaping.  If you prefer a raglan sleeve (seen on some recent Chanel RTW), look at Silhouette Patterns "Betsy's Jacket".

    What you want to look for is the basic shape: a combination princess line consisting of a shoulder princess AND an armhole princess on both front and back bodice.  The remaining subtleties of shaping can be acheived through personal fitting.  Those would include the shaping of a waist curve at the side seams, the slight flare at the hip, you get the idea.  You also want a two piece sleeve (you can always add a vent if the pattern doesn't have one), and that high sleeve cap/high armhole on a set in sleeve. 

    With the pattern in hand, look for a fabric with texture and play with trims.  You'll never run out of ideas. 

    Incidentally, this same style line has been in use for years in couture houses, with primary changes only in the neckline, width of lapels, length and closeness of fit.  If you do the same jacket in a floral brocade with a beaded trim, it's de la Renta.  If you do it in menswear with little interfacing, it's Armani.  Do it in a funky pleated fabric, and it's Miyake.  You'll be amazed how often this basic line will be repeated (I've seen it as far back as the early 70s).


    1. SewNancy | | #5

      Thankyou all for giving me such great info.  I really appreciate it.  One more question, the jacket pattern should have a shoulder princess and a side princess?  Do you mean a side panel?  Also, where do I get patterns by Shirley Adams?


      Edited 3/16/2004 1:33 pm ET by Nancy

      1. ShannonG4d | | #6

        No, not a side panel, as there is also a side seam.  You actually have three panel pieces on each side of center front.   The dart shaping is divided between the two princess seams.

        Vogue 2764 has the back shaping, but only has a shoulder princess seam.  I have a Burda pattern in my stash which is perfect; I'll look up the number and post it.


        1. KarenW | | #7

          Great info, thanks Shannon!  Funny how the virtually same piece from a different fabric /trim/treatment becomes a different designer's work.

          Speaking of two piece sleeves... I know why a two piece sleeve is better than a one, but is a darted sleeve as good as a two piece? I am in the middle of a jacket with a sleeve dart, hadn't seen that in a long time.


          1. ShannonG4d | | #8

            I'm speaking heavily on opinion here, but......

            I like the two-piece sleeve better for a "jacket", and a darted sleeve for a "top".  The shape of a more tailored garment is better served, IMO, with the curved lines and easing of the fabric of a two-piece sleeve.  Also, the tailored garment generally has more underneath (underlining, lining, stay tapes, that kind of thing), for which you do not want the bulk of three layers of dart.  For  a top or shirt, the underpinnings are generally not an issue, and the fabric is generally thinner (or slippery, or you fill in the blanks), which responds better to the angular fit of a dart.  I like the movement of a double elbow dart for really slinky fabrics like charmeuse, and will sometimes divide a pattern's elbow dart just because I like it!


          2. enidshapiro | | #9

            Claire Schaeffers book on Couture Sewing goes into detail about the Chanel jacket.

        2. SewNancy | | #13

          Thanks, I would really love to know the Burda pattern #.


          1. bellefille | | #15

            Me too!  Shannon, you are full of good information--thanks from an 'improving' home-sewer!

            Linda 03052

          2. ShannonG4d | | #16

            Burda 2974 is the one I recently used.  I lengthed it for better personal proportion, but the shorter version is about right for current style.  I don't see this pattern on the Burda website, but it's still in the book.  You can also change the front by taking the front panel, marking the center front line and raising the neckline to a jewel neckline....adding seam allowances (I hope you're following me here without illustrationsLOL).  It's a pretty versatile piece, I've made three and plan to make more.


          3. SewNancy | | #17

            Thankyou! I will take a look in the Burda catalogue.  I have a pattern with a lapel and square bottom that looks a lot like one I liked in March Vogue.  I was in NYC yesterday and bought fabric and I am really excited to get started.  YOu and everyone else who responded to my query have been really helpful.  I also took Claired Schaeffer's book out of library and am looking at her section on Chanel.  I also hit M & J trim and bought grosrain ribbons and some trim.  I may use white ribbon and fabric paint to copy the trim in Vogue. 


          4. FitnessNut | | #18

            You've got me curious. I'm only part-way through the March Vogue (too busy with a wedding gown)....where is the jacket you're so inspired by? I have to look.


          5. SewNancy | | #19

            Actually, it was in march Elle,  on Mischa Barton, the actress. 


          6. kjp | | #21

            I am so enjoying reading this wonderful discussion!  All of you adventurous and skilled sewers are really inspiring me.  I ripped a Chanel Jacket out of In Style magazine this week with thoughts to try to copy some of the details.  I will have to pick up Claire Shaeffer's book, I think!  Don't know if I'll get the nerve to be as adventurous, though!  Karin

          7. SewNancy | | #22

            I saw that jacket do you think that the facing is in silk organza or cotton voile?  Also this last Sunday's Times had a whole slew of fringed jackets in the style section in Bill Cunningham's On the Street.    If your library gets it take a look.  I have the fabric and am debating on how to do the fringe.  The article in Threads (108) does it all in one, but I think that Claire Schaeffer's instructions for doing it as piping is more like What Chanel did.  I have been studying every jacket picture I can find. 


          8. kjp | | #23

            From the sheen in the photograph it looks like silk organza, but the fabric content is listed in the description & doesn't mention silk.  I agree about using the fringe as piping.  What they did in #108 looks easy, but I think using the fringe as piping would make the jacket more durable, plus, I love the way it looks in the fitting seams!  I haven't decided whether I'm going to try copying some of the details or really go all out and try some of the techniques.  I haven't done a tailored jacket in years!  I definitely have to work on a fitting shell, since my size has changed dramatically since having my son!  I have a great silk with neutral colors that I want to use (white, black, brown).  Love the pink, but it looks awful on me! 

          9. SewNancy | | #24

            I haven't made a tailored jacket in years either so I made a new fitting dummy out of duct tape.  It is really helpful.  When I blew up pictures of jackets I found, I saw that the fringe is definitely used as a piping except for one jacket which seemed to be fringe attached underneath grosgrain ribbon trim.  The jacket in Style seams to be lined to the edge as with the original jackets.  The trim seems to be strips of fabric fringed on both edges sewn onto the edge of jacket, not as a piping.  Burda pattern mag shows a jacket with fringe done this way, but on a smaller scale.

            I have to have this jacket done for JUne 6, my daughter's graduation, so I really have to get moving here! 


          10. kjp | | #25

            Nancy, do you know which issue of Burda pattern shows the technique for the applied fringe?  Good luck with your time schedule!  Karin

          11. SewNancy | | #26


            It is the January 2004 issue on page 28-29.  If you used wider strips it would look more like the Chanel jacket.  Also, Claire Schaeffer's book says that leignth wise strip fringe on the cross grain are best.  YOu could also layer them I am thinking to get a wilder look.  Also, Threads did a make your own trim a while back and did a fringe sewn to seams great fromyarns that would imitate the thick fringe on some of the Chanel jackets.  The tie belt looks more like the fringe in Threads 108, without being sewn into the seam.


          12. SewNancy | | #27

            Dear Karin,

            I have taken a look at the jacket in Syte, I blew it up and have decided to use the applied double sided fringe to my jacket instead of using it as piping.  I am making a lapel jacket but like the look of the applied trim better.  I just finished my muslin and now i think that I will remove the overlap and do butted front with loops and buttons.  The article on Armani from a few years back showed how to do this.  MY new duct tape dress form really helped and I finally figured out my neck fitting problems!   I was getting discouraged with the fitting problems I am glad I perservered.  NOw I have to sew it!


          13. kjp | | #28

            Dear Nancy - It sounds exciting!  I agree with you on the butted front - just gives it something more special.  I'm anxious to hear how you make out with it.  I haven't had ANY time for fun sewing these past two weeks (work being done on my house) & I'm getting very tense!

            I don't have the Burda issue you referred to - I just restarted my subscription last month!  I had enjoyed the magazine before I had my son, but then got too busy to make use of it.  Now I wish I had kept up the subscription.  I did the same thing with threads, but was able to get most of the back issues last year. 

            Re the dress form - I'm taking a fitting class from a woman who does custom clothes & used to work in the garment district.  She has an  approach to the sloper pattern that I've never seen before- I finally figured out that we're making a muslin with no ease allowances.  I'm not sure what the fitting shell will look like when we finish adjusting it, but if it works, I'm thinking of putting that over my conventional dress form and stuffing it.  The class is slow, since there are many beginner sewers, but it's been good for me.  I rarely make any but the most basic adjustments on the bodice (girth & length & blending pattern sizes)!


          14. moushka | | #29

            http://www.sewingworld.com has an extensive section under Nancy Erickson's thread (Patterns and Plterations) on using fringe. Nancy's been promoting the fringe idea for at least two years now and has lots of good tips. I don't fit into her pattern sizes but I love her idea of perfecting one pattern for each garment and using it to make many different versions.  She has a newsletter that you can subscribe to with lots of neat ideas (nayy). Several of the posters on SW have photo albums showing their Chanel style jackets with fringe trim. You might have to access the archives (instructions on the site) for all the info. HTH.

    2. Bernie1 | | #10

      I've never been able to figure out Nancy Erickson's pattern sizing - she says to measure a ready to wear garment, but if my RTW fit I wouldn't need to sew.

    3. eauinaz | | #11

      I really like the look of the 'Betsy' jacket (and because my name is Elizabeth that is one of my nicknames), but I wonder if the shoulders now look a little too padded, which brings me to my real question, how to alter raglan sleeves that are made to accomodate a shoulder pad larger than what I would like?

      I have a raglan sleeve long sleeve T shirt pattern from Sewing Workshop, that I love but want the shoulders slightly less dominant.

      1. ShannonG4d | | #12

        The "Betsy's Jacket" shoulder is very easy to alter.  There is a center seam on the sleeve, from neck to wrist.  I have sloping, narrow shoulders and needed less at the shoulder on that jacket; I just pinned out the excess after a try-on and stitched the excess out! 

        If your pattern does not have the center seam, add one!  Slash from neck to wrist, and add seam allowances.  You can do a lot with that center sleeve seam, artistically, as well.


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