The Curse of the Chanel-style Jacket

by Marie Barrese
Ever wonder why some sewists have a stash of beautiful bouclé’s and silks? And usually it’s not just one cut, but several. Some also have the trims and buttons that coordinate with the fabric, and they may even have the patterns needed to complete the garment. What garment you may ask, and why are these items still in their stash? Continue reading to learn why this is so.
Often, we sewists have the dream of creating the quintessential couture “Chanel-style” jacket. We are enticed with the idea that we can copy couture easily and make the most comfortable jacket that slips on like a sweater and can be worn everywhere. We dream of perfecting our hand stitches and producing this beautiful jacket.

There are multitudes of web tutorials, YouTube videos, Craftsy classes, books, and educators willing to teach us and guide us on our journey to make the perfect “Chanel-style” jacket. Our Chapter even started a “Channeling Chanel” Neighborhood Group one year to accomplish this task. When we gathered for the first time, bringing our stash, one would have been amazed at the amount of fabric alone—enough to have almost opened a fabric store! Inspiration and enthusiasm filled the room. There were shades of pink, shades of blue, beige, black, creams and whites, greens and multi-colored bouclé’s of every weight and pattern along with beautiful silks for the lining that complimented the fabrics. There were trims, buttons, and patterns. There were even two or three completed jackets! Thoughts of “We can do this!” filled our head.

Chanel-style jacket by Beverly Vance

We “ooh” and “aah” over the materials and completed jackets, but then later, as we begin, reality sets in. After reading the instructions, listening to others who have accomplished this task, or aimed to, we realize this may not be as simple as first imagined. We learn that there are over 100 steps needed to sew the garment and hear the warning that we should “plan on 60-80 hours of sewing time.” So once again we pack up our beautiful boucle’s and silks to return them to our stash and go on to a simpler project.

Time passes and we see another sewist who has finished her “Chanel-style” jacket. We take out our fabrics and patterns, and begin dreaming once more…

Completed Chanel-style jacket by Marie Barrese
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