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French Boucle Jacket

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I sometimes have to slow down my sewing as I’m quite prolific and my wardrobe is heaving.  I love making different versions of the classic Chanel jacket which requires hours of hand sewing.   After making a couple of ok jackets I decided to invest in an online class with Susan Khalje who many consider to be one of the best teachers for these garments.  People travel from all over the world to attend her classes in Baltimore.  There are so many ways to sew them and this version is very unstructured, more like a cardigan and very comfortable.  The class comes with a special pattern made in collaboration with Julian Cristofoli.  There are no instructions included with the pattern as it’s part of the class but you can buy it separately and if you have made a similar jacket in the past you won’t need any.  The three-piece sleeves are amazing, high and tight which is a feature of the original version.  I made a toile/muslin then used it as the pattern.  This can be used again and again and fits perfectly.

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The main fabric is a raw silk boucle from Linton Tweeds with a silver thread running through it and the lining is silk satin.

The lining is quilted to the main fabric which is what makes the jacket so comfortable.  As I completed this before I started this blog, I don’t have any construction photos but here is a link to a fantastic set of step by step photos for Vogue 8804 by Ann Rowley who UK readers would probably remember won the first series of The Great British Sewing Bee.  There’s a lot of good advice at Couture et Tricot and she has made a few different styles.  You can also find an online class at Craftsy.

Another feature of Chanel jackets are the very special trims, which are often very soft and not at all stiff as in a lot of the high street versions.  On some of the jackets I’ve looked at (when I’m in Singapore I like to inspect high end clothing to see how they are constructed), I’ve noticed they aren’t too uniform looking.  I couldn’t source one as I was in Singapore at the time so I made my own by unravelling some of the tweed and plaiting it with silk chiffon which I tore to get a frayed edge.

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Sleeve detail

I didn’t want this jacket to be at all formal so I used hooks for closures and no buttons.

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I would recommend trying to make your own iconic boucle jacket, it’s a very rewarding project and you can wear them dressed up or down.  I wear this one with black jeans.

Vogue 8804 with special couture instructions by Claire Shaeffer is slightly more formal and structured as it has buttons so you need to face the front.  The instructions are very detailed and I made a beautiful jacket using this which was very smart and classic.

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Vogue 8804

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