Sunday, July 9, 2017

Sophie's Jacket

                           Chanel inspired “Sophie” Jacket
                                                            Ready to wear tweed jacket
                                                               By Sophie St. Claire
                                         Sewing instructor, designer, dressmaker & tailor

“Sophie” Jacket
My desired Chanel inspired jacket

Project: Black tweed wool princess line jacket with sandwich salvage trim application. Jacket is 3 button front closure with 1 inch diamond looking buttons with two button vent. Jacket is lined with black & white stripe satin and has notched collar, patch pockets with applied chain on inside of hem. 

My experience with making and wearing the “Sophie” jacket

Research & Inspiration
My favorite places to research the most modern looks are Pinterest and These sites are the easiest see cut & grain lines, sewing details, and the inside of the jackets. One can also see detailed fabric textures and gauge weave of tweed. Once I have found my fantasy look, I start figuring a commercial pattern that’s easy to modify for the desired cut line. Next I research the fabric. After getting the fabric I research and figure the trim. I love making trims and exploring how to make them. After I have figured the trim I research complimentary button styles. Once I have completed my project plan and have all my materials, then and only then do I get into making a muslin fitting shell.

Once the muslin fit issues are worked out I get into the cutting and sewing. I have my own method of working directly. I love doing hand work but rather do machine made buttonholes because machine buttonholes are bulkier and stronger for my sort of garment wearing.  I never start this sort of project unless I have all my supplies, it’s a mental energy thing. Even though I am a seasoned tailor and understand the mature sewing project of many sewing hours, I can like others get caught up with mental fatigue of a project that takes much longer to make than expected. I only work is three to four sewing segments. I also include sewing friends as a support group with my progress, ups and downs and excitement. I love making these sorts of wool jackets. These jackets are a rewarding project with my sewing ambitions.


There is great gratification in wearing a well made garment that looks and hangs beautifully. I travel on an airplane from time to time, I always wear a Chanel inspired jacket. These jackets are superior communicators of luxury and style. They help with seat up grades or even getting into a hotel room earlier. These jacket styles are great, with minor accessorizing one can look fabulous. These jackets can be dressed up or down very easily. I always wear a hat, scarf and gloves with my jackets. The best feature to these sort of jackets are that they are not a suit and allows for wardrobe expansion. For me I need this sort of wardrobe for traveling and general social life. Making these style of jackets has expanded me into a new dressy casual look I would have not have explored. I will continue to explore more creative sewing elements for the more modern luxury look. The “Sophie” jacket is my third tweed with Chanel inspired sewing techniques. I am planning to make two more jackets this year.

Production and Instruction “Sophie” Jacket


Pre Prep press fabric and lining
Press fabrics only to straight of grain line

Pre Prep press fabric and lining
Press fabrics only to straight of grain-line
Prep selvage edge to be trimmed
Trim edge at 5/8 seam allowance
connect the two stripes by abutting with zig zag seaming.
edge trim with loose zig zag
Note: zig zag helps with fray before applying.
set aside for later application

cut all each three layers, fabric, interfacing and lining at one cutting session.

Press all interfaced pieces using pressing clothes. One cloth for ironing table surface and the other for next to fusible interfacing.
Note: Careful not to mis-shape, allow iron to glide not to push while pressing. Trim away over lap of interfacing. Gravity feeder irons are the best with working with wools, seam is key for shaping and seam pressing.

Stabilizing angled and curved seams
Stabilize all curved seams with straight of grain stripes or stay stitch at 3.5 mm Stay stitching areas include; neck, princess line seam and armholes.
Note: With stay stitching be careful not to stretch out curved areas using the sewing machine.
Press with iron on wool setting and use steam with pressure to help fusible interfacing to adhere properly.

Tailor tacking pocket and lapel over lay point mark
chalk pencil dot mark for darts, reinforcement corner for collar placement and buttons.


Pin as much to the sewing sequence as possible.



Sew all the pieces pinned.

Press all the newly sewn pieces and use proper pressing tools such as; ham, pointer press and sleeve board. Press using tools to preserve shape or create shape.

Princess seam

Pressing issues
* Over or under press
* Tweed can mis-shape easily because it molds so easy
* Tweed is lovely to work with
* No way around it with silhouetting seam allowance   bulk

*Card stock pressing tools

Under collar

Cut and press dart.

Trim prep for sewing & finishing

1. Jacket front and back  
2. Pockets top placement
3. Collar top
4. Sleeve hem L-shape
5. Basting trim by hand
6. Sewing trim to finish sandwich technique
1. 2. 3.     4. 5. 

Use pressing tool (card stock to pocket shape no seam allowance).
Hand baste lining to the pocket
Hand small stitch for thread pulls for shaping pocket corners.
Use card stock to shape pocket corners with perfect shaping.
Pull on pull threads to ease extra seam allowance to help with pocket corner shaping.
Press corner by moving iron from corner edge to center of pocket area with full steam as iron glides along.

Collar finishing
Pointer tool pressing
Shaping with ham roll line
set aside for later application

Sleeve hem with facing
Pointer tool 

Finishing sleeve
Sewing from side only

Pressing vent

Button to vent area application
buttonhole marks
buttons and shank

Prep sleeve for sleeve & armhole application
baste stitch sleeve head by machine for later easing
armhole prep
shaping twill tape
applying twill tape, 3/8 seam allowance baste stitch

Applying sleeve to armhole and inter-construction
sew on inside of armhole even with twill tape applied
applying sleeve head, (batting) by hand.
applying shoulder pad by hand

Front facing
apply front facing

ending point for collar application
Bias facing jacket hem
baste in place

flat catch stitch for hem finishing

Collar application
prep pivot point
pressing-open seam by notch
releasing back under collar
slip stitch seam to seam line of over and under collar together with loose tension

Pocket application (floating pocket)
pinning with ham for shaping area.
back stitch by hand back side of pocket placement
note: Back stitch under side of pocket allows for stronger wear, like for heavy cell phone. slip stitch front would be proper, but not as strong.

Armhole with lining tacking
pin lining in place with seam allowance edge matching to jacket fabric and shoulder pad
back stitch by hand at the 1/2 line from seam allowance edge the  multi layers
store jacket on a hanger for more sewing later

Measuring buttons
use ribbon to measure circumference of button
take that measurement and flatten, then measure with seam gauge to get accurate measurement
note: test button with proper measurement and also machine stitch length for best functioning and looking buttonhole 

make buttonholes for front of jacket by starting from bottom to top
use apple buttonhole cutter tool for cutting buttons
Force fray and cut tails for finishing for clean looking buttonhole

Button application
sew buttons on strong with appropriate shank distance

Sleeve lining
hand sew sleeve lining to armhole
trim 1/4 seam allowance from under armhole area (de-bulking)
Fell stitch sleeve lining to armhole by grabbing some of the multi layers


Sleeve head shaping
Use steam and hand shaping
Keep the top of sleeve side bevel shape
Top of sleeve press flat
Unpressed Pressed

Blind hem stitch to hemline of sleeve bottom

Chain finish
start at right side and work to left to attach chain
tack top of chain from right side to left, almost to left side finished area, cut chain to proper size, then tack chain at the bottom left to right.

Completed jacket

To start your Chanel inspired jacket

Suitable Fabrics

Test fabric for; wrinkling, wear, snagging, pressing and stretch.

Fabric preparations
*Depending on the fabric you have chosen you maybe to wash and dry fabric to help with more textured tweedy look.
*Press fabric and look for unevenness. If fabric presses uneven, you will have to decide if you will go with the fabric for the project.

            Purchased trims
Purchased can have some limitations, either with color or widths. If your fabric comes with trims that is the most idea scenario for a matching look. There are some lovely braids trims that can give a more structured heavier look. Some home decor trims can be appropriate for your jacket.
Note: Purchasing trim is the faster than making trims.
            Making trims
Selvage trims are great, one must calculate trim yardage before purchasing yardage for the project.
Bias cut trims are the easiest to make and gives the most plentiful yardage.
Cross-grain frayed trim another easy to make.
Braiding trim can be made narrow (more commonly used) or wider.
Note: Making trims can be really time consuming.

Your jacket style
It’s always best to have a Jacket style that works for your figure and expands your wardrobe. For all the work involved you need a garment that is best as a core wardrobe piece. Later after you have your tailoring at a faster and at an accurate level than its best to make a wardrobe of fantasy jackets. Choose the most complimentary color that works with your hair, scarf, shoes and handbags.

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