As a bit of a treat I spent the day on Saturday at Bamber’s Sewing Machines in Eccles at Lorna Knight’s workshop on how to construct a jacket “Chanel Style”. Lorna was at pains to point out that the workshop was orginally developed by Terry Fox, and there were certainly some very comprehensive notes included, but Lorna herself really knows her stuff and is a very sympathetic tutor. As well as running her own sewing academy offering sewing workshops and courses, Lorna is a regular contributor to Sewing World Magazine, and is one of the experts over at Isew.co.uk (click on the link to see some articles she has written about techniques for making lingerie, another of Lorna’s areas of expertise). As if that weren’t enough, Lorna has written two books and has another in the pipeline. We were in good hands.
All of the ladies on the workshop came away with a half jacket sample, purposely left unfinished so that we could remind ourselves of the techniques and take a peek at the construction again. (Pictured is some hand stitching attaching a stay made from silk organza to the front edge of the jacket).
The fabrics we used to make the sample were top quality – silk dupion and organza, and the main fabric was one of the fancy weaves from Linton Tweeds, again in 100% silk. It behaves beautifully when you work with it – trouble is that now I’m completely spoilt for using anything else!
I learned a lot both from Lorna and also from some very lively ladies on the course (thanks so much for the tip about silk sleeping bag liners ladies, there were many other topics of conversation it’s probably best not to mention on a polite blog! Suffice to say we had a good giggle).
A thoroughly enjoyable day – I’d recommend it to anyone who has basic skills and wants to further them, or if you’re like me – loving that Chanel style and just wanting to have an uninterrupted day of sewing goodness.
So when will you see my very own Chanel style jacket? Well, that is a very good question that I just can’t answer at the moment. The problem is indecision. First of all I can’t decide if I should go with the commercial pattern I already have or draft my own.
It will be quicker to use the commercial pattern – even after making the alterations I know I’ll need to make it fit just so (after attending yet another invaluable course at Bamber’s – this time a Palmer Pletsch fitting workshop run by the inimitable Celia Banks). But I’m not sure about the princess seam style line. Due to the construction techniques Lorna so deftly showed us, Chanel jackets want a simple shape, although I do want a small amount of shaping at the front. I think I might prefer the shaping to be in a seam that ends in the armscye rather than at the shoulder though…hmm I’ll have another think about that tomorrow.
Secondly I can’t decide about fabric. I do have this Linton Tweed that I got from the Sewing For Pleasure exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham in March. I really like it – trouble is it is really just a skirt length (Linton Tweed’s stand had a bit of a deal on them). I’ll have to do a bit of creative pattern layout to see if I can possibly squeeze a three quarter sleeve length jacket from it….otherwise I’ll have to save my pennies up to buy another length as I don’t think I’ll be able to match this.
Sounds like I’m making excuses for not starting this project doesn’t it?
You’re right, I should just go for it. Well perhaps I’ll sleep on it tonight ……( I wouldn’t hold your breath for that jacket if I were you!)