Friday, April 1, 2016

French Jacket: Part Six - The Final Details!

In this final installment I will discuss the trim, the chain and the pockets.
** links to the previous posts on my French Jacket Construction included at the end of this post.

My completed French Jacket!

These last bits of sewing are almost exclusively done by hand. If you follow the full couture method it would 100% be all hand sewing. I decide to use a small amount of machine sewing for my pockets.

The steps for this part include:
1. making and applying the trim
2. applying the chain
3. making and applying the pockets
4. sewing in the label!
Naked Jacket with no trim

Step 1: the FUN part!! The making and applying of the trim. I used 2 different trims layered for this jacket. Each layer was sewed down separately. The design phase of the trim started way back at the beginning of the project. you sort of have an idea as you are constructing the jacket and you have to let all the parts speak to you and kind of tell you how to place them. I know that sounds a bit silly but its how I work. And maybe it is more that as I am constructing the jacket with all the materials around me my mind subconsciously works on the design problem so that when it comes time to actually place the trim it almost feels more instinctual. In the case of my project I had all the materials with me at the last workshop I did with Sarah Veblen. She took the time to do a mini- trim lecture with us using my materials. It was very interesting hearing all of here thoughts about the use of trim and the practical ways to look at them and to apply them. It was also somewhat of a validating moment for me when she totally agreed with my final trim ideas and placement.
zig zagging the trim to stabilize the fringe.

Playing with trims on worktable.

Playing with trims on scrap of fabric.

With Sarah's suggestion of reinforcing the selvedge trim I sewed a wide zigzag all along the edge of the 'hairs' to keep them from just falling apart when I trimmed the piece down to fit under my Chanel trim. I placed my trim about a 1/2 inch back from the edge and all along the front edge and neckline of my jacket. I did not go around the hemline because the skirt I made to wear with this jacket is dimensional AND I wanted to keep the clean lines along my hip and derriere!
Fringe pinned onto jacket and sewn with running stitch first.

Fringe pinned around neckline.
I first pinned on the selvedge trim and with the 'hairs' going into the jacket and secured this with a running stitch. I next pinned on the Chanel trim that I purchased from Susan Khalje brought back from one of her Paris trips. This trim is so beautiful and so well made!!! I was able to trim it wherever I needed at the ends and just to a couple whip stitches and nothing fell apart, just so lovely and the ribbon running through is gorgeous.
Chanel trimmed pinned over fringe.

Hand Sewing of Chanel trim.

Step 2; Applying the Chain. Actually, I think I sewed the Chain on before the trim but that's splitting hairs at this point! I decided to apply the chain only to the back of the jacket. SOme Chanel jackets have the chain only in the back and some have the chain going all the way around. My decision was twofold. The chain can be applied to the back only to counterweight the trim and since my trim was only being applied to the front edges and around the neckline I felt that only the back was needed. My other reason was that more often than not my clothes in general will fall to the front. There are a zillion reasons for this and the biggest one being fit of the garment. the fit of this garment is so spot on that I really don't think this would be an issue. However, the thought did come into play. I measured my muslin from side seam to side seam and the chain was cut to that length. The chain, gunmetal medium, came from Sarah Veblen and is a very lovely high quality chain! She sells chain on her website here.
Chain applied to back of jacket.
My chain actually goes beyond the side seams about an inch in either direction since I have lost so much weight since I first started this project last spring. I did not worry about it. I found the center of the chain and the center back of my garment and just started sewing the chain on at that point. I used a waxed double thread and took 2 stitches around every single link. I tried to put the stitches in the link of the chain where it would not be noticeable but for some reason it didn't always turn out this way. A tiny detail that no one but me will know about... well and now you too!

The chain is stitched on just on the fashion fabric abutting right against the lining with a about a 1/4 inch of space below the chain before the actual hem edge. This was done to make sure that the chain is not seen from the right side. I also made sure to stitch it through to the organza enclosed in the hem to give it some extra stability and keep it from drooping.

Step 3: The pockets. I was actually undecided about pockets for a long time. I like the smooth look of no pockets but I really need pockets and did not place any hidden ones on the interior. So i went for it and i'm really glad that I did. They add a super nice touch of elegance and also give me another place to tie in the glass buttons from the sleeve vents. I used a medium size pocket. From my inspiration photos in this blog post you can see the actual Chanel Jackets often have multiple sets of pockets. Larger ones on the bottom and a second set of smaller ones just above them. I decided to do just one set and to make them medium sized. Not too big and not too small, just right!

I must confess that I had 3 different design options for the trim. I had the pockets pinned on with the jacket with various trim options for several days on my dress form plus I asked Sarah's opinion during a Skype mentor session with her. Just like previously, I ended up going with the one that just felt the best to me!
Pocket idea A

Pocket idea B

This is the ONLY place where I would change things up in my next jacket. I hate the look of sagging pockets so I decided to line them with the black silk organza. Well, hindsight is 20/20 and i should have underlined them in the silk organza and used the colorful lining fabric as the pocket lining. Again this is splitting hairs and nothing that anyone looking at me wearing the jacket would ever notice. But, I notice it when I look down at myself.

To make the pockets, I used my homemade cardboard pocket template that I have been using for years and cut out 2 fashion fabric and 2 organza lining sections. I did not add any length to the top for a facing. These pockets are lined to the edge. I then placed right sides together and sewed them using a 1/2 SA around all sides leaving a 2 inch opening along the top. I then pressed, trimmed and graded, turned pressed again to favor the fashion fabric to the inside. Slip stitched the opening closed and then applied the trim and buttons by hand. The pockets were then hand sewn to the jacket.
Back/inside of pocket. Can see clipping through the organza.

Pockets completely sewn and ready for application to jacket.
This was it the final creation was done and all I had left to do was sew in my label: Siouxzeegirl Designs.

Final thoughts...
This was one of the most rewarding projects that I have ever worked on and I am eagerly looking forward to my next one. I have 2 lengths of boucle in my fabric collection, one a pink and grey and one a deep red and black, and now that I know that I can do it and do it well I am daydreaming of the design of my next French Jacket!

This French Jacket or French Style Jacket will be worn in the Haute Couture Club of Chicago Fashion show on April 10th and if all goes as planned at the Annual ASG conference Fashion Show in Indianapolis this July along with a group of several others.

Here are some final pictures of my finished jacket. I stiffed the arms for these pictures to better show off the sleeves but I think i may have overdone it!! HeHe!!
There will be photos of me in it soon!!

Links to previous French Jacket posts:
1- French Jacket: Part One- Inspiration
2- French Jacket: Part Two- Choosing a pattern, Muslin fitting and fabricprep
3- French Jacket: Part Three- Quilting and Beginning construction
4- French Jacket: Part Four- Vertical Lining seams,sleeves and front closures
5- French Jacket: Part Five- Inserting the Sleeves and the Jacket Hem

Happy Sewing!
And a parting photo of my Princess Victoria on Easter morning! I'm a lucky grandma :)


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you so much Daisy! it is so lovely to wear and makes me feel good to just put it on!

  2. What an amazing achievement, I am inspired to start moving beyond planning my own jacket, and actually sew it!

    1. Thank you so much Belinda! I hope you get to the sewing part soon :)


comments, thoughts, idea? Please share!