Thursday, March 13, 2014

French Vanilla Meets Blue Jasmine

Given the choice of chocolate or vanilla I will always go for the chocolate but when I saw this deliciously sweet boucle, aptly named French Vanilla, I knew I had to take a detour:

Roz, at Sew Much Fabric really has exquisite taste and all of her fabrics are gorgeous. I have adored every purchase I have made from her. The cream silk charmeuse for the lining came from the rediscovery of a shop I knew of back in the 80's called Thai Silks. They have great prices and a good selection of silks.
Knowing that I wanted to try a more traditional French jacket pattern this time I chose Vogue 7975:

So, having procured fashion fabric and lining the hunt was on for just the right trim. I searched high and low and was 90% sure I wanted to order this one and sent for a sample from Britex:

And while I do love it, once I tried it on my fabric it was just too heavy and wintry. By this time it was the end of February and I had made some pretty good headway on my jacket. The Academy Awards were approaching and everywhere I looked I saw Cate Blanchett's Chanel cardigan from Blue Jasmine:

Then it hit me! Why not try my hand at a black blanket stitch for my trim? So, off to Knitting in the Loop where I bought two skeins of Debbie Bliss merino wool, one each of cream and black.
The blanket stitch is easy. Making a uniform stitch in length and spacing is NOT easy. I needed a template of some sort to stitch by and so (and this tip is totally not couture) I made a line of zigzag stitches by machine with a thread a little darker than my boucle. Using the peaks and valleys made the uniformity of stitches so much easier:

Upon magnification of the pictures of Cate's jacket I could tell that there was a cream colored "finishing stitch" at the end of what I call the legs. I put on my needlepoint hat, grabbed a big needle and the cream Debbie Bliss and did a split Gobelin stitch along the outer edge of the blanket stitching:

My jacket does not have 3-piece sleeves or buttons as Cate's does, and I softened the jewel neckline just a bit, but I think it still captures the essence of her classic Chanel cardigan.
Of more importance is the improvement I've made in my couture sewing since my first jacket. I'm incredibly pleased with this sumptuous charmeuse lining:

I recently purchased Claire Shaeffer's new release of The Couture Cardigan Jacket: Sewing Secrets from a Chanel Collector. She mentions that one of the hallmarks of a true couture French jacket is the sag of the pockets since they have no interfacing. Some even cut the top of the pocket with a curve to achieve this look. Mine are curving a little on their own!

I didn't make any pattern alterations except the neckline as noted above, something I  regret a bit now.  I was pleasantly surprised with the fit of this jacket since many I've seen from this pattern seem boxy, but it has nice shaping at the waist:

I'm very pleased with my second French jacket but I don't believe I will tackle such time consuming trim on the next one I make. My full pattern review can be seen here. Thanks for stopping by and here's hoping all your days are only sew-sew!