Recently, I asked on Instagram if people would be interested to know what techniques characterise the couture ‘CHANEL-inspired’ jacket. The many positive reactions made me realise once again that I have come to take many things for granted that actually are not. Therefore, today a blog about those distinctive couture techniques used in this deceptively simple-looking jacket. Techniques that, once mastered, prove applicable in countless other garments.
First of all, the model is determined via moulage. Moulage is a way of achieving a perfect fit by draping on a mannequin or person. A fit that is not based on the great common denominator of ‘man’, but one that takes into account the unique shape of each person – including the possible differences between the left and right side of the body. This is a technique that is actually used in couture as standard.
Ten Techniques Couture Jacket
In addition, the following 10 techniques are characteristic of the CHANEL-inspired jacket:
For the couture version of the CHANEL-inspired Jacket a 3-part sleeve is used. There are two important reasons for this:
- the third partial seam gives more opportunities to adjust the fit, especially the width of the upper arm
- the slit can be positioned so that the precious and decorative buttons and strap at the slit are not only more visible, but the buttons are also protected from unnecessary scratching
Integrated shoulder padding (if applicable)
Although in this particular jacket no separate shoulder padding is used, there is the possibility of giving the shoulder some shape by means of a special integrated trick!
Exclusive fabrics and lining
The use of exclusive fabrics for jacket and lining are not only beautiful, but also have a reason. Not least, these beautiful materials justify the many hours of handwork that go into making this couture jacket!
Sewing by hand
Whereas ready-to-wear clothing is all about being fast and convenient, this jacket is all about being beautiful and paying attention. This is reflected, among other things, in the way sewing is done. Almost everything is processed by hand, manual techniques that give a ‘lively’ character to the clothes. Did you know it is much easier to gather fabric by hand?
Not only is there no traditional reinforcement in this jacket, but the whole concept of reinforcing is overthrown! Here you will discover how to look at reinforcing a jacket in a completely different way by using different techniques.
Characteristic of these couture jackets are the trimds along the edges of the neck, front, hem, slit and pockets. You can use an off-the-shelf trim for this, or create and develop your own version by knitting, crocheting or weaving Making your own offers endless possibilities for variation and adaptation to the person, the occasion, the fabric and the desired look.
Pockets sewn by hand, decorated with trim and put on the jacket.
For the buttonholes, you do not use a buttonhole machine, but you make the buttonholes yourself, stitch by stitch. This is an art that is not easily mastered. Particularly difficult in connection with the rough fabrics from which the jacket is made.
The lining is processed at the same time as the outer fabric. It is common to sew a lining separately and then place it inside the jacket. It is the way the outer fabric and lining are joined (quilted) that gives the jacket its unprecedented comfort and suppleness.
The buttons that traditionally adorn the jacket on the front pockets are jewels; not only in appearance, but also in weight. This could cause the jacket to tend to hang forward. To counteract this, a heavy chain is added to the hem. This brings balance so that the jacket hangs nicely In couture, lead laces are already used for this purpose. For the classic jacket from CHANEL, a decorative chain is sewn visibly onto the inside of the jacket.
This autumn, this special course will start again!
We will start again in September with a new group for this special couture sewing course. We deliberately spread the course over several months, so that you can work on it at home in peace and quiet, and return time and again with questions. Also, this way the jacket can be fitted again and again. Working on this with others gives a lot of pleasure and a feeling of recognition. Sharing a passion for couture is contagious:
The Couture & Craftsmanship Concept: Sewing Secrets
This course is part of the Couture & Craftsmanship Concept: Sewing Secrets. The programme is designed to develop you further in couture sewing techniques in a project-based way. The techniques covered in this course are universally applicable to other couture garments. You learn a new, manual way of working that gives you a lot of pleasure and satisfaction, because the result is worth it.
Maybe you are wondering what your level should be to be able to participate in this course? In fact, you should see yourself as an advanced seamstress or cutter, or as a fashion designer with extensive experience in sewing jackets. If you have always taken the easy way out, this is not for you. You’ll miss out on the experience when the going gets tough!
Preferably you have done an education in the field of fashion, but also as an experienced amateur you are welcome!
In the video below, Anja talks about her experience in making her first jacket during a course at Dutch Couture Academy. Anja is a very experienced amateur seamstress, with a great love for CHANEL:
Questions? Please let me know!
What do you think of a blog post like this that gives an insight into the ten techniques that make a couture jacket special? Is it worth repeating? Do you have specific questions you would like to know more about? Write it in a comment below this post! I would like to know what is on your minds.
The program of workshops, masterclasses and training at Saskia ter Welle is aimed at (prospective) professionals in the fashion industry who are looking for an opportunity to specialize in couture techniques. In the courses, a balance is sought between technique and inspiration, between knowledge and skill and artistic expression. Discovering one’s own handwriting is seen as crucial in the distinctive craftsmanship of each student.
Katie doemland says
What a wonderful post! So interesting.
Saskia ter Welle says
Thanks Katie! Have you ever considered making a CHANEL-inspired jacket yourself?