…in like “it took me an eternity” to make it. Or three months. Well, it felt like an eternity. I mean it was a completely different season when I started. “It’ll take me a week if I just buckle down”, I said. When will I ever learn?
Granted, I haven’t worked on it every day for three months, of course. I do have a job, you know. Fellow sewers, you get the point. We don’t mind going slow or letting stuff take time because we know that sometimes stuff that is worth doing will take time. It’s just the frustration that builds up of not being able to move on to a different project before THIS ONE is done. Now, however, I am free (to tend to my veeeeeerrryyyy big mental pile of projects that has accumulated in the meantime).
Ok, on to the important stuff. How I got the fabric actually deserves its own story. I swear this is true. You know when you collect something and you dream of just happening to stumble upon that little, tiny shop, where they cluelessly sell all the hard to get items missing from your collection at a fraction of the price they are worth? That sort of experience happened to me.
It was our last day on a trip to Paris three years ago. It was a warm Sunday in August and we decided to go to the Bastille and walk the old elevated railway line, which was turned into a planted walkway a few years ago, the Promenade Plantée. (Absolutely worth a visit. It is a beautiful walk with planted trees, bushes and flowers, high above the road below. Check out this link for more info.) As always, I never wear good walking shoes. It’s not that I trip around in elegant high-heeled pumps, I just never buy shoes that are comfortable to walk in. (I figure that band aids exist for a reason.) Anyway, we had to stop at a café just on the other side of the street to get a coffee and put on some more band aids on my poor feet. Sitting in the tranquil Sunday sun in the Bastille, that it is the moment it happened. I spotted something on the other side of the road, like a shiny object glistening in the sand. “Tissus”, it said – ‘fabric’ – in the shop window under one of the arches holding up the old railway line. For a fabric hoarder, it was like finding gold.
I have been to a fair amount of fabric shops and just the day before we had done a regular stint to the fabric shops at the foot of the Montmartre, but this seemed different. A fabric shop here? Tucked between an art gallery and a seriously upscale violin shop? And it was open on a Sunday? Needless to say, we went in and it was like finding sewing nirvana. I wandered around for a while, just looking at the beautiful and unusual tweed and brocade fabrics. Strangely, they were not rolled up on bolts, but neatly folded pieces in different lengths, sorted on big shelves. All the fabrics seemed that they easily would cost upwards of 100 Euros per meter. I wandered around one more time. I couldn’t see any prices. There were no other people in the shop to observe either. Was it just a showroom of new collections? Maybe you had to be a buyer for a fabric retailer to purchase. Casually I asked the sales lady behind the counter where the prices were. “Oh, that depends on how long the piece of fabric is. We measure them.” “Yes?”, I thought. That IS the standard procedure in fabric shops. “And where are the prices per meter?” (I was getting mildly annoyed.) “10 Euros per meter,” the sales lady said. I am sorry, what? Did I hear her correctly? I couldn’t have. The sales lady nodded at the glass window. There it was, just under the painted “Tissus” it said “10 Euros/meter”. How could I not have seen this? This is probably what my face was like.
A shopping frenzy ensued. I bought a beautiful woven, thick black wool fabric with embroidered pink and gold stripes (it was turned into a blanket when we got home), some silk brocade scraps and this: the light pink tweed with black, white and metal threads. It is even prettier up close. That’s how this fabric came into my stash. I pinky swear that this is a true story.
It immediately got my thinking of a Chanel style tweed jacket. It took me however three years to muster up the courage to actually do something with it. I had taken the Pattern Review video class “The Contemporary Couture Jacket” with Angela Wolf. The quality of the taping might not be super, but the class itself is great. Angela has a calm and pleasant tone and makes sewing a Chanel type jacket super easy. What I especially like about the project is that once you have put the outer fabric together, the lining is already attached. No need to start over and cut out the lining as well when you get to that part of the process where things start to get boring. This is the second jacket I have sewn with the help of this class. The first turned out alright, but I didn’t take my time getting the fit of the muslin right and so the jacket turned out a little big.
About the pattern.
Pattern Description: Lined jacket in two lengths with high, round, collarless neckline and princess seams. A, B: Long sleeves and patch pockets. A: Purchased ribbon ties and trim. B: Purchased trim on outer edges. C: Three-quarter length sleeves, mock-welt pockets, purchased trim along outer edges of jacket. D: Button-down closure, three-quarter length sleeves and mock-welt pockets. E: Button-down closure, long length sleeves, patch pockets, outer edges trimmed with purchased fold-over braid.
I went for version B.
Pattern Sizing: 6-8-10 (I have altered the pattern so much, it’s probably smaller than a 6 now.)
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, it does. However, If you are like me and you like your jackets a little more fitted and not so boxy, pay attention to the fitting.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t follow them as I took Angela Wolf’s class “The Contemporary Couture Jacket” on Pattern Review. That class however was easy to follow.
Fabric Used: A pink tweed dream with metal, black and white threads from a shop in Paris.. It frayed like crazy so I interlined it with iron on, lightweight weft interlining. It should still feel very soft to handle when you apply the interlining.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Took it in significantly all over, especially at the waist.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? This is the second time, and yes I probably will make it again. However, it took an eternity. (Because of the fabric, I quilted the lining horizontally which took forever.) I also sewed on lace trims around the edges on the inside, black trim on the edges of the outside, the obligatory Chanel style chain on the bottom of the jacket and hooks and eyes for closures.
Conclusion: I am very pleased with the jacket, although as always, I spot the faults that no one else sees. The lining was is a Bemberg rayon in light pink and I would have wished it was more opaque, as the seems really show (which is why I put lace trimmings at the hem, sleeve hems and on the inside of the neck.)
Please let me know what you think.
By the way, I wonder if that shop is still there.