French Jackets and Custom Trim
As promised in my last post, I’ve been experimenting with more custom trims. The fabric was ordered from Linton Tweeds last summer. Finding suitable trim in the right colors and weight proved impossible, so the perfect solution was custom trim. Here’s a preview early in the construction process.
I cut the jacket sections following the straight grain and then shape to match the contours of the pattern. The process is detailed in my last post. I’ve found I prefer that look to an off-grain line along the front princess seam.
If you look closely, you’ll also notice that I cut one inch seam allowances and serged the edges. Although some couture sources shudder at the use of a serger, this fabric was so loosely woven that it practically fell apart just touching it. I certainly wouldn’t sew seams with a serger, but it did provide a nice stable and clean finish. I also serged the lining seams (using a two thread stitch and extremely fine thread). Every Chanel jacket I’ve been inside of uses these seam finishes.
While the loose weave was maddening to sew, it made the unweaving process much easier. I ordered an extra 1/2 yard of fabric which provided plenty of yarns to work with. In addition to fabrics, Linton also has a wonderful selection of yarns. They are inexpensive and I always look to see if there is something suitable for coordinating a trim.
The unweaving process is messy! Work over a waste bin and keep the vacuum handy. I unwove for an inch or so, then trimmed the warp yarns and wound the weft yarns (keeping each type separate) on a card.
There is no set formula for the braided trim so some experimentation is necessary. I set up several test strands and make a few samples until I was happy with the combination.
The first tries produced a braid that was too stiff and thick but I kept revising the weaving technique and number of strands. I settled on a ten strand flat braid using this combination of teal and silver yarns. My goal was to produce a braid that matched the fabric yet had enough of the silver to contrast. I’ve explained the braiding process more fully in my Create Custom Trim for your French Jacket. The weighted bobbins and counterweight are essential in maintaining even tension and keeping the braid soft and flexible. I used 10 strands, 6 yards of each combination, to produce a generous 4 yards of completed trim.
The jacket closes with a custom zip and I’ve refined my techniques for hand-worked buttonholes, which I’ll show next time (coming soon, I promise!).
Before that, I wanted to show the previous jacket again. It was a birthday present for my dear mother-in-law who wore it to her recent 71st Anniversary Party.
How many couples are fortunate enough to have 71 years together? They met shortly after WWII when my husband’s father returned from his service overseas as a B-24 pilot (not too many of those pilots are around either). They enjoyed a wonderful family party including their four children, spouses, 6 grandsons and 7 great-grandchildren.