Shanel #3 – Part 1

Greetings from Palm Beach, an ideal location to “winter” 😊

I’m thrilled to be one of twelve students participating in Helen Haughey and Mary Funt’s debut French Jacket Class. Both Helen and Mary are experienced couture teachers, but this is the first class they have offered together.

While working on my second French Jacket in January, I became smitten with the project, but knew I had much to learn, so here I am, and am I fortunate.

In Day 1 of this very cordial and relaxed atmosphere, our objective was fitting. I know the importance of a good fit and it’s one of the reasons I love creating my clothes, but learning what’s behind the proper fit was enlightening.

Before Helen and Mary fitted our muslins, we looked at an adjusted pattern flat. Though the pattern had been adjusted for fit, the seams had not been trued, and the pattern did not work.

Mary explained the importance of symmetry in seams and pointed out the lack of symmetry in the seams in the above photo.

I thought about several occasions I had altered a muslin but had difficulty making the pieces fit together. While I adjusted the pattern to keep the grain straight, I’m not so sure I trued the seams.

Next we compared the armscyes of popular French Jacket patterns along with a Chanel armscye including Vogue 7975, Susan Khalje’s French Jacket pattern and Vogue 8804.  I found this fascinating. The armscye should be curved towards the back and resemble the inside of a  horseshoe.

Armscye Comparison

The  Vogue 7975 and the Susan Khalje patterns were similar in shape and size .


Below is Susan Khalje’s armscye compared to the Chanel armscye.


All of this information came into play when we tried on our muslins. Below, this student is making Vogue8804 which features a much larger armscye. The armscye required significant adjusting.

Below, the armscye has been fitted and the sleeve was redrafted to fit the new armscye.

Here I am being fitted by Mary. I made a new muslin based on the one I used for my last two jackets.. Fortunately it only needed a few small tweaks. My pattern is Vogue 7975.

You might think it’s time to cut and sew, right?

It’s not. After taking the muslin apart, we trace the muslin onto paper creating paper flats to check and true the seams, leading us back to the opening of class and my first technical photo.

This is not the sexy part of French Jacket Sewing, but it is the type of information that very few discover on their own or take the time to learn.  Thank goodness for inspiring teachers!

Many thanks also to A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing Gallery Member Andrea Birkan for making a box of Chanel inspired cookies for each of us!  Follow her gorgeous creations on Instagram.

Now, I think it’s time to celebrate a small victory 😊

Until soon!

Shanel #3 – Part 1