Shanel No. 3 – Completed

My mission: to make a versatile French Jacket, one I could dress up or wear with jeans. 

Mission Accomplished 😊.

Helen Haughey and Mary Funt offered a superb six day French Jacket class, that challenged me both technically and creatively. I needed it and I loved it.


My original plan was to use the multicolored tweed on top. Mary and Helen knew I had made two previous jackets, and that my goal was to improve my skills. They told me I’d learn much more (such as ironwork shaping) using a different fabric such as one with a grid.

I ordered the blue and white cotton tweed from Linton Tweeds. My lining, a silk charmeuse border print is from B&J Fabrics.

After learning about armscyes (here), fitting our muslins and shaping fabric with iron work (here), we cut our thread-traced pattern pieces and machine quilted them to the lining. My pieces were shaped, the vertical lines were straight and my horizontal rows matched perfectly.

It was time to be fitted.

Why? The horizontal lines were not balanced – anywhere. Each piece was approximately 1/2 to 1 row off.

What would you do? Cry? Curse? Imbibe?


During the last nine years, I’ve made one plaid garment; lots of directional designs, but only one plaid and obviously, some of the details escaped me.

It’s terrible to feel incompetent, but I was glad I had taken the teachers’ advice and brought the more challenging fabric.

After I got back on track, Mary showed me how to match the plaids for sleeves by matching a sample of the fabric to the jacket, pinning it to the sleeve muslin and THEN placing the muslin on the fabric with the pinned sample as your guide. Since I was sewing a three piece sleeve I had several matching challenges.

Below are photos of the sample fabric attached to the muslin and the basted sleeve pieces.Miraculously, the upper sleeve seamline disappeared into the fabric and the design is uninterrupted.
To complicate the pattern’s design, the horizontal line was created with ombre ribbons leading me to question whether or not each of the ever-changing colored horizontal lines were matched.

Follow the ribbons in the photo below and you’ll see what I mean….(The 24-carat thimble belongs to a classmate. She found it at an estate sale in New Orleans.)

However, once assembled, the ombre effect becomes the beauty of the fabric!


For this jacket, I ordered a two-way separating zipper from Pacific Trimming. The store offers several colors of zippers and will cut the zipper to your specification. I ordered an 18″ zipper with a 19″ jacket in mind. The jacket however is 20″ long. I inserted the zipper with a hand-picked stitch. The stitching disappeared into the fabric and is eventually covered by the trim.

This closure application was easy to install and it is a sporty alternative to the hook and eye closures.


We were encouraged to think outside of the box for trim, and that excited me! Two advantages of making your own trims include the ability to color match and the ability to create a supple, pliable trim.

Below is a photo of Mary’s jacket with trim she created using the Japanese braiding technique: Kumihimo.

The braid is woven with 16 threads using a Kumihimo braiding plate (available on Amazon). Her trim is lightweight and easy to handle. The photo below features the Kumihimo braiding plate attached to a stand Mary had built to stabilize the process.
She demonstrated the technique by pulling threads from a student’s fabric, winding them on bobbins and braiding together.

How cool is this?

In the photo below, another student inspired by Mary’s demonstration, ordered matching yarns from Linton Tweeds and had a stand made after returning home. She created this lovely trim (jacket still in progress).

Another trim example Mary encouraged us to try is the crocheted trim. Below are photos from the Chanel 2020 Resort Collection (check out looks 70 – 75) followed by Mary’s recreation.




I arrived to class with a ball of metallic yarn I ordered from Linton Tweeds, and a purchased white trim. Helen and Mary preferred the yarn to my purchased trim. I knew I wanted fringe and upon returning home I decided to try the patented Triple Ribbon Stitch on my PFAFF Creative Icon.

After some experimentation I made 5 yards of continuous ribbon trim. 😉PFAFF’s Single and Double Ribbon Stitches are available on several machines, but the Triple Ribbon Stitch is exclusive to the Creative Icon.

The ribbon is stitched to the fabric while it is being braided. Next it is trimmed and fringed.

In 2018 I posted a detailed tutorial on Pfaff’s Double Ribbon Stitch. This stitch follows the same principles. It took 2 1/2 – 3 hours to make 5 yards of continuous trim but it was worth every minute.  In the following video, you’ll see why. After sewing each ribbon, I lift the presser foot to the highest position (not required), flip the yarn and hit the start/stop button. Once you’re in the groove time flies 😉

I embellished my jacket with Chanel inspired buttons found HERE. Thinking I ordered 12 I received 8…………. For this reason I eliminated two front pockets and used three buttons on the cuff. Two pockets keep it more casual in my opinion so it all worked out.

Did you know Chanel jackets feature functioning buttons – not merely embellishments? Mary demonstrated how to make gimp buttonholes, but it takes practice to create professional buttonholes, so I went the embellishment route…… after all my jacket is a Shanel 😉

So there you have it. A wonderful week that completely exceeded my expectations!


… a note about my classmates……

The class consisted of 12 students with different sewing experience. Two were professionals and the others were home sewists. Several were making their first French Jacket.

At the end of the week everyone had reached about the same point with their jackets. Most students had completed the major jacket construction leaving closing the perimeter, adding the trim, buttons and chain at home.

…….. about the teachers……..

Helen Haughey is a couture sewist who opened a custom sewing studio in 2006 in St. Louis. She now lives in Florida. You must check out her stunning award winning dress for Threads magazine 2018 Dallas Challenge. Helen shared many of her couture clothes with the class. In the last post I shared the guipure lace tunic. In April Helen is offering a class based on her Celebration Boucle Jacket, an unlined boucle jacket perfect for warm weather boucle fans!  Check her website regularly for updated class schedules. I hope to take her Couture Sheath Dress Class once it is announced.

April 20 – 23 2020
Celebration Boucle Jacket
The French Quarter – New Orleans
Register Here

Mary Funt, creator of the blog Cloning Couture has custom sewing studios in New York City and Palm Beach. She not only explores the world of couture sewing on her blog but provides very detailed tutorials of her highly skilled work. You will find all of the techniques I briefly touched on in this post explained in detail on her website. Mary offers a three-day class in making custom dress forms (two to a class) that I hope to take this year. I used her customized form through the week and became very attached to it.

This class was the first collaboration between Mary and Helen. From my point of view was a resounding success. I highly recommend this duo together or either teacher alone. Their knowledge, presentation, demeanor and  teaching ability is worth the investment of time and resources.


French Jackets have unexpectedly dominated my sewing efforts this year! Though I have much to learn I’m delighted to be another step closer to mastering this classic garment. I’ve enjoyed it all but look forward to less strenuous sewing for a little while.  As much as I love wearing this jacket with jeans, I look forward to dressing it up for Spring with some coordinating pieces – soon.

À bientôt! 🙂

Shanel No. 3 – Completed