Not much – unless you were in my sewing room last week.
When we were out in California very recently, my son’s girlfriend, Rachel, showed me a Chanel jacket she had found at a store which sells vintage clothing. Sadly, she had never been able to wear it because it had very prominent shoulder pads, which screamed 1980s. Otherwise it was a very wearable cropped jacket with petite convertible collar, in a creamy white wool with just a hint of a sparkly windowpane weave. Rachel asked me what I thought could be done with it.
Hm-m-m-m, I looked inside it, felt around those shoulder pads hidden inside the lining, and guessed that I could easily remove them and replace them with a much more reasonable sleeve header. Of course, I’d need to bring the jacket home with me, so in the suitcase it went, landing in my sewing room.
I carefully removed the stitching from the lining at the right shoulder and took a peek. The shoulder pad had been attached with hand stitches, easily snipped. Out it came. I cut a piece of French sleeve heading tape, called Cigarette, which I had purchased from Susan Khalje’s website. (I had used this in my Craftsy course The Couture Dress.)
The jacket has top-center seams on the sleeves, so with that extra fabric bulk, I determined that the simple sleeve heading would be enough shaping. Here is the jacket with just the side on the left fixed:
And here is the jacket with both shoulders complete and all sewn up inside (with itty-bitty stitches):
Of course, I had to guess a little on the final fit as I did not have Rachel here to try it on. But I am sure, once it completes its return trip to California, that it has a better chance of being worn now than before!
It was interesting for me to be able to see inside a Chanel jacket – I discovered some details I thought I might find – such as 1) the wool fabric was totally underlined in what looks like silk organza; and 2) hand-sewing was evident in quite a few areas. However, the seams were not catch-stitched to the underlining, which I thought they might be. The most amazing thing was actually seeing those shoulder pads – as their construction was almost exactly like view C of Vogue 7503, my vintage pattern from 1953. How cool is that?
So that was Chanel. But what about the chicken? Another project I wanted to finish last week was an auction item for my garden club’s annual fundraiser. As I am the only one in my club who has a backyard flock of chickens (yes – can you believe it?), I like to put together what I call a “Little Red Hen” basket to add to our auction selection every year or so. Besides the main attraction of a couple dozen of our farm-fresh eggs, I add other items with a chicken theme. Some examples are egg poachers, an egg timer, cocktail napkins with chickens on them – things like that. Of course, as one who sews, it is impossible for me to do a project like this without adding something handmade. So this year, I made a tea cozy with a matching chicken potholder. I had already completed the tea cozy a couple of weeks ago, but the potholder – well, it had to take its place behind Chanel. It did not take long for me to fashion this little hen (in red, of course) to match the cozy. Here she is, ready to perch on the handle of any hot pan:
So what was more fun – and what did really come first– Chanel or the chicken? Now there are two questions for the ages!