No. 2 ~ The Beginning

I may – or may not – find Chanel No. 5 Paris Parfum in my Christmas stocking, but Chanel-inspired, Classic French Jacket No. 2 can currently, definitely, be found in my sewing room.  Well, actually, it’s not a jacket yet.  It is just lengths of fabric and loose trims and buttons, but that is how these things begin, as every home dressmaker knows.

I actually started planning this jacket long before I took the Classic French Jacket Class with Susan Khalje this past summer.  In September of 2012 when I was at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco, I found this boucle and purchased it – even then – as my intended Jacket No. 2.

This fabric is very soft, perhaps due to a certain percentage of mohair wool in its composition.

This fabric is very soft, perhaps due to a certain percentage of mohair wool in its composition.

My first jacket is definitely very dressy, so I wanted this one to be less so, which meant I had to find just the right lining, trim, and buttons.  It took another, recent, trip to San Francisco to produce those ingredients – and I couldn’t be more pleased with what I found again at Britex.

A bolt of this light-weight silk twill was tucked under one of the front tables, and it was love at first sight.  I was hoping to find something with navy blue in it, and the geometric pattern in this fabric makes it bold and less dressy than a floral silk charmeuse would be.

No. 2 jacket

The ruler will help you get a feel for the size of the squares.  Click on the photo for a close-up view.

The ruler will help you get a feel for the size of the squares. Click on the photo for a close-up view.

Immediately, however, I knew that I had to purchase enough for a blouse as well, which I did.  I suspect I’ll be using this pattern from 1957 for a blouse with a bow, which should evoke the correct Coco Chanel look. (A muslin should tell me if I need to tame the bow.  I don’t want it to be overwhelming…)

View B with long sleeves has my vote.

View B with long sleeves has my vote. 

With fabrics in tow, I then headed up to the Buttons and Trims Department on the 3rd floor.  An initial look at the red trims flummoxed me, as none of them seemed right.  Then one of the wonderful assistants in the Department came to my rescue and found these two trims.

No. 2 Jacket

Shown with the lining/blouse fabric...

Shown with the lining/blouse fabric . . .

... and again.

. . . and again. 

Back and forth I went between them, unable to make a decision.  It was then that I went to my fail-safe method of choosing between two equally wonderful trims:  I bought both of them! ( It certainly helped that neither was terribly expensive – and both very versatile.)

Now that I have them home, I am leaning toward one of them – can you guess which one?  Does it help to see the buttons, too?  Once again, the experienced button assistant quickly found these – and there was no question in my mind that they were just what I wanted for this jacket.

These are shank buttons, with gold decoration reminiscent of Chanel "C"s.

These are shank buttons, with gold decoration slightly reminiscent of intertwined Chanel “C”s.

And here with the other trim.

And here with the other trim. 

Well, as in so much in life, timing is everything – or it sometimes seems that way.  My timing could be better to be starting such a lengthy project.  It is, after all, one month until Christmas.  I have those proverbial stockings to fill and much to do, but I’ll just bet I can squeeze in some sewing time before my sewing room transforms into Santa’s workshop.

15 Comments

Filed under Blouse patterns from the 1950's, Boucle for French style jackets, Buttons - choosing the right ones, Chanel-type jackets, Coco Chanel, Uncategorized, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1950s

15 responses to “No. 2 ~ The Beginning

  1. It will be wonderful! And the blouse. Great job! Buying all needed fabrics, suppliers at once is the best.

  2. Joanne

    I love it. I also got to see the fabric in “real life”!
    I am planning jacket #3……..for the spring 2014 of course……
    Happy Thanksgiving Karen!

  3. There’s nothing more fun than planning a special project….. I’m having fun just reading about it! Love it all and my guess is you are leaning towards the red trim 🙂

  4. I vote for the red trim. I love it with the buttons. I, too, am up to my neck in a couture jacket, despite the holidays looming! It’s nice to have some quiet sewing to do when I need a break. Can’t wait to watch your progress on what will surely be another stellar jacket!

    • It’s so interesting – I love the red trim with those buttons, too – but there is something about the red, white and blue trim that “speaks” to me. I probably won’t make my final decision until I am ready to sew it on. Glad to know someone else is “couture-ing” it despite this busy season!

    • It’s so interesting – I love the red trim with those buttons, too, but there is something about the red, white and blue trim that “speaks” to me. I probably won’t make my final decision until I am ready to sew it on. Glad to know someone else is “couture-ing” it despite this busy season!

  5. After seeing how the fabrics and trim photograph, I’m sure it made the decision easier – it’s weird how that can help you be more objective. I think you went with the red trim. It doesn’t fight for attention with the red buttons like the multicolored one does.

    Love your fabrics. We got a bunch of new tweeds in at the fabric store where I work. There are a couple I really like, but as usual, I have super expensive taste!

    • Funny thing about that expensive taste – that’s my problem, too!! So – you are correct, the photos help, but the final decision is yet to be made.
      Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Brooke!

  6. I prefer the trim with the blue, but then I like blue in everything!

    I love, love the blouse pattern. It’s very Coco.

    • So glad you like the blouse pattern – I’m excited about it. Hope the pattern works out well… I am actually leaning toward the trim with the blue, but it will be quite a while before I have to make the final decision!

  7. Catherine Laplante

    Hello, your jacket turned out fabulous. I am presently working on one also (thanks to your inspiring blog) and there is much to say about expensive tastes! When considering the amount of work and love that goes into one of these projects, I believe the fabric should be the best I can afford!

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