Like that extra dash of nutmeg, which makes a dish sparkle in an indecipherable way, Classic French Jackets also have some secret ingredients. Except, they really are not secrets at all. They are, however, a few of the components which help to make these jackets so “classic” and just a step above ordinary.
Before I get to those details, however, let me show you my finished – yes, finished! – jacket.
To start with, one of the main features of a classic French jacket is the three-piece sleeve. The seam placed along the center point of the shoulder and running down along the outside of the arm does two things: it allows for the all-important vent and it provides a gentle curved shaping of the sleeve. The under-sleeve piece, which straddles the underarm area reduces bulk in the lower armscye and also contributes to the shaping of the sleeve.
The depth and width of the extension on the vent is entirely subject to the decision of the dressmaker. I opted to make my vents and their extensions suitable for two buttons. I originally planned on making a three-button vent, but I changed my mind, for reasons you will see in a future post.
Probably the most visible component of one of these jackets is the trim. This is such a personal choice, and the selection of the trim can really change the entire complexion of the jacket. As you all may know by now, I decided to use a layer of Petersham ribbon under the braid I selected. Once the Petersham was on, and I had started applying the soutache braid, I took this picture to illustrate how combining two layers of trim can effect such a different look.
On this jacket I placed my trim right on the outside edges of the parts being adorned, but this is also a personal choice. Yes, there are “rules” to making these jackets, but the way you trim your jacket is not one of them! I also like to apply my trim after the interior of the jacket is finished, but I have seen a number of very successful jackets where the trim was applied before the edges were finished in the interior.
In the Classic French Jacket Class I took with Susan Khalje a few summers ago (which I cannot recommend highly enough!), she made the point that a lot of couture jackets are hemmed slightly longer in back, allowing for a gentle curve that is flattering and feminine. I love this look and used it again for this jacket. I think it is particularly effective with contrasting trim.
Obviously the trim has to have a starting point and an ending point somewhere on the jacket, right? Common sense tells us it should be in the most inconspicuous place – which, for the most part, happens to be in the side seam under your non-dominant arm. I am right-handed, so I made my starting and ending spot under my left arm.
Because the boucle I used for this jacket is more of a lightweight weave, I decided I needed to anchor the buttons in some way. So I sewed them on (with waxed and ironed, double thread, of course), attaching them on the lining side with small white buttons.
Another key, necessary ingredient to one of these jackets is the chain which weights the jacket and keeps it looking neat and tidy. Sewing on the chain has to follow the Goldilocks rule: not too tight and not too loose.
The lining fabric I used for this jacket is such a lovely silk twill print. It seems a shame to hide such a beauty on the inside, although the interiors of these jackets are one of their most delightful secret ingredients. You will, however, be seeing more of this silk, along with photos of me wearing my jacket – all in a post to come soon!
33 responses to ““Secret” Ingredients”
Yea! The whole is even prettier than all the parts promised. Thank you for sharing – the details and the whole.
You’re welcome, Mery! It’s nice to have this baby finished!
It’s stunning! O, the tweaking…I finished my jacket two weeks ago but keep going back. I’ve resewn the chain twice so I hear you on the Goldilocks rule!
Oh, that makes me feel better! There’s always something, it seems. Glad you like my jacket!
Beautiful! Your tailoring skills are fabulous! Loved seeing the jacket inside out. I was taught that a garment should look just as finished on the inside as it does on the outside. You def passed!!
Thank you, Tanya! I couldn’t really go wrong with the beautiful lining fabric I found.
Wow! What a GORGEOUS jacket!!
Thank you, Peggy!
Wow, that is a honey, and I look forward to more pictures of the jacket. I can only applaud such relentless attention to detail. Yowzah!
More pictures up now in a new post, but glad you think it is pretty!
Such a delight to read about and see your beautiful jacket.
Thank you, SewingElle! It’s nice to have it completed!
What a gorgeous jacket! You do beautiful work! I agree totally about taking Susan’s French jacket class. I also find that Susan’t video class is the next best thing. Can’t wait to see your next outfit! Sharon
This is the third jacket of this sort I have made and I still need to go back to Susan’s notes for guidance. I know her video is well worth the money!
So, so pretty. Love your lining and your trim. The whole process is so much fun, as you have shown us!
And it’s really fun to get it finished! These jackets are addictive, as you know!
Gorgeous jacket – the color combination is so lush and the lining is spectacular!
Thank you, Betsy! You might see me in it sometime!
That trim really does make that a stand out jacket! Another fantastic job with all the little details that create the foundation for an investment piece like this! You have to be enjoying the satisfaction of finishing such a lovely piece!
Yes, it is very satisfying. You know well how these big projects give big rewards!
It looks fantastic! You’ll enjoy it for years.
I think I will, Julie. Thanks!
Very lovely jacket and impeccable workmanship. Thanks for showing all the detail work. It’s the little things that make these jackets so special.
It really is the little things that make these jackets so special. Thank you, Mary!
Amazing. These are some of my favorite colors. The craftsmanship is impeccable. Well done!!!
Ah, my favorite colors, too! Thank you for your lovely comment!
What an amazing achievement Karen. It is very beautiful and will complement your colouring perfectly.
Thank you, Kate! I like to wear these colors, and am trying to do so more and more as i get more and more “silver!”
A true work of art! I love the colors. I’m in awe of your craftsmanship and patience! The fabric was a wonderful gift and you’ve created such a lasting piece from it.
The fabric really was a wonderful gift. But then, I have wonderful children! Thank you, Marguerite!
Oh goodness…… it takes a village to make an outfit!
Karen, it’s beautiful. The French Jacket details…. the shoulder tabs… the lovely fabric…. the divine fit in your sheath. Congratulations on another stunning ensemble 🙂
Thanks, Sarah! It’s nice to have this one in the finished column!
Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. I would take every opportunity to show off that wonderful lining!