It’s nice to be sewing again. I enjoy the whole process – the planning, the selection of materials, altering patterns, getting a good fit, and the sewing process, although my construction skills are a bit mediocre I must admit. But most of all I like “designing” a look – taking inspiration from fashion history or great designers and literature and art – and putting my own spin on it.
So I decided I wanted a summer jacket in a light colour, preferably pink, with darker buttons (more than one). Ideally in linen and with a soft, relaxed feel while also being fitted in the waist. I did actually start with ready to wear as if I can find what I want I will usually buy off the shelf. Also if you have an idea, even if you intend to make it yourself, trying on something similar can help you work out what you want. This Joules jacket was quite nice and I got them to order it in, in s6 (really I am size 8 or 10 in a jacket but the 8 was quite big, especially the sleeves). Initially it was a ridiculous price – around £150 but I knew it would go down in the sale, and eventually it was available for about £55, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I found the real life pink a bit too deep (the swatch is more what I had in mind), the fabric was linen/cotton mix and I had this idea of five buttons not just one. So I passed.
I asked for pattern suggestions.
Sue N suggested the Gertie/Butterick 5962 pattern, allegedly based on the Bar jacket. In fact on her own blog Gerite writes:
I’ve spent many an hour on the internet looking for a pattern that would replicate the structure of the Bar Suit, to no avail. So I decided it would be the perfect starting point for one of my Butterick patterns!
My view is that it looks a bit like the Bar in the first photograph but I am not impressed with the technical drawing. The shaping in the front appears to be made by some nasty long darts that finish before the hem. The short sleeves make it look a bit like an overall.
Here are some of the other kind suggestions made by readers. I love the cuffs on the Maia but otherwise the convertible collar is not what I want. I discounted the Simplicity 8461 as it didn’t have a collar.
I prefer the first three all have something going for them, and any would allow me to make a few alterations to make it resemble the Chanel jacket.
I have searched for all V 8087 and V1721 but they are out of print and while I could probably get a second hand copy from the US I guess I already own the V8333 and have been meaning to make it up for years. Ruth suggested this would be a good basic design. In fact I have been meaning to make up this jacket ever since i bought it (about three years ago!) but didn’t know what fabric to make it up in. I am so influenced by pattern envelope photographs that I could only envisage this in a dark neutral! But I have some beigey yellow fabric that I could use for this jacket – as a wearable muslin just as it is. Then if it works well in terms of fit I could try again with some design variation.
Now the second idea is to use a 1997 Ungaro pattern. Ungaro worked for both Cristobal Balenciaga and André Courrèges before setting up his own house in 1965. He provided patterns for Vogue from the 1960s to the 1990s, and I have one that I rather like. The styling is certainly a bit dated, but I think I bought this because the jacket is cream! I don’t like the sweetie pie, ice-cream look, especially against a pink background, but this jacket with a darker skirt or trousers maybe the one. You can see the context for this look, with many versions of the jacket, on a nice video of the SS 1997 Ungaro collection available on You Tube.
So here is what I am planning to do.
Make up the Schaeffer in a light colour.
Vogue 8333 is not exactly the right design in that it is a more formal and structured than I had planned. But the lapels are wide, the front curves attractively (and this shape is flattering for women with curves) and I really love the little pocket pleat detail). It has three buttons but could be adapted for four. I already have a dirty yellow-beige in my collection that includes linen – perhaps with silk or wool or both – that I bought when I was planning a light coloured jacket for my son Gus (the terrible, unfinished SWAP of 2017). I have a toning piece of yellowy linen that I thought would make good summer trousers or shorts (which he didn’t veto – “I would wear shorts in any colour”). Anyway it is lovely fabric if slightly greyed off for me – but not a warm shade of yellow so it should suit me too (although I suit brighter shades than my muted son Gus). I am going to toile the Schaffer jacket in this fabric. Just cut out my size, without alterations and sew it up fairly fast. Usually I prefer a proper tailored jacket, but I am going to try a quicker construction with fusibles etc. Maybe I can do bound seams rather than lining it – I will think about this. If it fits well I may make it up properly as a tailored work jacket with matching skirt or trousers for the autumn. I just want to check the style so I plan a quick soft-tailoring construction approach. But it might satisfy my craving for a 1940s Coco.
Adapt the Ungaro to make it more Chanel like.
- shorten the jacket by about 3″, from thigh length to hip length,
- slim over the waist on the front, back and side pieces
- develop the cuff
- create four rather than three button holes
- change the outline shape of the collar
- ignore decorative top stitching
- change the shape and placement of pockets
- add two breast pockets
- add dark buttons
By then I may have sourced some appropriate linen fabric!