Late summer jacket; adapting Vogue 1977

When I decided to make a version of a 1937 Chanel jacket I covet,  I chose a “modern” (1997) pattern as my starting point.

The best thing would have been to draft a pattern from scratch, using my personal blocks and working carefully to create all the design features I love in this jacket. Another idea would have been to start with a vintage pattern from the era and make changes to that. In the end I went for the 1997 Ungaro pattern. It is somewhat dated, of course, but it is a well drafted, old-fashioned, fairly classic, but relatively simple unlined jacket without lots of tailoring, padding or structure and I thought it had a “feel” of the original. By the 1990s the pattern companies were creating easy to construct items that were not yet fully dumbed down (as I feel a number of modern patterns are).

The punch line is I really, really enjoyed making this jacket. A nice straightforward pattern, clear instructions and a really quick process. They suggested using nylon knitted fusible interlining throughout, except for the sleeves. I didn’t do this. I only interfaced the collar and facings, and I am so glad I didn’t over structure the jacket. It is fairly firm anyway, as a result of using a meium weight inen fabric. The dying project adds body too (I have always found this – do you agree?). The collar (with a stand, an upper and lower collar with slightly different dimensions so that the seam is hidden perfectly) is nice. The cuff is well designed and straightforward while also requiring proper button holes. Just a great pattern.

Of course to get it to look more like Coco’s surgery was required.

  • I reduced the length of the jacket by 3 inches to take away that 1990s look
  • I recurved the hem to resemble the 1937 jacket
  • I slimmed it down through the waist and torso by relying on the size 6 or 8 cutting lines (I mainly made up the size 10)
  • The front bust darting on V1977 is rather distinctive – two long shaped darts and a little easing at the side seam. I thought about this for a while. Chanel has one short underbust dart in her jacket, but I left the darts in. I wanted to see how they came out. They get the bust fullness into exactly the right place – giving a blouse-like quality to the jacket.
  • I redrew the button positions increasing from three to four and placing them, more or less, as on the Coco jacket
  • I knew the sleeves would be too long for me, but left them as designed (regulation length!) so I could fold them back
  • I didn’t cut out the collar or pockets initially as I knew I would want to toile them. To do this I use a firm cotton or calico and attach the piece with a basting stitch.
  • When I toiled the original collar I just really liked it on me and felt the proportions were right. It isn’t that similar to Coco’s but I thought her slightly oversized collar (and very high break) might look a bit weird on me.
    Vogue 1977 Ungaro collar
    Toiling the collar

So in summary by retaining two of the original Ungaro features – front darts and collar – I have a hybrid look. But one I really liked. I may make a further jacket and change the collar and dart to make it even more similar to the inspiration picture. This would also give me a chance to produce a lighter pink jacket, or maybe white or light taupe/stone/grey instead.

The sewing instructions rely on flat felled seams throughout with decorative top stitching (nooo!). The armholes and various other seams are bound with bias binding. Vogue suggest covering the shoulder pads (mine are grey!) in the lining fabric and attaching them.  I will be lining the jacket (I am sure Coco would have lined hers) with the pink viscose I dyed simultaneously dyed.

Once I have done the collar and sleeves I will have to tackle the patch pockets: Chanel has four whereas Ungaro has just two. I am not very good at patch pockets and always find the construction problematic. I will leave them until the whole jacket is made so I can get the size, shape and placement right. Then it will be a matter of adding the shoulder pads, lining and button holes. Give me a week.

22 Responses

  1. jay

    I always like double waist darts, or a similar combination of seaming and darting, on jackets. It seems to give a nice shape and emphasise the line, breaking up what can be a wide plain expanse of front jacket. The collar is sitting well, you’re well on the way!

  2. Makeitanywear

    When I’m sewing 2 patch pockets, to get them to match, I machine baste them together right sides together. I then turn and give them a really good press. Then remove the basting and you have 2 matching pockets.

    • fabrickated

      Ha ha. Gym shorts and an off the shoulder puff sleeved gingham blouse, with a sleeveless jacket with non matching collar. And no make up. I really wonder why I put these pictures out there…

  3. Suzanne

    Love seeing the “in process” post. Suggestion re the patch pockets: I read somewhere (one of my couture books, I think), that the best way to do them is to assemble them completely, before attaching them to the jacket – including any top stitching. Then, fell stitch them to the jacket securely.

  4. Annieloveslinen

    It’s looking good so far. Re pockets, I successfully machine sewed pockets on from the inside of the pocket, it sounds harder than it actually is, I followed a training tutorial on YouTube, it’s a nice look although I really enjoy hand sewing and wouldn’t mind learning a technique for attaching pockets, its good to have tools in the toolbox. Do you think Coco’s pockets were handstitched?

  5. MIchelle

    The double darts create a lovely silhouette. Interesting (and useful) list of adjustments to date. I’ve never managed a well-fitting lined jacket before, so I’m following along with interest. This is looking good, I’m glad you’re pleased with how it’s going.

  6. Brenda

    This is a beautiful start, and I think the pink color works very well.

    Fiber reactive dye (Procion & Dylon are examples) attaches to the fabric, and adding the chemicals can frequently change the fabric’s hand. Sometimes that extra structure is useful & other times not so much. I’ve compared similar fabric in different colors in the store and can sometimes feel the difference, too.

    • fabrickated

      Thank you for explaining that Brenda. I have noticed it for a while but wasn’t sure why. I am not sure I love this colour for work, but I like it as a colour! I am going to try another way of making light pink. Have you ever tried beetroot?

      • Brenda

        I haven’t done much with natural dyes. They seem more fickle than fiber reactive, and dyeing takes too much effort and water for me to want to experiment too far afield. But… I love to see what others do!

  7. Teri

    It seems to be coming together quite nicely. Love the waist fitting with darts. Oh and I must say the rest of the outfit is rather incredible too! LOL

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