Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket

Claire Shaeffer is one of the most recognized authors on couture sewing so when she contacted me about her latest book, I was excited to see it. Entitled Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, for legal reasons she probably can’t refer to it as a Chanel jacket, but I can. It arrived this week and while I am not finished reading it, a comment left on another post prompted me to get this out there right away.

Marysia, if you have not yet started your project, and if you do not yet have this book, stop. Buy it. It is a treasure.

Claire has a likely unparalleled collection of Chanel couture garments and has studied many more in museums and private collections and this book shares some of the secrets of construction that made the iconic Chanel jacket unique. Some of the tips I have never seen anywhere else in print, and having studied haute couture in college myself, there were things in there that were new even to me. What I like most about Claire’s books is that they are never just instructional manuals on sewing , but that she covers the history and backstory of the techniques and the couturiers behind the spectacular garments which serve as her inspiration. Anybody interested in Chanel’s designs, legacy, and in some cases revolutionary sewing techniques will love this book.

As a bonus, at the end of the book is a DVD which I have yet to watch but I am sure it will be fantastic, knowing what her previous projects have been like. There are techniques discussed in the book which really need to be seen in action to be fully understood, and they are covered in the DVD. I will update this post once I have had a chance to watch it.

11 Replies to “Couture Sewing: The Couture Cardigan Jacket

  1. Hi there Jeffrey, Marysia here,

    I have this book on my list and sadly its still not been released in the U.K. That famous online store will send it to me as soon as they have it!

    Jeffrey, I can agree with you about Claire Shaeffers books. I have Couture Sewing Techniques and Couture Tailoring Techniques – this one also has a dvd with it, and I love them both. When will you bring out yours, we are all waited with eager anticipation!!

    Claire brought out a Vogue Pattern 8804 which is the iconic Chanel Style Jacket ( yes,I am being careful in not calling it THE CHANEL JACKET!! lol). I made my first one a while back, for my teenage daughter in wool silk and had enough spare to make her a skirt. She attends 6th form college and seems to live in the jacket, so I guess that is a feat in itself, a Mum pleasing her teenage daughter!! I followed all the hints and tips in Claire's other books and threads articles and I with your help, achieved the handworked buttonholes using the supplies you suggested

    My jacket which I was starting this week, Red Linton Tweed ( they make the fabric for the house of Chanel and others) but I have to now admit, to you, I had a catastrophe; my jacket will have to wait until I save up again. Why? Oh dear, my wool boucle was sitting in my sewing room cupboard, having travelled from Linton in the U.K. to me in Turkey and then shipped back to the U.K. when we returned home. So, yes, I have had it for years, waiting until I was confident that I would do the project and the fabric the justice it deserves.

    Oh my goodness me. I read blogs last Sunday about pre-shrinking wool………hot damp towel and the fabric in the tumble dryer. I found this advice on lots of blogs and everyone writing in saying it works like a dream. Today's the day I thought. I checked after the alloted time and decided that perhaps it should stay in a little longer………………..My fault I fear, my fabric shrank like you wouldn't believe. Being stubborn I cut the precious fabric into workable pieces and tried to block the pieces to rescue my project. Yesterday after a week of doing pieces at a time, I had to finally admit that I wasn't going to win this. The fabric was red with a black outline of one inch squares. I usually work with plain fabrics as my preference, but felt it was time to learn about matching etc…………………

    There was no way this was going to work. My DH told me it was time to let go and he took the fabric to the bin outside, hugged me and said, move on darling, you can get to choose another fabric from them soon and you'll make a wonderful job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    So, with Linton fabric bought again sometime and Claires book I will be the proud owner of a Chanel style jacket……..

    Oh Jeffrey, what an idiot I have been. For Charlottes Linton fabric the wool silk mix, I just hovered the iron over the yardage first…………..So, my face is now as red as the fabric was and I am heartbroken!

    Could this sad tale lead to a posting about how you should pre-shrink your fabrics darling Jeffrey??
    The fading dumbe blonde, aka Marysia.

  2. Timely post. I just finished watching the DVD (Saturday night viewing). Claire makes the jacket shown in the book. Very helpful. And Marysia if you are reading on, I bought the book and DVD from Book Depository UK. So it is available in the UK. I am in Australia and often buy books from that source. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago.

  3. Hi Vicki,
    Thank you so much for letting me know that it is available in the U.K.
    Will get onto that.
    Vicki, are you enjoying the book, it would be good to know what you think of it. I have enjoyed the other books by Claire, but I also think we should try and get Jeffrey to publish don't you…………

  4. Marysia,

    Claire just emailed me to say that she will check with Linton regarding pre-shrinking your cloth, and that she agrees with you that I should write a book. I can hardly find the time to blog these days, much less write a book, but surely one day. Tell me- did you watch the Great British Sewing Bee?


  5. Hi Jeffrey, this is a bit unrelated to this particular posting, but you are what I consider to be an expert of modern tailoring. I recently bought a Ralph Lauren Black Label suit that was "advertised as" new without tags, and is non-returnable. I received the suit and there is a small hole on the shoulder of the suit (maybe a moth hole) which is about 2 mm in size. I was wondering what your expert advice would be to go about repairing this. I don't plan to repair it myself but I would like to take it to a skilled tailor and was wondering what cost I should expect and if this is even fixable without ruining the aesthetic of the jacket.

  6. Hi there Jeffery,
    Sorry late in responding. Just got a new computer after laptop got totally wiped out by scammers!
    So, will try and be brief, but you know me!!
    Yes I did watch the Great Sewing Bee………………….I know Ann Rowley from Artisan Square and she comes from the same part of the UK. However, I live in Lincolnshire these days.
    I wrote to Lintons, sadly the damage was already done and I don't blame them at all. Margaret at Lintons is wonderful. My darling husband has now offered to drive us both up to Cumbria next year so that I can actually touch and feel the fabrics before I make my choice. The much coveted yardage that was ruined was shipped to me when we lived in Turkey and returned home with me. After making up the first Chanel style jacket using Claires Vogue 8804 pattern for my daughter, I felt ready to use my fabric in time for Christmas ( it was red and perfect for this time of year!!). So, I have to say lesson very much learned. I still don't know why it shrank so much, but can only guess that the blogs advice to throw it in the tumble dryer with a hot wrung out towel wasn't loved by the Linton fabric. I have moved on and look forward to new fabric when we can spare the time to go away for a few days.

    Of course Claire's pattern turned out perfectly, and I have exciting news. A friend gifted me a copy of Claire's cardigan jacket book and imagine my surprize when I opened it and found that it was signed by Claire!!!!! Thrilled beyond belief. I will treasure it along with the other books I have purchased that Claire has written.
    So darling Jeffery, do let me know when your book will be published, you have so so many fans and your book will be NO.1 in the book charts before its even published…………..because we will all pre-order it of course.

    Have a fabulous Christmas with loved ones, and I do so hope that your hand continues to improve and we see and hear more from you in 2014. With much gratitude from a home sewer who strives to improve.

  7. Hi there Jeffery,

    Thought I would add an up date to this post, for any home sewers who may be interested……….there is a new Claire Shaeffer Chanel Style Jacket available at Vogue Patterns. I absolutely adore the new sleeve style, with a very long vent…………Yes, hopefully the pattern is in the post in time for me to start thinking about this and the fabric, ready for winter time!!!!!!! I am a slow study……

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