Sunday, August 2, 2009

Inside an Armani jacket

I am making a Chanel style jacket. A slight deviation from my "basics" theme but it's because of this sew along.

I am reworking one of TMB's old jackets (worn twice in 20 years) and one that I really didn't like on him (big extended padded shoulders, it was the 80's) . It's a big project, but even if everything fails miserably I am happy in the knowledge that he, at least, will never be able to wear it again.

Last night I spent a couple of hours in front of the TV (watching Grand Designs, which seemed appropriate) unpicking it. I was very curious to know what was going to be inside, being interested in tailoring and all. Now this jacket is over 20 years old, and although it is RTW and not bespoke, I was pretty sure I'd find some interesting treatment inside.

The front is padded with hair canvas and lambswool and graded through to the facings and up to the shoulder. It had both sleeve head supports as well as sleeve cap easing lambswool strips. It had strips of bias running around the shoulder seams. None of the seams were neatened, everything was raw, which made unpicking so much easier.

The lining was stab stitched through the seams of the entire arm hole which is something I've read somewhere you should do to secure the lining but never bothered myself. It was also stab stitched the entire length of the inside facing. The lining is just gorgeous and it's got little inside pockets everywhere.

I am now working on the pattern. I will have to use the fabric from the facings to add extra width to the hip and bust area, probably by creating extra panels at the side. I will also have to do some careful cutting and dart placement to work round the welt pockets in the jacket front.

I love the pattern instructions from my 1970 pattern. They remind me of Burda: "make bound button holes." Just like that. No instructions or pictures on anything. Just make 'em. Bound.

Such a challenge, but how exciting is that?


  1. I love the whole concept...thrift, refashioning, clothing sabotage, all rolled into one ;-) Unfortunately in our household the only items of husband-clothing I hold a real grudge against are of the holey-socks-and-undies variety, which I don't think would lend themselves to quite such funky re-styling ;-)

    S & B next week...I can't wait!


  2. Well, aren't you the clever thing. There are so many fascinating components to this project...delving inside an armani jacket, vintage patterns, re-fashioning an existing garment, not to mention all the effort that goes into a Chanel-style jacket. I'm looking forward to all your posts on just this one project!

  3. I am anxious to see you pull this off!

  4. This is going to be fun - I am looking forward to watching this jacket progress.
    I recently made a jacket and stab stitched the lining at the underarm seam but found I had to go back and do a few more places around the armhole to stop the lining peeking out when I put the jacket on - so it was interesting to hear how it was done on the Armani jacket. Thank you!

  5. I was just thinking about that gal in my corset class last year, in an unpicking frenzy with her grandmother's tweedy Chanel style jacket. What probably made her unpicking so stressful is that she was doing it in class, while the rest of us were fitting and sewing, instead of at home in front of the TV.

    Thanks for letting us peek behind the scenes before you turn that Armani into Chanel.

  6. Ooh - what a fascinating project, both the unpicking AND the remaking! Can't wait to see your frequent updates (was that a subtle enough hint for regular detailed posts?)

    When I'm making a lined jacket I machine sew the sleeve lining to the sleeve at the hem, then machine stitch the lining body to the armhole before slip stitching the sleeve lining over it. You end up with a clean finish, and secure lining. I always love to hear how the experts do it!

  7. Wow, this jacket is going to be sooooo "Lady Penelope". I can't wait to see it all sewn up!

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