The Classic French Jacket is pure couture -- a classic piece inspired by Coco Chanel's iconic style.
Coco Chanel: This classic will never go out of style. A clean silhouette and impeccable fit combined with luxurious fabrics and fabulous trims -- the perfect mix of comfort and relaxed elegance.
I recently created a version of this classic style using a unique wool blend fabric. The inside is lined with luxurious silk charmeuse -- a soft, silky and shiny fabric that feels amazing against the skin.
Pink and Blue Wool Fabric: Strands of yarn and thread of varying thicknesses and textures -- some strands are kinked like a crepe; some are thick plies of wool yarn; and others are smooth threads -- are woven together to create this stunning fabric. If you look closely, you can see the pattern repeats that run vertically as well as horizontally. While the pattern variation is amazing, it made matching the patterns difficult!
A Classic French Jacket is comfortable to wear and has a nice relaxed look because it is generally made using a loosely woven, soft fabric; the lining is quilted to the main fabric to create one layer; and there is no traditional "inner construction" -- shoulder pads, reinforcements at the chest and back, etc. -- to add bulk and structure.
Silk Charmeuse Lining: Here is an "inside" shot of the jacket, where the quilting lines are visible. Once each piece of the jacket is quilted, the main jacket pieces are sewn together and the lining seams are hand-stitched in place. This photo shows the hand-basting stitches -- long, temporary stitches that hold the fabric in place until it is permanently sewn.
Because the silhouette is so simple, this jacket lends itself to embellishment. For this jacket, I chose to add something unexpected -- a length of braided denim!
Braided Denim Trim: I created a four-strand braid using lengths of repurposed denim fabric and "distressed" it with steam for a more frayed look. The main jacket fabric had a lot going on, with the different textures, colors, etc., so I wanted a trim that would have some texture but could also frame the fabric and provide definition to certain areas, such as the pockets.
Buttons: I love the addition of metallic buttons to the cuffs and pocket tops. I think they lend elegance to the jacket, as well as a bit of bling! There are so many buttons to choose from, but these were the perfect complement to the busy print and the casual vibe of the denim trim.
While it seems a waste to wear a couture-sewn garment as an every day piece, I think the fact that it will be worn often is the reason it should be a garment made with care.
I love couture sewing -- it is the ultimate type of Slow Fashion, one that requires attention to even the smallest details to ensure a truly one-of-a-kind design. If you are interested, here's a blog post about couture sewing I wrote a while back!