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11 Mar 2013

The little black jacket, la petite veste noire

A few months ago, Karl Lagarfeld and Carine Roitfled realised a book and organized an exposition on the little black jacket, Chanel's classic vest revisited.

Many sewist make the trip to tailoring land in hope to make their own true Chanel vest. One could says it's the holly grall of sewist (for some of them anyway).
I never dreamed of owning one, but this new jacket is really attractive. It's really modern, not too old lady like. And I had a lovely piece of tweed, so why not? 
Me wants it!

Of course the tweed is not black... It as a nice Briton color: green, pink and orange, exactly like the Moore in October.
I spent many hours trying to figure out the pattern. It's very lucky that a video on the making of the vest was realised. Thanks you dear Karl!!

It's awesome, when you look at it frame by frame (you understand why it was so long) you can see how the pattern was drafted as well as the sewing techniques.
Today I am concentrating on the pattern. So here we go:

 First I copied my block pattern for light vests. Then kept referring to my notes and playing again and again the video.

I also found an very revealing interview saying the vest is: straight, structured, closed "bord à bord".
The pockets are placed so that you can put your hand in them (which apparently was so far reserved to the men...), there are no underlining nor epaulets. The vest is not in the bias (thank you!!) with no bust dart, WHAT???
And with a simple straight seam in the back.

the length
 The length is pretty easy to figure out,because of the tape marking the hips, I chose 7 cm above the hips.


Despite what is said to the media the vest has some shaping, look at the sides, it is slightly curved.

This is my pattern during the process, you can see in black the lines of the vest (black vest, black lines, original no?)
It was really fun to make. You can see that I shaped the pattern, but I only kept a fraction of the original darts.

For the bust dart I could not really believe it. How is it possible to omit the bust dart???
Well, turns out it's not!! I knew it!! I almost tried without it, but gave a last chance to the video and saw this:

See the side? Oh yes, this is a bust dart! I win!!
It is small and on the side because it's the best place to hide it, completely under the arm.
You might not need to have one if you have a small bust, but if you are like me, you need a dart for a good fitting. I saw that some people didn't use a darts for this vest, but formed some small gathers instead, not a bad idea.

This is how I moved the dart.
On the fist picture, I slashed the paper at the  new place of the dart, and closed it with tape, the direct effect of the closure is to open the new placement.Then I reduced the dart of 3 cm and drew it again properly.

I also changed the neck line, making it a little bit wider than on the block pattern. And omitted the neck dart, because, well, they say there is not one, so...

the pockets
 I draw in red all the important placements, and things to remember, I try to be nice to myself, because I know I always forget something, it's normal I think when you don't sew your garment in one day. I am a slow sewist.

I am actually sewing it, I am looking forward to the result, it's never easy to tell before it's finished. For the moment it as no sleeves, no pockets and no lining.

I really enjoyed the pattern making process, I think I even prefer it to the actual sewing! Next month I'll present you my trusty pattern making book, even thought it was probably written before the 70's  it's has everything you need and it's really cheap.

What about you, have you ever made a Chanel vest? Do you make you own patterns?

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