Monday, 17 February 2014

Chanel Cardigan progress: it's a slow burner people

Well, I'm back from my crazy work week in Amsterdam and more importantly back on the sewing saddle!

Giddy up, I am even juggling projects.

First up is my progress on my big 2014 couture project, the Chanel Cardigan. As you'll see from my previous post, my aspiration this year is to work on one long-term couture project. I've always wanted a Chanel style cardigan/jacket and, with the release of Claire Shaeffer's awesome new book, there was no excuse but to take the plunge.

So far, I have selected my pattern: Vogue 7975 (I'm doing view B). Claire actually suggests her own pattern, but in the complimentary DVD that comes with her book, she does also recommend this one. Win!

My next job is fabric. To begin with, I am just focusing on the outer fabric. I'll tackle the trims and lining afterwards. Even though Claire recommends you think about everything altogether, my brain just won't work like that; I need the outer shell first then I can shimmy onto shiny linings and trims, or
'gimps' as she calls them. LAWLZ!

What makes fabric buying difficult for me is obviously the composition. I am vegetarian and passionate about animal welfare - which makes for this particular project difficult as the Chanel cardigan is typically made from tweed/wool blends. I won't go into horrible details, but seen as I cannot be sure of the welfare of the animals in the production of wool, I'm opting for man-made materials, yet this is not so easy.

However! Fret not readers, I've come up trumps with Linton Tweeds. Yep, THE Linton Tweeds, official supplier to Chanel. They actually have a whole range of non-wool fabrics that are a blend of cotton/viscose/and poly fabrics. I ordered some samples and received a whole batch:

I narrowed down my selection to four. Here are the three runners up:

The fabric on the left is a close contender as it reminds me of the Asteroids game - anyone?

The winner however is this lovely multi-coloured blend of bold and pastel colours in a textured weave. Isn't it pretty? It has a very subtle metallic silver thread, which gives it a little oooh yeaaah! I need more colour in my wardrobe and I think a cardigan in this material could make for a timeless piece perfect in any season. It's made of 75% viscose and 25% cotton, yet it feels pretty similar to its wool-based contemporaries. It retails at £26 p/m, which I think is pretty good value; it will total at just over £50 as I only need a couple of metres for this project.

This weekend I traced and cut my muslin pieces. I am now in the middle of marking all pattern pieces with seam and grain lines ready to sew up and begin the fitting process. I did this when I made my wedding dress (as per Susan Khalje's advice in Bridal Couture) and although it's time consuming, it's so worth it when assessing fitting alterations.

How much time do you spend on muslins and fitting?

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