As Karl Lagerfeld has said, “Some things never go out of fashion in the world of fashion: jeans, the white shirt, and the Chanel jacket.”
Ahh, the Chanel Jacket. It’s classic, reported to be comfortable and easy to wear, and I have been dreaming of owning one for years. This is the year I am going to make it a reality, and sew a Chanel-style jacket out of my own handwoven fabric.
This is really going to be a long-term project that I started over a year ago. I examined the tweed fabrics in the Linton Tweeds catalogue. I searched the internet and looked at examples of Chanel jackets. I knew I wanted to create a unique tweed fabric.
This is where it all began. My fabric started with a ½ pound of fibre from Louet, called Karaoke in the Parrotfish colourway, in mainly greens and pinks, 50% Soysilk / 50% wool.
I spun it into a beautiful silky 2 ply yarn. I carried a sample of the yarn around with me to conferences, spin-ins and events. I added and spun 100 grams of pink Corridale. I unravelled, unplyed and re-plyed the yarn from a fine cashmere sweater I found at a thrift store. I found some green silk, and some lighter green bamboo, some fine white and pink wool, and dark green wool, a natural silk yarn, a tiny bit of silver sparkle. I added in some Zephr wool/silk in a colour called Chanel, a beautiful dark purple-pink. Of course, I had to include this, how could I not?. I bought the pattern – Vogue 8804, and measured out the pattern pieces in my size to determine the yardage requirements. My fabric would need to finish to 9 yards long, 22 inches wide.
I had about 50-100 grams each of about 10 yarns, including the handspun yarns to use in the fabric. In order to maximize my yarns, I made separate warp chains, 10 yards long, from each yarn to determine how many ends I had of each one. I then took each warp chain to the loom, and randomly sleyed them through the reed to 20 ends per inch. From the reed I threaded in a broken twill pattern, tied on to the back beam and wound on. So, yes, this was threaded front to back. Because of the warp chains layered on top of each other, it did take longer to wind on, but I had very little breakage, thank goodness, because I had very little extra yarn.
I wove the yardage with a regular repeat of six threads: white wool, white silk, pink wool, pink handspun wool, green bamboo, interrupted by the Zephr wool/silk every tenth shot. It was very slow weaving, with so many weft threads going – It seemed to take forever! I started weaving January 2013, just before I left for Australia, and finally finished this January, 2014.
Here, then, is the finished fabric.
Next steps: Learn couture sewing methods, create a coordinating braid, sew and fit a toile, hope it all works out. Like I said, this is going to be a long-term project.