Boucle Jacket

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This year has meant a complete change in lifestyle for us. We left our 1856 Vermont farmhouse for an urban loft in Philadelphia. We left gravel roads for paved-and-cobblestoned streets. We left the sound of  rushing water from the river for the sound of rushing traffic. And, I traded my flannel shirts and LL Bean boots for more sophisticated attire: jackets, blouses, skinny jeans, pencil skirts, and heels. It’s a work-in-progress, and we’re constantly trying to unite our past with our present.

This project is one of several I’ve recently undertaken to try to diminish the fabrics I purchased and kept in storage during the ups (pre-law school) and downs (law school) of my sewing habit. I bought the fabric for this jacket in May 2010. I know because I visited Mood when I was in New York for a taping of the now-defunct Martha Stewart Show. I also remember that I missed my bus back to Boston because I spent too much time at M&J Trimming choosing the trim to match. I was inspired by the classic Chanel boucle jacket and borrowed construction techniques from the numerous blog posts of others who have constructed similar jackets (I found Ann Rowley’s photo journal to be most helpful).

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I used Vogue 7975 for the jacket. I’ve used this pattern before (though it was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what alterations I made). In terms of construction, the notable thing about this jacket (and all jackets in the Chanel style) is that the outer fabric is quilted to the lining fabric.

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I put the fronts together and the back together for both the boucle and the silk lining. Then, I pinned the pieces together while they lay flat, hand basted the lining to the outer fabric, and finally quilted in vertical lines with my machine at roughly 1 1/2″ intervals. (I posted a sneak peak on Instagram during the construction phase.) I did the same with the sleeves, quilting the lining to the outer material while the pieces were flat. The quilting is virtually invisible from the outside.

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With the quilting done, I finished constructing the outer shell on my machine: I sewed the side seams, the shoulder seams, and set in the sleeves. Then, I hand-stitched the lining together along all of these seams and hand-stitched the hems. Finally, I attached the trim around the neckline and put three hooks and eyes down the front to close. I decided to keep things simple and omitted the patch pockets on the front.

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It’s hard to see the details of this fabric, but it’s black, white, and brown with flecks of goldenrod and metallic gold threads. The lining fabric matches the goldenrod flecks perfectly; the gold in the trim I selected highlights the metallic threads running throughout the fabric.

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One of the great benefits of a jacket constructed this way is that it feels just like a lush and cozy sweater lined in the most perfect, delicate silk. I’m pretty happy with the fit, but I think  I underestimated the loft of the fabric and possibly should have cut it a tiny bit larger for slightly more comfort. It feels cozy and fancy all at the same time, though–perfect for an office holiday party, which is where it made its first appearance this past weekend!

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