Friday, February 15, 2013

Chanel jacket: Center back seam and other mysteries

Ok, let's look at our intriguing center back seam again and another observation re hem. There are different and interesting opinions here and all seem to be valid, so why don't we all look at it.

We have three versions, which do not exclude each other:

A. The center back seam (common in tailoring) incorporates subtle fitting steps and helps make alterations at a later stage - I looked at Claire Shaeffer's Chanel collection in her Shaeffer on Chanel CD, and yes, there are quite a few jackets with center back seam. It is probably the era - I prefer shaping with princess seams, but  
B. Some of the fabrics for Chanel designs are woven on narrow looms, so it would have been impossible to construct the jacket without a center back seam 
C: The Hem: After studying these images again and again, I think the jacket was shortened at some point. This would explain the unusually bulky hem and the transition from quilting to the hem at the bottom of the jacket. 

Lets look at the pictures again. The quilting lines look like they were not restitched, so the center back seam is part of the original design that's for sure.


Now, look at this hem. It looks like there are more layers there, and that it was hemmed by simply turning over the quilted portion - it looks like a double hem. I don't remember seeing anything like that before - usually the lining would be attached to conceal the hem edge. Is it a bad alteration job?


Look at the hem portion again - it does look pretty bulky or.



What do you think about the hem, readers? Was it altered?

14 comments:

  1. The thing about Chanel was that she was huuugely inspired by tailored suits and menswear. She wanted to melange fabrics known to poor fishermen to bring comfort to women by liberating their ability to move freely, also to incorporate good quality good quality fabrics often used in tailoring and tailoring back in the days was entirely restricted to and for men and men only. In her days, Gabrielle Chanel was a blithering hooligan and bless her for that! So it is a basic tailoring technique to cut jackets and coats with the center seam. Chanel also made it a house- rule to incorporate at least one inch seam allowances to her suits because she was a firm believer in " waste not, want not ". Also she preferred tweeds and tweeds are known to unraveling like water is known to be wet.
    Back seam also prevents the back of a garment from stretching by giving the garment a steady backbone.
    If anything feels bulky in Chanel couture- it´s a sure sign of alterations. Chanel suits are never bulky. Chanel suits can basically fit between your palms if squished them tight enough ( and if you did, I´ll be happy to tell you that there is a special circle in hell reserved for senseless fools that would do blasphemy like that ). Decades can do a trick on weft so there really is no telling before one can have a tactile evidence of couture.

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  2. I am inclined to think that it is a bad alteration job. I have Claire Shaeffer's cd on Chanel jackets and I don't remember the hems looking like this on any of the jacket's. After all the whole idea of this type of jacket was to get a jacket to be light and to feel like a sweater. This one misses the mark at that hem.

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  3. I wondered if there was a chain in the hem causing the bulk?

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    Replies
    1. There is a chain in Chanel suit. It weighs the lightweight jacket down.

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  4. This is really inte.resting! Maybe you could carefully open the hem at some point and see? After all, if it is altered, you would do a better job in sewing the new hem than the person who probavly did it before!

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    Replies
    1. I just noticed that opening the the hem is not an option, as you have only the pictures and not the jacket itself. Too bad! It would be so interesting to solve that mystery!

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  5. I am loving these posts! How and why is the lining quilted? All through the layers? No, that can't be.. Are there a few layers of lining, for warmth, is that it? p.s. I am also voting pro opening the hem.

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    Replies
    1. Lining is always quilted in Chanel. Traditionally a Chanel suit was lined with the same silk that was used to sew the blouse to be worn with the suit. In a Chanel there are no layers.

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  6. Because I use a centre back seam for my sway back adjustment, I'm hoping the wearer had the same adjustment made for her with this jacket. No disrepect for the Chanel purists.
    As for the hem, it might just be a bodgie mend job.

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  7. Ohh that's so intriguing... I have no idea why

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  8. This is very impressive post with every minute details mentioned and clearly expressed,great job.

    Fashion Boutique in Chandigarh

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  9. Wonderful fabric. I love the colours - very sunny and warm.
    I have red somewhere about this hem finishing.
    Chanel-type jacket is on my list for this year. After I fixed all pants fitting issues :-)

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  10. I think the hem was altered, just compare it to the sleeve hem. Very different...

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  11. I would say a poor alteration. If you go to this website http://www.psfk.com/2013/03/chanel-jacket-history.html , there is a short video regarding how Chanel developed the jacket. There is a blink inside that shows the chained hem. The video does not match what is shown here.

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