Thursday, February 14, 2013

CoutureGRAM: Chanel jacket

As you all heard, often a picture is worth a thousand words. In this new post series I would like to post images of couture clothing I found on the web and elsewhere.

A question to you, readers: what could be the purpose of the center back seam? I don't have a ready answer. (Thanks to Sewing Sveta for asking)















Please do leave a comment if you enjoyed this post, or if you have any questions or thoughts to share...

34 comments:

  1. This is amazing. I think the jacket looks so simple on the outside, but only when we see the lining we understand how complex it is! Do you know how old it is?

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    1. Description says it's 50s. Currently on eBay

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  2. What a gorgeous jacket! Thank you for showing it.

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  3. Is there any special reason for back seam?

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    1. I am puzzled by the center back seam too... Judging by perfectly matching quilting lines on the lining - quilting must have been done over that seam, so it could have been there from the beginning. Maybe it accommodates some minor shaping. Even though the jacket is boxy, the front has princess seams, and the back has only the center back seam for shaping. I find it strange nevertheless... Any theories?

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    2. I usually can make it because I have not enough fabric, but I don't think this is the case here%)))

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  4. Truly amazing jacket. I shudder to think of the work that went into this gorgeous jacket.

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  5. I love the jacket. Thanks for sharing.

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  6. It's beautiful! I love to see the details, wonderful!

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  7. Gorgeous jacket. I love center back seams because they allow me to alter for my rounded upper back. I have no idea if that was the intention with this jacket, though.

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  8. The CB seam allows for alteration-with their ready to wear lines they'll provide a CB seam on everything (sewn to RTW sizing) and then alter along that seam for individual back curve differences according to the customer's needs. Most tailors do this too. So the CB seam allowance will be a fair bit to allow for things like dowager's hump etc but will also allow taking in for a customer with sway back..

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    1. Interesting... it is a real haute couture jacket though, it seems. So it must have been made for a specific customer. This is why I am puzzled. Princess seams on the back would be a more pleasing solution for shaping, I think, but then who knows...

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    2. but a CB seam, even on a custom/couture garment, allows for the fact that the wearer may change size/shape/style and keep the jacket over the long haul, in addition to being a staple of classic tailoring to accommodate subtle shaping. that has always been my understanding of its purpose, anyway! :-)

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    3. it's probably a judgement call, of course the center seam helps, but I would have gone with princess seams, which can accomodate subtle alterations too and would reflect the lines in the front. I think I like the version with the original fabric width more - it is an interesting one though :) I actually think that this jacket had a slit in the back and was shortened at a later stage for whatever. That would also explain the center back seam. The hem looks somewhat weird to me - that's why I think so. It looks like it was folded up with the quilting layer - it looks too bulky for an original hem

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  9. In addition to accomodating shaping, a center back seam helps with stability in loosely woven or soft fabrics--and with reduced wrinkling in fabrics when that might be an issue. Elle

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  10. It´s a basic trait on tailoring to do the center back seam. They usually seem to just " sit " there with no seemingly purpose, but there usually is shaping hidden in the seam, plus it allows for future alterations, fittings, and also gives the jacket some extra " backbone ".

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  11. It might also have to do with fabric width. Chanel fabric is handwoven, sometimes on very small looms. If you go to Paris, make sure you walk by passage Daumesnil, you can watch the weavers work.

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    1. I will! Thanks, Carmen. What is the width we are talking about here?

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  12. vielen dank für die detailierte fotos!

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  13. Beautiful photos, thank you. So lovely to see the attention to detail.

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  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  15. I, like many others apparently, enjoy this posts a lot. This is so inspirational.I wish I could ripped some seams to see if some kind of interfacing was added. I hope there will be many post like this one.
    Carmen, thanks for mentioning passage Daumesnil. I want to go there next time I go to Paris.

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  16. What a stunning jacket! I often wonder about the purpose of CB seams myself but I'm guessing it is for very minimal shaping.

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  17. Lovely jacket but what else would we expect from Chanel?
    A CB seam is for shaping and fitting to the individual. I would also guess that a sewn seam is more stable than a back cut on the fold and with a chain weight along the hem the sewn seam will stop the back from drooping.

    More please.

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    1. ... but it is a couture jacket, it is custom made. Unless, of course, it is a collection sample. then it would make more sense. Apparently collection samples are sold for much less than custom made pieces, and because of the seam allowances you can go up and down as much as one, or even two sizes....hmmm

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  18. One possibility is that the seam reflects a limitation in the original material. Perhaps it was woven on a very narrow loom for some purpose (originally) other than clothing, and the designer liked it so much she decided to use it for a suit. Many Asian fabrics are too narrow to make anything without a center back seam.

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  19. Could it be that the CB seam is there because a vertical line in the center back is sliming and elongating, cutting a possibly wide back in half?

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    1. I think this was the purpose of the CB seam in Chanel.
      Years ago I read about Suzy Parker (one of the great models of the 50's and early 60's) and her association with Mme Chanel. Suzy Parker talked about the center front seam in the skirt that was part of the Chanel suit and how it very subtly fell against the body and gave a suggestion of the inner thighs. Classic Chanel subtle sensuality.

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  24. I think the center back seam was utilized to hold the quilted lining in place by stitching invisibly through the two seams.

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