Vogue 8991 – Claire Shaeffer jacket – research and muslin

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Hi all, what glorious spring weather here in the bush capital. I got some great feedback on last my post asking for jacket pattern ideas for my wool boucle. Thank you everyone who commented.

I started doing lots of reading.

First to understand the quilting. I was amazed to learn that with Chanel jackets, the machine quilting was considered more desirable than hand quilting. Happy with that. Though I like hand sewing, there’s plenty of it in the jacket without hand-quilting as well.

I also had no idea about the ‘why’ of quilting. It is to provide stability to the loosely woven boucle without adding bulk or taking away from the softness and fluidity. The quilting also stops the pooling of the boucle at the hems.

Many talented sewists have made lovely jackets in similar styles. Jet Set Sewing has made some prize-winning jackets. Mel at Poppy Kettle made a beautiful one doing Susan Khalje’s class. Red Point Tailor has some good insights. I love Margy’s (Fool for Fabric) spectacular Guy Laroche jacket ( thanks Sue, Colourful Canvas) for recommending).

 I already have Claire Shaeffer’s design Vogue 8991 so decided to muslin that (can’t believe I just used a noun as a verb, really moving with the times). Am also getting nervous that I don’t have enough fabric, so am keen to try and figure out a solution. I’m hoping a precise muslin might help. I already think pattern matching might have to go out the window. I’ve learnt my lesson, when buying exotic fabric in far away and locations, buy extra, doh.

First fitting – bodice


After this fitting I took it in all over except around the bust. I probably should chosen the size for hips and waist and then done a full bust adjustment, but I don’t know how with princess seams. I used an old sheet so it was easy to write on. By making a full muslin and labeling left and right I hope to get a good fit, not one that gaps madly one side and not the other. I should have figured out I needed asymmetrical pattern pieces ages ago.

Second fitting – bodice

I forgot to take pictures 😦 but a muslin is really essential for this jacket because the quilting is done before the pieces are sewn together.

Wearable muslin – work in progress

Once I was happy-ish with the fit, I cut along the stitching lines. I used these as the pattern for the fashion fabric, remembering (of course 🙂 ) to add seam allowances. I say happy-ish because I don’t really know what I’m looking for in a muslin and as you’ll see below there are still issues with the fit. To make what I hope will be a wearable muslin, I’m using this amazing echino design fabric that is very loosely woven, so very similar to my wool mix boucle.

I’m taking a bit of a lead from Kat (Couture Academic), who has herself made some spectacular jackets recently, aiming to ‘relax and enjoy’. So, the first step was thread trace the stitching lines. I did this by machine with the longest stitch possible. I don’t know, this might be cheating in terms of couture sewing, but I didn’t see why not.

Second step was to quilt the lining to the main jacket pieces. I used these, (new to me) fork pins. They are used mainly by quilters and hold the fabric nicely together while you quilt. I used blue silk in the bobbin and purple silk in the top and stitched the fashion fabric. I used silk thread for this, hoping it would sink in better.

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Fork pins and quilting wrong side

Fork pins and quilting wrong side


Fork pins, quilting and thread traced stitching lines.

Machine thread tracing

Machine thread tracing

Next step was to seam the fashion fabric. In proper couture you would then slip stitch the lining seams. Again I probably cheated and machine finished them in a way that mimicked the quilting, stitching the on lining, this time with  purple in the bobbin and blue in the needle.

Trying on the wearable muslin bodice


Aaah the pattern matching, I’m reasonably happy with the front, but the back………what should have been the easiest, hasn’t worked at all. And the fit at the neck,  I should say the non-fit at the neck.

More work needed before this little baby is presentable, but I am enjoying the challenge and learning a lot.

Do you enjoy a challenge? Anyone got any muslin fitting tips or know about resources?

In other news, I’m joining the Ralph Rucci coat sewalong, where I hope to learn a lot about fitting, coats and of course make a beautiful coat.


7 thoughts on “Vogue 8991 – Claire Shaeffer jacket – research and muslin

  1. I’m so glad to find this post — I’m in the process of creating a muslin for this very pattern, for a Maryland ASG neighborhood group offshoot that I’m part of (the “Ch*nel Wanna-Bes”). Fortunately and weirdly for me, my measurements are a near-perfect match for the pattern size I’m cutting. I also have the Claire Shaeffer Couture Cardigan Jacket book, which includes a DVD that I found helpful too.


    • oh the Ch*nel Wanna Bes sound like my sort of group. Thanks for the info about the book, sounds like one I should get hold of before my next version. Good luck with your make, look forward to seeing it!


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  3. What a project! I am in awe of your sewing skills. I think I would need to make a first draft on sheets, and if it worked at all, I would probably wear the sheet, knowing I’m ahead of the game, and skip the final draft.


  4. Good luck to you! It’s such a process. In terms of picking pattern size, there’s a free video on SusanKhalje.com that explains her method for pattern-fitting, which you may want to check out. Also Susan is working on a French Jacket video course which should be available later this year. I’m holding out to see that before I embark on my next jacket project.


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