Hello again, friends. Having been forcibly removed from Paris by train and coerced by family members into days of sliding down an Alp on a couple of laminated boards, which was then followed by slumber-inducing 5-course French meals, I haven’t had the opportunity to update you about the Paris sewing outpost that puts the FAB! in “fabric”.
In a previous post, I wrote about last year’s visit to Janssens et Janssens during which I pounced on the remnant table and then attempted to move into the place permanently, as I had basically spent the mortgage before I left.
Like mecca, I had to return. Feast your eyes on those delicious tweeds.
Silks and Italian wools:
The fancy stuff’s in the basement.
I found a couple of trims that have chains woven into them. So much easier to sew on if you’re making a French jacket:
All of these things pictured can be found at Janssens et Janssens, at 3-5 rue d’Anjou, at the corner of rue Faubourg St. Honore (janssensparis.com). While I was there, I bumped into another American blogger and fellow Chanel jacket obsessor, Mary, of the blog “Cloning Couture.” She’s already whipped up a pretty spiffy tweed jacket, and I’ll be watching her blog to see what she makes from her Janssens haul.
So now after my nightly couple three glasses of wine, I’ve had time to reflect on the year ahead. I’m going to move on to American Look designers! I’m going to make things that are easy and fun! I’m going to endeavor to make a dent in my massive fabric stash, and in the meantime, not buy anymore!
But really what I’m thinking is…the minute my feet hit the ground back in Paris, I am running to Janssens et Janssens, to get me some black tweed. See, I bought some antique brass snap tape at Bon Marche, and the grosgrain with brass chain imbedded in it at Janssens (above), and well, I think it’s time to bring the funk to Chanel.
I’m talking a Steampunk Chanel jacket. Steampunk is a look cooked up by people who got tired of being punk or goth or anime or whatever and came up with this Buck Rogers meets Wild Wild West (60s TV show that’s impossible to explain) look where they dress like Edwardian aviators or motorists and decorate their iPads with antique watch parts. It’s a great look for the guys, though the women tend to look more like Liza Doolittle (pre-makeover), “Little House” schoolmarms or Miss Kitty, the saloon girl from Gunsmoke, and I say this knowing I’m going to get in trouble with the entire Steampunk community for this post. Just google it. I’ve got to hand it to the Steampunk people, though, they really get their sewing on.
As a vintage sewing hack I was thrilled when my son wanted to be Steampunk for Halloween, and in the midst of cranking through Chanel jacket #4, I powered down and made him a Steampunk vest, in the course of which, I learned to bag a lining. From a Big Four costume pattern!
Chanel herself was plenty Steampunk, what with the Liza Doolittle hats and layers of hardware. And Lagerfeld, well, all you have to do is make his outfit sepia-toned and he’s good to go.
So the jacket of my reverie is going to be black, with antique brass snap tape to hold it together, and a brass chain tape at the bottom. It will need a lining that’s either Beaux Arts flowery or maybe 20s Singapore Chinoise. Will I try to bag it and then quilt it? Or stitch the whole thing together wrong sides together and fringe the raw seams then quilt it? (like I did in Chanel jacket #3, my “fake it till you make it” Astronaut Wives Club raw silk job) And the trim, the trim, hmmmmm… this is how I get in fabric trouble.
Was I dreaming? I believe that if you’re in your mid-fifties and still doing vintage (and honey, I was a 40s pin-up in the 70s, when old clothes first became “vintage”, and young Bette Midler was singing “Company B”), vintage needs to be a) wearable in public, and b) not too costumey. And it can’t look like it’s still in your closet from way back when.
And when you make a Chanel jacket repro, you do run the risk of looking like granny having brunch at the country club. So you’ve got to funk it up.
Steampunk Chanel. Of course! All of those chains and faux baubles, so Machine Age. Another glass of wine and I’ll have figured out that trim. What do you think; should I go for it?