Sew Paradise Sewing a Couture Chanel Jacket

Use the Good Stuff: day 10: dye your own jacket lining

I hand dyed this silk satin lining using my Procion professional dyes. I have had this set of Procion dye kit since about 1998 or so.  I took a class at our local community education on how to do batik dyeing (though I have long since bought more materials – dyes don’t have a shelf life that long.)  When I had children, taking four hours to carefully draw or hand-stamp designs on fabric with hot wax wasn’t really practical (but when they get older, I’ll teach them how), so I just started dyeing fabric.

What crafty things do you have at your house that you have not used in a while? What do you have invested in them? Can you take a class, check out a book, look to Craftsy to learn more about it? Dust off those craft supplies and get cracking!


This lining is for my couture Chanel jacket – French Boucle from the Montmartre district of Paris, and I am learning how to do this in a class on Pattern Review by couture designer Angela Wolf.  The thing that looks like a plaid hot pad is actually the pockets for my jacket, a beautiful aqua blue with brown and white.

This jacket is, for me, the piéce de Résistance project for sewing: it’s the one luxury I would never afford (I’d rather spend $4,000 on a vacation to Paris, not a jacket) and it’s the one big sewing project I aim to tackle multiple times. You know the big sewing project for yourself, the one you initially say “I could never attempt that.”

Well, over the years, I’ve tackled them. First, I made a knit jacket – from the same designer as this jacket, Christine Jonson Patterns. Two piece sleeve, two-part collar, six panel body, you know, a real jacket. Only in knit (harder/easier at the same time!) Then, I tackled swimwear – who knew this was so freakin’ easy AND inexpensive (if you have the right pattern – Kwik Sew, just start with Kwik Sew). And now, the Chanel jacket.

I’m long past marrying time – coming up on my 21st wedding anniversary – so a wedding dress is not on my list of things to sew. I’m hoping my daughter will wear mine (lovingly and professionally preserved in the chest at the foot of my bed.) Oh, sure, there’s a prom dress or two or three in my future (for my daughter) and I’ll love that process when I get there.

Angela Wolf’s class at Pattern Review made this easy. She has video, well-done photographs of every step, and she’s stayed available after the class ended to answer questions on the PR forum, which is good, because there’s no way I could have made this jacket without help. See? I’m not even done and I’m celebrating my success!

So, if you have a craft languishing, a project that you’re afraid – take a class, get a book, and get going! Use the Good Stuff means using the things you invested in and getting your fun out of them!

The most surprising thing about this project is how much I like the process. Normally I’m a ‘let’s get finished’ kind of girl – I want this project done, I want to wear it, use it, love it, NOW! But this jacket has infused me with a desire to take each step and savor that step, that process. That is nothing short of a miracle for distracted-by-shiny-objects me. And it’s not with pain that I’ve accepted this process, but I’m looking forward to it, welcoming it. (I’m still in shock over this change in me.)

It may be related to this point in my life – new company, new responsibilities, and a lot more stress has me looking for ways to slow time, slow down, and do just one thing at a time. Maybe you can find the peace, creativity and rekindle a passion for that craft you have sitting in your basement!

By paradise

I'm Ann. I've been sewing since I was 9. My first project was a denim wrap skirt. Thrifting is a way of life for me - both eco-chic and financially savvy.

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