Why I should learn to draft patterns

I distinctly remember my first introduction to the House of Chanel.  It was through Vogue magazine in the mid 80’s, and I fell for it hopelessly.  I loved everything about it:  the quilting; the camellias; the endless ropes of pearls and gold chains; the distinctive shaping of the jacket.  Sigh.  It was my goal as a 15 year old to own a Chanel suit and all the requisite accessories.  E35_chanel_couture_022_1985When I moved to Toronto two years later, I wandered through the Chanel boutique in the now defunct Creed’s store, and I found a signature suit in ivory tweed in my size on sale.  Imagine my stupefied delight.  And then I picked it up to have a good look at my dream suit.  Completely unlined.  100% polyester.  All for 1/2 price at a paltry $2500.  The RTW bubble was burst.  And what an enormous POP.chanel 2

So, rather disillusioned, I went about my business and decided I’d settle for the statement purse.  Just for the record, I still do not own one.  I cannot bring myself to spend the money on a statement item.  However, I would happily spend any amount of money to own something couture, which I discovered somewhere along the line.  To this day, I am an avid couture dreamer.  One of my favourite films is Signe Chanel, which gives a wonderful glimpse into the world famous atelier for a 2004 couture show (the picture above is from that show) and the incredible talents of the women that work in it.  Lagerfeld may come up with the ideas, but the skill set required to make those ideas a reality is formidable.    Chanel PF 2011 duster

I need that skill set.  Very rarely will Chanel put out a collection that I don’t like – or maybe the proper word is admire – with at least one garment that I would happily put into good use in my closet.  The closest I will come to owning any Chanel garment is a copy.  And this is where it becomes very frustrating.  I’m pretty good at patching together pattern pieces into a collage that will be close to the look that I want, but I cannot draft anything to save my life.  Like this collar!  BTW, Claudine has posted this last picture on her blog along with videos on how to get the ombre look with spray dyeing.

chanel couture spring 2012 collars

5 thoughts on “Why I should learn to draft patterns

  1. If you have a dress form its pretty easy. Just start draping away and you will create a pattern. Drafting skirts without a form is pretty simple. I have a tutorial on my blog. Tops are harder and easier if you drape them . Good luck! I think its easier than doung all the alterations and adjustments on store bought patterns which never fit the way I want.and I love onbre too!

  2. The floor-length coat is remarkable. About ten years ago finally visited a Chanel boutique in a Neiman’s somewhere and fell in love with one of the shirts that had these very high collars. It’s stuck in my head forever as something I might try and draft one day. Perhaps you could start with a pattern that comes close to what you are dreaming of and alter it? I find this a much less mind-bending place to begin. It’s not as daunting as you think it might be, with the help of a pattern drafting book for ideas. You could definitely draft that collar. 😉

  3. This ombre suit is the only piece that realy that caught my eye in Chanel’s last show.
    I loved watching Signé Chanel and all the awesome work made by the Haute-Couture atelier. My favourite part is when they show this old lady weaving the famous trims.


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