Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Channeling Chanel

This past June Susan Khalje was in Chicago hosting her Couture Sewing School Class. It was such a wonderful week. The class is quite intense, 6 days from 9 in the morning until 6 in the evening with one longer day where Susan will stay as long as needed.If you have never taken one of her classes, I HIGHLY recommend doing so. Susan is such a lovely person. She takes such a personal interest in the project of each of her students. But there is something even more special about Susan, she takes a personal interest in the person as well. Susan's website is just as lovely as she is. You can check it out here. Her week long classes cost $995.00. She requires $295.00 as a deposit and the balance is not due until 30 days before the start of the class. Very nice.
Last year I went to Nashville and worked on my "Bride of Elvis" dress with Susan. As I said, the week is quite intense and after sitting and working on the dress and looking at it so intently, I began to have second thoughts about wearing it. As Susan walked by my table I stopped her and I asked, "do you think I am going to look like the bride of Elvis?" Of course laughter ensued, but Susan assured me that I would not, and I didn't. But a year later, Susan remembered and the dress is now entitled "The Bride of Elvis Dress!!" You can see pictures of the dress here.
There were three women in the Nashville class who were working on the French Jacket. It looked very interesting to me. When I discovered that Susan was coming to Chicago and the class fit into my schedule, I thought, why not?

I didn't want the traditional jacket. I had a Vogue pattern that is now out of print that I really liked so I decided to use it. The neckline is what I especially liked. The fabric I had purchased some time ago from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL. The fabric was actually in the remnant area. I just love it. The fabric reminds me of the ocean and it has a lovely crystal thread that runs through it.

While I was in San Francisco, I went by Britex Fabrics to look for trim. If you are ever in San Francisco, whether you sew or not, the store is worth a visit. Such beautiful fabrics. I thought for sure that my quest for trim would easy. It wasn't. At first I was so disappointed, not one piece of trim worked with my fabric. Then I heard the words of John Koch, "think outside the box," so I decided to just look for anything that would match the color of my fabric. Like magic, this silk ribbon appeared before me. Perfect. I immediately thought of gathering it and putting something down the middle, but what. Everything I was finding was okay, but not great. When all else fails, ask for help. When I showed the saleswoman what I wanted to do, she immediately took me to this wonderful crystal trim. Perfect. A stop by the button counter produced clear glass buttons that match the crystal cord. Done.

A look at the interior of my jacket. You can see all the lines of quilting that run through the entire jacket. As I said, a lot of work goes into one of these jackets. Although I am not finished, I must say that I am VERY happy that I took the time to take the class and make the jacket. I just love it. The lining fabric is a silk charmeuse that also came from Vogue Fabrics. I bought enough to make a dress to wear with the jacket. Once I have the jacket finished, I will post pictures. Get busy, right?   

If you are interested or just curious about the French jacket, Susan did a wonderful article for Threads magazine. Her article is in the October/November 2005 #121 issue. If you go to their website, you may be able to buy back copies. If not, check out Ebay. I've been amazed at what I have been able to find on Ebay.

I love learning new things and of course I love pretty clothes. So often I hear, "I just don't have anywhere to wear something like that." Create your life. What do you like to do? Do you enjoy the opera? You can actually buy tickets to Lyric Opera performances for as little as $39.00. Many universities have incredible theater programs, the tickets are very inexpensive and the students need your support. So yes, create your life. You only get this one chance.

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  1. Susan is coming to Katy TX in Sept and I'm really looking forward to her class!

  2. Hi Roz,You are going to work hard, but you'll have a wonderful time. Enjoy!