Thursday, February 9, 2017

Chateau Blanc

Today I finally had time to finish my first version of the Chateau Jacket from the Sewing Workshop. Ever since they started posting preview pictures on Instagram, I have been anxious to make one. And now I am certain I'll make it again. It is a simple wrap over-coat with elbow-length sleeves.

The line drawing does not make it look terribly interesting.

Fabric: This yummy fabric came from Gail K in Atlanta, a place where I find lots of interesting fabrics. It is 80% wool and 20% angora, quite spongie and does not ravel much at all. It was delightful to sew, both hand and machine stitching. The Chateau is designed for non-raveling fabrics with directions for lapped seams and raw edges. So while winter white is not the best color for me, I just could not resist.
happy on the inside, really
Cutting: Due to the thickness of the fabric, and the need to keep raw edges smooth, I cut it out single layer. So as to avoid serious mistakes, I carefully marked the right side of each piece with a pin. I discovered that the fabric was slightly damaged but it did not present a problem. Who knew winter white could fade? It was ever-so-slightly whiter at the fold line.


I changed some aspects of construction. The pattern calls for either patch pockets or slit pockets with a separate lining piece. I wanted to try out the slit pockets with this non-raveling fabric but decided against using the pocket lining. This would have created 3 layers of my fabric near my high hip fluff (ahem). I felt the pockets might flop around making it even less flattering. So I used the pocket pieces, but not the pocket facing pieces. This required that the top-stitched pockets show, but I kind-of like that.

Finished inside of jacket

Finished outside of jacket

I also adjusted the method for creating lapped seams. The pattern is designed for standard 5/8 inch seams so the first step is to cut off the seam allowance on one side of each seam. Then the cut piece is lapped over the uncut piece, aligning the raw edge at 5/8 inch. The trick is aligning the raw edge. The directions suggest the use of tape to hold the lap in place until it is top-stitched. I found that by machine-basting right at the seam line, I could lap it accurately. The basting was easy to remove after top-stitching.

Lastly I added some top-stitching. The pattern does not call for any finish to the raw edge of the front collar, or on the lower hem or the sleeve hem. I wanted a little insurance and stability, so I top-stitched 1/4 inch from each raw edge. I was especially concerned about the bias edges on the front collar. Plus I like the extra detail.

back facing from the right side, before should seams are sewn
The back neck edge is reinforced with a deep facing that is simply sewn on wrong-sides-together. I like the top-stitching on that too.

I really like the back neckline!

I have seen some notes about this being over-sized. It is. But there is no place where fit is relevant, in my opinion. I am 5'5" and happy with the proportions as designed. The fabric is very stable and so stands away from my body. This did not surprise me. I do want to try it again in a drapey fabric, perhaps using standard seam construction. I'm glad they included standard seam allowances. It might be interesting to lengthen the body or the sleeves in another version.

lots of room for extra layers!

I am quite enamored of this shape and the overall simplicity of it. And the winter white is lovely. My only concern is that it may spend more time at the dry cleaners than on my body. I must stay away from tomato sauce and red wine!


  1. no eating with your coat on! This looks quite elegant, and the top stitching really does set the design off.

  2. Your coat is lovely, elegant, and it looks great on you!

  3. so pretty. Love all the detail work - and the single layer pocket solution. I think the topstitching on the pocket adds a lot to the front of the coat. Nice work!

  4. Just beautiful! I love everything about it. You did a wonderful job. And I think winter white looks lovely on you! Enjoy!

  5. I especially love the back neck area! The lapped seams and top stitching show especially well there - maybe that's just due to the lighting in the photos. But the whole coat is beautiful, front and back. A pretty scarf draped inside the neck could provide the color next to your face that fits your personality.

    To make a version with full length sleeves, it would look cool with lantern shaped extensions sewed to the bottom of the cut-on sleeves, with darts to shape the bottom of the sleeve to the wrist.

    Thanks as always for sharing the little details that make your garments special.

  6. It was lovely to meet you at the show yesterday and see you wearing this beautiful jacket. You are such a talent in your couture and your art.
    If you are interested in the tunic pattern, it is a Vouge 9171 by Marci Tilton. I obviously made changes to the sleeve and neckline.
    Looking forward to seeing more on your blog!

  7. Stunning! If you tire of the white color, you could always dye the coat later.

  8. I have been admiring your work for a while, and I have some mustard-gold wool earmarked for the jacket. I have a question for you. You say you basted the seams, Can you please be a little more specific? Machine-basted without removing a seam allowance, and then removing one seam allowance? Seam allowances on the outside or the inside? I am guessing that you basted the seams with the seam allowances to the inside, as if for usual garment construction. Then you trimmed one seam allowance close to the basting and top-stitched the other? Then removed the basting and top-stitched the remaining raw edge?
    Your construction looks perfect, and top-stitching can look really amateurish if it isn’t just right. I bought my fabric in Paris, and I have dreams of a beautifully French-looking end result.

    1. Hang on - I think I figured it out. You basted a line at 5/8” to use as a guide. Right? After removing the seam allowance on the top fabric.

    2. Yes, exactly right! Thanks.