A French Jacket

Susan Khalje toured Australia and I was lucky enough to do my second French Jacket class with her. I was absolutely enthralled throughout my first class, and have gone on to make a second jacket (A gift to my mother). There is just something about this garment that took me completely by surprise – I never thought I would wear such a thing.

My first jacket is not really an every-day wearable kind of garment – so this second one for myself will be a little less glitzy. You can read about this experience here:

A Third French Jacket in the Making

V7975: The Octopus’ Garden French Jacket


In September 2013 I gave myself the very extravagant birthday present of doing a 6 Day Couture Sewing course with Susan Khalje – the ‘French Jacket’. All I can say is, I wish I turned 30 more often…

Coco Chanel made this style famous back in the 1940’s, and it’s hung around ever since. Considered to be its own sub set of couture sewing skills, the handmade version takes the professionals some 70-80 hours to complete – 17 hours of which are dedicated to the sleeves alone. You can pick up a RTW version in Chanel boutiques for $6,000, but the couture version is upwards of $25,000. Neither are feasible options to me… but I’m not phased in the slightest. I’d prefer to learn the skills to sew my own over the purchase option any day!

I was initially more interested in absorbing the skills and fitting knowledge than I was in owning a Chanel jacket. I considered the style to be…. matronly… and I was worried I’d end up looking shapeless (I usually prefer fitted and sharply tailored garments). But I couldn’t have been more wrong – it’s incredibly shaped, form fitting, and so finely-tuned to me that I now wonder how I ever got by without it. I’ve now got my sights on sewing another in a more everyday wearable fabric!

Here are the posts I wrote about my experience, plus the finished product being modelled, of course!


French Jacket Class – Day 1: Shopping! And meeting the other Jacketeers :)

French Jacket Class – Day 2: Fitting and fine-tuning our muslins, plus cutting and thread Tracing

French Jacket Class – Day 3: Quilting, basting together, the second fitting and sewing

French Jacket Class – Day 4: Shoulder seams, three piece sleeves, fell stitching, fell stitching and more fell stitching…

French Jacket Class – Day 5: Quilting the sleeves, sleeve lining and a little more fell stitching, of course.

French Jacket Class – Day 6: Setting in the sleeves, fell stitching and playing with Trim

V7975: Sherbert Bomb Chanel – The Finished Jacket!

Vogue 7975 9

**Update – My second French Jacket can be seen here :)


  1. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with Susan’s class! I agree that reading about it only makes me want to attend even more. Your finished jacket is magnificent.

  2. Good to know that the Susan of her books and e-courses is as wonderfdul and knowledgeable in the flesh. Claire Shaffer’s book on the “Cardigan Jacket” as she must call is for copyright reasons, I imagine, is a great reference tool. Now, I’ve had the husdand for 30 years so wouldn’t get much trading him in to get the tuition for the course………………….I’ll try and get creative. All shades of green with jealousy on International Women’s Day!

    1. Happy IWD to you ;) I believe Susan has just released her French Jacket video class on her website – Whilst the price tag for such a course seems like a lot, I can tell you that it will be worth it for the things you will learn and would highly recommend it without having even seen it, based on my experience taking her class in person. Happy sewing!

    1. I never anticipated the addiction factor. It’s so good it’s almost nefarious. I saw she’s just released another video – I haven’t seen any of her’s yet but am very much wanting to get one.

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