“…the unbeatable Chanel look.”

the patterns:
Starting from top left and reading across, we have:

  • Advance 9480, MISSES’ ONE YARD SEPARATES, no copyright date, Advance Pattern Co. Let’s say it was published mid-1960’s.
  • Simplicity 6313, MISSES’ SUIT WITH AND WITHOUT SLEEVES, OVERBLOUSE AND SCARF…DESIGNER FASHION, copyright 1965 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc.
  • McCall’s 5585, MISSES’ UNLINED JACKET IN TWO LENGTHS, copyright 1991 The McCall Pattern Company 
  • Simplicity 8836, MISSES’/MISS PETITE JACKET, PANTS AND SKIRT, copyright 1999 Simplicity Pattern Co. Inc

Ok, so, these patterns. I pulled them all out the other day when I was thinking about jackets, and thought they’d be fun to share and discuss. All have elements of the Chanel jacket, the two on the left definitely, the two on the right, maybe. Let’s admire some of their Special Qualities.

In terms of Nods To Chanel, the winners are Advance 9480 and McCall’s 5585.
Chanelisms: wool, no collar, applied trim, chain as trim, metal buttons, pockets, pocket-flaps, pocket-flaps with metal buttons and applied trim, hip length, boxy shape, soft yet slightly military look. 
Simplicity 6313 has the collarlessness and the pocket flaps, plus the boxy shape and length, but is not overtly Chanel, while Simplicity 8836 has the collarlessness and a sort of luxuriously spartan feeling that seems pretty Chanel-like to me. Plus, Simplicity 8836 has hooks as the center front closure, which is an observable phenomenon in the Chanel world.

In terms of cover appeal, Advance 9480 is the clear winner of my affections, as Advance patterns always are.
This is a beautiful image, this is the one I immediately want to make and wear and be.
That heavy vs. thin line-weight, I mean, it’s so beautiful it almost blinds me to the fact that the garment is not exciting. The jacket has the applied trim and the boxy shape that we think of when we think Chanel Jacket, but no pockets, no buttons, no secret chain-weights sewn into the hem to give the jacket the right hang…kinda no nothing.

It is, however, the only one of these four patterns that is unafraid to speak the name Chanel. The back cover reads,

Blouse, skirt, jacket, of smartly coordinated fabrics plus some gay trimming, together have the unbeatable Chanel look. BUT the really big news here is that each can be made from only one yard of 54″ fabric!

Which I kind of love, that the pattern is like, ‘yeah, fine, Chanel, whatever, But Guys! Check Out How Much Yardage You’ll Save!!!!!!’
Simplicity 6313 calls itself Designer Fashion but stops short of naming any names, and by 1991 when McCall’s 5585 comes along, this look is referred to as a Fashion Basic, with no mention of designers, nameless or otherwise.
So in terms of name-dropping, Advance 9480 wins.

Interesting side-note: I read somewhere that Chanel herself was amused by and tolerant of this sort of style-biting. Modern day Chanel-The-Establishment, not so tolerant. There has sprung up a whole vocabulary of oblique ways to refer to this style, without raising the lawsuit-y ire of Chanel Inc. Vocabulary such as “the french jacket”, “the classic couture Parisian jacket made of bouclé…” and so on, you get the idea. 

Another side-note: Despite being published within Karl “King of the Bustier” Lagerfeld’s era at Chanel, neither McCall’s 5585 nor Simplicity 8836 includes a matching bra top with self-fringed trim. So sad about that. 

The winner of Least Attractive Cover Art goes to McCall’s 5585, but that’s not really fair of me as I’m generationally predisposed to be grossed out by 1991.

In terms of What Might Look Nice On A Real Person, I think Simplicity 8836 might be the winner. Minus the shoulder pads.
The shaping through the waist is forgiving, unlike the square silhouette of Advance 9480, which kind of demands slim waist and narrow hips.
The bummer is that Simplicity 8836 is the least Chanel-like of my little collection, so making it would lack some of the retro-homage excitment that these other jackets bring.

So that’s it.
What do you think? Do you have a favorite? Or a least favorite? Do tell. 


12 thoughts on ““…the unbeatable Chanel look.”

    1. Hahahahaa!
      Yeah, definite frump potential here.
      I think the trick to avoiding frump would be avoiding all color? None of those Easter egg houndstooths or pretty plaids and definitely no sparkle. Keep the palate severe. Like, if it’s a look that is going to age me, I will aim for scary rather than kindly.
      True about the cardigan as a more useful garment though, cardigans are definitely warmer, softer, and easier to layer with whatever outfit I’m already wearing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I rhink even severe is frumpy! I remember on a sewing meet once, the largeish party split abruptly into two when some went hunting for chanel jacket fabrics, and the rest of us hid behind a rack and hissed ‘frumpy’ at one another. Fabulously childish, great fun!


  1. I think I like the advance pattern the best but only because the line art is so charming. Does it have an elbow dart? I love the idea of elbow darts. My big big big big big boring issue with the Chanel style jacket is the lack of closures. How, how do you close the damn thing and stop being cold? I spend an inordinate amount of my wardrobe planning wondering if I will be warm enough whilst wearing whatever I plan to make. I think if if was going to make a Chanel style jacket I’d hunt down a vintage pattern….. Will you make one?


    1. No elbow darts on the Advance one! Kinda surprised. That one really is just a little nothing of a thing. Such a pretty drawing though.
      And no front closure on the Advance. The other ones have buttons or hooks, but they still don’t look like they’d be very cozy. All that chain jewelry on the McCall’s cover illustrations looks chilly too, I mean, I know jewelry warms up while you wear it but I sure wouldn’t want to put on all those cold chain necklaces first thing on a winter morning.
      I suspect this is the kind of thing that would be perfect for a corporate job in an overly air-conditioned building. Or, come to think of it, with all those pockets this might be the perfect thing to wear to a costume fitting. Fill those pockets up with safety pins, wrap a tape measure around your neck, and you’re ready to go.
      Hmm, maybe I really should make one.
      There’s this other pattern that I’m eyeing right now though, a cape from the 80’s, we’ll see.


  2. I like this post and find it very interesting. I don’t think any garment is “frumpy” in and of itself. It depends on the shaping, length, fabric, trimming, fit etc. I like the 6313 best as it is so very 1960s. I would wear it although the pockets look a bit fake. I like the Advance too. Does it have a blouse and skirt – each of them needed one yard of “magic mixers” (sounds like something to get very drunk on).?


    1. Magic Mixers! Yes. So very drunk.
      Social context is a big factor in determining frumpiness too, in addition to fit etc. The same jacket that is Frump City on me might be Fabulous on my grandma and Stylishly Ironical on the twenty-year-old who makes my espresso.
      It’s an interesting question of whether any garment is inherently frumpy (or chic, or anything). We project so much of our own experience onto clothing.
      Similar to how we react to names, in that we judge a name based on all the people we have known before who had that name and how we felt about that person, more than on whether the actual sound of the name pleases our ears.
      Those button loops around big spherical buttons on 6313 are fun aren’t they? Kinda playful in a wacky Op Art way. I feel like that detail should be picked up somewhere else in the jacket too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is great! Favourite is the Advance, last is Simplicity 8836, loving the illustrations of Simplicity 6313 but not keen on the model looking into the distance. I would make the Advance in a chunky textured check, not unlike another scarf remake I’ve just finished but not yet blogged about. Formal enough for a skirt, casual enough to wear with jeans! Are you going to make one of them up!!?


    1. I might make one. I have two other projects that are first in line though. I try not to cut too far ahead of time. Sometimes if a project has been cut and sitting around for a while, it starts to look boring, or like an obligation. So for now, I’m putting these ideas aside until their time either comes or doesn’t come.
      I like that model, for her make up! Wow, check out her nails too, those are intense.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That head list, sometimes it’s difficult to decide which is next? I’ve got one cut out, dart checks pinned and I’ve made two others since then…don’t know why! ?? Maybe I’m just off it!


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