Thrifted Inspiration: Chanel

Dear readers,

 

I’m not much of a shopper and I feel like my appetite for the RTW I can afford is decreasing everyday. However, if there is one thing I cannot resist, it’s designer labels at the thrift store. Especially the French luxury Ready-to-Wear pieces. I have such an admiration for those brands that the idea of owning a little piece of it is just too tempting. I thought I may share my occasional weakness with you!

Chanel Shell-4

I found this Chanel silk shell at Beacon’s Closet in Manhattan for about 50$ if I remember correctly. The color is a very trendy “millennial pink”. Based on a quick internet search I would think it’s only from the late 90’s, but this garment has had a rough life. It has a tiny hole and some discoloration. It’s still wearable but definitely not in “mint condition”.

Chanel Shell-5

The shape is very simple, semi-fitted, no darts, hip length with a placket opening at Center Back (and the original button, yay!!). It’s a size 36 (french sizing) and although it’s a bit big on me I will be able to wear it. The fit in the bust is very nice and the armholes/neckline do not gape at all.

In terms of construction, the armholes and neckline are finished with a .5cm/1/4″ bias binding. The remarkable feature for me are the teeny tiny flat felled side seams, no more than 1/8″. I tried to replicate them on my machine but I can’t say I was very successful, as  evidenced below:

Chanel Shell-8

Another notable point is the shoulder seam with a fused seam allowances, then stitched, pressed towards the back bodice and overlocked. One of my favorite features is the lingerie strap guard. I usually don’t make the effort of sewing some on in my handmade garments and I think I should! The buttonhole is very fine. I don’t think there is a way for me to achieve this quality. My home machine produces ok-buttonholes for things like cotton shirts and little human garments but I think it would ruin the look a delicate garment like this one…

Chanel Shell-3

This kind of pieces really inspire my sewing, as I love the idea of putting a lot of effort in garments that you can wear any day of the week. And in case you want to re-create a vintage Chanel silk shell at home, watch what will happen at Just Patterns (hint hint)… I hope you enjoyed looking at the details of this simple top. Chanel has a special place in my personal fashion Pantheon ( and I would love to hear which are the brands that keep inspiring you?