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  1. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    I've purchased several Chanel suits during the last year and asked questions about many others. During the process, I've learned a variety of things which I wish to share with you just in case you are buying or selling.

    1. The first thing I look at is the label. The label on a Chanel couture jacket says "CHANEL"--NOTHING else, no logo. If there is a logo, it is Boutique which is ready-to-wear. These suits are beautifully made, but they are not couture. Chanel Creations and Chanel Boutique are rtw (ready-to-wear) labels. Review the labels on this website for a refresher course.

    I bought one jacket with a label that is not a Chanel. When I examined the label closely, I decided it was a fake; and the jacket is very badly made. The seller offered to refund my money. I declined because I can use it when teaching.

    2. If there is no label, I look at the sleeves. If there is a vent at the wrist, a Chanel will have buttons and working buttonholes. They are usually thread and embroidered by hand with a buttonhole stitch. If you open the vent, the underside of the buttonhole is generally very unattractive.

    3. Most jackets have hand buttonholes. Copies from the sixties usually have bound--two narrow strips of fabric at the opening.

    4. Some jackets are quilted and some have a three piece sleeves. Most copies are not quilted and only a few have three-piece sleeves.

    5. The lining should be sewn in by hand. Examine the lining at the armhole -- you can tell if it is machine stitched or hand-sewn.

    6. Lots of copies have chains at the hem and Chanel buttons. Chains are easy to add and buttons can be fakes or taken from another suit.

    I wrote an article in the Nov./Dec. issue of Piecework about a Chanel suit without a label at the Museum of the City of NY. There is additional information in the article which will help you when buying and selling.
    Claire Shaeffer
  2. cactusandcattails

    cactusandcattails VFG Member

    That is fabulous information Claire. Thank you once again for sharing your knowledge here!

    Oh yes, I have added this to my "Chanel file", in case I ever come across one that I can afford to buy!
  3. Laura

    Laura Alumni

    I just saw your article in Piecework over the weekend...It's great!! Thank you for sharing the information here, too.

  4. vintageclothesline

    vintageclothesline VFG Member

    Thank you, Claire. This is definitely information to save.
  5. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    I put this together based on a listing about 10 days ago. It was a beautiful design but once she showed the sleeve I knew it was a copy.

    It was a good "exercise" to review the items I consider when making a purchase. One of the problems is that sellers don't always know how to describe various elements.

    I'm glad you like the MCNY article. C
  6. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    Claire, could you describe the 3 pc sleeve seaming, please?

    And thank you so much - extremely helpful information.

  7. cmpollack

    cmpollack VFG Member

    Yes, this is wonderful info!

    I haven't even tried to collect Chanel, because I've known I'd be helpless to spot a fake (even if price wasn't an issue).

    Now I feel a little more fortified with knowledge (if not cash...)

    Thanks so much, Claire!
  8. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  9. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    The 3-piece sleeve has a seam at the center. This repositions the vent so it is more noticeable. At the top, the seam is on grain, as it nears the wrist, it's tapered and many of the sleeves are very narrow.

    The undersleeve is rarely more than 2" wide. Claire
  10. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Claire, do know when the ready-to-wear lines changed from Chanel Creations to Chanel Boutique? I've always thought the name change occurred when Lagerfeld went to Chanel, but I'm not sure if I've ever read the.

  11. Claire, if these steer from your specs please let me know and I'll redo.

    Here are some close-ups of the late 60s numbered Chanel 2 piece suit. It's an anomaly - no button holes at the sleeves and the button holes on the front of the jacket are sewn.




    Undersleeve - 2.5" on grain and tapers to 2" bang on:




    Hand-stitched sleeve lining:

  12. Here is a picture of the skirt that I think is quite interesting. The back and front seams are pinched and hand sewn on the inside and at the top is this wonderful series of pink stitches. The zipper I think reads Eclair.

  13. fuzzylizzie

    fuzzylizzie Alumni

    Deborah, What's the number on your suit. I have a late 60s Chanel the same color and looks like the same fabric, so they could be the same season. I'll check the number on mine.

    Look very closely at your buttonholes. At first glance they look to be machine sewn, but they are worked by hand. On mine, the buttonholes of the lining are bound, something that is commonly found in Chanel couture. Did you tell me that, Claire?

    A big surprise to me is that Chanel sometimes had fake pocket flaps with no pocket. This really bothered me when I first discovered it on my suit, but then found that Chanel sometimes did that.
  14. What a coincidence! The number on mine is either: 37027 or 37927.

    Sorry, Lizzie, I meant to say machine-stitched for the button holes - that and the fact there are no button holes on the sleeves make this Chanel unusual.

    Can't wait to find out what your number is!
  15. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    The pink threads--catchstitches--mark the center front.

    Sometimes they are cross-stitches, but these look like catchstitches.

    You did a great job with the photos. Claire
  16. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    Deborah's buttonholes on the front are handmade or hand-embroidered. Look at the photo carefully and you can see the little looks at the edges of the buttonhole.

    A hand buttonhole is cut, the hand embroidered; a machine buttonhole is stitched then cut.
  17. Oh I see now - did you mean "loops" instead of "looks" at the edges Claire?

    Lizzie, I just reread your post and, of course, I read so fast I jumped a word or two - you were right!

    I'm so impressed you ladies can see it right off!

    So not having button holes on the sleeves seems to be the only thing out of the ordinary on this Chanel. Oh yes, and the trim.
  18. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer VFG Member

    Deborah, you're right--"looks" should be "loops."

    Actually, topstitching was frequently used as a trim. This is the first solid-colored suit I've seen with topstitching but lots of suits have it, sometimes with other trims as well.

    In fact, when I looked at your sleeve photo again, it looks like your sleeve has a band around the wrist since there is a miter at the corner and the ribs ("grain") are parallel to the wrist edge. Look at it again to see if the band extends to the armhole. I can see the grain in the photo. Is it inserted as a "piping" or an extension of the top sleeve?

    Also, check the topstitching. Is it just on the outer layer or does it go through all layers? Generally, it will be the former.
  19. Great eye!!! The wrist is a band - so well done I missed it completely!

    The other band or piping running vertically along the sleeve (I think that's what you are referring to) is impossible for me to tell if it is 1) an add on or just a continuation of the fabric that was cut and then folded over and topstitched right at the seam or 2) an extra band that was stitched onto the main sleeve. (I'm sorry Claire, I'm still in 1st grade when it comes to sewing lingo).

    If it's the undersleeve you are referring to - this is an added piece that starts at the underarm at 2.5" and tapers to 2" at the wrist.

    The topstitching does not go through to the lining on the other side - and everything is so well closed up, I cannot peek inside the lining to see.

    Is this topstitching all hand done?

    "This is the first solid-colored suit I've seen with topstitching..." Do you mean the first Chanel solid-coloured suit or suits in general?

    Thanks so much Claire - this is a terrific learning experience!
  20. Clarie a friend came over and we looked very closely at the sleeve edging and it appears to be an add on - not that you can see where it is stitched together (just like the wrist), quite remarkable - we discovered more by feel than sight. The thickness on the vertical is the exact same as the one going round the wrist when you feel right at the topstiching. (We were able to put our fingers in between the buttons on the cuff).

    DH has my caliper at work, but I'm quite confident by the feel.

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