Quilted Republique du Chiffon Bernadette
There’s nothing new here today. I’ve made this pattern before. You’ve seen this fabric before. So why? Well, this project was like a persistent itch that need to be scratched. I’d made the Republique du Chiffon Bernadette jacket last year in a red waxed linen and it’s definitely passed the #30wears test (we’re a bit obsessed with this little sustainable clothes buying trick at the moment, where you ask yourself before you buy something whether you’ll wear it at least 30 times. And if the answer’s no…walk away). But I wanted to make changes. I’d decided the size of my first Bernadette was too big – especially across the shoulders. I wanted to make a softer, smaller and less parka-like version. I had clearly some unfinished business.
This time around I made the smallest size – which is two sizes smaller than my first – and am happy to report the shoulder fit is much improved. Kind of makes me wonder whether I should toile more often! I was fretting mid-make that the arms would be too narrow – and they are a narrow fit but now I’m wearing it, I wouldn’t change the arm width. I just won’t be wearing a big woolly Nordic knit under this little French jacket.
The fabric is clearly inspired by this Primoeza linen Kate found at a sale last year (I love what Primoeza did with the fabric, and also this Annie dress we’ve admired before). I did feel a bit left out of that party, so during last year’s Tokyo fabric buying frenzy, I spotted a soft warm flannel version and quietly decided I was having some of that. The lining is a light tan and black check flannel I had picked up at a second hand market which was eerily similar. Is it too much checkage? Is there such thing? (Is that even a word?) Perhaps I could have chosen a contrasting pattern lining but I couldn’t resist a celebration of the check. I love it so.
This jacket was quite quick to make – possibly because I’d done all of the hard yards of French translations last time (though RDC has an English version now, so happy days for Bernadette makers). I made a few changes along the way – I increased the length of the body by 10cm and I skipped the lining, figuring the quilted underside deserved to be seen (nothing to do with being too lazy to line!) I quilted my fabric before I cut it, using a simple, wide horizontal quilt. It’s quite an easy and satisfying process – fabric and lining sandwich the quilting padding, then all three layers stitched together using my trusty walking foot. Once quilted I cut out the pattern pieces and assembled. To keep the inside of the jacket neat I used Hong Kong binding, like the mini ones Kate did earlier this year, cut from the same lining fabric. The diagonal check binding contrasting with the straight check makes me smile. It’s the small things….
The edge binding is much quicker than lining a jacket. I cut binding from scraps from these wool pants, as I liked the way it matched the soft flannel texture of the check. I used the Tessuti method for joining together the binding ends. It’s such a clever finishing trick and looks satisfyingly professional – although I did go a little cross-eyed working it out.
While it’s kind of understated, I’m pretty pleased with this new jacket and I’m confident it will pass the #30wears test in weeks. I’d like to report I’m ready to move onto new jacket patterns…but I keep thinking I wouldn’t mind a version with added pockets. And Kate found this Isabel Marant one online and we can’t stop sighing over it and wondering whether a Bernadette hack copy isn’t altogether impossible….? Oh, and I also think I’d love one in summer cotton minus the padding like these super popular Ace and Jig ones. I know I’d wear a summer one #100plus times. So for now I’ll give Bernie a rest and move on to other makes that are on my mind – but I won’t bury the pattern pieces or translations too deep in my drawer, I don’t think I’m finished quite yet….