Monday, November 2, 2009

An Amazing Jacket

A friend of mine actually likes to shop, and she finds the most astonishing things at thrift shops. Today, I'm going to show you one of her finds. She bought it because it was too good to leave in the store, even though it didn't fit her. I'm the beneficiary and have had the pleasure of owning this jacket for several years. I'm now in the process of replacing the lining, which was shredding. I thought to document the jacket before proceeding.

So, I introduce to you my vintage Auckie Sanft jacket. I can't say exactly when this was made but it was probably the mid-1970s. It is very close fitting and came with a mid-knee length, matching A-line skirt with a plain back and large box-pleated front. The skirt never fit but I have worn the jacket a lot.

Auckie Sanft was a high-quality Montreal manufacturer. Perhaps this jacket was designed by John Warden, though maybe not, as it seems Warden did not work with Auckie Sanft for long. Whoever was responsible for it was a master.

There are several things about this jacket that are special. First, the fabric. This jacket is made from beautiful Linton Tweed. "There has never been a Chanel collection without Linton tweeds", apparently (according to a 2004 story on News). I believe it! This fabric is absolutely luscious. It's predominantly cream, with novelty threads in silky/shiny white, dark blue and white, and soft grey woven through it to create an irregular plaid. The label says 83% wool, 17% acrylic. From a distance, a little unfortunately, it looks like a horizontally-striped jacket. No matter, it's gorgeous! Here's the back.

The stripiness of the fabric tells an interesting story. First, it's beautifully matched at all body seams, and the sleeve cap matches perfectly, but only in the back. Hmmmm. In the front, the sleeve cap is not matched to the jacket at the armscye, but the sleeve and body do match lower down.

This is a mystery! The solution is that the upper pocket flap disguises a little seam which does not match. It has something to do with the bust shaping provided by the princess seam.

The designer used what I believe was the darker blue selvedge edge of the fabric to provide a coordinating trim found on the pocket flaps, collar and back belt.

The next feature of the jacket is that the maker has reduced bulk almost everywhere by using lining fabric as facing - the collar, pocket flaps and front are lined to the edge.

There is also very very little internal structure in the jacket. There is a very light shoulder pad and very light-weight and supple canvas (possibly linen?) at the front edges, around the armscye, and behind the pocket flaps. The chest area has a single layer of a slightly stiffer woven interfacing. The back shield and hem interfacing are the softer canvas, cut on the bias. I believe there is no interfacing at all in either the collar or pocket flaps!

Here are some photos of the details.

Only the lapel area, sleeve hems and vents are not faced with thin lining fabric. The sleeve hems are bulky! But check out the Chanel buttons. Are they real??

Check out all photos in more detail at my Flickr page.


  1. See I thought you made that jacket! But I love how the selvedge is part of the jacket...gave me some ideas to "copy!"

  2. There are so many CC buttons out there it's hard to know which are real and which aren't. Honestly I've given up on trying to tell the real ones from the fake ones. I LOVE your jacket and looks like a perfect vehicle for your new lining!

  3. Not a sewer (seamstress is better, right?), but I'm a big fan of those who are. Congratulations on starting a blog, Kay and I will send the link to a couple of friends who are avid sewers...seamstresses. Take care and have fun.

  4. Thanks for starting a blog. Hey, post went you want to and have time, and don't worry about it when you are "absent". Love seeing your stuff.

  5. Welcome to the blogging !

    That jacket is TDF..thanks for sharing the details!

  6. Kay, I've been a fan of your sewing for several years, and am always delighted to see your newest projects and to revisit your older ones on PR or your Flickr site. So imagine how happy I am to see you've started a 'blog! Yay!

    Thank you for dissecting this beautiful jacket. The sewing methods are interesting. For a very long time I've been wanting to make a one-layer jacket, and this lining-faced, minimialist-construction design is a step in that direction. I hope you make a jacket to emulate this one, so I can continue to learn from your hard work!


  7. I'm not a big shopper myself, but I haunt thrift stores specifically in the hopes of finding treasures like that jacket. That, and for things to cut up, but that's another story.

    Beautiful jacket, and welcome to the blogging world.

  8. I see you've discovered the charms of vintage Auckie Sanft. Aren't they a wonder? Have a look at the ones I've written about...

    Square with Flair

  9. Auckie Sanft was my grandfather. I am blessed to have many of his originals that he made for both my mother (his daughter Elaine) as well as my grandmother. I still wear them! thank you for the appreciation of his hard work!