The Story Behind the Notions Story: Guest post by Anne Marie Soto

by Ramona on October 24, 2011

I was very excited to learn that ASG was starting a blog. I look forward to posting occasionally – at the very least, when each issue of ASG Notions debuts.

As Notions editor, coming up with interesting & original cover story ideas is always a challenge. Inspiration can come from anywhere … and ideas are always welcome. As the “godmother” of ASG’s Creativity Contest, I’ve been privileged to get a peek at all the entries every year and was struck by how variations of the Chanel jacket appeared … a sign that it is on ASG members’ sewing radar!

Although Coco Chanel always showed it (and personally wore it) as part of a skirt-suit ensemble, the jacket can go on its own today with skirts, trousers or jeans and, for the very young, tailored shorts. So, I thought it would be fun to get four different interpretations of this jacket classic. Thus, “Channeling Chanel,”, the Fall 2011 Notions cover story was born. (Full disclosure: Coco Chanel and my daughter share a first name – Gabrielle, not Coco! – so in my household we’ve always been drawn to articles, books & movies about the designer.)

If you’re wondering how I found four gals who would be willing to spend their time creating a jacket just for Notions, the anwer is simple – all I had to do was ask! I wanted four people with different fashion points of view. Joy Landeira, Eve Kovacs, Cindy Vincent and Katy Seaver all stepped up to the (needle) plate. Joy writes the main book review for each issue of Notions and is a huge fan of Claire Shaeffer, who is one of the sewing world’s leading authorities on creating an authentic Chanel jacket.  Both Eve & Cindy have been several-time winners in the ASG Creativity Contest and I got to know both ladies from interviewing them for Notions‘ “Sew For the Gold” feature. Dorothy Martin, grandmother of Katy, our college-age sewer, is an ASG member and a close personal friend. Katy was coming to visit Dorothy for some sewing sessions and, with true ASG enthusiasm, the two of them jumped on a Chanel jacket project. It was icing on the cake (trim on the jacket?) when Claire Shaeffer stepped in and offered to write an article on creating Chanel trims.  And then, to add to the serendipity, ASG member Sue McCullough created a Chanel jacket that appeared in the August/September ’11 issue of Threads magazine – so we just had to include Sue’s achievement in our “Sew for the Gold” section. I hope reading these articles will inspire you to take your own Chanel journey.


First up, Cindy and Bogart: Cindy’s cat Bogart is guarding her finished jacket. During construction, Bogart became so attached to her jacket that Cindy had to fight to keep him off of it and hid it when she was not working on it.  She’s guessing that Bogart loved the quilted effect and the softmess of the charmeuse.

Here’s Joy — thrilled with her jacket and matching skirt!

While young sewers are often categorized as impatient, Katy proved the stereotype wrong. Her Chanel adventure began with a gingham muslin to insure a perfect fit. Go, Katy!!

Eve created a soft, floaty skirt which complements the single layer flounces on her jacket.

Anne Marie Soto, Notions editor

Thank you, Anne Marie!  We’ll be looking forward to another blog post about the next Notions cover!


Dorothy Martin October 24, 2011 at 7:28 pm

Great job, Anne Marie, as always!

Bogart October 24, 2011 at 8:07 pm

Great article, Anne Marie! We are very proud of our jacket! Now, I just wish my Mom would let me cuddle up on it when she’s not wearing it. Now that I’ve dug my paws into silk charmeuse, I can’t go back to my old polyester cat bed . . .
Your buddy,

Marcia Russell October 25, 2011 at 4:46 am

Just got my Notions today. It will be my bedtime reading. Looks terrific as always.

Gloria October 25, 2011 at 2:01 pm

As a new member of ASG I received my very first Notions and I am thilled with it. It is packed with so much information! Love the Chanel jackets, will have to try my hand at one soon!

Samina October 25, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Gloria, we’re thrilled to add you to the ASG membership roster! Thank you for joining.

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