Chanel boucle style skirt- Mounted skirt technique


Boucle Chanel Style Skirt

I finished my second version of this little boucle Chanel inspired skirt. I learned a lot about working with boucle fabric on this project.  I was planning on making a jacket with the pink boucle when I bought it last year, but never did. The fabric was rather thin, some sort of cotton or rayon loose weave. I would have to interface the hell out of it to give it the needed structure for a jacket. But it was perfect for a skirt and after facing it with silk organza, I think it would work for a lightweight jacket after all. To read a more thorough explanation of this technique visit this post where I made a mini Chanel jacket.

This technique is known as MOUNTING A SKIRT. It’s not used very often anymore, but you’ll still find it in really high end dresses and skirts. Mounting a skirt is basting a pattern piece to a stiffer backing piece make the skirt stand away from the body. It’s not a term used anymore, it sounds wierd….  I learned about it in my sewing book from 1960. If you Google it you won’t find anything. I didn’t. I suppose it’s called a backed skirt now maybe?

The challenge with this skirt to get the fabric to behave like an expensive designer wool boucle. The design I had in mind was a full skirt that stood away a little from the body. The first version I made of this skirt was a box pleated skirt that I draped but was off grain and also hung limply and looked sort of sad…. It had taken me hours to make and I was determined to not let this project be a failure!coutureskirtfail


 After the failed skirt above, I realized that the fabric needed to be underlined and the hem would need to be reinforced with something even stiffer, hair canvas. So I cut up the first skirt and used the leftover fabric to make my new skirt and draped a drapingskirt1new one. I wanted to use couture sewing methods again, obviously displaying my masochistic side. Actually, I quite like sitting and doing hand sewing. It’s very relaxing, somehow. No serger, no glue in interfacing and no visible stitches on the outside of the garment. .

I backed the skirt with silk organza, which I stitched onto the skirt in rows about 2 inches apart. This is a process done on Chanel jackets, but with silk charmeuse, to give loose weave fabrics more body and it really works. The organza made my fabric behave in a completely different way. It became pouffy like I wanted, not limp like my first skirt.meskirtcloseupI also added a hair canvas layer into the bottom band to make that even more stiff. I sewed it onto the organza and then sewed the organza along the edges of the band on the inside. Pure luxury, lining the inside of something with silk organza that will never even be seen. I got this  silk organza very cheap, thankfully.reinforced hair canvas hembandHair canvas and organza sewn inside hem band.drapingskirtTaking the time to check for fit and a pleasing overall design is important , even on a design like a simple skirt,
CoutureSkirtiunderlining750It’s a pity to hide this organza….COUTURESKIRTINsideOUT750The waistband is also faced with hair canvas and organza and backed with Petersham ribbon on the inside.waistband750Chanel Stle Boucle SkirtI made a side zipper.Boucle Chanel Style SkirtChanel-Pre-Fall-2012-Collection

Chanel skirt with contrast band.

Like the Chanel skirt above I wanted to add a band to the bottom. But I used the same fabric as the top of the skirt for the band. It doesn’t really show up . Originally , I was going to trim the seamline with some contrasting burgundy trim I bought back when I found this fabric at Micheal Levine in downtown LA, but I couldn’t find it ANYWHERE and I looked everywhere. As a matter of fact, I got so distracted looking for the trim, that I got off track and ended up cleaning out my entire closet area over the next two days, carting off two full garbage bags full of stuff to the Goodwill.


This was how I wanted the trim to look on my skirt ( Chanel skirt) I might still buy some trim and add it. Or maybe I’ll find my lost trim.


The lining is China silk and it has French seams. It feels so luscious on. The zipper was stitched in by hand so there are no visible stitches on the outside. It’s how they did it before invisible zips, I guess.Couture Chanel style skirt silk liningCouture WaistbandIt’s all sewn down by hand with the fell stitch.

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  1. says

    Nope, not short at all. I think the proper length directly corresponds with how “in shape” your legs are; and your legs are BANGIN! I’m actually feeling a little chubby legged jealousy over here:) I love reading your blog and learning new things. You give me these urges to crack open the old sewing books. Do you agree that design school didn’t cover these older, more advanced techniques back in the day? It would’ve been neat to have a class on couture technique and methods. Have you ever considered guest teaching, as alumni? I think you’d be good at it.

    Your skirt is lovely!

  2. Judy says

    This skirt is beautiful, and all the wonderful techniques that you used , really paid off.. I am so happy that you
    didn’t give up on it.. I like this style much better.. Looks so pretty on you… Happy sewing.

  3. Olga says

    Wow! I am impressed by all the details! So organza to stabilize the fabric… I heard about the method, but never actually tried it or explored it. How do you sew it into the fabric, by hand?

    • says

      Hi Olga. With his fabric you stitch the organza in channels straight down the pattern piece every 2 inches. The stitches just blend in with the lines on the fabric. It’s how they do the Chanel jacket. It’s like quilting.

  4. says

    Justine – thank you for the detail on this skirt. Especially the couture finishing techniques. After reading your blog on your first attempt using the boucle … I was encouraged to line and hand finish a top I’m currently working on. I am extremely happy with the end result. Thanks for sharing your experience!! It encourages new sewists like me to explore these techniques!