Claire Shaeffer Explains How to Elevate Your French Jacket with a Stylish Chain

The chain links on this Chanel jacket are crowded together so the chain will expand when the jacket is worn.

The chain weight is the perfect addition for lightweight cardigan jackets. Designed to ensure that the jacket hangs properly, it is attractive as well as useful. The chain can be located on the hem just above the hemline or just below the lining, on the lining, or inside the lining. Generally, the chain extends to the centre front or the edges of the facings.

  1. Measure the hem. If there is no facing, begin and end at the centre front. If there is a facing begin and end at the edges of the facings.
  2. Cut the chain about 25% longer than the hem measurement

Claire’s Hint: When you sew the chain in place, you will ease the extra chain to the fabric so the chain will have some give like the fabric.

  1. Mark the centre of the chain with a safety pin.
  2. Using a double strand of topstitching thread, weave the thread into the chain links.
  3. Place the jacket on a table with the hem side up. Align the centre back with the centre of the chain and anchor the thread at centre back. (A)
  4. Smooth the chain toward the front keeping the links close together.
  5. Use thread or safety pins to mark the chain at the seamlines. If there is extra chain at the ends, cut it off.
  6. Working from right to left, sew the top of the chain to the hem.

Claire’s Hint: Place the stitches close to the next link so the thread will be hidden under the next link. You can see the threads on the line drawing, but they will be inconspicuous on your jacket if you keep your stitches close to the adjacent links. (B)

  1. Rearrange the jacket to sew the bottom of the links to the hem so the threads are hidden under the adjacent links. Secure the thread at the ends.


Diagram A
Diagram B


6 thoughts on “Claire Shaeffer Explains How to Elevate Your French Jacket with a Stylish Chain

  1. Julie says:

    The first French Jacket I made with Linton Tweed I added the chain as you suggest. My problem was finding a supplier. I am about to embark on making my second with of course Linton Tweed however Im struggling to find a supplier of haberdashers chain -can you help?

  2. Sharon says:

    I have had good luck getting chains from jewelry maker supplier called Rio Grande Jewelry Supplies out of New Mexico, USA. They have chains in many sizes, and materials including 14 k gold, sterling silver, argentinian, plus they ship worldwide.

  3. Celia says:

    You may find that Alison Smith Sewing School in Ashby de la Zouch has them via mail order. Or Maculloch and Wallis in London.

  4. Janet Scott says:

    I couldn’t find any of a suitable weight, so went online to ali express and bought some 9ct gold plated chain. I’m not sure if it is real – I think it could be, but it wasn’t that expensive. They have different sizes and different lengths – I ended up buying 2 50cm lengths but asked them to cut it as one piece, which they did. I am very happy with the result, so much so that I got some more and will soon be putting it on my next French jacket.

  5. Sally says:

    In Australia I had better luck at our local hardware store, as the craft store chain was too lightweight (possibly plastic?)

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