Hot! The “Coco the Sailor” Outfit


Patterns-coco The Facts

The Shirt
Fabric: Striped navy & white Lycra bend – $12, navy wool remnant
Pattern: Simplicity 7533 ~$.10
Year: c. 1976
Notions: None
Time to complete: 4 hours
First worn: January 2011
Wear again? Yes.

The Pants 
Fabric: Denim from Fabric Outlet – ~$9 for 1 5/8 yards
Pattern: Simplicity 3688 (used before)
Year: c. 1940s
Notions: Vintage zipper – $.005
Time to complete: 6 hours
First worn: January 2011
Wear again: Yes

Total Cost for outfit: ~$22

When you consider what women were wearing in the first two decades of the the twentieth-century,  the simple combo of a stripped sailor-shirt and slacks was possibly the most revolutionary thing for a woman to wear in 1917. That's when Coco Chanel took the marini√®re (the striped French sailor shirt), adapted it for women and sold it in her shop in Deauville, France.

image from I have to admit that before I saw Coco Before Chanel, I had no idea that Chanel was behind such a fashionable staple. To me, the striped sailor shirt always has just existed.  That's why it's such an amazing garment. 

As much as I would have loved to craft a Chanel-inspired suit or a LBD for this week's challenge, I've been desperately in need for more separates. Enter this striped top and 1940s slacks. I've tackled the pants two times before — for another sailor-inspired outfit and this outfit

While the shirt was based on Simplicity 7533, I took liberties with the sleeve length and the collar. I'd like to say that the collar was deliberate. Actually, I should just say that it was my design. But, in fact, the collar is the result of working with a very annoying Lycra fabric that just wouldn't fold over correctly. I ended up chopping up my original collar (similar to the actual pattern) and then adding the blue band so that it wouldn't fall off my shoulders. I actually do like how it turned out so all's well that end's well.

image from


Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


Comments are closed.

  1. This looks fantastic – but how can you go wrong with red. white & blue! Thanks for the great inspiration – I’m going to hunt down a Coco design today!!

  2. It looks fabulous! I always think of the striped top when I think of Coco and I love how this one turned out! The pants are a great pattern too!

  3. Lovely – I have the pants pattern and I’m now inspired to make some, they look so good on you! And the photos are fantastic – way to go!

  4. I love this combination!

  5. Love the black trim on the t-shirt. Such as nice touch.

  6. This is an adorable outfit! I love the combination of red, white, and blue!

  7. That is a very cute look you created with this challenge! Coco would like it I bet.
    Your post is inspiring. Makes me wonder what other patterns can be used to make Chanel looks?

  8. Great outfit, Mena!

  9. You look fantastic! I really want to try that pants pattern now. I will conquer pants!!

  10. Oh I like this challenge and the top, so cute. I think CC is the inventor of my absolute favorite outfit of all time but I have to check her out first too see if I am correct. Anyway I love striped tops.

  11. A great outfit. And completely timeless. I think Chanel’s pants are made from jersey, they look sort of “floppy”, but your denim version is probably just as comfortable and very flattering.

  12. So cute. These look great together!

  13. Beautiful. You look very elegant in this combination.

  14. Gorgeous!

  15. I totally love this outfit!

  16. Awesome! Beautiful separates that make a wonderful combination! I think I’ll have to go see Coco before Chanel…