When I made my first bomber jacket back in the fall, I had no idea it would kick off a full blown obsession. As I write this post, I have ideas for at least two more floating around my head…I may need to start a second blog. Maybe I could call it “Bombers Away!” or “These Jackets are the Bomb(er).” Okay…so the name needs a bit of work, but in the meantime, I’m excited to share my fancified lace bomber jacket. And to be honest, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it.
I guess I’ll start with the pattern. While checking out Papercut Patterns’ Black Friday sale, I purchased the Rigel Bomber pattern. This sale was hot on the heels of the completion of my first bomber, and what caught my eye about this pattern was the geometric sleeve detail and the v-neckline. I feel like I don’t see many bomber jackets or patterns with this neckline. I also really liked that it had pockets – more on these later.
Before I even had a chance to get fabric to make the version with the sleeve details, I got it in my head to do a fancy bomber jacket in an unexpected fabric. So, one day while browsing through JoAnns, I found this amazing green lace. Green is my favorite color, so this fabric with its sheen and saturated color seemed perfect for an upscale bomber.
I decided to underline the lace to hide the seams and pocket bags and to provide stability. With just a lining, the lace wouldn’t have had nearly enough structure for a jacket. In my stash, I had some black knit fabric that was given to me. I don’t know exactly what it is. It’s a heavier knit and most closely resembles a ponte. For the lining, I used this gray leopard crepe, because why not?
The construction of this jacket would have been so much simpler if I hadn’t decided to use both a thick lace and heavier knit fabric together. To underline the jacket, I cut all the pieces in both the lace and knit. I then layered the pieces, both right sides facing up, and stitched around the entire perimeter of each piece. This way, the two fabrics would now work as one.
One of the first steps in making this jacket is putting in some welt pockets. Yep…my sewing nemesis was coming at me right from the start. No matter how many welt pockets I make, they always make me anxious. I think the idea of slashing through your fabric is what does it. One slip of the scissors or one thing out of alignment, and you are starting over, my friend. So, the welt pocket anxiety was at an all-time high with this fabric. Much to my surprise and utter delight, the pockets went together beautifully on the first try! The first try!!
The rest of the body of the jacket went together easily, including zipper insertion. Where things started getting a bit frustrating was adding the ribbing around the bottom. I had ordered black ribbing a few weeks before starting this project, and it was perfect. It had very small ribs and a slight sheen to it. When it came time to sew the ribbing, I didn’t have enough. I’m not sure how this happened – perhaps my bomber excitement took over when I placed my order…yeah, we’ll go with that. Anyway, when I tried to order more, it was, of course, sold out.
Unless I wanted to wait a month for more ribbing to come from Europe, which didn’t seem likely in the midst of bomber-mania, I needed to select a different ribbing. The only ribbing I could find online that seemed about the right size had white stripes on one end. While not ideal, I figured I could use the striped edge on the inside of my jacket (darn, my impatience!). Hence, the white stripes on the inside ribbing.
This ribbing was thicker and not as nice as what I had previously purchased. Initially, this bummed me out a bit, but in the end, I think it worked out for the best. I’m not sure the original ribbing would have been sturdy enough to work with the heavier fabric. All these heavy textures, however, were a beast to deal with, and it took several tries and a lot seam ripping to get nice crisp corners where the ribbing meets the jacket body in the front.
I echo the thoughts of other sewers who have made this jacket in wondering why the pattern doesn’t include a lining, especially with the pocket bags flapping around inside. I read several posts about inserting the lining, and it seems everyone has their own method. So, I sort of melded a few methods together to create my own. Here’s how I did it:
- I cut all the jacket body pieces out of lining, adding a ¾” pleat to the center back neckline, which I tapered down to the original size at the bottom. I also added ¾” to the length of the hem and sleeves, because I didn’t want the lining to end up too short and cause the jacket to pull and pucker. (I know I am soooo late to this party, but this was the first time I used my rotary cutter to cut out a pattern. It was life changing! I’ve always been a scissors gal, but for this silky fabric, the rotary cutter worked like a dream. The edges were so smooth, and the fabric didn’t move around. I will never cut a silky fabric with scissors again.)
- I sewed the lining pieces in the same manner as the jacket and sewed together the facing pieces. With both right sides up, I then placed the facing on top of the lining, matching up raw edges and basted the raw edges together.
- For the other facing edges, I turned them under and topstitched them to the lining. At the bottoms, I folded up the hem allowance of the lining before topstitching the facings.
- I then followed the directions for attaching the facing.
- After trimming the seams and clipping corners, I turned everything ride side out and hand stitched the hem in place at the bottom and on the sleeves.
I saw where some people bagged the lining, but I decided to hand sew it. With so many thicknesses of thick fabric, I wanted to have as much control as possible. I also don’t mind a bit of hand sewing now and then – I actually find it quite relaxing.
All in all, I’m pleased with how this jacket turned out, if not entirely in love with it. I think the fit could be a bit better. The sleeves are JUST long enough, and I think the jacket itself could be a couple inches longer. If I made this pattern again, which I probably will to try out the sleeve detail, I would add a few inches to the bottom and sleeves. I would also omit the pockets. This is not because the welt pockets scared me away, but because the placement of these pockets is ridiculously high on me. Sure, I can put my phone in the pockets, but when I rest my hands in them, I feel like I’m tucking them under my boobs (or about to do the chicken dance). This is such a bummer, especially considering how much I love pockets. Perhaps, after I add some length to the jacket, I can lower the pockets instead of omitting them entirely…hmmm.
The fabric really saves this look for me, and despite some issues, I’m excited to have it in my wardrobe. Before I make another version of this jacket, I have my eyes on this Beaute’ J’Adore pattern from McCall’s – love that high collar! Except the next time, I think I’ll stick to a single layer fabric.
Until next time,