Of course, it’s not really jacket weather here at the moment, since we’re at the height of summer. But hey, the last project-for-myself that I shared with you here was a long-sleeved heavy wool cardigan, so I guess a bomber jacket is a step closer to more seasonally appropriate? (And hey, I made a swim suit in winter, so summer sewing does happen. Just not necessarily in summer. Hmmm.)
Anyways, back in November last year, there was a bit of a conversation happening on Instagram with Ginger around how a bunch of us have the Rigel pattern, really want to make it, and haven’t gotten around to it yet. Clearly, we needed a bit of encouragement. And so, Rigel Bomber Jacket January was born! A time to pull out those Rigel patterns that have been languishing in our stashes, and actually use them.
I’m pretty happy that this happened – because hey, now I have a bomber jacket with snails on it! Oh yeah!!
The fabric came from Tomato in the Tokyo fabric district – part of my fabric haul when we were there just over a year ago. It’s a cotton/linen blend lightweight canvas, similar to Echino canvas but with a slightly looser weave. Nice to work with – it holds pressing well, loves being sewn, and doesn’t fray too badly either. And, you know – snails! :-D
Since I plan on wearing this a lot during spring and autumn (I currently have another bomber jacket I wear during those months – when you need an extra layer, but a full winter coat is a bit too much, but the zip on one pocket is broken, and things fall out as a result, which annoys me lots so I’ve been wanting to replace it. Plus, being RTW, the sleeves are too short on me) I wanted this one to be a bit warmer than just one layer of lightweight canvas. So, I added a lining. And I underlined it with flanelette. And just for fun (inspired by Ginger’s post with her quilted lining) I quilted the lining and underlining together.
It took for-evah! And used one heck of a lot of thread. But I’m so glad I did this – it gives a nice texture inside, and adds a touch of luxury to the jacket. Plus it makes me smile when I look at it, which means the hours spent doing the quilting were well worth it. (Disclaimer: I actually have no idea how long it took to do the quilting. Like the jacket itself, all sewing was done in short bursts with a baby who usually only cat-naps during the day. One line of stitching here, another one two hours later, that kind of thing.)
Wanna see the flannelette I used as underlining? ‘Course you do! Check it out – happy pea-pods!
Yep, I have a jacket covered in snails, with hidden secret under-the-lining happy pea pods. Some days, it makes me crazy happy that I can sew my own clothes – where else would I find combinations like this?!?
Anyways. I originally wanted to find a chocolate brown ribbing, but couldn’t track any down anywhere – this teal blue was the best I could find. A happy accident, since I really like how it looks with the blue shells of the snails. The zip is a not-very-exciting-but-perfectly-functional chocolate brown zip. (Both ribbing and zip are from Spotlight. That place we all love to hate around these parts, but often also the only place to get some things. *sigh*)
I partially chose the fabric for this because it’s currently Jungle January. Woo hoo! I do love Jungle January – that crafty leopard of a host is hilarious and it’s so much fun to read the posts. :-) I figure that any self-respecting jungle has at least one species of snail in it, so snails are my ode to the jungle this January. (Hence why I’m standing around in random foliage – gotta blend in with the snails territory, after all.)
Snails are also clearly masters of disguise, as they do remarkably well as urban camoflage….
Speaking of Jungle January, there is a hidden rrrooawrrr! in this bomber, too. Check it out – secret stealth leopard print pocket linings! Woah yeah!!
Rawrrrr!!! I am a leopard in disguise, oh yes I am.
(Disclaimer: not really. Although I always thought being a black panther would be pretty awesome, they’re so pretty.)
Anyways, onto the pattern.
It’s a nice and easy pattern to make up – good instructions, raglan sleeves so no pesky setting in sleeves business, and crazy-easy welt pockets. Gotta love that!
Aside from drafting a lining (you can read how I did that over here), the only other change I made was to the sleeves. I’m tall, with crazy-long-gorilla-arms, so I added three inches to the sleeve length. (I kinda mis-measured to begin with and only added one inch, so I’m very glad I stitched up the lining first and tried it on to discover that mistake! Hence why there’s a band of snails around the wrists of the lining of the jacket – it’s a patch-up job, disguised as a “design feature”.) Even with that extra three inches, I feel these sleeves are only just long enough – next time, I’ll add four inches instead.
One change I will make next time – I’m not really happy with how the ribbing is sitting at the neckline. It’s a bit too loose and sticks out from my neck a bit. I tried folding it over on itself, which kinda looks a bit better at the front, but kinda doesn’t at the back….
Anyway, it may well be because the ribbing I used wasn’t the best (see previous comment about Spotlight – the place we love to hate) and potentially too lightweight for this, but either way I think that next time I make the Rigel I’ll make the neck ribbing a bit narrower so it doesn’t sit up as high.
I’m also going to widen the shoulders a bit, since I have broad shoulders. But that’s not an uncommon adjustment for me to have to make, either. Coz, you know – tall and stuff.
Aside from that, I’m totally loving my new jacket! Quilting the lining really did make me happy, and it’s encouraging me to take more time to add those sorts of little details to my creations this year to make them extra special (even if no one else sees the bits that make them special – it’s all about adding things that make me smile, after all!).
Just ‘coz I’m so happy with this, I finally got around to making up some labels as well, and stitched one in. (Thanks to The Curious Kiwi for the inspiration of sewing a label onto a scrap of fabric first – I love the way that looks and plan to copy her idea for all future sewing-in-of-labels.)
(Have you made up a Rigel bomber jacket this January? Why not add it to the Flickr pool? Ginger, Mel and I will be picking three people from there to each win a Papercut pattern of their choice at the start of February.)