Sunday, 9 March 2014

Switchblade sister: The Rigel Bomber

My eyes are the size of raisins, I am a palish grey in colour...guys I haven't seen daylight as I have been so busy sewing some goodness for my trip to NYC on Wednesday. Sorry Roisin, I forgot to tell you!

I had so many plans of things to make but after getting back from a work trip to Munich, time was limited. I had a chat with Elvis in the bathroom (I'm basically like Christian Slater in True Romance) and he said "honey, you got three priorities: make that rubberneckin' Rigel Bomber, that hot potato Ailakki Jumpsuit and me a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich". Never one to argue with my  boyfriend, that's what I've done.

Sew that bomber, baby

First up is the awesome Rigel Bomber by Papercut Patterns. It's my first pattern make from this company and I am in love. Bomber jackets are on trend right now, especially in a floral print a la Liberty, and after spying lots of fantastic versions doing the blog rounds, I knew I had to make this. But, for me, I had the most special fabric in mind for the job. 

My husband's Grandmother was a prolific seamstress and had an epic collection of fabric dating from the 1950s to recent years. Luckily, I got to inherit some of her treasure. For this project, I went for my vintage 'posh ladies' that I have been hoarding for ages. Finally, they found their destiny. 

Bad hair day means cool new hat day (thanks Rehanon
for the inspiration chick)

Isn't she cool? Here are the details of the make...

I cut an XS. I read reviews of other makes and checked the final measurements. I knew I wanted a more snug 'authentic' bomber jacket, so went with the smaller size. The fit is perfect zipped up or left loose. 

Some reviews mentioned that the sleeves came up on the short size. I added an extra inch to the length, which are pretty perfect, but next time I think I will add a little more. 

Did someone order the Bananarama tribute band?

Now, my next task was making this NYC appropriate. Checking the weather, it's safe to say that Manhattan is not enjoying the same Spring weather that we've got right now. It sounds pretty cold, so making this jacket as per instructions with no lining is not going to warm the smallest of cockles! Also, reviews have said this jacket is best with a lining anyway, unless you don't mind seeing messy innards (pocket flaps, guts of the welt pocket, seams etc). That shit would drive me crazy so I decided to line my jacket with some very pretty flannel I picked up in Toronto at Christmas. I was saving this for PJs, but sod it - this bomber wants me to take care of business. 



As you can see, I kept the original facing piece but attached this to the flannel lining. I decided to do this as, when wearing the jacket unzipped, seeing the facing looks just that bit nicer and professional than the contrasting lining. To do this, I matched the facing pattern piece to the front bodice and drew around it. I then cut this piece away. From there on, I measured the width and deducted it from the top of the other pieces (raglan sleeve, back). I added a 1/2" seam allowance to the new lining pieces in order to attach them to the facing. I then stitched the lining as normal and then stitched to the facing. Voila! The finished effect is a super snug bomber jacket, I loves it!


Can I also say, I have successfully done my first welt pocket. High five! This wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I practiced first with scraps of the shell fabric. This was a great move as I could see exactly where I went wrong. My second attempt on the real thing worked out great. My advice is to make sure your markings from the pattern piece are super accurate and baste/tack as you go. It's more time-consuming but worth it.

I bought the black ribbing for the waistband, neck and cuffs from Vends in the UK. It's a really good quality and sewed like a dream. The zip is my favourite feature. I found this on eBay and thought it had a cool art deco style look to it, which suited the fabric perfectly. 


I've never worked with an open-ended zip before, but it was surprisingly easy. I love that it comes apart so you can work on each side without getting in a twist. With this in mind, though, it's important to keep checking that you have attached both zip pieces accurately and that they match up. Check, check and then check again. 

Also, when attaching the neckband, really strive for accuracy and test how the zip will look before you stitch it. The meeting of the ends of the neckband when the zip is done up will notice if they're uneven. It's worth re-doing a few times to get a good finish.


I had a couple of issues with the bottom of the front bodice, which meets the ribbed hem, but that was entirely my fault for not thinking through properly how I would attach the lining. I know where I went wrong, so this will be something I'll do better next time. 


I am so pleased with this make and can't wait to rock it in New York. Above I'm teaming it with my favourite Whistles boyfriend jeans, baby pink 3-hole Docs and my new black hat from TopShop. I'm back in the 80s for this shoot, but it's nice here, John Cusack is Lloyd Dobler. 

As for Papercut Patterns, I am so impressed. The packaging, instructions and illustrations are all brilliant. I don't have a single complaint and will definitely consider making more from their range. And I'll be making another bomber, probably floral, for the warmer months. It beats a boring cardi!

<Playlist: Rubberneckin' - Elvis Presley>

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