Along with last week’s Quadra Jeans, this make is another one off the 2019 Make Nine list! I’m flying through them now! Better late than never 😂
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll probably be aware that I really really like to sew coats. I dunno why. Partly for the challenge, I suppose – of getting your teeth into a good meaty project – and partly because I live in England where summer is a grand total of four days in August each year.
The coats I make tend to be the smart, made-of-wool, fancy-collar and bound-buttonholes type but for reasons unknown, never a more casual jacket. My wardrobe was defo missing some casual jackets. Back in the 90’s (when I was still young 😭) bomber jackets were a thing. Are they still a thing now? I’m not sure, but to be honest I don’t really care. Being ‘on trend’ has never been one of my priorities in life 🤷🏻♀️😂 I decided that I wanted one, and started looking at patterns.
My only requirement: it had to be lined. Turns out that a lot of the jackets I looked at didn’t have a lining, for reasons I couldn’t understand 🧐
I looked at a couple of other bomber jacket patterns before settling on the Amelia Bomber by Wardrobe By Me. The most popular option seemed to be the Rigel jacket from Papercut Patterns, but it wasn’t lined and I didn’t like the deep front scoop of the neckline. (As a side note, this pattern doesn’t actually seem to be available on the Papercut website any more… 🤔)
The intention was to make jackets for both me AND the husbeast from the one pattern that I chose, but I’ve since discovered the Patrons Les BG men’s jacket pattern so he’s ended up with that one instead
(You might remember that Olivier – one half of the two guys that started the pattern company – gifted me an English copy of their pattern after I blagged my way through the French version!)
Anyway. His jacket will get it’s moment on the blog… for now, back to mine 🙃
I stalled a bit on getting going with this pattern because I had printed out the pdf onto A4 paper – and taping and sticking pdfs is like my least favourite thing to do in the world, ever. This procrastination was happening with a couple of other A4 patterns too, so I had a bunch of them printed out on tissue – the Amelia being one of them. I use Patternsy to print my patterns, and I literally can’t fault them. Super simple, and fast turnaround (ideal for when you’re just itching to get stitching ✂️)
I knew the fabric that I wanted to use for the eventual final versions of the jackets – Alexander Henry for both of us – but I hadn’t decided on what I would make the trial run from (and I was DEFINITELY making a trial, because the Alexander Henry fabric I wanted to use for mine is vintage, dahling, and I would cry if I cut into it and the jacket needed a whole sack of alterations.
This tester jacket is made with the leftover scuba fabric from a Kielo dress – which the scuba was just a tad too heavy for if I’m honest – but I never made the connection between this fabric and the Amelia pattern until a quite some time after the pattern was bought. Several months later, in fact. Yep, sometimes it takes me that long to choose fabric. And then it wasn’t until very recently, while standing at the ironing board doing some pressing that I spied the chosen rainbow leopard scuba close to some gold lining fabric. The gold foil-y satin came from eBay earlier on this year – I bought a few metres of it with the intention of using it as a lining, but I had no idea for what garment (as I said, sometimes it’s a long, drawn-out process 😂). The husbeast liked it, so I sort of bought it to line something for him, but it’s destiny had not yet been revealed. Then in that moment, the spark ignited the flame that was the idea of putting the loud shiny gold lining inside the loud leopard print jacket.
The fabric pairing was born.
There was one, tiny insignificant detail, however – the leopard print is a scuba. A knit fabric. With a smidge of stretch to it. The jacket pattern recommended wovens. Hmm. Would it matter? Some pieces are interfaced, so I could use woven interfacing to stop the stretch at key areas, but the rest of the jacket would have a bit of give to it. I decided to just blag it anyway, I mean it’s not like I was using an ultra-drapey viscose jersey or anything – the scuba has a fair bit of body to it, and not loads of stretch. It would be FINE. I felt like I was aiming for more of a ‘zipped hoodie’ vibe rather than a jacket vibe, anyway 🤷🏻♀️
With my fabrics sorted, I searched t’internet for cuff ribbing – having never bought or used it before, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for. Was I looking for yardage of ribbed fabric? Or ready-made long and skinny cuff fabric? In the end, it seemed like I found more of the skinny-cuff-stuff, so I thought I’d go for that. Trouble is, the designs I found online were PROPER dull. like boring, college-stripe kinda stuff. Not *really* what I wanted… but there wasn’t a lot of choice. NeoTrims seemed to be the biggest supplier, but even their offering wasn’t that exciting. The best option they had was a rainbow stripe, which of course was sold out because it was their best option 😑
In the end, I turned to Etsy and found a company called AlbStoffe who had a MUCH more exciting range of designs. A fair few of them in pink. I thought they were maybe a tad on the pricey side (but then the nice stuff always is, amirite?) but I liked them waaaaay better than the other options I’d found so far.
I chose the pink stripe for the tester version of the jacket (this version), the black for the husbeast’s final one and the pink leopard for my final one. The total weighed in at a hefty £30-odd (just for the trim!!) which did make me hesitate for a second, but then I thought about how boring the alternatives were so I hit ‘buy now’ before I could change my mind 😂
When they arrived, I knew they were worth the cost. They are beautiful quality and colours and I’m really happy with my choices. They were also the skinny-cuff kind of fabric, but unlike the Neotrims range, they were single fold rather than double fold. I thought that double fold was the norm, because at least that way, the joining seam will be enclosed on the inside between the two layers – so I was a little apprehensive that my pretty cuffs weren’t gonna work. I thought about overlocking, and maybe hand stitching the overlocked bit against the inside of the cuff so that it doesn’t move about or poke out of the end of the cuff… (and in the end that’s exactly what I did).
I also needed a zip… and of course, I couldn’t make up my mind on colour so I bought a few choices… and went with the pink. I always go with the pink – no matter what the question is – so I should just buy that one to start with and forget the rest! It’s a resin zip, rather than a good ‘ol nylon or metal one, and I think it gives off a kind of ‘sporty’ vibe which works well with the scuba.
Scuba has the advantage of not fraying – so no need to overlock or otherwise finish the edges of it. Win! There are relatively few pieces to the Amelia, but for me, the whole thing was complicated by the new techniques. The separating jacket zipper (I’ve used separating zips before, just not on a coat!), the cuff and the collar. Basically all that ribbing.
Wardrobe By Me was a new pattern company to me, and I was unsure of the calibre of the instructions. They’re not bad, but I feel like they could have been translated from another language as there are definitely some questionable bits. The body of the jacket came together quite quickly, but the pockets were a bit of a head-scratcher. I got there in the end, and they do actually look pretty smart with the little facing on them, but they are TINY. So tiny that I can’t actually get my hand through the pocket opening without a lot of struggle, never mind actually put anything in them
Installing the zip was actually quite tricky because the scuba doesn’t hold a press particularly well – plus you’ve got the risk of fabric-melt if you go at it too hard. there was a lot of hand basting in place to make sure the zip was where I wanted it to be (and most importantly – STRAIGHT) and that it didn’t shift around while I was sewing it. I could see that this would be much easier with a friendly woven fabric.
I made some pink piping to go around the edge of the lining – purely because I JUST CANT RESIST PIPING 😂 Yes it takes a while to make it from scratch, and then baste it in place, and then sew it in place, but those steps are totally worth it to take the finished garment up a notch. You can buy ready-made piping if you’re not ready to commit to making your own (and I’ll admit, I used ready-made for at least eighteen months before I was brave enough to make my own), but it’s still worth it. I make mine using 2mm piping cord and satin bias tape. I do actually own a ‘piping foot’, but it’s not suitable for such small piping – if you’re making bag or upholstery piping and using a thicker (5mm+) piping cord, sure go for it, but for smaller clothing piping an invisible zipper foot is better. The grooves on it are smaller and hold everything in place better. I don’t think you’d get anything wider than a 2mm cord in it comfortably though – 3mm maybe at a push, but I’ve never tried it myself. Give it a whirl and see if it works.
Piping foot on the left, invisible zip foot on the right:
When you’re making the piping, be sure to use a thread colour that’s the same because if you stray a little when sewing it in (which still happens to me, all the time), you won’t see the thread. Believe me, I’ve been in that place where I’m too lazy to take the black thread out of the machine to change it for another colour (because you’re in THAT ZONE where you think that if you take your foot off the pedal for too long, all inspiration and whatever magical unicorn dust that’s powering you on will suddenly disappear) and then I’ve TOTALLY regretted it when I’ve wobbled off the line a bit and the black thread is suddenly THERE. IN YOUR FACE. In the most obvious place of course, so you either have to live with it, or go back and start patching things up on the inside. Honestly, just change the thread at the start 😂
Now don’t be tempted to skip these next steps, because I promise they are worth it. You’ll need to baste your piping in place, with the line of stitching on the piping itself placed on the 5/8″ (or whatever) seam line of your lining or facing. I’ve actually sewn mine onto both in the past, and while I’m sure there’s some slight variation on how the piping sits (depending on whether you sewed it to the lining or the facing), it’s subtle enough for me not to have picked up on it. Which means that I’ll continue to stitch it to whichever bit takes my fancy at the time 🤷🏻♀️
Stitch in place, following the stitched line on the piping, and then put your fabrics right side together (with the piping on the inside, between them) and you can just follow the guiding line that you just stitched rather than blindly guessing where you should be stitching. BOOM! The piping will come out nice and even, and super profesh 😎
I hit a little bit of a roadblock with the ribbing – I bought what I thought was the right stuff, but turns out it wasn’t. My ribbing was flat, whereas the pattern was written for ribbing that was meant to be folded in half. I had to get a bit creative when cutting it out, and did a fair bit of blagging to get it sewed in place – if you can get the proper folded stuff, DO THAT.
For the cuffs and the collar, it wasn’t too tricky – the collar looks no different at all (it’s just the one layer of ribbing rather than two, but no biggie) and the only thing with the cuff is that you can see the overlocked edge on the inside – but the hem was a totally different story. The pattern instructs you to unfold both the ribbing and the edge of the coat and sew their short edges together, and then sew one long edge of ribbing to its corresponding lining or outer. I didn’t have two long edges. Both the outer and the lining had to be sewn to the same long edge. I thought about how best to tackle this drama – should I go for the short edges first, or the long?
I went for the short edge, attaching the outer fabric to the ribbing first. I quickly realised that if I then attached the inner fabric to the short edge, I wouldn’t be able to manoeuvre it to attach the long edge. So after attaching that first short edge, I went for the longer ones. First I sewed the outer fabric, and then I pinned the lining fabric to the other long edge of the ribbing and followed that same line of stitching. So far, so good.
Then I was left with one remaining short edge, that I couldn’t get to the wrong side of. I managed to wangle it through the machine to get the ribbing (mostly) attached to the outer fabric, but attaching it to the inner facing was impossible. I pressed it to within an inch of melting, and then hand stitched it down. I couldn’t see another way to do it.
It was a bloody FAFF, lemme tell ya. But I managed – somehow – to blag it and get seams where there needed to seams. There was hand stitching involved that shouldn’t have been… but I think it works. Single-layer rib *is* do-able, but perhaps not for your first time when you’re still trying to figure out how everything is meant to go together 🤦🏻♀️
The finished jacket is actually one of favourite things. I can just throw it on when it’s a bit chilly, and I don’t have to worry about how thick my sweater is and whether I can get the sleeves on over it. It is a little on the snug side, which is balanced a bit by the stretch of the scuba (and even the lining has a teeeeny bit of stretch), so I’ve recut the pattern pieces a size or two bigger for the next version which will be made from a woven. Usually, I wouldn’t go for a hip-length jacket because the inevitable will happen – the elasticated hem will work it’s way to the smallest part of my waist, which is pretty high up, and it’ll look stupid. This one doesn’t seem to do that – but I think I possibly might have graded up at the hips which would have helped. The fit is good (perhaps a smidge tight across the upper chest), the sleeve and body length is good, and the sleeves aren’t overly poofy.
For my first crack at a jacket like this, I’m pretty damn pleased with myself. The pattern is a keeper, and I’ve already bought a couple more from this brand.
It’s such a versatile pattern, as well – you could literally make this from SO many fabrics. Wovens, knits, quilted fabrics, leather, some short pile fur, jacquards, sequins, quilting cottons… the list goes on. I’m heading down a ‘more is more‘ rabbit hole for my next one – I’ve been lurking the Gucci collections for inspiration and there’s sequins, piping, appliques… I’ve started collating materials, and believe me when it’s completed it’s gonna be bling-bling-shiny-shiny and I will feel like an absolute BOSS in it.
Wanna see a sneak peek of some of the things I’ve been collecting for it? Course ya do 👀
We got pink and black metallic leopard print jacquard (from Mood Fabrics on my last trip to NYC), gold and black sequin ribbon (from a haberdashery in Paris) and a leopard sequin applique which may or may not be bumped off in favour of a massive sequinned kitty head applique which is still in transit to me… jury’s out on that one. I still need to get ribbing (THE STUFF THAT FOLDS 😂), and piping, and maybe some tiny applique sequinned stars, just for good measure… maybe even some studs. Needless to say, I’m totes excited to get started on this.
And to wear it, obvs 🤘🏻
Whatd’ya think? Have you sewn any Wardrobe By Me patterns, or any other bomber jacket patterns? Let me know your opinions!
Happy Sewing Sunday, see ya next week ✌🏻
On the blog next week – I made the doggos something! Just so that they didn’t feel left out 🐶 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox 🙌🏻