Walk on the wild side

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.

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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… 🤔)

pdf sewing pattern bomber jacket sewing pattern 1 1512x

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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

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(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!)

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Anyway. His jacket will get it’s moment on the blog… for now, back to mine 🙃

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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.

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YAS!

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 😂

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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).

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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.

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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

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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:

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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 🤷🏻‍♀️

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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 😎

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wanna see a sneak peek of some of the things I’ve been collecting for it? Course ya do 👀

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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 ✌🏻

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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 🙌🏻

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23 Comments

  1. Cindy
    February 9, 2020 / 9:51 am

    Cant wait to see the doggy makes, we have 3 very very bad abused lab crosses who are just bones carrying skin, so so cold all the time, and cant put weight on as all the food they take in is used just to keep them warm. So a corn oil is being added to their feed as very high in calories, 6 feeds a day too, little and often. But so upsetting as the all just expe t you to kick them, so giving love is so high on pur agenda. About 10 years of horrid abuse, but fingers crossed a couple years of endless love and food. Xx they will stay with us as a change would be sadness for them. They love the comfort of a bed rather than filthy cold pooh covered concrete xxc
    So bring on doggy makes , but I love the jacket ,, you look amazing in it xx

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:40 pm

      Thanks Cindy!
      I’m afraid the doggo make is nothing particularly fancy, but it serves a purpose 🙂
      Sending love to your labs 💜

  2. Brenda Holmes
    February 9, 2020 / 10:43 am

    Wow!!! That jacket is the biz. Love it.

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:41 pm

      Thanks Brenda! 💜

  3. Tania
    February 9, 2020 / 10:56 am

    Swooing over here at how amazing this jacket is 🤩

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:42 pm

      Thanks Tania! I didn’t love the dress that I made from the scuba fabric originally, but I’m totally digging this jacket! 💜

  4. February 9, 2020 / 11:11 am

    Nice one! For someone who’s such a perfectionist, you do stress over the need to do hand stitching at times- convince yourself it’s a couture technique, not a cop out, and you could find yourself looking forward to doing bits here and there by hand…even sewing an entire garment eventually [lol, I know, not likely!]
    Love the purple choices for the next one

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:44 pm

      Yeah, I guess I never really thought of it like that… ‘couture’ it is 😂 I guess it’s because my hand stitching isn’t quite as secure as a proper machine stitched seam… but then maybe that’s a sign that I need to work on my technique!
      The next version is going to be SO extra lol… no bling is being spared 😂

  5. Emma
    February 9, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    I love all your makes but I seriously LOVE this! Can I ask where you got the leopard print scuba from? It’s amazing!

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:46 pm

      Ahh thank you Emma! 💜
      The print is cool, isn’t it! You’re not gonna like my answer though… I got it from a small shop near Warren Street in London that sold deadstock fabric, for like £3 a metre. However, they’ve since closed down 😩 So I don’t think you can get any more. I even got a few metres of the same print in a matching poly satin, but it’s a bit… poly, if you know what I mean 😂

  6. February 9, 2020 / 8:59 pm

    I’m going to be tracing out a few Amelias next week. One each for me, my daughter and my granddaughter. All totally different fabrics and feel though. Three generation sewing isn’t my thing. I’m saving this post and suspect I’ll be referring to it often. Love your jacket!

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:47 pm

      Thank you! 💜
      And perfect timing then! What sort of fabrics are you sewing yours from? Sounds exciting! Make sure you buy the folded ribbing and not the stuff I did 😂

  7. moderndaymaker
    February 10, 2020 / 1:06 am

    That jacket turned out gorgeous! I love the gold lining and pink piping. I made piping before and it’s a pain in the ass, I rather buy premade 🙈😝. Your next one looks like it will be Gucci inspired 💯☺

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:49 pm

      Thanks lovely! Just give it time, you’ll eventually want just that *perfect* shade of piping that you can’t buy… and then you’ll be sucked into making your own all the time 😂 It’s funny you should mention Gucci actually, because I went lurking their store and took photos of some really loud, really extra jackets that I’m using for inspo! The sequin kitty head that’s still on it’s way to me is actually *very* similar to one on a Gucci jacket I saw… 😉 Extremely similar, you might say, if you know what I mean 😂

  8. Moira
    February 10, 2020 / 12:02 pm

    It’s beautiful Sarah. What a coincidence that I was just looking at the AMELIA pattern last week! Very well done you! Thanks for sharing.

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 10, 2020 / 12:50 pm

      Ah, were you! That is a coincidence! Go for it… but make sure you buy the folded ribbing, and maybe make the pockets and the opening a little bigger! 💜

  9. Sara Nalley
    February 10, 2020 / 8:55 pm

    I always love your posts for the honesty and humor as well as real-life sewing truths. The detail in this post was beyond fabulous, though, and my favorite detail post to date! (I really appreciated all of those photos!) As always, the colors suit you well. But what I am most impressed by, young Sarah, is your magnificent attention to perfection on the insides of this garment. It is absolutely spectacular!!! My mother was a master seamstress and a milliner, and later in life, a weaver. Every garment she made was as beautiful on the inside as it was on the outside. Seeing your lovely creation reminded me of her, a very high compliment, I should add!! ❤️

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 17, 2020 / 12:41 pm

      Thank you Sara! 💜 It makes me so happy to hear that you enjoy the blog 😊 And I’m glad you enjoy the details too! I love a good detailed blog post myself, and sometimes feel a bit underwhelmed when I read blog posts that are super short and don’t have any in-progress shots. Each to their own though, I’m sure there are people out there that feel my posts are too long and detailed!
      I am truly honoured that my sewing techniques remind you of your mother – she sounds like an amazingly talented lady! ❤️ Hopefully I can continue to be worthy – I do like to use the best finishes possible, even if they are more time-consuming or ‘complicated’. I don’t like it when sewing patterns ‘make do’ with some techniques when there are better/neater options out there – overlocking the edges of a skirt for example, when they could just as easily be finished with French seams. I guess I am a bit of a perfectionist! 🤷🏻‍♀️😂
      Thanks again for your lovely comments and I hope the blog continues to bring you joy! 💜

  10. February 12, 2020 / 8:18 pm

    I volunteer at a charity craft shop, si I pick up all sort of fabrics. To try it for size I’ll probably use an embroidered cotton for the jacket and some lining fabric sitting in my stash. I rarely pay more than $2 a yard and get some interesting fabrics. I’ll be sure to get the right ribbing!

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 17, 2020 / 12:43 pm

      Ooh that sounds amazing – I bet you do get some interesting fabrics! And $2 per yard is an amazing price – I’m quite jealous! An embroidered cotton sounds amazing, it would make a stunning garment 💜

  11. February 16, 2020 / 10:59 am

    This jacket is 👌👌👌

    Was it your first time exploring German stuff for sewing? For knits they have such fantastic choices. I guess the Germans are really into stretch fabrics 🤔 I love browsing Etsy for their yummy fabrics. (Although I guess Brexit will put a stop to that 😡 Girl Charlee has already gone and I suspect more will follow. SIGH)

    • Sarah
      Author
      February 17, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      Thankssss 💜
      Yep, first time looking at the German stuff… although the last couple of jerseys I used for the husbeast’s boxer shorts came from Germany I think.
      I’ve only used Girl Charlee fabrics once, and didn’t really rate them if I’m honest. The prewash turned the black parts of the fabric hideously bobbly, and the slightest bit of stretch turned the dark fabric really white. So I’ve vowed never to use them again 🤷🏻‍♀️
      Do you have any recommendations for good brands/shops that stock the German knits? Not that I really need more fabric, but y’know 😂

  12. February 18, 2020 / 9:08 am

    You’re officially my hero. I’ve been looking for a bomber jacket pattern with set in sleeves and a lining for AGES to use for the most amazing fabric I ever found, and this is exactly what I’m looking for. Yours looks awesome!

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