Cat bomber

Another queue jumping sew! When I saw this fabric – a large print Asian lucky waving cat! – on Stoff och Stil, I knew I HAD to have it! I’m surprised at myself for spending the most per meter I have ever spent on fabric for a cat print of all things! Initially I was thinking about making a sweatshirt but my sister suggested a bomber jacket. I hesitated – aren’t bombers on their way out, considering they’ve been around pretty long?.. But I figured, I would get a lot more wear out of a zip-up, so bomber jacket it was!

As usual, I didn’t want to spend money on a pattern, so I tried searching Burda without too much luck. Most of their patterns had seamlines running through the body, which would interfere with this large print. Googling around I found a free pattern on Mood!

And as usual, I couldn’t help but be slightly disappointed at some parts of the jacket. (Why oh why am I so critical of myself/my work?!) The fabric was slightly thinner than expected, the collar was fidgety, maybe should have stabilised the lower hem, maybe should have sewn the lining after all (the jacket flips open easily, showing the pockets) etc etc. Overall, I suppose I do like it, and it makes me smile! Wore it for the first time today to my casual workplace – I thought it paired nicely with a red shift dress, for that kind of Asian minimalistic feel. Though looking at these photos, I realise my dress sticks pretty bad to my wool tights, making me look like I have a stomach – ack! – need to make sure I wear this dress with slippery tights or a slip! 😛



My Sewing Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:
Free pattern, reversible bomber jacket for men and women. Mood free reversible bomber jacket

Pattern Sizing:
Women size 0-16
Men size XXS-4X

I made a size 8 to have it slightly oversized.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes, except I didn’t make it reversible.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Instructions on their website are sparse, though the pattern is free.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
+ Pattern is free!
+ unusual drafting, where the back is wider than the front (the armsyce has the side seam towards the front of the body), so that the pockets are better placed
+ Pattern was perfect for the large scale fabric I purchased

– Uses a lot of paper, and not clear which pages to print out if you are only making the women’s or men’s jacket
– Tricky laying out the pattern since there are no alignment markings (most of the time, I could lay out the pattern by matching text/words, though in some cases it was “eyeballing”)
– Sizing chart is unclear whether it was “finished measurements” or body measurements, but I believe they are the finished measurements. I kept second guessing myself, tried to draft 1 size larger (since I had already cut out my size), and sewed with a smaller SA.
– SA was not clear (read in the comments that it was 1/2″)
– Bust dart on a bomber jacket seems strange (I removed it by pivoting it out).
– Didn’t realise that it was a v-neck (no line drawing) – I would have cut a round neck
– Others commented that it is slightly on the short side (I’m short waisted so it worked ok for me)
– The collar was a bit fidgety – I didn’t know if I was supposed to stretch the collar (and what length to cut) or not, so it ended up not laying quite flat on me.

Fabric Used:
French terry, knit jersey for the collar

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I skipped the reversible part.
I pivoted out the bust dart.
Shortened the sleeves 3″ and inserted long-ish rib knit cuffs.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t need 2 of this jacket. If you’re looking for a free pattern, you might consider this one.


Scuba cape jacket

Sometime last year, I saw a scuba cape jacket in COS which I fell in love with. But the price 1400 sek (~$200USD) and its impracticality (cropped sleeves), I couldn’t justify buying that jacket though I still think about it sometimes!

COS cape jacket

After seeing this pattern in a sewing book by a Swedish designer Jenny Hellström called “Sy! Från hoodie till skjortklänning” (Sew! From hoodie to shirt dress), I just had to try sewing my own cape jacket!

Fleur jacket

The line drawing of the jacket looked simple enough for an advanced beginner sewer (or naively ambitious complete beginner like myself!)
Fleur jacket line drawing

And it would have been easy, if I had chosen stable fabrics, but I didn’t make it easy for myself by using a hellish, slippery, form-shifting rayon lining.

All my problems challenges were a result of my inexperience in choosing fabric and not having a great selection of fabrics where I live (bought fabrics online and during a weekend trip to Stockholm). I found it pretty challenging picking appropriate fabrics, lining, interfacing (and interlining as I had chosen to do) to get the result I had in mind, though I guess that is the whole thing about learning! Closet case files Clare coat sewalong was really helpful for me.

What I had in mind was a navy scuba with hot pink lining using (non-polyester) fabric… I purchased what was labelled as Medium/heavyweight Telio scuba knit navy from The fabric color was much more near-black than I was expecting unfortunately 😦  This made the jacket look a bit too vampirish as my boyfriend joked but luckily the ribbed sleeves saved the jacket from feeling too Dracula.

The scuba fabric was also more drapey than I had expected, so I debated between interlining and interfacing the fabric for more body. After sewing the jacket with an interlining, I would recommend interfacing it instead.

For the lining, I had planned to use Kona Cotton Broadcloth in Valentine from, but when it arrived, I realized it wasn’t really suitable (not slippery enough and too stiff), and didn’t really look good paired with the near-black navy either. I ended up using it as interlining for the collar and front, but I’m not that happy with the result, and wished I had interfaced instead. For the lining I used a lilac rayon lining.

Review of the book and pattern:
The entire book falls short of providing an easy way for beginners to construct the pieces in the book, which is a bit disappointing given that the book is aimed at beginners/advanced beginners. And there were some issues with the pattern and instructions, such as that the collar was to be sewn with 2 identical pieces (my collar doesn’t quite roll under) – so next time I would grade the under-collar to be slightly smaller. I didn’t agree with their method for finishing the hem and cuffs for example. I do love how the back of the jacket “kicks” out. I’m a bit unsure whether the sides of the waist were supposed to be cut higher as in my resulting jacket, or if it was supposed to be a level hem, which I think would look better (hard to say if it is the pattern or my less than perfect sewing skills).

There are a few other cute pieces in the book though, and it was still worth slogging through the difficulties with this pattern.

Front Fleur jacket

Back Fleur jacket

Construction/design/fitting changes:
Added side seam pockets, using lining material, though I wish I had used the outer fabric instead. I would recommend welt pockets though, since the location of the pockets is rather far back.

Lengthened the body by 2″ (the jacket is a bit too cropped in its proportion, and I’m short waisted to begin with). I had to shorten the sleeves by 1cm in order to finish the cuffs on my lining which mysteriously ended up too short, though luckily I received 12cm of ribbing due to the salesgirl’s generous cutting. I used twill tape around the armholes and neck to stabilize the scuba fabric.

I skipped the topstitching as shown in the line drawing, but maybe others could give their opinion as to whether or not I should top-stitch?

Details Fleur jacket

I had planned to start sewing this project in September, but saw that Pattern Review was hosting an Outerwear contest in October, so I delayed my start to the project! This project basically took me the whole month to sew, and unfortunately it’s a bit too cold to wear it now. But I think this jacket will fill a hole in my wardrobe as I don’t have a suitable jacket for late summer / early fall transitional type weather. If you’re a member of Pattern Review, I would appreciate a vote for my jacket 🙂 Voting opens Nov 1st.

Outerwear Contest 2016