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Bomber Jacket Update: Who Needs Two Sleeves Anyway?

My bomber jacket in progress. No need to correct your screen: there is only one sleeve.

I’ve ambitiously taken on a sewing project to sew myself a lightweight spring / summer bomber jacket. If you’re following my blog, you may have heard already about this escapade. You can read about the project launch here if you’re curious and reading this blog for the first time!

As already stated, I’m an intermediate level sewer at best. And jackets turn out to be tricky, especially when making modifications. It’s the first time I’ve ever tackled a sewing project of this scale. I used this Burdastyle pattern as my base. As an aside, any fur you may or may not see in the following pictures is courtesy of my cat Ben, who kindly slept on my project.

Zipper goes up.

Zipper goes down.

I had to face my zipper fear early on in the project to make the pockets. And thanks to the helpful tutorial I found (and linked to in my other post about the project), I would say it went fairly well overall with minimal trauma. I also decided to change the jacket from asymmetrical to symmetrical since it was a better fit for me. I’m making size 44 which is the maximum size available on the pattern. So yes, count them – that’s three entire zippers! Not bad for someone with a zipper phobia. I think the pockets make the jacket so far and make it feel more bomber-ish.

Hood goes up.

Hood goes down.

There’s lots of shaping, darts and top-stitching on this jacket, which has kept me busy. I also attached a hood, my other major modification. I like the hood, although I’m not entirely sure about the attaching part. I might need to revisit this.

And, amusingly, I’ve only attached one sleeve so far. I will get to attaching the second sleeve. I do have two arms after all. Doing the set-in sleeve business does take a bit of patience and wrangling. It’s very easy to pucker the fabric during the seam sewing for the sleeve, I discovered, so there were a couple of fixes. I did try on the one attached sleeve and it’s a tight fit for my bicep. Must be those muscles, ha. In hindsight, I probably I could have used a larger size, which the pattern unfortunately didn’t have.

Nice hood. Now about that other sleeve…

What’s left? The other sleeve, obviously. And the fun pink polka dot lining too. I’m debating whether to change the cuff closure as well, from a button called for in the pattern to a zipper for a more bomber look. Yes, I also have a fear of making buttonholes! But I can face that down if need be. What do you think?

x Rena

PS –  After this, I think my next project will be a sleeveless dress, ha!

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Hello Project Runway? Behind Most Jackets Lies a Zipper (or Three) in Wait

My new Burda pattern before all the taping began. If you look carefully, you can find instructions in Russian.

I need a spring jacket in a desperate way. People are starting to give me that peculiar sort of stare lately as I stubbornly continue to wear my beloved black heavy wool DKNY coat day in and day out. 18 C you say? No problem! I’m usually cold anyway, I’m quick to assure you. But even I am starting to admit that we’re halfway through spring with the dawning of May. And I may, reluctantly, soon have to admit defeat.

The quest for a spring jacket is no ordinary thing. It needs to be the jacket, the go-to statement jacket, casually cool and elegant and topping everything from perfectly broken in jeans to classic vintage dresses. It’s a commitment. And I have a knack for finding jackets that I would absolutely love… starting from $300. Ha.

Seeing as my budget isn’t about to burst forth in blossom anytime soon like the cherry trees in Vancouver these days, I decided to take matters into my own hands. Sure, you’d think that someone like me with a shop like TheVintageDesignShop selling vintage patterns has the prowess of a lioness around a sewing machine, but think twice my friends. I can generously allow that at best I’m an intermediate-level sewer. I can do the basics, but I’ve been reluctant to go to that next level… until now.

have to have that spring jacket. I can see it now perfectly in my mind’s eye: bomber style in a black as night cotton twill with a visible asymmetrical silver zipper on the front, two zipper pockets, and an over-sized collar and/or hood. Preferably with hood. Oh yes. I can practically taste it.

So, with some determination I scoured the internet for suitable patterns. Vogue 8600 was a contender. But those Rick Owens bomber jackets kept haunting me. I continued to hunt. Eventually, I found a Burda pattern that with a couple of modifications should do the trick. It was either that or sketch a jacket from scratch, which even with my idealism I thought twice about, considering I’ve never made a jacket before.

I settled on the Burda pattern with a couple of modifications. Did I mention that the mods are the collar and two zipper pockets? And may I point out that this brings the total number of zippers in this jacket to three? And… I have a fear of zippers. Sure, I can tackle them on pillowcases, but front and centre on what is going to be the go-to jacket? Oh boy, have I bit off something to chew. I headed off to the fabric store with great optimism and scouted out some finds, including a fantastic fuchsia polka dot cotton that will serve as the jacket lining (though not for the hood, if I get that far).

My new fabrics and notions for the spring jacket. Note zippers in question to right. My concession to spring is the fuchsia fabric lining.

The Burda pattern in question, looking deceptively straight forward.

The very first step, after cutting out the pattern pieces which I will get to tomorrow, is tackling the zipper pockets. I suspect I will spend no small amount of time staring at this bomber jacket zipper tutorial.Nothing like facing fear down straight in the face. Sometimes, we just need to suffer for our art or take risks in fashion.

x Rena