My first sewing obsession of the new year was to make a bomber jacket. Every time I saw a bomber jacket added to Net-a-Porter or read some fashion editorial about varsity jackets as the latest thing, I decided I had to make one for myself.
So, hmm, I knew I wanted to make a black bomber jacket, though I didn’t intend to make a textured bomber jacket. But readers, even though I work at Mood Fabrics and fabric is my business, I GET OVERWHELMED TOO! I was wandering around our silk department, pattern in hand, and I was an indecisive mess. Drool was practically coming out of my mouth, I was in such a stupor over which fabric to choose. But then our wonderful, longtime sales associate America thrust a bolt of newly arrived Marc Jacobs wool-blend brocade at me and said “Here, this is your fabric.” Actually, I think she just wanted me to quit taking up space on the sales floor, but I grabbed a couple yards of it and scurried back to my office downstairs.
And this cotton brocade turned out to be a delight to work with. Don’t you just love it when fabric behaves? When a seam presses open perfectly and your stitches disappear into the fabric? We still have some of this brocade available at the Mood NYC store: call 212-730-5003, ask for America (or the silk department) and tell her you want Meg’s bomber jacket fabric; $50 a yard and worth every penny.
Above, a better glimpse of this textured fabric and some of the jacket details. You can see I opted to use elastic encased in silk satin rather than the called-for ribbing at the waist and cuffs. I tested a couple of knit ribbing options first, including a neoprene, but wasn’t happy with them. I do like the contrast of the smooth satin with the textured cotton.
The zippers are pick-stitched rather than machine-stitched; I think that’s a little more elegant. I wish I had gone with a more expensive zipper rather than these ordinary YKK zippers, and that I had played a little more with zipper treatments before going the exposed zipper route, but oh well, live and learn.
I chose not to line this jacket. The cotton fabric would have been fine without a lining but I decided to flatline it instead with some silk organza, just to give it a little wearing ease and a neat appearance when you see the inside of the jacket. (Flatlining is a technique where the fashion fabric and lining fabric are treated as one fabric, rather than constructing the garment first and then attaching the lining.) I basted the silk organza to the cotton brocade pattern pieces before I sewed the pieces together.
Which pattern, you ask? It’s BurdaStyle 7210, and you can buy it from Simplicity.com; yay, no tracing involved! This pattern is very well drafted in the sleeve area and overall. The only adjustment I made to the pattern itself was to narrow the sleeve width slightly (personal preference), and to omit the front and back flaps.
Other construction details:
- Seams are either Hong Kong-finished with satin bias tape or serged.
- The neckline finish consists of a silk satin bias piece that is lined with some neoprene I had around, just to give it some fullness.
- I hate when the zipper tape shows on the wrong side, so I covered it with satin bias tape (handstitched).
- Pockets are made from black silk charmeuse I had in my stash.
Bottom line: Really, really pleased with this jacket, though it ended up being a little more structured in appearance than a typical bomber jacket. I wear it unzipped over a t-shirt or turtleneck, and with jeans or black or tan pants. Sewing construction actually was easy and it all came together fairly quickly. In fact, I’m now working on another interpretation of the bomber jacket, this time in ivory neoprene with lace overlays….
Thinking about making a bomber jacket? Really, the fabric options for this type of jacket are endless. I’d consider lighter-weight fabrics with some body, soft hand and relaxed drape, maybe a medium-weight satin. Take a look at bomber jackets in stores and online and see what fabrics work best, then go for it!