Boom! #rigelbomberjanuary number one, done! More to come, no doubt about it! I’ve so much to say about this first version that I don’t know from where to start.
This pattern has been in my “to do” list for ages, but I’ve never got to sew it for a couple of reasons (both pretty stupid). First, it’s a jacket and therefore I thought it would have been difficult to sew, and second, I usually never wear this sort of garments since I live in a tropical area and I don’t need them. The excuse of going on holiday in Tasmania – where I secretly hope to find some snow! – was good enough to let me decide participating to the #rigelbomberjanuary, and about the difficulty of this make, well, I was completely wrong.
Let’s talk about the supplies first and how frustrating is, sometimes, finding them here where I live – Mackay – and in Australia in general.
The shell fabric is from my stash: I bought it about a year ago with no plans for it, but just because I loved it. It’s a polyester (my guess, as it was labeled as “assorted”) black and silver zebra jacquard, very prone to fray and to leave bits of thread all over the place. Apart from that, it was really easy to cut and sew.
As everybody who has already sewn this jacket has said, the Rigel really benefits of a lining. First of all to hide the interior – pocket linings, seam allowances and so on, and secondly to avoid any sort of clinging and sticking to the other clothes you’re gonna wear underneath. So the lining was a must have and I wanted something “special”. Being my main fabric already a print, I’ve opted for a plain material but in a happy, bright and contrasting color: magenta! I love the contrast with the black and silver and I could use this palette over and over again … actually, I think I’ve done it already (more Papercut Patterns to come)! Anyhow, the lining is some more polyester crap, a slightly stretchy satin which make me think of the wonderful movie that is Million Dollar Baby and all those silky and shiny boxing robes. I’m head over heels about this material – it feels luxurious and expensive and I wonder why I’ve never use it before?? It was rather easy to handle too and to be honest all I needed to achieve a nice result was a new and sharp machine needle (I’ve used a size 80).
Finding the shell and lining fabrics was easy, while putting my hands on some decent ribbing was quite an adventure. I searched all over the Internet, trying to find something local, but ended up buying some from Pacific Trimmings in the US instead. I think it was more of an excuse to justify the shipping costs of the zipper I wanted, and in the end I didn’t even use that ribbing as it was way too heavy weight for my fabrics. The zipper in question is a Riri one, a very good one as it seems, and on the Pacific Trimmings website you can completely customize it – you get to choose the material and color of the tape, the color and width of the teeth, the pull and of course the length – and there you have it, the perfect match for your project! I went for black cotton tape and 6mm ruthenium teeth and I’m so excited about the matching than I can’t wait to sew or knit some other garments needing a zipper to order more! The price isn’t exactly what I call affordable, $22US for mine, but it really is a good zipper and you can tell the difference from the shit I’m used to find here.
Back to the ribbing, I’ve ended up using some I sourced from a local shop, but I’m not completely satisfied with it. I wish I could’ve found something slightly heavier as this one hasn’t a lot of body and looks a bit floppy. I’m also worried it’s gonna stretch out of shape sooner rather than later. I even thought about interfacing it, but then, is this even possible?? Suggestion about where to find in Australia good quality ribbing are very much welcome.
To sew the ribbing to the jacket I’ve used a stretch needle as the regular one I was using for the jacquard and satin fabrics wasn’t doing a good job. It was a bit of a pain changing needles around, but sadly I’ve only one sewing machine to play with at the moment.
Now about the size of this bomber. I’ve cut an XS even if the chart suggested me to cut an S. When I checked the finished garment measurements, I’ve realized the Rigel has plenty of ease built in already and didn’t want a huge jacket, so I decided to go with the smallest size. My version is pretty light-weight and I don’t plan on wearing chunky sweaters underneath – but if I was to sew a winter Rigel, maybe in wool, I’d probably go up to an S, for more comfort around the shoulders and back area. The only modification I’ve done is lengthening the sleeves by 2.5 cm and even if I’m happy with how they fit me, next time I’m gonna add a few more, just because I prefer longer sleeves. I’m very happy with the all over fit and I’m sure I’ll wear this jacket a lot (the day I’ll move to a cooler climate of course).
For the lining, I’ve followed Lauren’s directions, who kindly shared how she’s done hers here on her blog. So basically I cut the lining pieces out of the shell pattern pieces, eliminating the corresponding facing bits and adding 1 cm seam allowances. I then sewn everything together and attached the lining to the facing, leaving 1 cm unstitched at the bottom fronts, and understitched towards the lining with matching magenta thread. I then joined the lining to the jacket, right sides together, along the neckline, zipper and bottom facing and understitched. Then I’ve joined the lining to the jacket at the bottom, stitching it to the ribbing seam allowance, right sides together (here is where the 1 cm left unstitched before, came in hand), and finally I did the same for the sleeves. To turn the jacket you need to open back up a seam section of the underarm lining, which you’ll stitch close again once the bomber is right side out. The whole process was new to me and I had to fiddle a bit with the bottom front facing corners, but in the end it all went OK and I’m super excited to have pulled it off! The inside of the jacket now looks as good as the outside and it could really be worn inside out. Also, I didn’t bother adding a back pleat for ease and comfort as the satin has a bit of a stretch, but if I had to use a more stable material, I would definitely add one.
I also added this matching satin ribbon in between the facing and the ribbing, at the center back, so I can hang my Rigel up, nice uh? The only problem is, I think it’s upside down and it should lay the other way around, but who cares …
And I was almost forgetting about my first welt pockets ever! Yep, I didn’t bother doing a trial as I felt confident enough to try them on my real fabric straight away. The instructions are very clear and I just followed them step by step, taking it easy, and it all worked out very well. And of course, the pocket bag had to be pink! Pretty, right?
Sewing this sort of autumn/winter garments really excites me, I’m definitely a fan of warmer clothes! That said, I’ve already another Rigel Bomber planned, this time in a heavier material so I can use that black heavy duty ribbing I got from Pacific Trimming. And at the shops I’ve seen some printed velvet that is calling my name and imploring to become another jacket too. I’m sold, on every front!