Wednesday 5 September 2018

Bomber Jackets and that awesome ribbing

Each time I pull a bit of fabric out of my stash I find other bits and am reminded of an idea I might have once had....

Bomber jacket time!

It was this shiny, brown, patterned faux leather that got me started on the bomber jackets for kids idea. When I re-discovered it in the stash and decided it was all wrong for my pencil skirt, I showed it to A and she went nuts for it.

I already had a kids bomber jacket pattern in McCalls M7619, and I had lining fabric. All I needed was the ribbing for the cuffs...

I'd been seeing the Albstoffe cuffs on instagram and decided they would be perfect. My dealer for all things hip like that is Maaidesign and while I'm not sure if hers are actually the same brand, they're awesome all the same.

Of course that left me having to choose which cuffs to use, so I bought two different ones and made a bomber jacket for P as well!

His fabric was also pulled from the stash. It's a wool that almost feels like a felt, not as thick as a regular melton or coat weight. Knowing he feels the cold I underlined it with some fleece interfacing and then lined it in black.

To use the ribbing for the neckline required it to be wider than the pattern's intended neckband. the ribbing has a distinct fold line in the middle where the weave changes. Which is perfect for a good fold but means you can't really change the width without unbalancing the stripes.

I'm not sure the jacket needed it but this funny alpaca with it's gold "hello" was at Spotlight and A was keen for it to go on her jacket. Sure, why not. I hand stitched it to the front panel before constructing the jacket.

And so P got a giant fluffy letter P which came from Eliza's for only 50cents (only about 4 letters in the middle of the alphabet were available). Flipper informs me I've put it on the wrong side but I thought the shape of the P looked nicer facing in - in other words, meh, who cares.

Both zippers came from Jimmy's buttons and I took to them with pliers to shorten them and reapply the metal stoppers.

The sewing was pretty straightforward. The pattern is fairly basic and a here's a tip for anyone making this version with the external front pockets. After sewing one side of the zipper in, close the zipper and mark every point where there is a seam (or a stripe in your ribbing!). There's nothing worse than a jacket that closes with wonky pocket lines - go back and have a look at the pattern cover photo of the boy's jacket and you'll see what I mean.

The pattern has you stitch the lining to the bottom ribbing waistband and then hand sew the whole front, neckline and sleeve cuffs by hand. After doing A's jacket that way I thought I'd figure out some way of bagging the lining, but then I couldn't be bothered and hand sewed P's as well. Sometimes it's easier to turn the brain off, the telly on, and just stitch.

A's jacket has these side seam pockets which are kind of like patch pockets only applied under the jacket front rather than on top. It took her a while to even realise they were there!

I measured the pattern pieces for the neckband, cuffs and waistband and discovered I would need two lengths of each cuff ribbing. From one length is the waistband and the other length yielded the neckband and two sleeve cuffs. The sleeve cuffs are a bit big on A but to gather the jacket sleeve to a smaller cuff would have been very tricky to sew.

The jacket sleeve has quite a nice shape with the outer back sleeve being slightly longer than the inner front sleeve.

Working with my small remnant of grey wool I added as much sleeve length as possible to P's version: which was barely 2cm extra length. It's just long enough for monkey boy this year but I suspect it will be "bracelet" length before too long.

Both jackets look really great on the kids and I'm pretty pleased to have used up some odd bits of stashed fabric and to have finally had a play with these awesome ribbings.

The ribbing weight is perfect for jackets - similar to what is often described as 2x2 ribbing. It's hard to photograph, but the pale gold is really lovely. I worried it might be a bit girly for P but he adores his blingy gold jacket :)

I stitched the labels on by machine so that the stitching is through all fabric layers - just in case my hand stitching of the lining at the neckline wasn't secure enough.

We were on our way down to the fruit and veg market and stopped at the local university campus where there's this lovely mural of birds - I mention this one because it's the red wattlebird and at this time of year it (or its other wattlebird species relatives) is the nemesis of every Melbournian who might like to sleep past 5am.

At our house it's known as the "hoo ha hee ha" bird as its call sounds like that, over and over again.
Here's a audio of the "Melbourne alarm clock bird" and , if you don't mind bad language, a very funny discussion about how to try and live with them (because you can't kill them).

Pattern: McCalls M7619
Fabric: A - fake snakeskin pleather, bemberg lining. P - wool coating, fleece interfacing, rayon lining
Size: A - straight size 8. P - size 10 with 2cm extra sleeve length
Modifications: Cut neckband to suit ribbing width
Notions: Ribbing from Maaidesign. Zippers from Jimmy's Buttons. Patches: Spotlight and Eliza's


  1. Two brilliant bomber jackets and the way your have personalised them. I'm not sure if I would prefer your red wattlebird or the squawking yellow crested cockatoos that are our morning wake up.

    1. Thanks Sharon! So I'm realising the few benefits of the nesting wattlebird .... The don't hang out in large gangs and they don't ruin window frames, trees, etc like cockatoos. :)

  2. Both jackets look fantastic and the ribbing makes them really special (I rather like the alpaca, too). Luckily I'm seldom woken by birds, but one cat has taken to yowling outside my bedroom door at an ungodly hour...

  3. These look fantastic Shelley! I am hovering over the click to buy button for the Jalie Charlie Bomber as we speak. I think my girls could use a comfy jacket. P's jacket looks so warm!


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