I finally made this pattern!
I wasn’t feeling too thrilled to do so (I bought it several years ago) but I had sufficient useful scraps and the pattern was a bit spendy to rehome without trying once, so why not, right? And I like my finished SOI Amelia bomber way more than I expected. In fact I didn’t take it off during my waking hours for the first 2 days it existed, and I kept winking at myself in every mirror I passed, so that’s a good sign!
Let’s jump ahead: I love the finished piece. Let’s rewind: the sewing experience was incoherent. The draft had thoughtful details, plenty of notches, and perfectly matched seams, but the directions were garbage served caliente.
I know there’s certain pattern companies that get bagged on a lot and others that get treated as Above Reproach; I think SOI ends up in the first category more often than not, and I’m not trying to take cheap shots at an easy target. Honestly, the pattern is great. And it has a fully illustrated booklet now – I wouldn’t mind a peek at it! – but I was working from the pages I clipped from the ex-magazine, and they were frustrating at best. It’s a whole lot of text with quite small photographs, and the sample is made from a busy fabric with a black background. While they’re more useful than no illustrations/photos/diagrams at all, they are baddy bad bad.
The sewing is also sequenced really poorly. I think it makes more sense to sew the outer, then the lining, then attach them to each other, but following the directions means sewing the outer shoulders, then the lining shoulders, then the outer side seams, then lining side seams, etc. And if that sentence made your eyes spin you will know how I felt about reading 54 steps presented without benefit from the enter key (so much text! So little leading!). They are basically sufficient, emphasis on basically.
The assist goes VERY much to Sewing and Slapdashery, for making it clear I should just buy a 16” zip, instead of yanking 6” of metal teeth off of the 22” zip asked for by the pattern. If you have the correct length, you can also go ahead and ignore the direction to fold over the ends of the zip tape. Buy a 16” zip. It’s strictly easier in every way.
A tip of the hat also to Deer and Doe’s double-welt pocket instructions. I borrowed the pattern pieces from my copy of the Lupin jacket and shifted the placement down about 5/8” down to avoid Amelia’s dart. They are silly dinky pockets for a silly dinky jacket, and they can fit either my stuff or my hands though not both simultaneously, but I’m glad they’re there. The pocket bags are plain black cotton and the bottom edge is handily trapped by the waistband, so they stay put.
I topstitched my outer darts and shoulder seams because the wool was so springy. Then I rediscovered my I-found-a-piece-of-wood-style clapper and clappered everything else. I made a cape from this wool last year; I barely wear it (shocker) and I find it smells a bit sheepy, but I can’t smell this jacket. Probably I’ve gone nose-blind.
I shortened the collar for style reasons rather than fabric limitations (even though I have just bare scraps left, which is great). I cut it as directed and then spontaneously sewed it to be 1.5” tall finished just by pivoting before I was supposed to, then trimming the extra.
Aside from that and adding the pockets, this is a straight size 12. I even cut the waist elastic to the given length, no adjustment needed.
Actually I only had enough 2” wide elastic for the waistband and one cuff, so the other cuff contains 1” wide elastic zigzagged to itself. If you can spot the difference you’ve got a better eye than me.
My favorite detail of the draft is this elbow dart in the lining – the same area is eased in the outer – which just feels classy. I don’t know anything about coats really but I have a perfectly comfortable fit and range of motion, and this is a slim-fitting sleeve, so some of that credit goes to the elbow dart, I assume!
My least-favorite detail is the pleating I shoved into the waist edge of the lining. There’s quite a bit of handsewing in this project, but the only really inconvenient bit is that one. By the time the lining is meant to be handsewed into place, the waistband elastic is already added, so I had to stake the nearly-finished coat to my ironing board like I was butterflying a trout to stretch the waistband flat again. Plus the lining is supposed to be gathered to fit and then have the seam allowance turned under, all in slippy lining fabric. No thank you! I turned and pressed the lining edge, but bunging in a handful of pleats seemed more doable than evenly gathering a quickly-shredding fabric already attached to a jacket arranged like a ritual ironing board sacrifice. I wish I had just done one large pleat, but I don’t wish it hard enough to do anything about it.
The lining was also given to me in the dim and misty past, by the way, so the boughten materials were the pattern, the thread, the elastic, and the zipper. Not to brag but I have ordered the HECK out of some zippers lately. Check out that inoffensive near-match, baby.
If I was going to make one more change I would add a great big wacky iron-on patch to the back of this jacket! Technically I still could. Maybe I will. In the meantime, please enjoy my discretion re: ‘this is the bomb’ puns.
See you soon! Happy October!!
Pattern: SOI Amelia bomber
Pattern cost: $14.10
Supplies: leftover gray wool suiting, gold Bemberg rayon, from stash; YKK #5 16″ Antique Brass Jacket Zipper – Graphite, Wawak; 1 yard 2″ elastic, Sewfisticated; thread, Michael’s; total $5.13
Total time: 10.5 hours
Total cost: $19.23