Amelia Bomber

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

Size: 12

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

Stellan + Dawn

I have stamped the last spot on my MN Dawn pattern card – All 4 Views! This may be my least favorite, but it’s not bad, it’s just the most similar to other patterns I’ve sewn before. I think I’m a half-step out of sync with fashion because I’m getting tired of wide legs again. Oops. And I fear I overcommitted to cropped legs.

The final length of this pair was determined by a silly error (entirely mine). My table is fairly small so I can only lay out about 1 yard of fabric at once, and not the whole width; basically I trace from left to right on a single layer, moving the fabric off the table as I go, and then cut from right to left. By the time I realized I had traced both back leg pieces the same-way up, I had cut a lot of the fabric already. I was annoyed with myself because I would have had plenty of fabric if I had done it right the first time, but instead I left myself with a strictly limited area to fit the second back leg piece. I squeezed it in by rotating it off-grain and losing about a 1.5” triangle from one corner of the hem. Originally I planned on  making these full-length with an option to crop if I didn’t like it, but instead, by necessity, I folded a deep double hem with that missing corner inside. It’s about equivalent to the cropped length with a 1” deep hem (this is 2”). The length is fine for fall but I might be sad in winter when my ankles get cold!

Also, fun fact: I was using up odds and ends of green thread and you can see the moment where I ran out of the best match. It was here. Here it is.

Luckily with this wide cut and stable fabric I don’t seem to be suffering any side effects from cutting one back leg piece off-grain. I was worried there’d be some weird twisting, but nah! I’m not going to start recklessly cutting pants legs willy-nilly but if you need to claw an inch or two out of your yardage…maybe go for it?

I didn’t make any unique changes to this pair; I cut the fronts with grown-on fly extensions and sewed the zip the Ginger way, which is typical for me, and I also made the butt pockets into big old rectangles and added carpenter details, which I’ve done before if not to Dawns. Professor Boyfriend accused my hammer loop of being mannerist but how many hammers does he carry. 😛

I wasn’t sure whether to place the loop’s horizontal segment parallel to the butt pocket edge or perpendicular to the side seam – I couldn’t have both, so I picked perpendicular, especially since that nearby low-leg pocket would be perpendicular too. At one point I considered using patch pockets instead of jeans-style pockets on the front. And then I forgot!

I recently treated myself to a roll of 1” wide tricot fusible and for a change I interfaced the waistband. Why oh why is cutting stable, easily-marked fabric a pleasure, but cutting equally stable and easily-marked interfacing a chore? I often skip it, but this 1” roll made it easy to do it right. And look at that! This is the second day of wear, and no crumpling! It’s almost like…I should have been doing this the whole time!

The fabric was super cooperative too. Just a standard cotton twill, but a peach to sew. I do like it when life is easy.

The top, also new, is my second, slightly-refined shoulderpad Stellan (free base pattern here, my first attempt here). Part of my fickle-and-inconstant moon routine is to now wonder if I actually like shoulderpads? Eh. I can always unpick them. I shortened the front armscye by the unscientific expedient of folding out 2 centimeters horizontally from the pattern piece across the upper chest. I also narrowed the neck by 2 cm per side, and raised the front neck by 1 1/8″.

I’m (item 1): not sure why I switched between metric and imperial while making notes and (item 2): really glad I took notes. I didn’t remember and wouldn’t have guessed that I raised the neckline over an inch! It seems like a lot!! But now it’s true-crew, which is what I wanted. This fabric is Kaufman Laguna jersey, the feel of which varies a lot color-to-color. This Navy is so soft and heathery; meanwhile I’m wearing a Terracotta Laguna jersey Stellan in the photos for this post, and it’s much crunchier and more solid. The facings still flip a bit on this tank but understitching helped.

There’s so many things I’m excited to make from patterns I already own, but also, having successfully ‘finished’ the Dawn pattern, I kinda think I should buy myself a new pants pattern. Maybe two. O_O I own so many pants but I love sewing and wearing them, and 365 days a year x 2 legs = 730 pairs of pants, right? Right?!

Pattern: MN Dawn, wide leg

Pattern cost: NA

Size: 14 waist, 16 hip; 16 rise; with lots of changes

Supplies: 2 yards of green cotton twill, Sewfisticated, $9.98; zipper, Gather Here, $1.60; thread from stash

Total time: 6.5 hours

Total cost: $11.58

Pattern: Stellan tee

Pattern cost: NA

Size: M; shoulder pad variation; narrowed neck 2cm, removed 2cm in height from front armscye, raised front neckline 1 1/8″

Supplies: 1 yard of Kaufman Laguna jersey in Heathered Navy, Ryco’s, $11.50; shoulder pads, Sewfisticated, $0.99; thread from stash

Total time: 2.5 hours

Total cost: $12.49