Herringbone Bomber

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I started planning this one right after finishing my first Papercut Rigel Bomber. Or at least when I’d worn it for a while and realised that the low neckline wasn’t going to cut it in colder weather. It’s still not up to the depths of the Swiss winter, but it’ll be fine in autumn, and I’ll be able to wear it when spring finally decides to put in an appearance too.

The fabric is a black and white herringbone-weave wool blend (blended with what? I don’t know) with a pink stripe running up alternately-pointing zigzags. Pink isn’t usually a colour I have much to do with, but it’s subtle enough not to offend my taste and it makes the whole jacket a bit less boring.

I lined the jacket using the same bagging-out method that I used on my first Rigel, and I also interlined it with some soft fabric that was the victim of an accidental dying incident involving some red jersey. It took me a while to work up the nerve to start because I’ve never inter- (or under-) lined before, and I knew from the start that the main fabric was going to fray a lot. To try and counter the fraying I used a rotary cutter to cut each pattern piece out really carefully (no impatient tugging at corners when lifting the pattern piece away) and laid them on a large board with a sheet of newspaper in between each pattern piece so I could pick one up without having to handle every other piece in the process. It worked pretty well and I didn’t have any problems with frayed edges.

The main change I made to the pattern was raising the neckline by 10cm which I did by just extending the centre front line upwards and re-drawing the neck curve on the main front pattern piece and then using this as a basis for re-drawing the front facing and lining pieces. I shortened the neckline ribbing by working out how much shorter I’d made the neckline and shortening the ribbing piece by the same amount (and then a bit more to make it hug the neck a bit more).

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I put a little hanging tab in there again, and a label, similar to last time – on a piece of lining fabric and the corduroy that the pocket linings are made from.

Another small modification I made is to make the pockets quite a bit larger so that I can get my whole hand in.
At primary school being seen with hands in pockets was a sure route to a telling-off, I remember one teacher threatening to sew up our pockets if we kept putting our hands in them. In reaction to this ever since I haven’t been able to stand pockets that you can’t get your hands into, like so many pockets in ready-to-wear women’s clothes. It’s just another reason to keep sewing my own.
The corduroy itself is a bit stiff in the pockets for the main fabric – the fabric at the front of the jacket hangs slightly oddly – but I’m hoping that they’ll soften with age and use.

I also wonder if I should have use slightly heavier-duty ribbing, but I could only find it in light grey and I preferred the contrast of the dark grey with the main fabric.

So, I’ve made peace with the jacket’s imperfections, and I’m really rather happy with the outcome. I did actually take it home with me at Christmas and the English climate allowed me to wear a couple of times. This was before I finished sewing up the lining but I made myself finish it when I got back. If I’d started wearing it properly without finishing the last little bits I would have ended up wearing it like that for the rest of my (or its) life!

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