And just like that, summer is over.

Okay, now, I understand that anybody living in a less temperate climate will laugh at me. We’ve hit 26C today, after all, and in most places I’ve lived before that’s considered a scorcher.

There is, however, no denying the fact that I’ve felt the need for an outer layer in the morning for the last couple of weeks. Which revealed a gaping hole in my wardrobe. One that has been lamented many times before, I’ll admit – the elusive transitional jacket.

Rigel bomber
Rigel bomber. If you look closely, you can see the wonky front, but I can live with it.

I still want to make that Alabama Chanin coat I spoke about many moons ago, and I’ve even bought the second book which has a coat pattern. There’s just that little issue with all that hand sewing … while the theory appeals to me, the actual activity not so much.

Which I was painfully reminded of last night, when I sat hunched over my sewing table, slip stitching the jacket lining in place. I tried very hard to get a good photo of my finger (yeah, I *probably* have a thimble somewhere …) after I was done but failed. Let’s suffice to say … raw.

Rigel bomber lining
Yes, I totally hand stitched the lining to the hem band. And to the sleeve bands. I may have to invest in a thimble if I ever plan to do this again.*

I’ve had this pattern for ages. I meant to make it earlier in the year for spring. At that time, however, my sewing mojo was vacationing in the Caribbean (or some such) and not much was happening on my sewing table. And as it goes down here, spring lasted 3 days and then suddenly the need for a jacket vanished.

It’s a cute little pattern, and I won’t lament the lack of lining pattern pieces or instructions. Like many other sewers, I am a bit disappointed by that, but there are a ton of tuts out there to help you out if you want a lining – and I clearly did.

I spent no more than half a Sunday making the jacket, and as an added bonus, all my fabrics and notions came from my stash. Admittedly, I’d bought the zipper and ribbing specifically for making the Rigel bomber, but that was aaaaages ago and hence doesn’t count. Or does it?

Both the shell and lining were gifts from my friend Steph, who has immaculate taste. The shell has a gorgeous eggplant colour, and feels like mostly wool. It’s a rather loose weave, and hence ravelled like a motherf***er. Which nearly drove me bonkers, but since I could just hide the mess in the lining, I’m over it.

Rigel welt pockets
Rigel welt pockets

The pockets turned our quite neat, if I say so myself, in no small way aided by using some of the more expensive fusible interfacing I bought ages ago (and have since forgotten where I ordered it … meh. I need a sewing diary).

The photo above also nicely shows the texture of the fabric.

Overall, the fit is great, although I probably could have gone a size up as I could use a tad more room in the shoulders and the sleeves are ever so slightly on the short side (take that with a grain of salt, as I like my sleeves long). The pattern went together well, and between the instructions and help from the interwebs on how to add the lining, this was a rather relaxing and satisfying project.

*That has now been remedied. I bought a new one.

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Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: finished

This post was in the making for a while, mainly because my camera has been super uncooperative, and won’t give me any good photos at all 😦 In the interest of science (so to speak), though, I’ll give you what I have. Please do accept my apologies for the appalling quality of the shots – these are the best out of several dozens I took. I kid you not.

After all of the fiddling with the muslin, the final finish of the jacket went pretty smooth.

The arms fit a lot better:

P45 arm detail

The back turned out pretty good:

P45 back

But:

P45 front tension wrinkles

It’s alright as long as I keep my mitts out of the pockets, but as you can see, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the tension on the right front panel (left in the photo). I suspect that the lining is a tad too short (which would make sense, as this side of the jacket is also a teensy bit longer than the other side) and that causes those weird wrinkles.

Clearly the way forward is to take it apart and sew the lining back in, shortening the outer roughly an inch, and hope that will solve the issue.

Which is a bit painful, as this was my first hand-picked bias finished seam:

Hand picked bias hem finish

On the other hand, it also means that unpicking it will be a lot less painful 😀

Overall, a good pattern with a few quirks – I still can’t get over the fact that it turned into a short-ish coat despite the fact that I cut the jacket length (according to the pattern). And the armscye/sleeve cap mismatch … but I learned a few things, and I totally came away with a wearable fall/spring jacket. A quick test run seems to indicate I still need a proper winter jacket, but that’s for another post 😀

Silver Needles P45 – construction details

To tell you the truth, the initial issue with the sleeve cap had left me a tad apprehensive. If they got something like that so horribly wrong, how could I expect the finished jacket to be one I’d actually like to wear?

This made me take greater care in the following steps than I often do. I properly marked the pockets:

Look! I marked the pocket placement! With thread!

I basted the zip in before actually sewing it down:

Please also not my dynamic pose.

You might notice that contrary to the pocket markings and the pattern cover mine does not have breast pockets. That’s correct. I omitted them … I felt the look would be cleaner without, and I’m quite happy I did, as I really like the looks.

The back of the lining did have some weird ripples along the center seamline, which I am fairly certain were caused by my inability to cut it perfectly on grain. Thankfully, that didn’t happen with the outer. Contrary to what it might look like, the center back seam is not straight, but slightly curved, which really helps with a better fit.

No weird ripples along the center seam, phew!

This all looked good, I thought. It would have been good had I noticed at this point that the front didn’t align perfectly. Join me on Friday to hear how this gripping tale ends!