It seems I'm not the only one to have purchased the pattern and promptly sat on it for over a year. I really wanted to sew it too, but it just kept getting queue-jumped. So when I read Sonja's post about a January bomber jacket sewalong, I knew I was in. What better way to start a new year than by ticking off a big unfinished idea from the last? My butt --> kicked into gear!
However. I also started the new year by going back to work after several months off (see here). It was not really a good time to set myself ambitious targets. Or any targets. It was a good time to tread carefully back into the routines and go easy on myself. Which, to my own surprise, I did - no late night sewing, no rushing, no self-imposed stress. Go me! But of course, this all added up to no finished Rigel bomber either --> my butt kicked.
Now that it is finished, can I just say? TOTALLY kicked ass on my Rigel bomber, January deadline or not. First ever welt pockets? BAM perfect! Slinky satin lining complete with pleat? Yes thank you ma'am, I has it! And ooooh I so, so love me a neat and tidy metal zip. I could just look down at that all day (if I didn't, you know, have to look where I was going and stuff).
Mid-January, I opened and examined the bag of Rigel-to-be. I got out my pattern, did some head-scratching. Puzzled over the pattern pieces and scratched my head some more. In the end, I had to suspend disbelief and admit that whichever way I looked at it, this fabric - which I'd bought specifically for this project and by now had my heart set on, and I remember checking the yardage requirements and everything yes REALLY - just, well. It just wasn't big enough.
I would insert some gnashing of teeth here, for the sake of storytelling. But the truth of the tale is that my thoughts, quite surprisingly and indeed almost gleefully, went: OH WELL. Necessity is the mother of invention!
Oh, did I mention? It's not actually a bomber jacket at all.
Because when faced with a fabric shortage, by far the most obvious thing to remove from a raglan jacket pattern is the sleeves. Raglan sleeves are fabric eaters! Not only that, but for months I'd actually been keeping my eyes on the high street for a gilet that met my exacting requirements, and until the "but how am I going to get sleeves on this coat" moment, it hadn't occurred to me at all to just make one.
Once that thought process had happened, it was just a hop, skip and jump to mashing up the Rigel Bomber with the Undercover Hood, un-raglanned and with armholes from the Purl Bee's vest drawn on.
I honestly have never felt much desire to draft patterns from scratch, and I still don't. But this process of creating an entirely different design out of three other separate designs was heaps of fun. And so satisfying, remembering to add or subtract seam allowances where needed, re-drawing curves that looked and worked better, figuring out the whole thing by myself. I am so incredibly pleased and proud of how this turned out. Not only did I 'draft' it without a hitch, it's also basically my most utterly perfect vest. I couldn't have planned it better.
Bonus husband comment:
Ooh nice fabric! I like this one very much. It's a... <looks searchingly at me> ... oh right, a gilet. Can you make me a gilet exactly the same? Except, without the fur. Or a hood. And with sleeves.
c/o Just Let Me Finish All the Other Sewing First,