Bomber Jacket Sew-Along: Making the Inside of Your Jacket Look Pretty

McCall Pattern Company blog: Bomber Jacket Sew-Along

When I was in 8th grade Home Ec class the teacher offered us the chance to earn extra credit if we wanted to make a garment at home. The only requirement was that we show her the uncut fabric and supplies before we began. She thought this would help prevent us from passing off  store-bought clothes as things we made. Well, in my excitement to make my utterly cute yellow gingham dress with lace trim, I ignored the whole requirement thing and sewed the dress over a weekend. (Because even at age 13 I couldn’t go a weekend without sewing.)

That next Monday in Home Ec I proudly showed the teacher my finished Butterick dress and asked for the extra credit. Being the lover of rules that she was, she started to tell me she wouldn’t give me the extra credit because I hadn’t shown her the uncut fabric first. And the outside of my dress looked pretty decent. But then she peeked inside.

Readers, all bets were off that I was passing off a RTW dress as something I had made. Make the inside look nice?! Huh?! Not when you’re a beginning sewer and just want to make cute stuff to wear the next day to school. The inside of my dress was a messy mess. I got the extra credit, though, served up with a lecture on finishing seams. Lesson learned.

So, why do we finish the insides of our garments when no one sees them?

  • To reinforce seams and interiors and make them stronger.
  • To make clothing more comfortable to wear, because scratchy and annoying parts are encased.
  • Because a well-finished garment interior is like a badge of honor, and shows you take care and pride in your work.

Ok, enough of the lecturing and childhood reminiscing. Let’s look at three bomber jackets I made when I was blogging for the Mood Fabrics Sewciety:

lace and neoprene bomber jacket made by Meg Carter of the McCall Pattern Company and originally featured on the Mood Sewciety blog
A neoprene and lace bomber jacket.
neoprene jacket inside
Since neoprene this thick doesn’t take to a serger, I covered the seams with petersham ribbon, handstitching in place. I also covered the zipper tape in petersham.
Textured novelty cotton bomber jacket made by Meg Carter of the McCall Pattern Company and originally featured on the Mood Sewciety blog
This jacket I made using a heavy, textured cotton by Marc Jacobs.
Here, I flatlined the interior. This is where you treat the lining fabric—in this case silk organza—and the exterior fashion fabric as one layer. This means the seams will be exposed and need to be finished. The seams are then either Hong Kong finished or flat-felled, with some serging around the pocket and ribbing. The zipper tape is covered with poly satin bias tape.
Leather and metallic brocade bomber jacket made by Meg Carter of the McCall Pattern Company and originally featured on the Mood Sewciety blog
Leather and metallic brocade for this bomber jacket. I went a little bomber jacket crazy, making these jackets all within a few months time.
With this leather jacket I flatlined again, with a poly lining fabric, and Hong Kong finished the seams with a textured fabric I had in my stash. (Wow, I’m impressed by my own handiwork here!)
MSGM bomber jacket, as seen on the McCall Pattern Company blog
Here’s a bomber jacket by MSGM, which one of our designers bought for herself at Century 21. The seams are finished using a true Hong Kong seam technique. You can see more interior photos of this jacket on the Facebook group.

The takeaway: Finish your seams. Best options are serging or Hong Kong finishing. Never done Hong Kong seams before? They’re easy. Here’s a tutorial.

Another option is to line your jacket. My colleague Gillian will talk about adding a lining to your bomber jacket during the week of 10/10/16. I did a kind of modified lining with my Butterick bomber by following these steps:

  • Create a lining of bodice front, bodice back, and sleeves. Omit the pockets.
  • Attach the ribbing at the neck as directed.
  • Stitch the lining to the neckline so it is right-sides-together with the fashion fabric
  • Flip the lining over and you’re done. The ribbing seam is now neatly enclosed. You can edge-stitch the lining in place if you desire.
Lining techniques for bomber jackets. On the McCall Pattern Company blog
After the ribbing is stitched to the neckline, then attach your lining by stitching over the ribbing seam. Turn, and now the neckline seam is neatly enclosed.
  • I left the seams open 5/8″ at the front edges so I could turn the lining under after I inserted the zipper. Then I stitched the lining in place to the zipper tape.
  • When it came to attaching the ribbing at the cuffs and hem, I used the flatlining technique and treated the lining and the fashion fabric as one layer. Easy peasy.

Bottom line: A well-finished garment interior is a beautiful thing.

Coming up next on the #BomberJacketSewAlong: Adding ribbing to your jacket. Stay tuned! And it’s not too late to join our Bomber Jacket Facebook Group, btw.

We’ve been sewing since 1863.

  1. Excellent post. I think you are right that when young if you sew and love what you wear, you will just get better the more you sew. We don’t want to discourage the young to a point they don’t sew. It is also like teaching sewing. You may not be perfect in the beginning, but because you are on “stage” you will get better and better with experience! Great bomber jacket. Congratulations!

  2. Thanks for all of the helpful information.

  3. I like the flat lining you did with the Hong Kong finish.

  4. I reach for the better finished clothes in my closet all the time, because they are the most comfortable to wear. You never regret the extra time you put in later on.

  5. I agree, this is an excellent post. Interiors are something I agonize over in my own projects. I love it when instructions make suggestions for how and when to do the seam finishes.

  6. Please clear up a controversy. I have very broad shoulders on a petite figure and have always felt that raglan sleeves emphasize the shoulder. I’m interested in using a laminated NY map print and lining it in a complementary cotton, but would hate to be overwhelmed by it. Are there no bomber jacket patterns with set-in sleeves? Not crazy about using a different fabric for the sleeves.

    This is really a great topic. There’s something here for everyone. Thanks.

    1. Hi Bernice! We’re not sure a laminated fabric will have enough drape and softness for this type of jacket, even a lightweight laminate. What about a kimono jacket, or something with minimal design lines?

    2. You mentioned you are broad shouldered, but not whether you are square or sloping. I just looked in Nancy Nix-Rice’s book Looking Good Everyday and she says broad square shoulders may seem a problem to some, but it is usually a fashion asset. She adds under “To minimize Broad/Square Shoulders… choose raglan styles to create a sloping line. “

      1. Yes! I’m square (in the shoulders, that is) also and delighted with your response. I will confidently proceed with raglan sleeves. I Thanks so much Pati.

  7. This is a great post, love the photos of inside finishings. I often want to show off the inside of garments I’ve made as much as the inside, and am invariably disappointed when non-sewers just don’t appreciate.

  8. I feel your pain when it comes to learning how to sew correctly. I made my first plaid shirt with great pride until my mother explained that you have to match the plaids. I am now an expert at it and would not be caught dead in miss-matched plaids!

  9. I want to line my jacket, so I’m going to wait for the tutorial. I don’t want to make any mistakes cutting my main fabric.

  10. All the jackets you made and the inside finishing are great. I’m inspired!

  11. Meg, I just now saw your reply about the laminated fabric and am having second thoughts. The shirring around wrists and waist by the ribbing would distort the print, so am considering a vest of some sort. Can’t quite picture it in a kimono pattern but will look for one for comparison. Do you have anyone specific in mind? So now can start a new fabric search. You’ve certainly provided ideas. After reading through pattern M7100, I see that collar, wrist and waist bands are cut from the main fabric. How do you adapt for ribbing? Wouldn’t it need to be stretched? Will you address this topic in future posts? Thanks for all the good info.

    1. M7100 is actually designed to use a knit ribbing fabric for the collar, cuffs, and waist band. Did you perhaps mean B6181? If you want to change the bands to ribbing on the Butterick jacket you will need to cut them somewhat shorter to allow for stretch, but the amount may depend on your fabric choice and the amount of stretch it has. Meg just talked about ribbing in the newest post if you need more information.

  12. This is great post.
    thanks for all the useful information.

  13. I went shopping at Macy’s the other day and there were bomber jackets everywhere. One of the clerks said every brand has their own version. The one I say first was $100. Others were more.

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