Bomber Jacket Sew-along: Fitting the Raglan Sleeves

McCall Pattern Company blog: Bomber Jacket Sew-Along

If you haven’t joined our Bomber Jacket Sew-along group on Facebook yet, we’d love to have you! Come chat with us!

A bomber jacket is not the kind of project that needs a lot of fitting. That’s one of the things we like about them! So if you don’t want to stress about fit this time around, breathe easy. You’ll probably be okay, especially if you like a slightly oversized jacket. But if you want to finesse it a bit more, we’re here for you.

Because of the relaxed overall shape, the main fitting focus for a jacket like this is going to be the shoulders and sleeves. The sleeves, obviously, because you need enough room there for comfort and movement. Getting a good fit in the shoulders will help your jacket to sit nicely and stay put through regular activity, especially if you like to wear your jackets open.

Both of our sew-along jacket patterns have raglan sleeves. If you haven’t tried fitting raglan sleeves before you might be a little bit puzzled, but it’s actually very simple. There are slight differences between the two patterns: M7100 has a dart in the sleeve cap, while B6181 does not. M7100 is also more tapered through the sleeves than B6181, so you may want to choose your pattern accordingly if you’re looking for a sleeker or blousier shape (or simply adjust the pattern to suit your preference.)

McCall’s M7100 Bomber Jacket: Pattern Adjustment for Sizes L-XXL

If you’re making McCall’s M7100 bomber jacket in sizes L-XXL, we suggest you read this post by Kristen Schultz, a member of our Bomber Jacket Sew-Along Facebook Group. Here, Kristen walks you through the few simple pattern adjustments we recommend you do to the upper sleeve and front bodice area, before you cut out your fabric.

I am going to show you how to make the front bodice (pattern piece 1), side front piece (pattern piece 4), and raglan sleeve (pattern piece 6) align for sizes L-XXL. There are several ways to accomplish this task but the easiest is to grade up at the sleeve front to extend the length where needed. (Not covered – Another way is to adjust the sleeve dart and ease the fit, which results in a broader shoulder, about ½ inch length may need to be added to overall length).

Step 1: Assemble Front Bodice pattern piece #1 to Side Front pattern piece #4 and attach both to Back pattern piece #5.
M7100 adjustment for larger sizes. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Step 2: Check Sleeve pattern piece compared to the assembled front and back sleeves. The yellow highlighted area shows that the Sleeve is too short on the front size and needs lengthening and graded up.

M7100 adjustment for larger sizes. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Step 3: Lengthening the Sleeve – measure out 1.25 inches (3.18 cm) from the short side sleeve front. It will extend to the seam line (between pattern piece #4 Side Front and #5 Back). [Editor’s note: the length you need to add to the sleeve will vary depending on what size you make and other alterations you may have made. Use the amount  you determined in the previous step.] Using your Curve Ruler, grade back down to taper the sleeve width. Not tapering will widen the sleeve.
M7100 adjustment for larger sizes. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Step 4: Check your new sleeve adjustment to the Bodice and Side Front. The notches now line up between the sleeve front with 1.25 in (3.18 cm) length adjustment. Not shown, but the front and back collar pieces also match up. After you confirm your adjustments, you can now cut your fabric.
M7100 adjustment for larger sizes. On the McCall Pattern Company blog.

Thank you for reading about this adjustment. Happy sewing! —Kristen Schultz

Coming tomorrow: Fitting raglan shoulders on your bomber jacket

Bomber Jacket Sew-Along: Fabrics, Ribbing & Zippers

McCall Pattern Company blog: Bomber Jacket Sew-Along

I have to admit I’m really excited for this particular sew-along. Bomber jackets allow you to be so creative, and that’s what gets me going. You have SO MANY options when it comes to choosing fabrics and ribbings. Just look at our bomber jacket inspiration Pinterest board—there are bomber jackets in everything from quilted satin to menswear suitings. (Seriously, do check out this board before you decide on your fabric and ribbing.)

This season’s bomber jackets can be divided into three categories: Glam, Sporty, and Flirty.

Glam bomber jacket fabrics, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
Source for images

Glam: The Glam bomber jacket commands attention. Gucci’s spring 2016 bomber jackets are a perfect example of this look. Fabrics that work for the glam bomber jacket include midweight satin crepes in either poly or silk, or ornate brocades that aren’t too stiff. Satin crepes won’t require a lining (bonus!), but you will want to line or underline/flatline brocade fabrics. Choose lightweight georgettes, organzas, or lining fabrics for lining and underlining fabrics.

Ribbings for the glam bomber jackets can either match your fabric in color or offer high contrast in color and possibly a stripe as well. Choose ponte or scuba knits, or go with a striped knit ribbing.

Sporty bomber jacket fabrics, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
Source for images

Sporty: The Sporty bomber jacket harkens back to the athletic jackets of the last century. This Adidas jacket is a contemporary take on the classic sporty bomber. If the sporty look is what you have in mind, look for neoprenes, scuba knits, ponte, lightweight denims and tencels, fine-waled corduroy, or lightweight menswear suiting.

Ribbings can be from ponte, neoprene or scuba knits to match or contrast with your bomber. Or you can be ultra-sporty and choose a striped ribbing for that Joe College look.

Flirty bomber jacket fabrics, on the McCall Pattern Company blog
Source for images

Flirty: The Flirty bomber jacket is feminine to the max. It’s often made of lighter-weight fabrics, like this georgette bomber by Needle & Thread, and floral prints prevail. For fabrics, try midweight georgettes, silk organza for a sheer look, satin crepes, lightweight brocades, and jacquards.

Ribbings for the flirty jacket can be from ponte or scuba knit, or from silk taffeta or heavier satin crepe with inserted elastic.

Where to get ribbing for your bomber jacket: Ponte knits make wonderful ribbings. They’re soft to wear, and easy to find and sew. You could start there. Scuba knits also work well as ribbings, and those are also easier to find these days.

However, if you want a real knit ribbing like you see here, here and here, then you may need to buy/order it from a place like Pacific Trimming or Botani Trimmings. I can vouch that they have wonderful ribbings in all sorts of colors and stripes. Etsy has some ribbing options as well. My colleague Gillian recommends this Oregon store for ribbing.

Loads of ribbings in all sorts of colors at Botani Trimmings.
Loads of ribbings in all sorts of colors at Botani Trimmings.
Ribbings at Pacific Trimming in NYC
Ribbings at Pacific Trimming. Lots of striped ribbings here, plus some metallic ribbings that are really cool.

Separating zippers: The zipper is a focal point of the bomber jacket, so don’t skimp on this part. You can choose zippers with plastic teeth—good for sporty jackets—or go with metal teeth in silver or brass. Coats & Clark now makes a nice sporty separating zipper, and you can find those in fabric stores. Zipperstop is an online source for YKK zippers, and Pacific and Botani also sell zippers online.

I hope this gives you a good starting point for your bomber jacket supplies. Remember, this sew-along is 100% go-at-your-own pace—there are no deadlines. If you don’t finish (or start!) your bomber jacket until 2017 that’s perfectly fine!

If you have other sources you’d like to share, please leave a comment here. Thanks!

Next week: Fitting raglan shoulders