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  • Writer's pictureMingMakes

New Look 6545 Bomber Jacket



I booked onto a sewing workshop local to me at the Bristol School of Sewing and Textiles to make a bomber jacket. This has been something on my list for a while, having seen someone wearing a Ted Baker floral one a while ago in a silk-type fabric. I loved the mix of a more formal fabric in this style, having seen others with jacquard, brocade, velvet and lace. 



The pattern was the New Look 6545 bomber / flight jacket and has raglan sleeves. It suits a wide range of fabrics and can be sewn with contrast sleeves.



Sewing Workshop Space



The School is set up in a lovely garden workshop with a small kitchenette and toilet. It fits four students with their own desk space, with sewing machines and tools provided for each. There are an additional two big tables for cutting and working on.



It is owned by Emma who runs all the sewing classes, and she has a friendly and calm manner about her. As well as dressmaking, the school has classes in hand embroidery, soft furnishings, bags, knitting, crochet and other crafty things.


Fit

I would usually check the fit with a toile before a workshop but time didn’t allow for this. My measurements put me around size 12 but having looked at the finished garment dimensions, I went with size 8 as I anticipated using this as more of a spring / summer jacket with a light layer underneath.



I didn’t make any further adjustments to the fit or length. I was very pleasantly surprised by how well it fit, and would perhaps only do an upper rounded back adjustment on any future version, a standard adjustment for me.



Fabric

As per usual, I had left it to the last minute to decide on my fabric which meant I had to use something from my stash, certainly a welcome situation to be put into. While I was tempted to use some loud prints for a really unique jacket, I also wanted something that was versatile to be worn regularly, so I went with an embroidered chambray I bought from Like Sew Amazing a couple of years ago. It had just the right amount of structure and drape for this jacket.



For the lining, I had some royal blue Bremsilk left over from my Eden Coat which matched well. From that project I knew it was slippery to handle, but as a lining for which precision wasn’t absolutely necessary, it did the job beautifully.



For the cuffs I bought some navy cuffing from another local store Fabrics Plus. I had previously ordered other navy cuffing online from two other stores (Empress Mills and Dalston Mill) which was so dark it looked black. Empress Mills kindly resent the order in case it was incorrect but the replacement was the same. It is worth noting that they have at least 2 other navy ribbing products; the one I ordered had code no. E110615-008. I had ordered a swatch from Dalston Mill which was lighter than what later arrived as fabric, so I think either the swatch or fabric sent was incorrect so I can’t say for sure what it looks like. 



Amongst our class, other fabrics used were cotton, bouclé and stretch denim. It is such a versatile pattern.


Interfacing

Emma supplied a strip of interfacing (Vlieseline F220) for us to use down the front of the jacket edge to help stabilise the zip, preventing this part of the jacket from stretching and going wavy.



Construction

As is the beauty of such workshops, I didn’t have to reference the instructions at all. We did have a look through when Emma pointed out where we had changed the order, and thought that the wording and diagrams weren’t particularly clear. This is something I have found on the only other Big 4 pattern I have sewn, the Zara skirt rebranded by Liberty but with the original Simplicity 8606 pattern and instructions in the packet.



Pattern placement

My first task was to decide how to arrange the coloured flowers which would be most noticeable. Emma advised against making the front pieces symmetrical as they would have to be absolutely spot on, and I thought it would look better with the motifs staggered, as well as trying to avoid flower boob! However I did aim for symmetry on the back piece, and the sleeves to some extent.



I cut the pockets so there was a coloured flower inside.



Zip

I used a YKK medium plastic zip in 560 Navy ordered from Jaycotts. Emma advised bringing two lengths just in case, the 20" and 22". I ended up using the shorter one but when measuring it up, it was just a touch too short. I had it in my mind that I could fold the bottom cuffing up a bit more to make them end at the same level, but had forgotten this by the time it got to that point. This does mean there is a shortfall of about 1cm but I don't think it stands out too much.



When sewing zips in the past, I have found that pinning and basting didn't seem to hold them securely enough while sewing, and found that Wonder Tape seemed to do the trick well. It does add a bit of bulk although it is mean to dissolve in the wash. Emma recommended using a diagonal stitch to baste the zip more securely which did the trick.



Cuffing

This was my first time sewing with cuffing and it was easier than I thought it would be. As long as you have pinned it pretty evenly, stretching it as you sew wasn’t difficult. With it having such a high stretch, it is very forgiving in any case. When sewing the collar I realised I had to stretch it really tightly when coming to one end and I thought it would look odd but I certainly can't tell.



For the long stretch of cuffing along the bottom of the jacket, the advice was to start at one end, sew to the centre back and then repeat on the other side. For some reason I found it easier to sew it the other way round, starting from centre back to the front edge. I think it was because I could hold the end of the jacket and the cuffing together more precisely rather than relying on my pin at centre back to be where I was aiming for.



Pressing

In order to press the seam between the jacket and cuffing, it needed to be stretched so the woven part of the jacket would lie flat. In the absence of a person willing to risk their hands while I waved around an iron in close proximity, I tried pinning one end to the ironing board.



I could then pull the other end taut while I pressed it and this worked well. The photo below shows the cuffing pulled under tension.



I was able to fit the sleeves around a ham to stretch the cuffing.



Summary



What I love

  • This pattern is so versatile and I can see me making more in other fabrics such as silk, brocade or lace.

  • The fit was good straight out of the packet for me.

  • Worn with a dress or skirt, it can prevent the whole outfit looking a bit too cutesy.



What I would change

  • I would interface the pocket openings for a bit more stability as they are likely to be well used.

  • Ensure the zip ended at the bottom of the ribbing by either making the jacket a different length or adjusting the ribbing if I couldn't buy a zip the correct length.

  • I'd love to make another in a cropped length too.



What I discovered

  • I sound like a broken record on this but it just reinforces my love of workshops and how it enforces sewing time, where I can complete a garment in a matter of days rather than months, learning skills and tips in the wonderful company of other enthusiastic sewers.

  • I am much more adventurous with what I sew vs what I would buy. When wearing something I've made, even if I think the sewing or fit is off, I wear it with huge pride. I can't say I would have picked this jacket out in a shop, but having made it myself I cannot wait for occasions to wear it. I feel much more confident in displaying my own style with me made clothing, and love how it evolves with each new piece.




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I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.


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I'm Kay, and welcome to my blog where I share tales of my sewing journey, complete with mishaps, mistakes and solutions to help make your journey a smoother one.

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