Friday 6 October 2023

Free Pattern Friday: Avelia Bomber Jacket for Adults

Welcome to my monthly 'Free Pattern Friday' feature, where I road test a free sewing pattern or tutorial: sometimes a children's one, sometimes an adult's one. I publish these posts every first Friday of the month, timed to provide inspiration for those who plan to get their sew on over the weekend. I firmly believe that, if you pick your projects carefully, sewing doesn't have to be a crazy-expensive way to clothe yourself and your family. Thanks to all the amazing pattern designers who have offered up their hard work for us to enjoy for free.

Ok, so this probably isn't a very useful post because I didn't actually road test this free sewing pattern very thoroughly. The pattern is for a lined bomber jacket, but I wanted to use pre-quilted fabric, so I had to basically chuck the instructions out the window and make the construction up as I went along. What might be useful for you to know, however, is that the Avelia Bomber jacket pattern is one of 300+ free sewing patterns available via the Mood Fabrics website when you sign up to their newsletter. The Mood Sewsciety is the section of the Mood Fabrics website dedicated to supporting sewers with how to actually their fabrics and develop their skills. That's where you'll find all the patterns and the instructions that come in the form of supporting blog posts. Thanks to Mood for sharing all these patterns for free, the variety of the range is really impressive. 

(image source: Mood Fabrics)

Pattern type:

I promised Mr SoZo a new jacket for his birthday back in January (this was finished in February). Until that point his only outerwear garments were one puffy winter jacket and one incredibly flimpsy unlined jacket (I can hardly bring myself to describe that thing as a jacket, it's so thin!) and nothing inbetween. So I brought him to my work at Fabric Godmother at the end of an open day I was helping out at, and together we selected some cool reversible pre-quilted fabric.

He loves bomber style jackets, largely thanks to Karamo, but a thorough trawl of the internets didn't bring up as many options as you might expect. There's one excellent-looking one by a French (maybe Belgian actually) pattern company but they don't sell PDF versions. The shipping and taxes on goods coming from France these days is eye-watering ('thanks' to Brexit), so I decided to continue my search. 

When I chanced upon the Avelia Bomber jacket pattern, I thought it might give me some bones to work with. Mr SoZo is quite narrow in the shoulders, so a pattern drafted for a more feminine frame wouldn't require a huge amount of reworking, were my thoughts. The original pattern is for a fully lined, zip-up jacket with faux zip pocket, designed in particular to show case the futuristic, oil-effect, reflective fabric pictured above. 

Sizing info:

Here's where things get a bit tricky. The pattern is graded from a US 2 - 30, with sizes 7 and 9 thrown in for good measure. Body measurements are included in the blog post, however finished garment measurements are not. Word on the street, and by 'street' I mean this blog post, is that Mood's patterns' sizing and fit are all over the place. My assumption is that they have many different pattern makers creating patterns for them, seeing as they have so many on offer, and there isn't any consistency across the range. My recommendation would be to measure the pattern pieces themselves and compare with similar style pattern or garment you own before selecting a size. I ended up combining sizes and adding a significant amount of length to the body and some to the sleeves. 

Fabric info:

As I say, this pattern was created to promote this specific fabric, so the only fabric referred to in the list of materials required is that particular one. So you're kind of on your own with fabric choice, but my thoughts are a mid-weight woven with little-to-no-stretch, or even a hefty knit such as a very dense sweatshirting or scuba might work. It also suggests a polyester lining and a thick type of rib knit trim, with links to where you can buy it on their site. As I say, I was using a pre-quilted fabric so I didn't need lining, but I did have to buy some heavy jacket ribbing and found some fairly cheap on eBay. 

Because I lengthened the body, I half-made the garment before measuring for the length of zip I required. Annoyingly, the length I'd created was in between two lengths available on Zipper Station. I wasn't about to start trying to shorten a brass tooth zip, so I went for the longer one and tried to ease it in as best I could.   

I also had to buy a million metres of orange bias binding to finish all the seams. But I only have myself to blame for that. 


I can say this because the whole process was several seasons ago and I now have some distance, but this was NOT an enjoyable sewing project. I love sewing for Mr SoZo, but this project was not fun. Obviously, choosing the pre-quilted fabric created a big headache because I had to created my own construction method. But also I disliked the drafting on this pattern. I didn't like the shapes and proportions for any body. Plus the zip being a bit long threw things off a bit, and I don't like how the neckline looks where the zip joins with the collar ribbing. Thankfully, after months of wear (and there HAS been months of wear), the neckline has softened a bit and doesn't look as stiff and awkward as it does in these pics that were taken when it was first made. 

I had to hand stitch the bias binding to cover the seams which took FOREVER. I'm still spotting places where the orange stitching is visible on the outside against the green where I made my stitches too deep. AGH!

Would I make it again?:

Would I make Mr SoZo a bomber jacket again? Yes. Would I use this pattern to do so? No. It was a bold move to use a fabric that was not prescribed for the pattern - a risk that partially paid off. However, I'd like to make another with a regular lining with a different pattern as the base. 

What worked out really well, however, were these tablet cases I made with some of the leftovers for my children! They've prevented a lot of scratches I reckon...

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