Rigel Bomber January: Tips & Tutorials!

Hi, guys! I’m sure you’re all busy as bees, sewing up a storm! I’m really enjoying Rigel Bomber Jacket January so far- there are already so many cute jackets popping up on Flickr and Instagram! Can’t wait to see what else you guys make! Yay! So today I have collected a few of the helpful tutorials I’ve seen around as well as a few tips of my own that helped me get good results when sewing the bomber. Forgive me if this post is kinda scattered… it was hard to organize a lot of information in a clear and concise way!

Before I forget, if you can, please upload your photos to the Flickr group. If you don’t have an account, you can totally share your photos on Instagram using #rigelbomberjanuary. It’s just nice to be able to look at bigger pics, so that’s why we like Flickr! :)

Katy & Laney’s Rigel… how’s that for inspiration?!

OK, here are some tutorials that recently popped up online that might help you out!

Katie quilting her Rigel

Hopefully these are helpful to you! But let’s say that you, like me, are a little bit lazy and the thought of drafting new lining pieces is making you drag your feet a little. Don’t drag your feet… quick-line your bomber, dude!

How to Quick-Line the Rigel Bomber:

Cut your fronts and sleeves using the original pattern pieces. Cut your lining back, using the original pattern piece, but slide the pattern piece over from the fold to give yourself some ease to create a pleat. I cut mine 2″ from the fold for a total of 4″ of ease. Then, clip a notch right next to the pattern piece at the top and the bottom (so you know where to stitch your pleat!).

Measure where you want your pleat to end and mark it with chalk. At the bottom I marked a line 2″ up, and on the top, about 3.5″ down (your pleat just needs to be long enough that the facing can fit on top of it). Now, stitch from the notch to the chalk mark and press it to one side. Easy!

Assemble your lining just like your shell: stitch sleeve fronts to front, and sleeve backs to back, then stitch the side seams from hem to sleeve hem. Stitch your facing seam and press it open. Next, stitch a line along the outside of the facing (not the neck edge) from end to end with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance under along the stitched line.

Now, lay your facing on top of your lining with right sides up on BOTH pieces (not right sides together!). Baste together along the neck edge.

Edgstitch the facing down on top of the lining to keep it in place, leaving about 2″ unstitched right above the lining hem line. That’s it!

How to Bag Your Lining:

If the concept of bagging your lining is confusing or new to you, check out Jen’s amazing tutorial here. The idea is to sew the whole thing right sides together, and then make an opening in the lining to pull the jacket out. It might not make sense at first to do this, but it’s really pretty easy. To start, have your lining/facing unit sewed and the zipper and ribbing in your jacket, but don’t topstitch the hem ribbing.

  1. Pin and stitch the facing to the jacket (right sides together) along the neck edge from hem to hem. I used my zipper foot to stitch close to the zipper teeth on the jacket front. Understitch the seam allowance to the facing, leaving a few cms free at the very edge.
  2. Next, match the lining hem to the ribbing seam allowance and stitch it together. You’ll want to position and sew it the same way that you sewed your jacket to the ribbing (with it extending 2cm past the corner).
  3. Stitch the jacket front to the facing at the bottom of the little rectangle (next to the ribbing).
  4. Stitch the sleeve linings to the seam allowance of the cuffs.
  5. Open up one sleeve seam to turn the jacket right side out, and close it up when you’re done! You’ll also need to slip stitch the 2″ or so where you didn’t edgestitch the facing to the lining. Now you can topstitch the little bit where the facing meets the ribbing, too, or you can slip stitch it closed. Whatevs!

From the Flickr group, here’s Rose’s Liberty bomber! Whoa!

Applying the Neck Ribbing:

I’ve noticed in a few of the Rigels I’ve seen online that the ribbing sometimes stands away from the wearer’s neck. This could be because the amount of stretch varies in different fabrics, but one thing that helped me get good results was to apply the ribbing without stretching it (at a 1:1 ratio to the fashion fabric) on the jacket fronts, and then to only stretch it on the back neckline. That should help it to hug your neck (as would shortening it).

Sewing the Zipper:

OK, I know some people aren’t going to like this advice, but in a garment like this where you want your zipper to be really even, it can really help to hand baste your zipper. Pins shift, scotch tape isn’t always strong enough to do the trick, and the whole zipper can get scooched down and out of place no matter how careful you are! I just remind myself that, yeah, hand basting is a little slow, but seam ripping is way, WAY slower. :) I baste one side in place, pin the other to check that both sides are properly aligned, and then baste the second side. Easy! Also, interfacing the zipper edge is probably a good idea unless your fabric is super stable. :)

Alright, hope this was helpful and not too confusing! How are your bombers going? Any helpful tips or tricks?

Ginger Made: Gerard #2, or, I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum, You Know?

Hi, guys! Hope all is well with you, and that if you’re here in the northeast, you’re not too tired from digging yourselves out of the snow! I must confess to secretly being glad about the snowfall… what better excuse to wear my new faux fur coat?!

Friends, I’ve wanted a coat like this for many years (to be exact, since I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums way back in 2001, when I was but a wee college freshman. I fell in love with the movie, the soundtrack, and Margot’s coat). I’m so excited to finally make one! I know that sewing with faux fur can be intimidating to many, but at the workshop where I began working this past summer, we sew with it all the time, so I’ve gotten in some good practice and I want you all to know that it’s not hard at all! It takes some time, to be sure, but it’s not difficult and it’s so rewarding! DO NOT FEAR, DUDES! Moody Margot Tenenbaum coats for everyone!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

So, I decided that my first Mood Sewing Network* project of 2015 would be The Coat! I spent ages at Mood, torn between different fabrics, and had a really hard time making a decision! But this golden fabric looked really expensive and lush, plus it’s imported from France, ooh la la! As a bonus, I look like a giant golden retriever, and who doesn’t want that? Decision made!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I considered a few different patterns, but in the end, opted to use the République Du Chiffon Gerard pattern again, the same one I used for my bouclé coat. Doesn’t it look different in fur??? I love how much fabric choice can alter a pattern’s look! Plus, this is a pretty simple design, which is key when you’re working with faux fur. Each seam takes time to prep and finish, so you don’t want to add extra work for yourself, plus the fur itself will obscure the lines, so there’s no point in making something with lots of design lines. Another thing to think about is that since fur is puffy, things look bigger in it, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a shape. You can see how much bulkier this coat looks than the bouclé version!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Since I didn’t want any unnecessary seams, I cut the coat back and the lower facing on the fold (originally they both had a seam at the center back). I also eliminated the patch pockets and instead made side-seam pockets for a smoother silhouette. Now, this is controversial, but I didn’t use any interfacing at all! I’d initially planned to baste in silk organza, but I decided I wanted a very soft look, so I skipped it. But I did tape the neckline, lapels, and any other area I thought might stretch, applying twill tape that I’d ironed to shrink with a catch stitch. Faux fur can get really heavy, so I wanted to make sure things wouldn’t sag and stretch out of shape over time. Likewise, I taped the roll line like I did last time. I meant to include a back stay again, buuuuuuut… I forgot. Oops! Also, I realized this time around that I made a slight mistake on my last Gerard by adding a seam allowance to the upper edge of the sleeve interfacing… this made my sleeves 1cm shorter than they should have been. The length is perfect with the 1cm added back in!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

The most important thing of all when you’re dealing with faux fur is to check and double-check that your nap is going the right direction! It would be super uggo if one of your pieces is cut the wrong direction! It can help to make an arrow on all your pattern pieces just to make sure you’re positioning everything the right way. I had to re-cut the upper collar because I got confused and cut it the wrong way… I just barely had enough fabric to do this, phew! I sewed everything together with a longer straight stitch (around 3mm). After sewing the seams, I use a comb (just a regular plastic comb for hair!) to pull the fur out of the seam on both right and wrong sides, then I trim all the fur out of the seam allowance. I couldn’t press this fabric, so I just finger pressed the seams open and catch stitched them down. Slow, but it does the trick! I’m going to post some detailed tips on how to work with faux fur very soon, so keep an eye out for that!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

If you sew a faux fur coat and decide to bag the lining, learn from my mistake and do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to turn it back out through a hole in the sleeve lining. Holy cow, that was a huge mistake! It’s not that the opening isn’t big enough, but rather that the coat is too bulky to pull through the sleeve itself. Turning it through an opening in the center back seam is a much better idea. :)

I splurged on kasha lining from A Fashionable Stitch for the coat, and it’s really, really nice! Kasha is a flannel-backed satin, much thicker and warmer than usual lining fabrics. For additional warmth, I interlined the coat with lambswool from Steinlauf & Stoller here in the city. The coat is so warm and snuggly… I love it! I used 2 yards of faux fur, 1.5 yards of lining, and 1 yard of lambswool (we had a miscommunication at the store,  but I was able to make it work by piecing one sleeve together… phew!).

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I’m really pleased with my final coat! I’ve left off a closure for the time being as I’m still deciding what I want to do, but I’m leaning towards a large hook and eye so I can wear it open or closed without seeing any kind of closure (I’m thinking a snap might look kind of ugly when the coat is open). The whole thing is a bit over the top, but hey, it’s really fun to wear! Man Friend, on the other hand, isn’t so sure about this one. He was excited by the fabric (“you’ll look like a lemur!”), but when I tried on the finished product, he thought I looked like “an ewok”. Honestly, I thought he would go for a Joe Namath comparison, so an ewok is pretty flattering by comparison. :) I don’t care… I feel like a sassy starlet in this! No pictures, please! ;)

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

What do you think? Tempted to give faux fur a go??? It’s not hard, I promise! Now, tell me, what are you working on??? Anything fun? And, do you think golden retriever fur counts for Jungle January? ;)

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

Congratulations, Vicki Kate!!

Hi, guys! I have a special post for you today! I’m taking part in a virtual baby shower for the lovely Vicki Kate, and am thrilled to do so! Annabelle Bumps organized it, and I thought it was the best idea! Vicki Kate is so sweet and always has a kind word at the ready… she’s really been a great friend to me over the last few years. So I’m really excited to help welcome her new baby into the world, whenever s/he decides to arrive! If you fancy taking a peek at the other gifts, hop on over to see the other participants’ posts!

I wanted to make something really special that could work for either a baby boy or a girl, so I had the hardest time deciding what to make! But the moment I spied the Hazel Hedgehog II quilt pattern, I knew I wanted to give it a go! HEDGEHOG!! It’s so cute I was motivated to QUILT, people! I found Elizabeth Hartman‘s blog a while back when Amy sent me the link to this adorable whale pattern, and even though the lengthy instructions for that pattern scared me away, I’ve still kept an eye on her blog. This giant, single-block quilt felt achievable, even for a newbie. There’s another version of this hedgehog shape that makes a more traditional quilt with smaller blocks, if you’re not lacking in the skills/patience department like me! It’s really cute, too. OK, here it is… don’t judge me too harshly for my shoddy work! :)

    Hazel Hedgehog II | Ginger Makes

I went to City Quilter to pick out fabrics and came away with an assortment of American Made Brand cotton solids (I’m pretty sure this is light aqua, dark aqua, dark sky, light grey, and navy). I thought the colors would be pretty for either a boy or a girl, but I wasn’t quite sure what they would look like sewn up. It’s a little tricky to visualize what a quilt will look like… takes practice, I guess! In the end I like the colors together… phew!

Hazel Hedgehog II quilt | Ginger Makes

I chose this fabric, an Art Gallery Fabrics print, for the backing. It’s so easy to find coordinating prints in a quilting shop… so many fun bolts to choose from!

So, quilting. It’s so different from garment sewing! I spent 2.5 hours cutting out the blocks and 3.5 hours piecing the top, with the latter being much more fun than the former. I think I made some mistakes in my measuring and cutting because I had to trim some pieces down to get things to line up correctly. Oops! It took me forever and a day to mark the lines to quilt on… I couldn’t seem to get them evenly spaced or straight! In the end I have (semi-) horizontal lines about 2″ apart. I really struggled with the quilting part, though. My walking foot didn’t really seem to be up to snuff, and I struggled to get even stitching (the top layer kept getting dragged across the quilt, despite using tons of pins and sewing verrrrrry slowly). I spent hours seam ripping and re-doing the quilted lines, but in the end, they’re still pretty wonky. Also, the grey thread I picked to quilt with doesn’t seem right now that I look at the finished thing. OK, just don’t look too closely, Vicki!!

Hazel Hedgehog II quilt | Ginger Makes

Poor wonky hedgehog!!!

I used a double-fold binding (cut from my fabric) that I stitched on by machine, wrapped around to the back, and slip stitched in place by hand. I used this tutorial to figure out how to miter the corners… it’s confusing to think about, but easy enough to do once you sort it out. I used a cotton batting from Steinlauf & Stoller that has a really pleasing feel… the quilt is really squeezable!

I’d never really considered quilting before, mainly because I don’t have the patience or precision, but also because I have a huge stack of handmade quilts both made for me by my mom and inherited from my great-grandma and my husband’s grandma. I had lots of fun making this, although, honestly, I don’t think I would undertake another quilt before figuring out why I had such a hard time machine quilting. Honestly, it would have taken me less time to quilt it by hand! I spent so much time fiddling with the tension and seam ripping quilted rows with less than stellar results. Maybe, just maybe, if I figure that out, I’ll work up the nerve to make that whale quilt. :)

Hazel Hedgehog II quilt | Ginger Makes

Vicki, I hope you like this and that your wee one does, too! Please forgive the messiness! And keep an eye on your mailbox… it’s winging its way to you! All the best to you and your family! Much love, and congratulations!!!

Wise Words

Hi, guys! I know this is a bit off-topic (OK, WAY off-topic), but I want to share this poem with you! I’m not a big reader of poetry (and I’m worse at understanding it), but I was introduced to this one today (by a nun!) and thought it was too lovely to keep to myself.

The Truth

I will believe the truth about myself
no matter how beautiful it is:

I believe in my power
to transform indifference into love.
I believe I have an amazing gift
to keep hope alive in the face of despair.
I believe I have the remarkable skill
of deleting bitterness from my life.
I believe in my budding potential
to live with a nonviolent heart.
I believe in my passion to speak the truth
even when it isn’t popular.
I believe I have the strength of will
to be peace in a world of violence.
I believe in my miraculous capacity
for unconditional love.

I will believe the truth about myself
no matter how beautiful it is.

-Macrina Wiederkehr


Rigel Bomber January: Cut It Out!

Hey, dudes! Are you excited to cut out your Rigel? Yay! OK, I’m not going to post every step of the way or anything, but I wanted to share a few tips I’ve collected over the years to help make this process easier. These are really basic, so are probably obvious to a lot of people, but I thought they might be helpful for newer stitchers. :)

First things first, if you don’t know what size to cut (or even if you think you do!), I totally recommend measuring your pattern pieces. I picked up this tip on another blog about a year ago (wish I could remember which one!) and it’s really helped me. Some pattern companies give you lots of finished measurements, but if not, it’s worth it to do a quick check of things like sleeve length to make sure you’ll be happy with the size you’ve chosen. Even if you plan to make a muslin, you’re saving yourself future work by being able to make some basic adjustments before you even cut things out! Now, what I usually do is compare the finished measurements to a similar garment in my closet (in this case, a jacket with a relaxed fit) to make sure they’re in the right ballpark. Just don’t forget to subtract seam allowances from your measurements and to account for things like cuffs and ribbing.

Now, with the Rigel, I’m not going to make a muslin. I don’t want to use ribbing in my muslin, and I probably won’t get very good information about the final fit without the ribbing, so I’m going to skip that step. A jacket with a raglan sleeve is easy to take in, and since we’re finishing the neckline with ribbing, it won’t be a big deal if you need to add a small dart at the back neckline or anything like that. So I’ll just baste together the side/sleeve seam and make sure I’m happy before stitching it.

I’ve heard from a few taller bloggers that the Rigel’s sleeves run short. Since I like my sleeves on the long side, I decided to add 2″ to them. If that ends up being too much, I’ll just shorten the cuff for a super easy fix.

Another thing- I will be basting in my ribbing on the neckline, too. Since different kinds of ribbing can have really different levels of stretch and recovery, it’s not a bad idea to make sure that you like the way yours looks before committing to it. If it needs to be stretched tighter, it will be easy to remove the basting and shorten the ribbing before reapplying it.

If you need to shorten your ribbing, all you need to do is shift the pattern piece over by HALF of the total amount (since you’re cutting on the fold), and cut off the excess. So if you want it 2″ shorter, you just move the pattern piece over by 1″. Easy!

Hopefully this will save you some time and effort! Anyone else have any favorite tips or tricks that they’d like to share?

Rigel Bomber January: Inspiration!

Y’all ready for this? ‘Cause the holidays are over, January’s here, and it’s time to sew some Rigel bomber jackets! I thought it would be fun to kick off our “sew-together” with an inspiration post! Mel posted some fabulous RTW inspiration already- have you seen her post? I wanted to show you guys some fun versions of the pattern that have already been sewn up… I’m filled with serious bomber envy just looking at these! [Note: obviously none of these photos are my own, and they’re all used with the permission of the owners. Also, when you click on each photo, you’ll be taken to the original blog post about the bomber!]

Florals are a popular choice! Check out Hanne‘s beautiful red floral Rigel:

And here’s Sally‘s fun floral:

Here’s Amanda‘s pretty floral:

And Elizabeth‘s:

Here’s Debbie‘s:

Here’s Julie‘s:

Check out Novita‘s- she made a removable fleece lining for extra warmth! It buttons in… clever!

Florals not your style? How about tiny pineapples?! Look at this fun jacket, made by Elizabeth!

Or polka dots? Check out Lucinda‘s!

I kinda can’t deal with how much I love Clare‘s:

What about a cozy version in sweatshirt fleece, like Sophie-Lee‘s? I’ll take one, please!

Esther used a knit and some stretch lace- how pretty is this?!

Look at Kim‘s faux suede! Awesome!

While we’re already visiting Kim, check out her sparkly metallic version:

What about a classic black version, like Emmie‘s?

Here’s another one from Julie:

Look at this version, from The Pretty Pickle!

Christy made a sporty version out of sparkly ponte. Fun!

This version from The New Craft Society, in quilted Liberty lawn, is fantastic!

Last but not least, I’m OBSESSED with this gorgeous Rigel from Katy & Laney in a vibrant Vlisco print:

Whaddaya think? Inspired yet??? I sure hope so!

OK, just as a reminder, we’ll be sewing together throughout the month of January. You can add your photos to our Flickr group, and our hashtag for Instagram or Twitter is #rigelbomberjanuary. You can grab a copy of the pattern here if you haven’t already. Alright… now… ready, set, Rigel!

Top 5 of 2014: Hits + Misses!

Hi, guys! A belated Merry Christmas to you, if you celebrate, and an early Happy New Year! Hope the holiday season is finding you well and with plenty of time to hang out with loved ones and just relax!

One thing I’ve loved about the end of the year the past two years has been participating in Gillian‘s Top 5 posts. It’s really fun to stop and reflect on the previous year, and to move forward into the new year with a better idea of what you love to make and wear. So I’m excited to do it again this year!

OK, let’s start off with the misses. They’re the most fun, right?

5.) Deer & Doe Plantain T-Shirt

I got tricked by the fun fuchsia animal print into buying a fabric in a color that I hate hate HATE wearing. There’s something about pale grey that makes me look and feel gross (which is weird, because I love medium and dark greys). Also, this shape was a new one for me, and I fell into the old trap of sewing something that I would never buy in a store. I wore this a few times, but ended up giving it away. I can’t even stand looking at these photos! I hate black pants (they’ve also been given away) and my skin looks LAVENDER in these pics. Yuck! Well, at least it was fun to sew!

4.) Nettie Bodysuit #2

I couldn’t think of a single way to wear this- it doesn’t go with anything in my closet and it looks especially idiotic with my usual low-cut jeans. I never sewed anything to pair it with, which probably tells you how much I liked it. Dumb fabric/pattern pairing!

3.) Colette Geometric Laurel-ish

Here’s another garment I didn’t wear even once. There’s just something about it that I don’t like, which is a shame, because I loved the fabric. It wrinkled when you just looked at it, and was kinda messy as a result. Plus, looking back at these pics, I just don’t think I got the fit right. I’d love to have a go-to shift dress in my arsenal, but I haven’t achieved that yet. Blerg!

2.) Honey Cardigan

Why did I spend hours and hours and hours and hours knitting a cardigan when I don’t even like wearing them? Why did my buttonholes only fit buttons better suited for a clown? Why do bad sweaters happen to (basically) good people? WHY?

1.) Simplicity 1690 Crop Top + Gathered Skirt

OK. IN MY DEFENSE, everyone on Pinterest wearing a crop top + midi skirt combo looks super cute! But my proportions are off and this is Frump City, Population Me. Also, HOLY COW, my FAR too anatomically-correct pattern placement!!! Try and tear your eyes away from the, uh, headlights. TRY. This whole outfit is an atrocity.

Let’s turn to happier topics, shall we? Here are my top 5 hits of 2014! [Sidenote: I wanted to cheat and choose extras, but, this post is already long enough, so know that I had some runners-up that I spared you from. I’m looking at you, Gerard!]

5.) Style Arc Romy Anorak!

This project was a real learning experience for me, which I loved. I had never really been into more detailed projects, but after this, I could totally get the appeal of taking on something difficult. It’s a real confidence builder to work through something without good instructions and to find your own way of doing things when you want to change up a pattern. Best of all, I really like the end results! I wore this tons and tons this year, and loved that it replaced an ugly “technical” jacket that I never felt good in.

4.) Ebony + Nanette Scout Tee

I made this at the tail-end of warm weather (like, late October), so I didn’t get to wear it much this year, but man, oh, man, do I love it! I love the exaggerated shape, the color combo, and the bold print. It’s just so fun! Plus, it felt like a collaboration between myself and several cool, fun bloggers, none of which I’ve ever met in real life, and I love that it’s a testament to the strength and warmth of the weird and amazing online sewing community. I’m so excited to wear this come spring!

3.) Alder Shirtdress, v.2

This was my jam for summer 2014! I looooooved the Alder Shirtdress pattern, so much, in fact, that I made three versions! This one is my favorite- I finally worked up the nerve to cut into a treasured piece of Vlisco wax print, and I’m so happy I did! The large-scale print pairs happily with the loose silhouette and it’s just so fun to wear. This was my summer uniform and I felt so happy and at ease in it.

2.) Isabel Undercover Sweatshirt

I made a concerted effort to sew more wardrobe basics this year, and I’m really happy that I did. I’m a really, really casual dresser 90% of the time, but you would never know that from the way I used to sew! The unfortunate side effect of not shopping, but also not sewing basics, was that my everyday wardrobe was in terrible condition at the beginning of this year. You could find me most days in some sort of ugly, worn, free, unisex t-shirt, paired with an ugly, worn, free, unisex hoodie. It’s hard to feel confident dressed like that! Enter the Papercut Patterns Undercover Hood, the other pattern I made three versions of this year. It’s wearable, looks really different made up in different fabrics, and has made dressing easy and fun during the week. This wool jersey version, based on an Isabel Marant sweater I saw a picture of and loved, is my favorite by a mile.

1.) M6553, v.2

It should be hard to choose a favorite garment for the year, but this was a no-brainer. Every time I look in my closet, it just jumps out at me… I love it! If I could only use a single piece of clothing to tell people who I am, it would probably be this dress. It’s bright, fun, and relaxed, things that I hope describe me (on good days). I love love love this fabric (another peer pressure collaboration THANKS CHARLOTTE) and I’m so glad I used it on a favorite pattern! It was another occasion when I finally had the courage to cut into a beloved stash fabric, and I was so pleased that I did when the dress was done. Yay!

Alright, guys, I’m really excited to hear about your hits and misses this year. Tell me! What were your biggest triumphs? Worst disappointments? Anyone else have a pattern placement problem that made a garment a bit too anatomically-correct? Do share!


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