Rigel Jacket what’s-that-it’s-not-still-January?

I’m usually not one to jump on trends (not because I’m stubborn, more because I’m just always late for everything), but the bomber jacket trend got me excited enough to actually make an effort to catch it. For me, that meant ordering the Papercut Rigel Bomber Jacket pattern well in time for fall sewing, securing fabric for not just one but two bombers, and then letting it all sit for months. So I was excited to see the announcement of Rigel Jacket January – with all the Christmas crafting done, I’d totally have time to make a bomber, or maybe two! Oh, when will I learn.

Work ate me alive last month, and I managed to barely finish one jacket on January 30th, photograph it on the 31st, and then absolutely not have time to post it until now, after the Rigel wrapups were all done. Ah well. Here it is all the same.

ponte rigel

Aaaand… I’m not so sure about it. I was really excited about the idea of a ponte bomber (knits for all the things!), and more excited about a mustard ponte bomber with black and white accents. I found this cool patterned ponte for the ribbing sections (I got it from Girl Charlee but it was at fabric.com also), and decided to use it for the welt pockets too. I love the combination in theory, but in practice… does it look cool and trendy, or like something a senior citizen would wear to mall walk? There is a bit of the 70s track suit about it. Is that good or bad? I’ve lost all perspective.

ponte rigel?

Construction-wise, well, I always think ponte will be more well behaved than it is. I suffer under the delusion that bulky knits will be as easy to work with as they are comfy to wear, but sadly it is not so. Mostly it’s just that the front is poufier than I’d like, because ponte doesn’t press at all. The zipper went in fairly well, actually, but it’s still a little wibbly, and because I interfaced the facing but not the front, they fed slightly unevenly and one of the corners at the top of the zipper is kinda wonky. Also, I shortened the neck facing a little because I was using ponte and not stretchy ribbing, but I should have shortened it more because it flops over in the back. And I lengthened the hem band a little for the same reason, but I could’ve used a little more because I really had to stretch it a lot when I was attaching it and my gathering is kind of uneven and strained looking near the front. (And I had a heck of a time with the corners of the ribbing in the front – corners are evil, I’ve decided.)

I was conflicted about what size to make. On the size chart I’m just under a S in the bust but a M in waist/hip, but I’d heard it ran big and looking at the pattern pieces I noticed there is no waist shaping at all, it’s just straight down the side to the hip, so I figured I’d be safe making a straight S. I actually think I could have gone with an XS in the shoulders/neckline, at least in this knit. Practically every review mentioned that the sleeves were short, but I didn’t find that to be true at all – in fact they seem kind of on the long side for me, and I don’t think I have super stubby arms. Again, that could be just because of the knit, or the fact that the shoulders seem to be a bit too big.

ponte rigel back

There’s also a lot of talk out there of the need for a lining. I knew I didn’t want to line a casual knit jacket, so I resolved to make the pocket insides as neat as possible. I cut the interfacing for the welt hole just slightly bigger than the hole would be to avoid a big visible rectangle of white on the inside. I used a lightweight rayon jersey left over from this top for the pocket bags, because the color was almost identical. This was a good idea in theory, but the jersey was a bit of a challenge to work with as a pocketing. I serged stay tape along the top of the pocket bag pieces so they wouldn’t stretch too much when I sewed them to the welt, but they still got out of alignment a little (because the stay tape wasn’t wide enough to actually get caught in the seam when I sewed the pockets to the jacket along the welt lines).

rigel pocket construction

The welt pockets look good from the outside, but on the inside I wasn’t able to serge the pocket bags neatly because of the weird corners, and the welt insides don’t stay put because ponte doesn’t press, so, yeah, I see why everyone wants to line the jacket. I will say that I have several RTW unlined jackets, and I don’t mind seeing the pocket bags on the inside at all, but on closer inspection they’re mostly in-seam pockets, not messy welts. I do think that in a well-behaved woven, the visible pockets on the inside wouldn’t bother me. All the inside seams and edge of the facing are just serged, which is a plenty neat finish for me on a casual jacket.

ponte rigel inside

My last issue with this jacket is this: what on earth do I wear this with? I’m realizing lately that my love for color and pattern has left me with a lot of things that don’t go together. I love the idea of a funky print jacket, but the fact of the matter is, my plain solid jackets get a lot more wear. Adding to the what-do-I-wear-with-it conundrum is the super low neckline of the jacket. I actually really like the v-neck as a design feature, but it does show the top I’m wearing underneath, and with the patterned neck binding, I can’t really pair it with a print top… I fear I’ve made a totally unwearable jacket.

While all this is disappointing, it has strangely not deterred me from bomber jacket fever. I still do want to make another Rigel, this time in a woven. I have a white, black and gray pixelated print poly faille earmarked for, yes, another print jacket, but hopefully a slightly more neutral one. Maybe we can do a Rigel Jacket June? Because it’ll probably be that long before I get around to it.

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9 comments
  1. I fall for mustard yellow every time! I have the same issue as you with bright or patterned clothes, leaving it really hard to wear things together! That jacket would go great paired with a plain black shirt though. It doesn’t have to be an every day jacket, it can be a fun *pop* jacket!

  2. LinB said:

    It’s cute, not crazy! Love the contrast ribbings. Mustard can be a neutral; b/w certainly are neutrals. Wear it with whatever you wish.

    I was less-than-enthused about polyester doubleknit when it was first introduced in the 1960s; fell deeply in loathe with it in the 1970s; refuse to buy and sew with “ponte” in the 2010s, out of a vivid sense-memory of how awful this fabric can be. But that’s just me.

    This will be a very warm jacket, and it will retain sweat and odor for the rest of eternity — so use this sweet jacket as an occasional wear, not as your go-to coat, advises this old woman.

  3. I really like this (and I definitely don’t know any senior citizens who wear anything like this… although I wish I did!)! I also feel like you don’t have to be too choosy about what you wear this with… it looks great the way you’ve styled it here! It’s a casual jacket, so it feels like you don’t need it to match your shirt.

    Re: the puffiness of the ponte, I wonder if topstitching along the zipper might help? I’ve done that before when I’ve sewed with knits that wouldn’t press just to keep things flatter.

    • aleah said:

      I considered topstitching, but I was kind of over the project and I didn’t want to bother since it’s often annoying. But now that I’ve been reassured the jacket isn’t totally unwearable, maybe I’ll go back and give it some more time!

  4. misscrayolacreepy said:

    That mustard color is to die for! I think this would look perfect over an all black outfit. I’d wear it with a black dress!

  5. Caroline said:

    I love the colour combination and the geometric B&W ribbing is fantastic!

  6. Ohhh I like it. I’m not really seeing the puffiness, it looks good from here! I still haven’t gotten around to making the plain t-shirts I claimed I would whip up on some trip to the fabric store, but if I did, one in the style of the t-shirt you’re wearing would be lovely – is it RTW? Still the jeans go with it perfectly, and really I think the mustard is plain enough that you could wear anything in a complementary color with it without hesitation. Looking forward to seeing the next one!

  7. lisa g said:

    I think the mustard/graphic ribbing combo is so very cool! I totally get that your outfit options are limited though. As much as I love the look of the Rigel, the V-neck has held me back because it kind of annoys me that clothing necklines would be visible when it’s zipped up. Hope you find a few outfits to pair this with though, it’d be a shame for it to go unworn!

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