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Projects & Patterns

Pattern Roundup: Bomber Jackets

Choose from six patterns with multiple collar, pocket, and sleeve variations.

Apr 27, 2018
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Pattern makers offer a variety of designs for the classic bomber jacket, and they include lots of options for making a chosen design your own.

Bomber jackets have been around since the early 1900s, when they were created to keep pilots warm in open-air cockpits. At cruising altitude, the cockpit could reach as low as minus 58°F. The original flight jackets, as they were called, were typically made of tough horse-skin leather with a shearling lining for maximum durability and warmth. As the jacket evolved, its signature look gained the ribbed knit cuffs and waistband.

The bomber jacket became fashionable when it was picked up by various subcultures, such as punk, grunge, and British skinheads. Soon, bomber jackets were seen across the board in different styles. Despite the wide range of subcultures that adopted the bomber jacket, the original design has been remarkably unchanged.

Bomber jackets have several hallmarks: waist length; broad shoulders; wide sleeves; two welt or in-seam front pockets; ribbed knit cuffs and waistband; and a ribbed knit or fold-down collar. They can be closed with a zipper or snaps. The materials used to make bomber jackets vary widely. More traditional and practical versions are made of leather, while dressier versions are made of brocade or jacquard.

The Threads team tested a McCall’s bomber-style jacket pattern. Read more about that pattern in Pattern Review, Threads #196, April/May 2018.

Click “Launch Gallery” below to view five more bomber jacket patterns.



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  1. User avater Jen_NYC April 27th

    The jacket shown has raglan sleeves, which suggests that it is a varsity jacket rather than a "bomber" jacket. A classic "bomber" would tend to have a collar and set-in sleeves. The distinctions seem to be lost on fashion bloggers these days.

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