No 2 Past the Post: Minoru Jacket

This is my biggest project since I started sewing my own clothes:  The Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic Patterns.

I love this jacket!  I didn’t add piping as I’d planned because *looks rather sheepish* I forgot (just in case any of you were wondering where it was).

This is a substantial jacket as I made it from cotton canvas that I proofed with NikWax.  It has some heft to it, but isn’t too heavy to wear.  It’s lighter than a waxed jacket but heavier than my normal winter jacket (a ski coat).

Like others, its garnered compliments from complete strangers, which is rather flattering!  Checking the fit during the muslin stage means that I can wear it whilst driving the car and its also passed the dog walk with a toddler test.  An unexpected bonus is that pre-treating the canvas means that once mud has dried, it just brushes off.  I haven’t tested it in the rain yet – it was full on waterproofs downpours early part of last week and whilst I think this would be fine in a shower I didn’t feel up to testing in that sort of weather!

Lining Detail

The sleeves are lined with regular lining fabric so that long sleeves are a breeze when I’m wearing it.  The body is lined in cotton flannel which is sooo soft.  The side seam pockets and hood are also lined with flannel too and are lovely and cosy.  Boy likes to hide his hands in the hood and stroke the fabric if I’m carrying him.

I had a bit of a headache with the zips.  I was originally going to have plain black ones but I couldn’t find two that matched in the same gauge and that started to bug me.  Then I was in John Lewis for something and just had to pop in the haberdashery department (well, it would be rude not to) and saw reflective zips!  So I now have reflective zips on my collar and the front.  Probably quite a good idea considering how dark this fabric is and I live in a village with no streetlights…

Construction wise the most challenging bit was stitching in the ditch along the body and neck seam.  It doesn’t line up on the inside very well.  There was a lot of bulk on one side and only two layers of fabric on the other.  Thankfully it isn’t too obvious unless you’re inspecting it closely.  You want to inspect closely?!  Oh…

Can you see the wonky stitching?

When I make my summer version I will make a couple of changes in the construction though.  If I include a hood I’ll finish the seam allowances when I attach the collar to the lining and bodice before attaching the two together.  You can see the unfinished edges when you peek inside the hood pocket.  Or I may fold them into the body of the jacket instead, but that may feel a bit odd around the shoulders.  I’ll also be sure to finish every seam before topstitching for my own satisfaction more than anything else!

I will also buy three reels of thread.  I bought two for this version and only used a regular stitch for the topstitching and there was literally just a foot left on the spool at the end and the bobbin had just run out.

I’m really pleased with the fit although I need to reduce some of the ease in the waist as I’ve lost weight since fitting this and its now got too much ease there – I’ll have to futz with the elastic channel to cinch it in a bit, but it’s a good reason to have to futz really!

Adjustments made for this version:
FBA
Shortened the torso
Shortened the sleeves
Changed the hood construction to include a lining

Adjustments for future versions:
Reduce flare from waist
Reduce ease at waist
Alter construction regarding collar
Seam finish all seams before topstitching
Omit internal pockets
Add welt pockets instead of in-seam ones?

There’s a lot of Layers in them there Shoulder Seams!

As the Minoru sew along is proceeding at quite a sedate pace I made a start on my wearable muslin of the Colette Jasmine pattern.  And I have to say I’m pleased as punch so far!

Colette Jasmine Neck Line

First up, I had a bit of a crisis when I sewed the side seams.  Basically I couldn’t see how it would ever fit, but sew them with the full 5/8″ allowance I did and (drum roll here) it fits!  A size 14 Colette pattern actually fits me (after a FBA to accommodate the girls)!  You have no idea (well, probably a bit from the over use of exclamation marks…) how happy this makes me.

So far, I’ve attached the collar (turning that the right way out is a right royal pain in the  butt) and the facing.  The inside is an unbelievable mess as I haven’t finished any of the seams.  I did overlock the edge of the facing though?!  No idea why when I haven’t finished any other raw edge…

But there are some serious layers in the shoulder seams.  You’ve got the fabric and seam allowance from the bodice (2 layers), the same times two for the collar (4 layers), and the fabric and seam allowance for the facing (2 layers).  That’s 8 layers at the shoulders!  6 at centre front and back.  I have to admit that getting the facing to stay put inside the top, even with the understitching and some heavy duty pressing is, erm, interesting.  The instructions do suggest hand stitching it to the seam allowances though which will help.  I may well have been hindered though by the fabric as whilst drapy it does have some body to it, due to the textured weave which may well exaggerate any minor issues with that aspect of the construction.

So all I need to do now is construct and insert the sleeves, an absolute first for me!  I’ll try and get some more photos once this step is done…

New Zip

As for the Minoru, I rejected the planned zip and bought another today in my lunch break that matches the one destined for the front.  But as it’s a separating one with quite chunky teeth I haven’t sewn over the ends of it, just edge stitched above and below it.  Which you can only tell if you’re about 4″ away from the collar!  I’ve also basted the completed hood to the collar as per today’s step.

They told me to pull and gather them...

I have scooted a little further along though and pinned the hooded collar to the top of the jacket and drawn up the gathering stitches…  What is it with gathering stitches that just make you want to draw them up?

Three rows

I did three rows of stitches, the seam line will be between the yellow and matching thread.  It makes the final gathers a lot more controllable.

I do love the gathering detail with this jacket though.  It’s starting to come together for me now.  I’m trying to be really good and not just keep going as I know that I’ll get a better result by staying with the sew along.

A Bit of Hood Action

Hood Detail: Topstitching and Lining

Today is the day of the hood!  Well, in Minoru-sew-along-view-A land it is, which is where I’ve happily been residing for the last hour.  I’ve also been trying to do some self portraits with said hood on my head and failing miserably!  How do you take a photo of yourself in the mirror?!  Mine just have a great big glare from the flash – natural daylight would help immensely I suspect.

But I digress.  Hood.  I’ve lined mine but used a slightly different method to the one Tasia mentioned in the sew along post.  I’ve constructed the outer hood as per the instructions up to the end of the topstitching.  I then created the lining of the hood by using the same pattern pieces but with 1/2″ removed from the front edge and omitting the top stitching.

I pressed back the front edge of the outer hood 1/2″ and then tucked the raw edge of the lining up against that fold.  I then folded the outer edge back another 1/2″ as per the instructions.  So on the front edge of my hood, if you were to cut it in cross section and looking from the outside in you’d see outer, lining, outer, lining, outer!  A bit like a pinwheel.

Can you see the pinwheel / layers?

I pressed like a woman possessed, pinned and then topstitched.  I then added a second row of topstitching as just one row looked a bit lonely!  I just need to baste the lining and outer hood bottom edges together now.

View from inside the hood: lining and a bit of outer fabric

The layers make quite a sturdy front edge, which I like as if it were to flap or flop about too much it would drive me nuts!  It’s still pliable enough though to fold/roll up and stuff into the eventual collar.  And the flannel is much softer around the ears than the cotton canvas would have been, but it’ll do nothing for the hair do – so maybe I’ll have to stash a hair brush in one of the pockets!

My Husband Thinks I’m Weird

And possibly for good reason, if you don’t make your own clothes.  Although as fellow sewists, I’m hoping you’ll understand?  I was sitting in the car wearing a muslin, with pins all over it that were shortening in a number of places as well as holding up the hem.  Well, what’s the point of making a coat that you can’t drive a car in?!

I’ve been tweaking my Minoru muslin as I want it to be as good as I can currently get it as it’ll be the most expensive thing I’ve made to date and I want to wear it to death this spring.  I did my usual FBA before even making the muslin and then set to trying to perfect it.

The first thing I changed was the torso length.  I’ve taken 2″ out above the elastic and this has got rid of the weird bunching in my lower back  and the funny sag over the elastic at the sides.

I’ve also taken 3″ length out of the sleeves and now the cuff edge is about 1/2 way down the back of my hand which is perfect for me.

The final change I made was to add some width across the upper back.  Now I do have a slightly broader than average back due to spending about 20 years of my life swimming 3-4 times a week.  And whilst I had enough room in the jacket to reach forward and it would be OK for driving I wanted a bit of extra room.  I’ll be toddler wrestling, dog wrestling and more than likely lunging for either or both whilst wearing the jacket and I don’t want to feel restricted in it at all (or risk pinging a seam).  Plus this was the jacket shell only, so the lining is going to add a bit of extra bulk!

I used a slash and spread method, making sure the spread along the neckline is within the gathering area and then trued the sides.

So, my pattern alterations are:

  • 2″ FBA
  • Reduce torso length by 2″ after FBA
  • Reduce sleeve length by 3″
  • Increase upper back width by 2″

The additional construction steps I must remember when making the real deal are:

1.  I need to stay stitch and clip the armhole curve on my jacket front when sewing it to the sleeve.  The FBA has given it a really tight curve and it was a complete nightmare trying to match the sleeve to the front when sewing the muslin so that seam isn’t quite as it should be!  Stay stitching and clipping will enable me to match the two up properly.  I’ll need to mark the stitching line on the sleeve so that I match the two pieces accurately.  This excerpt from Shirt Making by David Page Coffin explains it well.

2.  Use 3 lines of gathering stitch when doing the neckline to collar.  There’s a section on this in the Colette Sewing Handbook and also on Colette Pattern’s Blog and the difference that extra line makes to the end result is amazing!

So I’m all set now.  My fabrics are all pre-washed and my shell has been proofed.  I’ve got my elastic and zippers I just need to take shears to fabric…

Oh, and decide whether I’m making the hood or not.  I have jackets with hoods, but I never use them.  If they’re removable, I take them off and if they’re in the collar, well that’s where they stay!  So I leave you with this (whilst begging the Mr Shakespeare’s forgiveness):

To hood, or not to hood, that is the question!

Not Waterproof, But Shower Proof?

This is my water test on my NikWax’d and dried fabric.  And you can finally see an accurate representation of the colour!

I simply flicked a load of water on it and ignored it for five minutes- not hugely scientific!  Most of it has beaded on the fabric which is good, although a little has soaked in, but hasn’t spread.  Tasia did a post about assessing waterproofness (is that even a word?!) of fabric yesterday.

So, my jacket isn’t going to be waterproof, but isn’t going to be a sponge in a short shower either which is great!

I’ve also constructed my muslin and believe me when I say that Tasia has produced not only a pattern that looks pretty good in calico, but also sews up super fast!  I only used the pieces for the outer, but even then, including pining in elastic at the waist and making the cuffs and attaching them, it was sewn up in about 90 minutes!  It looks like the envelope illustrations too!

I do need to make a few changes though to perfect the fit:

The first is to shorten the torso length by about 2″.  I don’t know if my waist is high or I just have a short torso, but the elastic looks better 2″ higher than the placement marks!  So I’m going to take a tuck out above the elastic and see what that does rather than just moving the elastic placement.

The length as is though is just perfect for me, so I’ll be adding any length I take out back into the skirt part of the jacket.

I also need to take about 3″ of length out of the arms as even with the sleeves folded back at the cuff they’re a touch too long, so I’ll pin that out as well and see what I think.

Other than those pretty simple adjustments and the original FBA I think it’s pretty much there.  Once I’ve made the adjustments I’ll subject you all to the muslin to make sure that there isn’t anything I’ve missed…

Minoru Preparation, or What I Get Up To When I Have a Day to Myself!

Squee!  It’s a week on Monday until the sew along starts!  I am really looking forward to making this jacket, so today as I had a day all on my own to do what ever I wanted with  (which probably should have included some housework?!) I did some preparation.

I traced and FBA’d the pattern over the last few evenings, which meant lengthening the placket by 7/8″.  I used Lazy Stitching’s tutorial, which follows the same method as Fit for Real People.  Instead of adding the extra fullness to the gathers at the neckline, I’ve instead opted for a bust dart.  Flat pattern wise, that’s the only adjustment I made – apart from also doing the FBA on pattern piece 9 (lining) and lengthening the aforementioned placket piece (No 6).

So, I then thought I’d get on with pre-washing my lining and proofing my cotton canvas outer.

Nikwax-ing the Cotton Canvas

I’ve used Nikwax Cotton Proof and used 150ml.  As that’s for one item and for two you’d only need another 50ml.  I did the hand wash method and didn’t follow instruction 1: Use Gloves.  As a result of pushing the fabric into the hand-hot (well, a smudge warmer, but I could put my hands in it) I had a slightly waxy residue left on my skin.  No biggie as we have tubs of Swarfega (a hand de-greaser, used a lot in the motor trade) due to the Land Rover obsession of Husband by every sink!

For the rinsing part, I again ignored the whole gloves thing and rinsed, and rinsed and rinsed some more.  This time with cold water,then a quick spin in the machine to get rid of as much water as possible and then into the tumble dryer as we have a dry bright day here so the solar panels are working well but it’s not warm enough to dry outside and I don’t have anywhere inside that’s suitable for drying that sort of yardage!

I also made miles of piping, which needs to be carefully coiled and tied and pre-washed.

Next up,  I did a little bit of shopping.  For essential supplies:

See, separating zip (32″ as the FBA added nearly an inch of length to the front), and another non-separating one for the hood, buttons for the next Sencha, elastic, thread (2 spools as suggested by Lladybird in her pattern review).

Oh, and then there was the not so essential shopping… The star fabric will either be a Violet or Jasmine.  And then the dotty one is a jersey that was £3.99 for 2+ yards as was the plaid in Oxfam!  Don’t you just love the teal of the plaid – I’m thinking a pencil skirt, maybe with a godet…  Like this one!

Next up, the muslin / toile!