I took a blogging break – but I’m back with things to show off! I finished my Minoru jacket.
And just in time for a little extra winter! Around here in Indiana, everyone has been complaining for the past few weeks about the cold. Now, I’m from Montana, and all I can say is – IT’S FEBRUARY (or was, at the time of these complaints) IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE COLD. Also, I needed it to stay cold so that I could finish sewing my new coat and have time to wear it.
I guess the snow gods heard my plea for an extension, because we just got a little extra winter dumped on us. Whee! I want spring like every other person, but I’m willing to wait. Especially if it means getting a little extra wear out of my newest creation.
My Minoru is heavily modified. It’s a bad habit of mine – picking a pattern and then changing it so much that I probably should have just chosen a different pattern. In this case, I really liked the Minoru pattern and all the good reviews I’ve read… but I also have always wanted a duffle coat. I was largely inspired by two other Minorus:
Karen’s lovely camel wool Minoru…
I wanted my jacket to be wool like Karen’s, despite the pattern being designed for lighter fabrics. I wanted the front placket like Miss Jackson’s. And I wanted toggles, and a detachable hood (that’s also lined), and side seam pockets. Oh and I didn’t want the gathered cuffs. I think that’s everything.
The outer fabric is a dark greenish blue wool coating from Denver Fabrics. The interior is a soft flannel from Fabricmart when they were having super deals on flannel. $3/yard I think. I pre-washed it twice to make sure it did all it’s shrinking before I sewed.
I wanted the sleeves to be lined with cozy flannel too, but my sewing instructor wisely recommended a more slippery material. Getting the jacket on and off would be a pain otherwise. I compromised by using a bemberg rayon but underlining it with the flannel, to keep the cozy factor.
I didn’t want the zipper exposed on the outside or inside, so I ended up doubling the width of the front center pieces and laying the zipper between them. But then I realized I didn’t want to just topstitch the zipper down and have its edge exposed. So I had to cut the placket in half and sandwhich the zipper in the middle. You can kinda see what I mean in the photo below.
For the leather toggles, I snagged a leather skirt from Salvation Army and hacked it up. The skirt still had its original price tag on it. Guess how much?
Yikes! I definitely hesitated before cutting into it. It seemed a shame, but I didn’t need a size 2 leather skirt. I needed leather toggle patch thingies. So that’s what it became. I have a lot left over, and I’m scheming up some different ways to use it. Maybe a leather panel skirt, once again ripped off from Karen
? To make my toggles, I referred to Gigi’s duffle coat here
. I didn’t do it exactly the same, because I lacked a leather hole punch and the special leather glue she refers to. Oh well! At this point I just wanted to get the darn thing done. Topstitching the leather was a royal pain. It was very difficult to maneuver the jacket around to make those tight curves. I can see why square patches like Gigi’s might be preferable. It would be much easier to sew straight lines that the curves I concocted. But at some point you have to say, “that’s good enough!” I examined the sewing on a RTW toggle coat I have in the closet, and my stitching really isn’t any worse. And I very much doubt most people will notice or nit pick. So that’s that.
One thing I am proud of on this coat is the detachable hood.
I knew my wool was much too heavy to try for a concealed hood as called for in the pattern instructions. That would have been a seriously bulky collar. So I decided to do a detachable hood like my current winter coat. I sandwiched one half of a separating zipper between the hood and hood lining.
I topstitched the other half of the zipper to the outside of the collar, and made a little flap that covers it when the hood is detached.
I really like how the hood and collar turned out. Other random adjustments… I added a little room at the elbows of the sleeves because I felt a little constricted when I bent my arms in the muslin version. I was supposed
to add some width to the hips, but I was lazy about making that adjustment on my paper pattern, and as a result I completely forgot when I cut out my fabric. To compensate, I added a triangular gusset to the center back. This was not a perfect fix, but it’s not very conspicuous so I’m okay with it. I also did the side seam pockets according to Amy’s tutorial
, but I forgot to take photos. And I left the elastic out of the cuffs. But this post is long enough already!
All in all… I like my coat! There are some small things I might change if I were to redo it. For example, I think the plackets are too wide in front and it takes a little fiddling to get them to lay flat under the toggles. I’ve been staring at customer’s coats when they come into the coffee shop when I work, to see how the plackets are handled. most don’t have a wide overlap like mine. And most use a lighter material to make the underlying placket – the one that keeps the cold zipper from touching your skin. That makes a lot of sense to me, because this heavy wool was definitely a challenge to work with on the plackets. Still, I fit all the changes in, and I think it worked out okay. But next time I find myself making a fifth or sixth modification to a pattern, I’m going to make myself step back and reevaluate. I love this jacket, and I think I should definitely make it again… this time staying truer to the original!