I'd had my eye on the Minoru Jacket pattern by Sewaholic for well over a year before actually making the purchase. But I sure am glad I did!
Warning: photo overload ahead! I just love all these pics ❤
My outer fabric is a medium-weight navy cotton twill, and my lining is a very soft red, white and navy plaid flannel. Even though neither fabric is particularly thick, the finished jacket is super warm! The sleeves are lined in a slinky polka dot fabric I had lying around--probably polyester, but I'm not 100% sure. I sewed a size 12, grading up to a 14 for the sleeves and down to a 10 for the hips.
Here's the back of the jacket, where you can see the hood all zipped into the Minoru's main feature: the zippered collar pocket! I lined my hood, so when I stuff it in the collar it becomes quite the sturdy neck pillow.
I love the high collar on this jacket so much! It comes up to my nose and because I used the flannel on the inner collar, it's super soft and warm against my face. Also I can look like a snoopy suspicious spy.
I am very grateful for all the Minoru-sewers before me who blogged about their experiences and helped to inspire my jacket and all the changes I made. My colour scheme was heavily influenced by Sallie Oh's gorgeous Minoru. I used Rocket Sews' advice for adding a zipper wind guard. I redrafted the hood from a two-piece to a three-piece using this tutorial from Notes From a Mad Housewife. My pockets were inspired by the shape of Tikismikis' ones. I added a second lining to my collar to completely enclose the hood and hide away all of the raw edges, as Spiffy Stitches instructs here. And Lladybird's beautiful jacket was the one that made me decide once and for all to purchase the pattern!
Here's a list of all the changes I made to the pattern:
- Lined the hood
- Added a drawstring to the hood
- Fully enclosed the hood in the collar, hiding the raw edges
- Redrafted the collar to a 3-piece version for better shaping
- Added front pockets with a gold snap closure
- Used a two-way separating zipper for ease of wearing while cycling
- Changed the cuffs to straight ones instead of elastic gathered ones
- Used the lining fabric for the inner pockets and inner collar
- Added a zipper wind guard behind the zipper
- Lengthened the whole jacket by 2 inches
- Shortened the sleeves by 2 inches
- Narrowed the hips by about 2 inches, though I wish I'd kept the jacket wider here
My lovely chéri Oliver was kind enough to take these photos for me to show off all sides of my Minoru :) We walked through the Liberty Village neighbourhood of Toronto and discovered some lovely backdrops for photos, like this cat and coffee graffiti mural.
Here you can see the inside of the jacket in all its warm flannel glory. Look at that plaid matching on the inner pockets!
I also added a label on the centre back of the lining in navy velvet, mostly just as an excuse to use the lettering and decorative stitch functions on my sewing machine. It's kind of corny but hey, at least no one can steal my jacket! Here you can also see the hanging loop, which is such a smart feature of this pattern.
Here is me fake-reaching into my inside pockets. I was carrying around extra memory cards in there, though!
Side view with my massive hood up, also showing off the cinched elastic waistband which gives this coat lovely shaping.
Hands in my big warm outer pockets. I drafted these by marking a natural placement for my hands to sit on the jacket front pieces and slicing along those lines, leaving the bottom the same shape as the jacket front. The pockets are lined in the plaid flannel and understitched so the lining won't roll out, and they have a gold snap closure to make sure they don't bag away from the jacket. I basted the pockets to the jacket front pieces and used them all as one piece in the actual jacket construction.
Now, because I made the pockets very early on in the sewing process (before the jacket front pieces are sewn to the sleeves), I didn't account for the 2 ⅝ inch hem to be turned up at the bottom. Once I had constructed the outer shell and read ahead a bit in the instructions, I realized that if I turned up my jacket by that much, my pockets would end up way to shallow for my liking. So, I had to lengthen the whole thing by that amount, by adding a band facing along the inner bottom of the coat and lengthening all the lining body pieces. Luckily, I hadn't cut out my lining pieces at this point, so I didn't waste any fabric. For the inner bottom band, I basically traced the back and jacket front pieces along the bottom to create a strip that mimicked the angles of the sewn body, and made the band 3 ¼ inches tall (2 ⅝ inch for the original amount to turn up, plus ⅝ inch seam allowance along the bottom). I sewed this band to the constructed jacket shell along the bottom, right sides together, and understitched it to keep it from rolling out.
Because I lengthened the whole jacket, the original zipper I had bought (which was only a one-way separating zipper) was now way too short for the front closure. Unfortunately, out of 11 fabric stores I went to in the city, none carried a long enough zipper with gold teeth on a navy tape. I bought a gold-on-black one, but when I brought it home it looked awful next to the navy. So I had to order in a 34 inch double-separating gold zipper on navy tape from Zipper Shipper. It took a while to get here (thanks, Canada Customs) and was a lot pricier than my original zipper(s), but in the end it was well worth it--it's the perfect colour and length, and I love the double-separating feature. Zipper win!
I used a triple straight stitch for all the topstitching, which made sewing slow but it looked a lot better than a regular straight stitch. I didn't buy special topstitching thread, either, although I did buy a 1 km spool of navy thread for this, since a lot of you who've sewn this before said this project uses tons of thread! Maybe 1 km was a little excessive, since I've got most of that spool remaining.
In terms of the actual construction, I found the project very straightforward, though time-consuming. The Minoru Sew-Along was a big help, and I pretty much used that instead of following the booklet instructions. It was really exciting to have a completed hood and completed outer pockets pretty much right at the beginning of sewing--a big motivator to actually finish the project!
Here's that wonderful chéri of mine posing with me in a little factory courtyard (wearing the Finlayson sweater by Thread Theory that I made for him last Christmas! I'll write up another post to show off that make.)
And I think that's it! I'm so very pleased with the result, and there are only a very few minor issues I encountered along the way.
Things I'd do differently next time: I'd interface the collar with something a bit stiffer--I find it accordion folds down on itself instead of standing up stiff and tall the way I like, so I have to pull it up a lot.
I'd also not sewn with flannel much before this, and holy moly is it a warpy fabric! The angles kept skewing no matter how much pinning I did, so I think the next time I use flannel I will lightly interface the whole fabric to keep things square and prevent any shifting. I did a pretty good job of pattern matching the plaid, but toward the bottom of the coat things got a bit wonky with the horizontal stripes not lining up perfectly with the bottom edge. It's not a huge deal, but could probably be avoided with some interfacing or fabric starch or something.
I would also add back the 2 inches I took out of the hips of this jacket--while it isn't exactly snug, I prefer a bit more room for the booty in my jackets. Guess I'm more pear-shaped than I think!
I love this pattern, and I plan to make another minoru at some point, maybe next year. I'm thinking something warmer and more parka-like. This pattern is so versatile!
Thanks for reading :)