Let me just start off by saying, I MADE A JACKET!
Phew, just had to get that out of my system, as for all its flaws, I’m very proud of having finished a garment like this. I continue to be amazed when sewing that you start off with what you see in the picture below – a few metres of fabric and a pattern. Plus BRIGHT PINK zips. Let’s not forget those.
Then, one four day Easter Weekend later, we end up with a finished thing! (Plus an extra evening as I couldn’t get it all done by Monday night!)
Be warned, this post is going to be super picture heavy :) But I think this jacket deserves to have loads of photos shown off. So ner!
The pattern is the Sewaholic Minoru – something I’ve always been surprised is only an Intermediate pattern, as with features like a full lining, concealed hood and inner pockets it seemed a lot more complicated. Thankfully, before buying the pattern I was able to take a look at the sewalong which took place a few years back on the Sewaholic blog and was able to assure myself that none of the techniques were beyond me.
This specific version, was intended as a wearable muslin as the fabric was only cheap. I didn’t want to make a basic muslin, as actual coat fabric is so different, a muslin itself might not give the best idea of fit etc. Thanks to having made previous garments though, I know a 14 for my waist and hips at present is my good fit, if slightly loose, while a 12 is a good fit for my shoulders and arms.
Having only made a Renfrew out of knit fabric before, with a Cheater’s FBA, I decided to try and do this jacket properly and include a proper FBA for the front pieces. I needed around an extra 2-3″ of room, so I decided to a 1″ FBA on the pattern piece, to give me 2″ inches extra in total across the bust. I followed this super helpful tutorial by Alana, which shows how to add in the FBA and move the area where there would be a dart, into extra gathers at the neck.
What I hadn’t realised with doing an FBA is that you end up adding room across the whole width of the front piece – essentially widening the waist and hip, not just the bust. If I was to make this again, I’d make a 12 all over, as I’d gain an extra 2″ room from the FBA without needing to cut a larger size. Unless anybody knows how to do an FBA that avoids this?
Ok, so I have lots of info to share, so I’m going to break this post into sub-headings for clarity!
Fabric and sizing
My main fabric is a cotton (I believe gabardine?) that was around £5 a metre from Fabworks. I bought 3 metres of it and had plenty left over. I had considered trying to shower-proof it by using Nikwax or similar, but haven’t done anything with it yet. There’s still time!
My lining, although VERY bright is just a bog standard lining, I believe polyester or similar, also from Fabworks. I bought 3 metres of this also and still have plenty left, despite lining the hood and adding in-seam pockets which required extra fabric.
I had looked at nylon fabrics and mesh linings, but couldn’t find anything I liked to make a waterproof version. As it is, it should still work well for the British spring, summer and autumn!
Size wise, I cut the following
- Shoulders & arms: 12
- Waist & hips: 14 (although next time will cut a 12 due to extra room from FBA)
- Added 1″ FBA to the front and front lining pieces
My zips I bought from Minerva Crafts on eBay – I wanted them both to match, which they do – although both zips are open-ended, even though the one for the hood is meant to be closed. I bought a 30″ zip for the body and 22″ for the hood and paid around £7.50 for them.
There were also extra purchases of interfacing, Velcro and elastic, but all of these can be used on other projects.
I was very good and did all my prep properly! Tracing and cutting out the pattern took HOURS and it wasn’t until late Saturday that I got to start sewing – it having taken all of Friday and most of Saturday to get ready. Once cut out, I very diligently added tailors tacks to mark the start and end points for my gathers and used thread to mark where the elastic casing would need to go – you can see the basting on the front pieces below:
I’d chosen to use a navy thread for most of the sewing, including topstitching, although I’d also purchased some pink thread to be used just when working on the lining. I also ended up using this for basting on my navy coat fabric as the contrast was brilliant – I found myself wishing that I’d decided to topstitch in pink for an amazing contrast, although I’m secretly glad I didn’t as any mistakes would have been super obvious. The basting below gives an idea of how it could have looked:
For topstitching I used the triple stitch on my machine – which most people seemed to favour as an alternative to using dedicated topstitching thread. As each stitch is sewn three times it helps the line of stitching stand out, but is a mighty pain to unpick if you need to (I only had to do it twice!).
Right here shows why it’s a terrible idea to unpick your triple stitch. It takes forever, and when you redo it, you might make a car crash of it like me, when you have two lines of triple stitching that meet, or are supposed to meet:
Lovely. And unfortunately is in a super obvious place on the front band, near my face. Oh yes.
Most of my topstitching did go well though – I followed someone’s tip and used my blind hem foot (foot G I think) to help mark 1/4″ from either the seam, or other line of stitching. The picture two photos up show how good it can look, although the below indicates that you don’t always end up a perfect 1/4″ away… Goodness know what happened here!
I had planned to do something special with my seams, to finish them beautifully. After much deliberation though, I decided to just do what the pattern calls for. For the cotton fabric, after finishing a seam, I’d topstitch it and then trim the seam allowance. The only exception to this was the hood, where I french seamed it, and topstitched the seam to the left hand side.
I did also french seam all of my lining seams, as it was very prone to fraying and being a bit see-through, I didn’t want you to see any raw edges. The only lining seams which aren’t done this way are the seams for the pockets I added – these are pinked and zigzagged. Hopefully they won’t fray as they’re hidden inside the lining.
Hood and collar
The hood and collar were quite involved, although I was very glad to take my time on all the steps as I think it’s come out pretty well.
I basted the collar zip in place, as I wanted the gap between the slit and the zip to be even, which it more or less is – yay!
I also sewed a new stop at the end of the zip and hacked off the excess – so it didn’t matter that my zip was a bit long.
The hood tucks away nicely inside the collar:
As mentioned before I did line the hood – once I attached the lining I then tried to understitch the seam allowance to the lining, to stop the lining from rolling out – which it seems to have done.
Alas the edge stitching around my zip shows on the wrong side – it would have been so much cooler if it was pink! But I’m glad I have the bright pink lining inside. I did interface the lining collar piece to make it easier to work with – I don’t think the lining on its own would have pressed well, but with the fusible interface added, it was nice and simple.
A lot of people had talked about how, when the hood is out, you can see the raw edges of the collar/hood/etc. There didn’t seem to be a preferred solution, but I decided to try and use some bias tape to cover up the raw seams. I made my own 2″ double fold tape from some blue cotton I had. It’s not a perfect match, but I thought lining fabric would be too thick. Generally the tape sewed on ok, but there are some instances where it bulges away and looks a bit crap.
But, I tell myself that the tape does its job of enclosing one set of raw seams, while sitting over and hiding another set:
Other than the enclosed hood, my favourite thing about the collar is its tall-ness. It’s lovely for hiding in:
My chunky plastic zip unzips beautifully!
And voila! A lined hood :)
Having worn the jacket for a few days now, including once in a rain shower, I do wish I had some fastener to tighten the outer edge of the hood to my head – the hood does want to fall down, particularly if there’s a breeze. However, since the jacket itself isn’t waterproof, on any seriously rainy days I’ll take an umbrella, rather than rely on the hood, which incidentally, looks lovely even if not rolled away into the collar:
I love pockets and like many others who’ve made this pattern, I wanted to add additional pockets on the outside of the jacket. I used Amy’s tutorial to add in-seam pockets from my lining fabric – she even provides a handy printable template to use – thanks Amy!
I placed them 1.25″ down from the lower waistband marker – I didn’t want them too low for my hands, or for them to be caught in the hem – this amount worked out perfectly.
I love the little peek of colour from the side:
Because the pocket bags point forwards, it means that you can’t press the seam to the back and topstitch it like you’re meant to. Because I wanted to still do some topstitching, I started from the armhole and stopped with a bar tack, above and below each pocket. I think it looks ok!
Next time, I don’t think I’ll add in-seam pockets – they’re a touch flimsy being made of my lining and a bit far back. I’ll do patch pockets on the front, or welt pockets or something. But this pattern was already difficult enough without my doing more things and broadly I think the ones I’ve done have worked out well.
I also added internal pockets as per the pattern. I’ve used Velcro to fasten them:
Somehow, despite following all the instructions to the letter, my topstitching isn’t low enough and my Velcro piece looks a bit weird in how it sits. Is my Velcro too tall? Who knows. It bugs me, but I’ll live it with and could fix it next time. On the next time I’d also make the pockets longer – as they’re not big enough to fit my phone.
The waistband is another big feature that sits this jacket apart from others. It stops me looking like a sack, yay!
I raised the waistband by 1″ as it didn’t quite hit my natural waist – I debated raising it by more but I think it would have been too much. I also cut off an extra 2.5″ of elastic – more evidence I should have cut a 12 perhaps?
Unsure what the big gather of excess fabric is here. I do wonder if I maybe need a swayback adjustment as I saw something similar on my Renfrew.
Inside, weirdly my waistband ends in different places on the left and right. On the left it’s right next to the pocket:
On the right, there’s still a good inch or so of space. Weird. It looks even from the outside so is probably just how I settled the lining inside before sewing.
Overall though I think it looks good from the inside.
These were quite fun! You do a small amount of gathering and also use elastic – I love the look you get, although they were fiddly to do.
More fiddly was fastening the lining to the cuff. I opted not to slipstitch and used the machine method Tasia shows on her blog. Bit strange to wrap your head around, but I’ll use this whenever I have something similar to do in the future.
I have some obligatory, stand-with-the-coat-open shots:
I had to do some stitching-in-the-ditch which went ok. On the outside it mostly looks fine:
It also looks good on the inside in places:
And then I spoil it by doing this. I hadn’t considered unpicking it until Trev mentioned it, but we’ll see.
I also wish now that I used pink thread to baste in my zip. It’s not very even, shows on the wrong side and in some cases on the right side. I’ve tried to unpick it, but it makes the zip sit weirdly as there isn’t much else holding it in place. Since I unpicked the first bit and discovered this, I’ve decided to leave it and live with it. Boo!
The other thing I don’t get is why my coat falls better in this picture here. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve since added elastic, or because I’ve worn the finished garment out, or maybe it just needs a good press. But I don’t think mine looks as smart or well finished as other people’s. I guess it isn’t, but that makes me sad :(
Still, overall not bad.
Summary of tweaks
- Raised waist elastic by 1″
- Added in-seam pockets 1.25″ down from original lower waistband marking
- 1″ FBA on front pieces
- Lined hood
- Interfaced the collar lining piece
- Added bias binding to the collar/hood seam
- French seamed main hood seam
- French seamed all lining seams
- Took out some of the zip basting (shouldn’t have done!)
- Used special cuff instructions instead of slipstitching
- Used three rows of basting stitches when gathering the body, not two, as per Coletterie post
What I’d do next time
- Add patch or welt pockets to the front
- Maybe change the zip round in the collar so it pulls from the other side – would be easier for me
- Add a zip guard, so there’s something between it and me
- Finish that hood/collar seam in a different way
- Cut a 12 all over
- Add something to the hood so I can fasten it around my face
Thankfully other people have done all of the mods already, so I have people to copy if I make another :)
And there you have it. I’m now pleased to be able to leave the house in a jacket that isn’t my BRIGHT PINK waterproof and instead is a bit smarter, with a subtle hint of pink instead. Plus it looks pretty good open too :)
Hmm I wonder what I shall make next? In the meantime I’ve dug out the miniSpinner and will do some spinning, along with finishing another few bits off. More to report soon!