Hola, everyone! I hope 2016 is treating you well.
I just looked it up—I started sewing this jacket on December 5th! I thought I had finished on New Years Eve, but I realized that it needed a bit more stitching, so I finally finished on New Years Day. For me, that's a long time on one garment!
I think it was two Christmases ago that my youngest daughter went to a local fabric store that I like, and she chose a fabric as my Christmas gift.
It's a two-sided jacquard fabric (info on brocade vs jacquard fabrics) in two shades of green. It's not a particularly heavyweight fabric—one could use it for a dress...
Well, you could, but I would never wear a dress made out of this fabric. Never ever. I liked it, but it stumped me: I'm not a brocade or jacquard sort of person. It's more formal than I would generally wear. If I hadn't liked the fabric, it would have migrated into my stash, never to be seen again, but I did like it. Every so often, I'd pull it out and try to figure out how to use it. Then I'd put it away and let in marinate some more.
I finally decided to make an anorak jacket. Because the fabric is too lightweight for a coat, I plundered my stash and located an Ellen Tracy wool fabric to use as an interlining. I used Pam Erny's wet-towels-and-wool-into-the-dryer technique to preshrink the wool.
Do you know the difference between interlining and underlining? Underlining is when you cut the pattern pieces twice, once in the fashion fabric and once in the lining fabric. You put them together and treat them as one layer. Underlining generally uses a lightweight fabric and is used to improve the stability of a fabric, or the hand of a fabric, or the sheerness of a fabric, or to minimize wrinkling in the completed garment. Or all of the above. Interlining is similar, except it's generally intended to increase the warmth of the finished garment. You can interline either the outside pattern pieces OR the lining pattern pieces. For my coat, I interlined the outside pattern pieces, so it's constructed in the same way as regular underlining. Sometimes an interlining is removable, as in a removable zippered lining.
I spent a lot of time deciding on which pattern to use. I had purchased the Minoru pattern several years ago but, OF COURSE, I couldn't lay my hands on it. It is no longer available in paper form, so I had to buy the PDF and print off the 50-something pages. I spend a lunchtime at work, at a giant table in a conference room, taping it together.
I really hate that process. But it was worth it. (Interestingly enough, my paper copy of the pattern still hasn't shown up. Usually the missing item shows up as soon as I buy it again!)
The Minoru has the following features:
- Raglan sleeves
- An unlined hood that can be rolled up and stuffed into the collar, then zipped up
- Elastic cuffs at the wrist that require 2" wide elastic
- A partial elastic waist also uses 2" wide elastic
- A front zipper
- The coat gathers into the collar, but not directly at center front and center back. (Leaving those bits out of the gathering is a nice detail
- An internal pocket, on the lining—this pattern has no external pockets
- Waist shaping at the side seam
- Lots of room at the hips
Unfortunately, the Minoru is only sized up to a 16. I typically start with an 18 for jackets/coats, so I had to trace off the 16 and spend some time altering it up. I made lots of alterations:
- Added darts for my full bust. The jacket gathers into the collar, so it would be possible to rotate the dart into the neckline, thereby increasing the gathers, but I'm glad that I did NOT do this. Because I interlined the jacket, it was difficult enough to gather the thick fabric and would have been much more difficult had I increased the amount that needed to be gathered.
- Increased the waist.
- Removed many inches from the hips. Sewaholic Patterns drafts for a pear shape, which I am not.
- This pattern has REALLY LONG sleeves. I typically have to shorten sleeves by about an inch, but these were 4 or 5 inches too long. The pattern includes a 2" elastic cuff, which I omitted. I left the sleeves long because I decided to line them to the edge with the reverse side of the jacquard, and fold them back to create contrasting cuffs.
- The pattern has no external pockets, and only one internal pocket on the lining. I added slant, single welt pockets in addition to the internal pocket. Pockets are goooood.
Constructing the welt pocket
Completed pocket and zipper
- Converted the two-piece hood (which uses a single pattern piece) to a 3-pc hood (which requires two pattern pieces). The center piece is 4" wide. Before making this change, I reduced the height of the hood. I also lined the hood with the reverse of the jacquard. I believe that she left the hood unlined because it is intended to be rolled into the collar, but I really don't care. I much prefer to have a warmer hood with both lining and interlining, even if it makes for a fatter collar. (I plan to keep the hood unfurled, anyway.)
The hood unfurled.
The hood furled.
Other materials used:
- A standard 18" YKK zipper for the collar, purchased at Britex.
- A custom, 34", double-ended zipper, with a specialty zipper pull, from ZipperStop. I'm so spoiled by double-ended zippers! I love that I can zip up my jacket, or vest, and unzip the bottom few inches to make sitting more comfortable, and create a more flattering vertical line.
- For the lining, I used two fabrics. For the sleeves and collar, I used the same jacquard as the outside, but I used the reverse (lighter green) side. I didn't have enough for the body, so I also used a gorgeous, textured, stretch fabric, also from stash. I lined the sleeves to the very edge so that I could fold them back to create a contrasting cuff.
Pic of lining, taken under an incandescent light after dark.
More construction notes:
- Other reviewers pointed out that raw edges showed when the hood is out. Some remedied this by covering the raw edges with binding. Instead, I added another layer of collar lining, as described here.
Look, Ma! No raw edges!
- I topstitched using regular thread (this color was hard to match and wasn't available in topstitching thread) using a triple stitch, as described in the Minoru sew-along.
- When I sewed the hood lining to the hood, I used the technique called "faux piping" to create a contrast edge around the hood.
- While jackets with waist elastic look great on some women, I really hate how it makes me look like a stuffed sausage. Even if the elastic doesn't go all the way around, it tends to pull at the front in a way I find unattractive. So I left it out, though I did taper the side seam at the waist to give myself some shaping.
THANKS, DD2, for the gift of a fabric that challenged me! I am very happy with my new jacket.
I've been wanting a Snap Press for a long time.
So long that I'd forgotten completely about it.
This morning, a sewing pal, Karla K, pointed out that there is a good deal to be had. A really good deal. For $70, and free shipping, I bought a snap press and a set of dies for setting Snap Source prong snaps. I bought the DK-93, which you can learn more about on the Iconic Patterns blog. The good deal that Karla found is at Gold Star Tool.com.
Just a few things to add.
I am going to Seattle this month. It's a work trip, but I hope to sneak in a visit to see the Counter-Couture: Fashioning Identity in the American Counterculture at the Bellevue Arts Museum.
I'm going to Whistler, British Colombia, at the end of February. When I wore my new Minoru out today, it was nippy at 42° F. I looked up the weather in Whistler at noon today, and it was 18° F, with a projected high of 28°.
If this is indicative of the weather in February, I am not prepared! I would rather not buy or make gear for that kind of weather, given that I will only be there for a couple of days, and I won't be skiing.
'Tis a challenge, I tell you!
Last night I had dinner with my daughters. DD1 is returning to university soon. (DD2 is taking the year off, working, and earning money. Next year she is planning to attend university in Canada.) We went to Burma SuperStar in the Richmond district. I've eaten here before, though ever since the place has been profiled on various foodie shows on television, the insanely long lines are a bit off-putting. But last night I tried the Fermented Tea Leaf Salad.
Oh My Goodness.
At dinner, my daughters gave me my final Christmas present. Custom mouse pads! I love them! One for home, one for my Mountain View office, and one for my San Francisco office. I'm a sucker for this sort of thing. ;)