I've been in need of a fall jacket for a while. Something with a little weight for our crisp fall days but lighter than a winter coat. It definitely doesn't rain every day here so water resistance and a hood weren't really a concern, It just had to go with everything. I've had been wanting a utility type jacket with lots of pockets but with a little bit of a feminine touch to it. I didn't want a drawstring but I did want a lined jacket so I decided against the new Kelly anorak (which I think I will make as a light rain coat in the future). I love the Minoru jacket from Sewaholic and I made it once already with water resistant material (which is definitely NOT resistant in heavy rain) just about a year ago. I love that jacket but it has always been a little tight and the cotton lining makes it hard to slip on, and incidentally that black lining bleeds onto your clothes when it gets soaked... So since I had the pattern and like the gathered details of the neck and cuffs, I decided to make another modified Minoru with some heavy cotton twill (color stone), lined with a beautiful teal Benberg rayon. Both from Fabric.com.
A google search will show that there are lots of great Minoru's out there, a few of them in the military style. For mine I made the following changes:
- Narrowed the plackets by 1/2" and added that to the fronts of the jacket.
- Forgot to add the 1/2" to the collar piece but somehow it still worked. I don't know, I must have been able to stretch the edge enough. I'm not asking questions
- Added storm flaps with snaps (Dritz from Joann). I did the math but they don't quite cover each other but the way I positioned the snaps force them to cover each other when closed, there is enough give and flexibility there that it works. Again, got a little lucky on that one too.
- Added belt loops and a belt for waist definition. my belt is short because that is all the fabric I had left. I just didn't think about all the extra fabric I would need with my mods when ordering.
- Added upper pockets taken from my Granville shirt. The flap is twill on the outside and rayon on the inside, this helped reduce bulk.
- My favorite part, added lined patch pockets with a flap that open on the top, but are attached only on three of the four sides so I can slide my hands in behind the lining! My sister has a jacket like this and I knew when I saw it I had to copy that. I think that night was the start of this Minoru adventure. I really like the look of flap pockets but I find them uncomfortable to put my hands in while walking around. Isn't that the best part of sewing, when you get to have the best of both worlds? These are enlarged back pockets from my Port trousers. I wanted a pleated pocket but again, I was short on fabric. It night have been to bulky to sew on anyway. The flap is a little more than half a port pocket.
I love this jacket, so very much. I thought it would go faster than my first version since I was omitting the hood and elastic but the pockets, belt, and belt loops made up for that. It took a few marathon sewing sessions and several broken needles but the end result is exactly what I wanted. The twill is pretty heavy so I was not able to top stitch the top of the collar, I just couldn't get the placket and storm flaps under my presser foot and I didn't want the top stitching to end an inch away from the seam. It's a bit stiff at first and the twill was a huge pain to gather, but it pressed really well and I think it will break in nicely over time. The rayon actually wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be to work with. It's slippery and frayed a lot but it went smoothly. I sewed the seams and then I finished them on my serger for extra strength. The snaps I hammered in. This flattened them a bit but it doesn't bother me enough to have gone out and bought a special tool. I like the hammered look, more utility chic right?
The hanging loop is leftover bias binding I made for a Granville shirt, the twill would have been way too thick.
Let's talk pockets. This caused me hours of planning as making these mods is not second nature to me, I like to be instructed. If it helps, I'll describe how I muddled through it. The twill is think, so I cut one pocket piece out of twill and one out of rayon, the rayon piece being a little taller than the outer pocket piece. I then hemmed both pocket pieces at the top and sewed both together. Turn right side out and press. Then I top stitched two rows around three sides (not the top). Now I constructed the jacket shell and pinned the pockets where I wanted them. I got the placement I wanted this way, but it was a heavy beast to wrangle at that point. I will say this, wonder tape is amazing. If you do this just buy some. I taped the pocket where I wanted it along the bottom and side closest to the zipper. At the top of the pocket I taped the lining down. Now to stitch it on I stitched over my original top stitching along the zipper side, bottom, and just up to the top of the slant on the outer side. I then started stitching again at the hemline at the top of the pocket, mine was 1/2" from the top, up to the top and then across the lining only, remember the lining piece extends a little above outer pocket piece. The outer side should be left open enough to slip a hand behind the lining. Once the flap is added it should cover most of the lining so you won't see the stitching. Now you have a double pocket!
I've said a lot in this post, I really love this jacket. I find the things I love the most make it to the blog the fastest. Would I make it again? well, I've made it twice so far so never say never. I still dream of a true winter coat version with thinsulate, a waterproof shell, and reflective piping. Maybe someday I'll get to that, next October?