So I still have a load of unphotographed, unblogged projects, but this one is jumping the queue. It’s a Minoru Jacket by Sewaholic and I’m quite pleased with it….
After the success of my blue coat, I decided I fancied making a jacket for the slightly warmer days, maybe something shower proof. It took a while to find the right fabric, and I eventually found it on eBay – from a seller who has loads of ex-designer and interesting fabrics from Italian textile mills. This fabric was apparently Hugo Boss and is described as a microfibre satin canvas in a dark peat colour, and I think it’s what makes the jacket such a success. I got a swatch, and loved the feel of it – it only cost £6 a metre, but it feels expensive. It’s 150cm wide as well, so excellent value all round really! I can report that it is shower proof, thanks to a handy shower on my way home the other day. I wasn’t worried about full-on waterproofing, so I didn’t waterproof the seams or anything fancy like that.
You can see the slight sheen of the fabric in this photo – I think that’s one of the things that makes it feel so luxurious. It was slightly tricky to gather – even using the longest stitch length I could only gather a couple of cm from the end of the gathering stitches using the normal method. Instead, I used a trick I’d seen somewhere online, can’t remember where, which was to use a wide zigzag stitch over some yarn between the gathering markings, then pull the yarn. It worked a treat.
I cut a size 14, no grading to a larger size at the hips required, thanks to the Sewaholic drafting for pear shapes. I could possibly have shortened it slightly, I think it’s come up a bit longer on me than intended, but I quite like it like that. Once I’d set in the sleeves I tried it on and discovered that they were way, way too long – I had to chop off a good 10cm at least. I might actually have chopped off very slightly too much – I’m used to sleeves being a bit long on me so it feels weird to have them stop at my wrist.
I really like the wide elastic at the back waist, it makes the jacket feel nice and snug even in Edinburgh’s windiest weather. The sleeve cuffs could be a little bit snugger but they’re not loose enough to annoy me so I didn’t bother to make them any narrower.
I did have to put the zip in twice – my first attempt was distinctly wonky, and the uneven corners at the bottom were really obvious so I ripped it out. Definitely much better the second time round. I didn’t have any other problems with the construction, it actually came together quite easily. My machine coped fine with the very densely woven fabric, I used a ‘Sharp’ needle and ordinary Gutermann’s thread and had none of the trouble I’d half expected. It also wasn’t as shifty as you might think – it was actually really stable and quite easy to cut. I did need a new rotary cutter blade, but seeing as I hadn’t changed it for months that wasn’t very surprising.
Until the recent cold snap we had, I’ve mostly been wearing it this way. It’s super cosy zipped all the way up though, with room for a scarf in there, and with one of my toasty wool cardigans on I was easily warm enough even in the 0 degrees weather we had a couple of weeks ago. That’s partly down to the soft, brushed cotton I used for the lining – I had bought some lining fabric, but decided I wanted something a bit warmer. I found this plaid fabric at Fabworks Online – I can never resist a teal – and when it arrived it turned out that the ‘grey’ of the description was almost exactly the same colour as my main fabric. It must have been fate!
I didn’t bother being too careful with pattern matching the lining – I lined up the horizontal lines without worrying too much about the vertical. I’m really glad I went with this rather than the lining fabric I had originally planned – it’s one of my favourite things about this jacket.
I love the hidden hood – it’s a little bit big on me, but again means there’s lots of room for a woolly hat or big cowl for when it’s colder. It also means I can hide in it at the bus stop if I want to avoid having to make conversation with my neighbours first thing in the morning…..I’m not a social butterfly at the best of times and polite chit-chat at 8.30am is not my idea of fun!
This was a really successful project in the end, from main fabric to lining to construction, and has been one of my most complimented makes as well. I always get a gratifying reaction at work, but I also wore this to the recent sewing bloggers meet-up in Edinburgh and had some lovely comments from my fellow dressmakers which meant a lot – these people know what they’re talking about!