It's done, woo hoo! This pattern, the Minoru Jacket from Vancouver based designer Tasia of Sewaholic has been a really enjoyable project and had lots of little features to keep me interested. For once I slowed down and traded my usual 'quick & dirty' sewing style for slow and measured, and enjoyed the journey. I'd read that several people felt their jacket came together quickly, but for me it didn't - I spent ages on it, but enjoyed it all and feel satisfied that I've done it to the best of my ability. Along the way I checked the Sew-along posts on the Sewaholic blog and found the little hints and tips very helpful.
There are lots of notes following for those interested. And plenty of pictures. I figure that considering I spent so long making it I might as well splurge on the pics ;-)
I don't like to think of the main fabric as denim, though it is - I'm really not into wearing 'double denim' at all. And I will probably wear my jacket with jeans most of the time, if I'm honest - I'm a jeans girl at heart. So I didn't set out looking for denim but loved this when I saw it. And it has a little stretch too, which lets me wear it quite fitted while still allowing movement. The lining is a beautiful Amy Butler cotton print that I'd been coveting for ages.
The only other thing to note is that though I didn't feel the denim was too thick when I bought it, now that it's finished it does feel quite bulky. So when I make another (I'm sure I won't be able to resist one day) I'll choose a lighter weight fabric. We've had a lot of rain here lately but I couldn't wear it as I'd be way too hot, so a lighter one would be handy.
As I mentioned in this post, I felt so happy with my selection of both the outer and lining... until I absent mindedly threw it all into the washing machine to pre-wash it and the dye in the denim ran like crazy all over the beautiful lining fabric. I have tried a few things to set it, and to cut a long story short, I'm still not sure it won't leave me looking like a smurf if I get stuck in rain, but I'll give it a go. And if it does... I'll swear. A lot.
Zip & top stitching
I had trouble finding a zip long enough for the front, as I note many others did too. The great chartreuse zip I found on that heady fabric shopping day was just going to be way too short, so I resorted to a blue one, which is still too short but acceptable to me. Also the pop of colour, when I tried it,made the jacket look more sporty than I was aiming for, so it turned out well. Needless to say, my seam ripper was busy on this project! I didn't want to be wishing I'd done something different later on.
I had high hopes for the top stitching after seeing this version where it's a strong feature. But I had to limit my use of it when I just couldn't get the tension right on both sides, so where both sides were to be seen I used ordinary black thread which became almost invisible. I also can't use a double needle on my machine, so had to line it up by eye and it's a bit wonky in spots, but not to worry.
I loved the inside pockets (see lining pic) but decided to make them blend in with the lining by using the lining fabric as opposed to the outer fabric. I didn't want to interrupt the lovely print with big squares of dark colour.
And as I noted many others did, I added pockets to the outside. I can see the merit in leaving the silhouette clean, as the pattern's been designed, and my pockets do push it out of shape a little, but overall I felt it was more important to have them. While doing my research on sewing blogs I loved seeing all the different pockets being added by people, and though the side seam pockets that I did are not in such a natural place (being at the sides rather than a bit further forward where the hands would naturally sit) they're the right solution for me. This tutorial is pretty much how I did mine, and how I add side seam pockets to any garment.
This was fun to make. I think the design is really clever and Tasia has done a great job on the pattern. I did a French seam down the centre as I couldn't bear to see an awful overlooked edge, and I like the way it looks. I loved the lined versions I'd seen and knew it would be simple to do, but my denim was quite thick already and I didn't want to add bulk. When I fold my hood up and zip it into the collar it's a bit bulky and doesn't sit flat, but again that's my choice of fabric.
The only small thing I'd fault about the pattern is that it bothered me that the raw seam around the neck is visible through the zippered opening. This probably doesn't make sense unless you've made the pattern, but if you do, can I urge you to finish off both of those seams after you've sewn them and before you top stitch them. I'm thinking I'll add a line of top stitching (black) to seal it off.
So, all in all I loved this pattern. It was a very big project for me, but enjoyable right the way through and with a result that I'm pleased with.
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