It’s finished! I wore it out today, and I loooove this garment! It’s everything I hoped it would be, and next year I plan to make an actual parka from the pattern. Here’s the front view, with the hood inside the collar (my poor dummy is a bit tipsy, and I generally forget this when I take pictures — please forgive us both):
As designed, the Minoru has no pockets. I added very large exterior pockets (and a floating pocket on the inside, too). There’s no way I was ever going to adapt to a jacket with no outside pockets. Mine are too big, probably, and I had to reduce the size of the hem because the pockets interfered with the top-stitching. (My jacket is about an inch longer than the pattern should have been.) This length is prefect on me, though, and I’ll keep it for the next one.
The fabric is a dark purple corduroy from JoAnn’s (with no apparent flaws!), and the lining is a print poly from stash. I’ve had it for a long time, and have no idea where it came from originally. Why did I buy it? No clue at all. But, hey, my new jacket counts as stash-busting, so I’m not complaining.
Here’s the back view, with the hood rolled into the collar:
I worried about those shoulder gathers, suspecting that they might be bulky, or look frumpy, once the jacket was made up. They don’t; not on mine, nor on any of the others I’ve seen. Tasia did something clever in the back, too: The gathers don’t extend all the way across the center back. As a result, there’s no extra emphasis there. Nice if you’re round-shouldered!
Here’s the front view, with the collar open:
The pattern calls for an unlined hood, and that might be fine, but, for me, part of the fun of this jacket was the wacky lining, and, anyway, the thought of a single layer of corduroy for a hood just didn’t hold any appeal at all. The hood is over-sized — really over-sized — so some people might want to alter that. I love the Jedi look, though, so I left it as-is.
All of my knock-around jackets have shock cords so that the waist can be cinched, but, no matter what, when I wear them, they still look like chunky rectangles. I LOVE that the Minoru has a defined waist! Although Sewaholic’s patterns are designed for the pear-shaped woman, there was so much ease in the bust of this size 10 that I was able to make it without an FBA. The hip is really roomy, but since I wanted to add a pocket for my wallet in the “skirt”, that worked in my favor, too.
I added the red shock cord and toggles (details below). I’m not sure how you’d get the hood to stay up without them, but this was also a great chance to use some colorful hardware I had lying around.
Here’s a glimpse of the inside of the jacket:
The corduroy pocket above is part of the pattern; I added a floating pocket, large enough for my wallet, to the other side of the jacket, below a small pocket identical to this one (details below). I was hoping this would be a “no bag, just throw it on” kind of coat, and that has worked out perfectly, thanks to my additional pockets.
The most critical things you need to know about this pattern:
~ This jacket uses a ton of thread. I bought two 500m spools of Gutermann Sew-All, and there’s not much thread left. I don’t even remember how many bobbins I wound.
~ The pattern illustration shows the jacket zipper level with the bottom edge of the jacket. You’ll need a longer zipper if you want that look; the instructions are for a zipper that stops well short of the hem.
~ I love me some long sleeves, but the Minoru’s are gorilla long. Normally, I add sleeve length; not in this case. I shortened these sleeves. Check before you cut.
~ If you follow the pattern directions for the collar, the interfacing on the lining side (or on the wrong side of your fabric, if you don’t interface) will show when you wear the hood out. If you don’t want that look, you’ll need to line both sides of the collar. Allow enough lining; the collar’s big.
~ The hood itself is humongous. If you intend to line it, plan for that when you buy your lining material.
~ As designed, the pattern has no pockets. If you want them, plan for them when you buy your fabric, unless you choose to add in-seam, hidden pockets.
I made a lot of modifications to my jacket, but not to the pattern itself (other than adding the exterior pockets). Below are some of the details, followed by a list of all the changes I made.
Instead of making a self-fabric loop, I used a piece of flat cord. I use loops to hang my jackets all the time, so I wanted something super-sturdy, and also something thin enough to slip onto small hooks:
This type of braid is hard to find. Sometimes it’s available at office supply stores, attached to identification sleeves meant for use by people attending business meetings, and sometimes it’s attached to really, really bad hooks or “charms” meant for use as key chains (think any junk store like Walmart, Kmart, dollar stores). I stock up when I see them, as I frequently have use for the braid.
The seam line in the center back, above, isn’t in the pattern. It’s the pleat I added to the lining for wearing ease.
For the hood, I added elastic shock cord (red!) threaded through a tiny, interfaced, button hole. The bead at the end keeps the compression toggle from sliding off..
Where did I find the toggle? I always check the clearance bins in electronics departments — they are a treasure trove of dumped cords, hardware, etc., for iPods and the like. This particular toggle is from a set of six different colors which came with matching cords. The set was a dollar, which made this perfect little piece a real bargain, even if I never use the several fluorescent colors that came with it!
Apart from all the extras I can’t help but add, there was one serious blip in the design of the pattern. If you follow the pattern instructions, but choose to interface the collar facing, this is what you’ll see when the hood is pulled out, and not on your head:
Uuuuugly, non? That’s interfacing looking at you. Too bad I didn’t think this out before I sewed the lining to the jacket. When I realized what was going on, I hadn’t done the final turn, so I cut another collar piece of my (fortunately very thin) lining, and hand-tacked it in place. The final topstitching will hold it where it belongs, but this is sooooo the wrong way to do this. Add the lining to the inner collar when you add the interfacing. It’s much better that way.
Here’s the zippered, internal, floating pocket I added to hold my wallet. It’s supported by an interfaced corduroy band (sorry about the pins — at this point I hadn’t attached the small pockets that are part of the pattern:)
This pocket really is symmetrical. I don’t know what’s up with the rumple! The pocket just floats inside the coat, easily accessible, but totally secure.
Here’s the list of changes I made to the Minoru pattern:
~ Shortened the loooong sleeves (if you do this, remember to alter the lining, too)
~ Added a shock-cord drawstring, and toggles, to the hood
~ Customized the interior pockets to conform to the way I use them (sewed the included interior pockets a bit larger than the pattern piece, and made a floating, zipped pocket in the lining). I can’t remember if the pattern calls for two small interior pockets, or one. I made one one each side.
~ Replaced the self-fabric neck loop (cute!) with a more practical one made of nylon braid (I use these loops a lot)
~ Added a center back pleat to the lining for wearing ease (I goofed this up, and made it too narrow)
~ Added biiiig exterior pockets
~ Added a loop inside each exterior pocket to secure keys, subway passes, etc.
~ Used a two-way separating zipper. When I sit down, to drive, for example, the last thing I want is my coat bunching up around my hips.
~ Altered the too-long zipper I had to buy to get the length I wanted
~ Took the zipper to the lower edge of the jacket, since it can be opened from either end
~ Raised the waist elastic by about 2.25 cm
~ Took a smaller hem because my big pockets turned out to be tooo big!
The sew-along, my first, was kind of a bust. It started in mid-January, and was supposed to conclude about a month later — a nice leisurely pace. It still wasn’t finished when I posted this, on March 5, and Sewaholic’s Tasia has indicated it will finish around mid-March. I probably won’t do a sew-along again — for me, the point was to maintain some sort of momentum, and this one didn’t meet that goal very well. Although I started late, waiting for the next installment got very frustrating. Tasia’s directions are excellent, though, and her tutorial (start here with step #1) should be a perfect supplement to the generally more spare pattern directions. I’ll add a link to it once the sew-along is over.
Pocket details here: Exterior Pockets for the Minoru
Various pocket options here: Minoru Pockets
Shortening the zipper here: Minoru Zip
Related: Minoru Sew-Along
Buy the Minoru Pattern here (I don’t get a cut! It’s a great pattern, though, and you should own it!)