Saturday, March 9, 2013

Finished Minoru!

I took a blogging break - but I'm back with things to show off! I finished my Minoru jacket.

And just in time for a little extra winter! Around here in Indiana, everyone has been complaining for the past few weeks about the cold. Now, I'm from Montana, and all I can say is - IT'S FEBRUARY (or was, at the time of these complaints) IT IS SUPPOSED TO BE COLD. Also, I needed it to stay cold so that I could finish sewing my new coat and have time to wear it.

I guess the snow gods heard my plea for an extension, because we just got a little extra winter dumped on us. Whee! I want spring like every other person, but I'm willing to wait. Especially if it means getting a little extra wear out of my newest creation.

My Minoru is heavily modified. It's a bad habit of mine - picking a pattern and then changing it so much that I probably should have just chosen a different pattern. In this case, I really liked the Minoru pattern and all the good reviews I've read... but I also have always wanted a duffle coat. I was largely inspired by two other Minorus:

Karen's lovely camel wool Minoru...

and Miss Jackson's cozy Minoru with flannel lining and front placket...

I wanted my jacket to be wool like Karen's, despite the pattern being designed for lighter fabrics. I wanted the front placket like Miss Jackson's. And I wanted toggles, and a detachable hood (that's also lined), and side seam pockets. Oh and I didn't want the gathered cuffs. I think that's everything.

The outer fabric is a dark greenish blue wool coating from Denver Fabrics. The interior is a soft flannel from Fabricmart when they were having super deals on flannel. $3/yard I think. I pre-washed it twice to make sure it did all it's shrinking before I sewed.

I wanted the sleeves to be lined with cozy flannel too, but my sewing instructor wisely recommended a more slippery material. Getting the jacket on and off would be a pain otherwise. I compromised by using a bemberg rayon but underlining it with the flannel, to keep the cozy factor.

I didn't want the zipper exposed on the outside or inside, so I ended up doubling the width of the front center pieces and laying the zipper between them. But then I realized I didn't want to just topstitch the zipper down and have its edge exposed. So I had to cut the placket in half and sandwhich the zipper in the middle. You can kinda see what I mean in the photo below.

For the leather toggles, I snagged a leather skirt from Salvation Army and hacked it up. The skirt still had its original price tag on it. Guess how much?


Yikes! I definitely hesitated before cutting into it. It seemed a shame, but I didn't need a size 2 leather skirt. I needed leather toggle patch thingies. So that's what it became. I have a lot left over, and I'm scheming up some different ways to use it. Maybe a leather panel skirt, once again ripped off from Karen? To make my toggles, I referred to Gigi's duffle coat here. I didn't do it exactly the same, because I lacked a leather hole punch and the special leather glue she refers to. Oh well! At this point I just wanted to get the darn thing done. Topstitching the leather was a royal pain. It was very difficult to maneuver the jacket around to make those tight curves. I can see why square patches like Gigi's might be preferable. It would be much easier to sew straight lines that the curves I concocted. But at some point you have to say, "that's good enough!" I examined the sewing on a RTW toggle coat I have in the closet, and my stitching really isn't any worse. And I very much doubt most people will notice or nit pick. So that's that.

One thing I am proud of on this coat is the detachable hood.

I knew my wool was much too heavy to try for a concealed hood as called for in the pattern instructions. That would have been a seriously bulky collar. So I decided to do a detachable hood like my current winter coat. I sandwiched one half of a separating zipper between the hood and hood lining.

I topstitched the other half of the zipper to the outside of the collar, and made a little flap that covers it when the hood is detached.

I really like how the hood and collar turned out. Other random adjustments... I added a little room at the elbows of the sleeves because I felt a little constricted when I bent my arms in the muslin version. I was supposed to add some width to the hips, but I was lazy about making that adjustment on my paper pattern, and as a result I completely forgot when I cut out my fabric. To compensate, I added a triangular gusset to the center back. This was not a perfect fix, but it's not very conspicuous so I'm okay with it. I also did the side seam pockets according to Amy's tutorial, but I forgot to take photos. And I left the elastic out of the cuffs. But this post is long enough already!

All in all... I like my coat! There are some small things I might change if I were to redo it. For example, I think the plackets are too wide in front and it takes a little fiddling to get them to lay flat under the toggles. I've been staring at customer's coats when they come into the coffee shop when I work, to see how the plackets are handled. most don't have a wide overlap like mine. And most use a lighter material to make the underlying placket - the one that keeps the cold zipper from touching your skin. That makes a lot of sense to me, because this heavy wool was definitely a challenge to work with on the plackets. Still, I fit all the changes in, and I think it worked out okay. But next time I find myself making a fifth or sixth modification to a pattern, I'm going to make myself step back and reevaluate. I love this jacket, and I think I should definitely make it again... this time staying truer to the original!


  1. wow, beautiful jacket, and i love the modifications. how creative to do a zip-off hood!

  2. I love everything you changed about this! Who can resist toggles? I think you'll still get wear out of this for another month or so, and then you'll be thrilled to pull it out again this fall. Great job on your Minoru!!

  3. Great coat! It looks so cozy and the color is beautiful! I'm not sure I could have worked up the courage to cut into a $400 skirt - I admire your bravery because the leather is the perfect color to suit your teal wool :)

  4. Actually....this is just amazing. I am really speechless and soooooooooo very proud of you. You have surpassed me in all your endeavors as a seamstress and I will be watching for that new machine for you! Love, Mom

  5. *stumbles onto here*
    Hello! Wonderful read. I found it while looking up parka pattern ideas and detachable hoods. Your lining is absolutely fab looking c: