Minoru Raincoat

  • Pattern: Sewaholic Minoru, view A
  • Fabric: 2-ply Ultrex in black (main); Silkara in burgundy (lining), both from Seattle Fabrics
  • Modifications:
    • Added 6 pockets: 2 outer flap pockets + 4 inner zipper pockets
    • Converted the hood to a 3-piece hood (from these instructions)
    • Added a lining and facing to the hood
    • Shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches and made the cuffs flat
    • Made cuffs 2-piece–inner one interfaced and outer one not; understitching around the cuff opening helps it lie flat without topstitching that area (otherwise I attached the cuffs per the pattern instructions)
      • Side note: I don’t think interfacing is necessary for this fabric–I didn’t use it in the zipper plackets and they seem fine without it!
    • Finished the inner collar seams with my serger (otherwise the raw seams would have been exposed when the hood zipper is open)
    • Sealed all the shell seams with iron-on seam tape (I needed 10 yards for this jacket)
  • Comments:  I also wanted to add a facing under the zipper, but I had SUCH a tough time sewing through the Ultrex that I didn’t think either of my machines could make it through all those layers. Yes, my machines hated sewing the Ultrex! What a pain. I didn’t have wavy seams or slippage like other people reported, but as soon as more than 2 layers were being sewn (like in topstitching or where seams intersected or at the gathers around the collar) they would insist on skipping stitches. Argh! I tried a bunch of different needles and settings, yet still the problem happened; eventually I just gave up and accepted that my topstitching was going to look wonky. For the record, I had the most success with Microtex 60/8 needles.

The Silkara, on the other hand, was dead simple to sew and looks soooo nice. I may need to make something else with that as the main fabric!

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While I found the Minoru pattern generally pretty easy (the sewalong is also full of helpful hints) and fitting it is simple (ragalan sleeves! fitted at the waist with easily-adjustable elastic!), I wouldn’t use it for a raincoat again. This is mainly because of the gathers at the collar; they were very hard to handle with the waterproof fabric and now that I’ve had to go over that seam several times I’m a bit concerned with how waterproof it will be. The pattern would make a nice medium-weight jacket in canvas or light wool, though!

I do think it’s a bit silly that the only pockets included in the pattern are little velcro patch pockets on the inside. I guess the designer was probably trying to keep the jacket as simple as possible? In that vein, if you’re thinking of making your own version, there are lots of ways to jazz it up that many people have already done–for example:

  • Three-piece hood
  • Hood lining and/or facing
  • Storm flaps
  • Drawstring for hood
  • Drawstring in place of elastic for waist
  • And of course lots of options for pockets (I really wanted to do cargo pockets on the outside, but once I realized my fabric wouldn’t press and I was having so much trouble with topstitching, I decided to do flat patch pockets. Zipper welt pockets probably would’ve been better, but by the time I got to that step I didn’t want to wait for specially ordered zippers so I just forged ahead, haha)

I read a lot of other people’s project details before starting mine, and a lot of advice on sewing with waterproof fabric. Thanks to all the bloggers who detailed their modifications; that made it easy to adapt them to my own.

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Someone posted that if you’re embarking on making a raincoat, you just need to accept that it’ll probably cost more than something off-the-rack AND it won’t be perfect. While I’m overall happy with this jacket, there are two ways it’s not ideal: it’s a little snugger than I’d like (especially in the upper arms–not usually an issue for me) and the topstitching is frankly awful. But I can still get it on over my fleece jacket, and luckily the topstitching is nearly invisible unless you get up way too close. 🙂 Plus, it fits much better than anything off-the-rack that I’ve tried! So I’m at peace with it.

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Corduroy Hollyburn

Last post of the year! Apologies in advance for the extra-terrible photos in this post, but I’m in the middle of packing (for a trip AND a move, hahaha kill me). I am hoping, however, that I will soon have a much better setup. Fingers crossed . . .
I admit–I bought this stretch corduroy just to make a skirt to go with this sweater while I was knitting it. And originally it was going to be an entirely different skirt. But I could not make it work with that pattern (things were ripped out and put back together at least 2 . . . 3? . . . times), so another Hollyburn it is! I mean, you can’t go wrong with those great pockets, right?

 

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This is View C, which is a little short for my preference, but I didn’t have much of a choice since I was cutting it from pieces I’d already cut out for the original skirt. In fact, both back panels are pieced (though fortunately I managed to get them symmetrical so it looks deliberate).
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The pockets and waistband are faced with a delightful orange/burgundy/gold quilting cotton to keep down bulk. (And once again I almost had a failure, trying to marry the stretch corduroy with a decidedly nonstretch fabric . . . but I think in the end it turned out fine.)
I did make one change to the pattern: I swapped out the waistband for a narrower contoured waistband (click here for contoured waistband instructions!). This does seem to work better with my very short waist (no more gaping at the top of the waistband), and I’m glad I now have a pattern piece for this since I have yet another Hollyburn variation coming up in my queue.
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