And yes, the world now has its million-and-tenth Minoru, and that’s ok because this is such a good, versatile pattern, lending itself to any adaptation from winter sports jacket to a pretty cover-up. Just look at the variety of Minorus here and here!
I was particularly inspired by the cold weather ones, with warm lining, snuggly hoods and deep pockets. What fun it would be to have a warm, cozy jacket made just right for me with a fluffy hood lining, a collar to snuggle the tip of my nose into, knitted cuffs, diagonal pockets with an attached key loop, front flap and two-way zip! I would almost look forward to going out in winter then!
Then I started obsessively reading all the Minoru posts to figure out how to make it all real. Albeit I was going to make a winter jacket, I wanted a basically sleek and shaped silhouette. Otherwise I tend to look like a sausage in shapeless winter clothes. So my thoughts rambled:
Need lining and underlining for warmth > May need to cut bigger size > How will I know? > Will cut smaller size as muslin > Why waste a muslin? > Make wearable muslin in decent cloth > If contemplating decent, why not all the way to elegant and pretty? >Oooo elegant! Will have to hide the zip then > Button flaps! > But thick layers in front of my nose will destroy elegance > Button flaps till neck only > But what about exposed zip on collar? > Leave out zip entirely! > And pleats instead of gathers and elastic!
And that’s how I came to make my wearable muslin with very pretty fabrics.
I’ll try to be brief in the rest of the post.
Silk-cotton twill weave for main fabric. The right side (topmost scrap) was a shiny green but the wrong side (2nd scrap) had a gorgeous purple iridescence, so of course I made that the right side. It was quite thin, so I underlined with gingham print cotton (3rd scrap). The lining is a silk mix (bottom scrap), a really pretty print with exactly the same shades as the warp and weft of the main fabric. Both fabrics (main and lining) are from a shop in Malviya Nagar, Delhi.
I made view B (hoodless) and left out the cuffs. For the button flap, I cut a rectangular piece whose width was [(placket pattern x2) – (seam allowances x 2)] and length was [placket – collar] (which I later adjusted). I also cut out a long double fold piece for button loops, and a button tab for the back. During the test run (before final sewing) I reduced the collar.
I went by the finished garment sizes and chose size 0 throughout. This gave me just around 1.5” ease in the bust, but the jacket fits perfectly. So perfectly that when I make the warmer jacket, instead of going for a larger size I may just add some horizontal width to the size 0 pieces, and take up the excess in the convenient gathers. And although these patterns are drafted for bottom heavy figures, the flared bottom (meant to accommodate large hips) actually visually balances out top-heavy bodies, so all is good.
1. Folded Main fabric: Cut all pieces as instructed and button flaps and button tabs; not cuffs; not one collar (since I was going to cut the inner collar out of lining material).
2. Folded Underlining fabric: Cut all pieces as exactly as Main Fabric and another collar (to underline the Lining fabric collar
3. Folded Lining Fabric: cut all pieces as instructed and one collar.
Also, perhaps this is really obvious, but you can overlap pattern pieces on the cutting layout, ensuring only that the lines for your chosen size don’t overlap. This helps save a significant amount of fabric for smaller sizes.
The instructions are good, the sewalong invaluable. I followed instructions except:
Underlining: All the main fabric pieces were basted to their underlining counterparts. Besides stabilizing the main fabric, it also means you can mark it as much as you want!
Interfacing: None! Didn’t have any, didn’t use any.
Double topstitching: After testing a purple and magenta thread the best match was an unexpected yellow leaf green (left). Although it is quite visible in these photographs, in real life it disappears against the sheen of the fabric, leaving only the dotted texture of the topstitching line. I did double topstitching, just because it was more fun.
Seam finishing: I found it easiest to clip curves, press seams from both sides, press them open, then top stitch. WS (left) and RS (right):
Pleating: I pleated instead of gathering, to practice for the thicker, heavier Minoru to come.
Button flap: I made button loops…
… basted them down the front of one flap piece…
… then sewed it to the other, leaving one side open. After clipping curves, turned it right side out and topstitched.
Plackets: sandwiched the button flap between the right front and placket before sewing together. Sewed buttons to edge of other placket. Oh and didn’t use a zip at all!
Inner collar: made with lining fabric with cotton underlining, since I wanted the silky fabric against my neck and also so that the pretty print would show if I turned the collar down.
Cuffs: Didn’t make the cuffs, the sleeves were just the right length without them.
Elastic: Pleated the back instead, to match shoulder pleats.
And then covered it all with a buttonless button-tab.
And there it is! Seriously, if you haven’t made one already, do! And while you’re at it, check out the sewalong because it has lots of tips and tricks. The jacket is really easy to put together and the results look so professional! I almost can’t believe I made it. I spent half a day cutting (because I had to cut the underlining as well) and the sewing itself took one whole day plus a few hours scattered over the working week. This could totally be a long weekend project.
I’m going to be travelling over the next two months and so won’t be able to sew anything. So Warm Minoru will only be made later and used next winter. But I’m so looking forward to making it! It’s been a while since I was home and able to use my sewing machine, so thank goodness for the portability of knitting. And yes, the Minoru was a totally great way to be reintroduced to my machine again!