Completed: March Minoru

Greetings from a dull, rainy London afternoon! I wanted to share some Minoru pics before the light dies completely but I certainly didn’t want to venture outside on such a horrible day. No, today should be solely reserved for blue cheese on biscuits, roast chicken and cups of sweet tea.

March Minoru from the side

I dragged the husband outside the front door to take a few pics instead and am now back inside in slippers and dressing gown while he makes hot water bottles. Brrrr!

March Minoru back

Pattern: Minoru by Sewaholic (Intermediate)

Difficulty rating for Stitchandwitter: 4.5 out of 5

Fabric and notions used: 2.5 metres of medium grey corduroy (£1.50/metre). 2 metres of royal blue polka dot satin (2.99/metre). Two zippers (one open ended and one standard) about £2 each. All in all, this coat came in at less than £30 even including the pattern!

Fitting issues: I found the original length to be much too long for my short frame so I shortened the length by 8 centimetres. I cut out a size 2 and other than adjusting the length I didn’t need to make any further changes. I added side seam pockets using Amy at Sew Well’s excellent tutorial, and left out the inside pockets.

Making issues: Tasia’s sewalong was a dream to follow. But thank god she did one because I’m not sure I would have had the skills just to follow the rather brief pattern instructions. The trickiest bit by far (funnily enough – when I went ahead of the sewalong) was sewing the casing for the elastic through the corduroy and the slippery lining. I got it really wrong and lopsided the first time, and the second time my lining ended up being pulled up by a few inches, meaning that I had just enough lining to tuck into the hem. I didn’t have the heart to unpick it again so I left it as it was, and added an extra line of topstitching at the hem to really secure the lining. Finally, I had interfaced one side of my collar so was disheartened to see that the interfacing side was visible when I had my hood out (likely to be the case all the time for me), so before I finished the lining I basted some leftover lining material onto the offending section – worked a treat.

Skills learned: Woah – this was a steep learning curve of a project! Adding elasticated cuffs, installing lining (only done before on a Beignet) – um… making a COAT!

Anything to add? I think if I were to make this again I’d reduce the height of the collar a smidgeon, and perhaps use better quality corduroy. As it stands I’m well chuffed with this though. I felt for the first time that I was perhaps moving out of being a beginner and into a more intermediate skillset. A pattern like this is perfect if you’re itching to try something more complicated but need extra support – the sewalong is a massive help.

March Minoru hood

March Minoru lining

March Minoru

Minoru in progress

As I declared on Friday, over the weekend I THREW myself into catching up on the Minoru sewalong with Tasia. After two hours on Sat and about five on Sun, I’m almost up to date. Tonight I’ll be finishing off the lining and putting it into the coat. My new sewing room is a joy to work in! Here’s a few pics from the work in progress.

I knew I would like the combo of grey corduroy and electric blue polkadot lining but I didn’t know I would FALL IN LOVE with it.

Here’s another pop of colour in da hood. Yes that’s right – da hood. Don’t judge me.

I used Amy’s excellent tutorial to install side pockets using leftover lining material.

By the way, have you seen Karen’s Minoru? It’s adorable. I love the front pockets she’s added.

Anyone else doing the sewalong? Have you experienced any tricky bits? I’m not sure my ‘concealed’ zipper in the hood has come out too well but I’m thinking I’ll have it out most of the time anyway. 🙂

Paying my dues to the pattern blues

Faced with the self-realisation that I am a sewing slattern, brought on by last week’s tussling with a certain Peony we shall not mention, I decided to turn over a new leaf this week and make a bladdy muslin.

It was inevitable really, since I wanted to adapt the pattern anyway. I’m hoping to transform Simplicity 4082…

Simplicity 4082

…into something resembling Trudy’s elegant jacket in Mad Men. Given that I’ve never adapted a pattern before I’m pretty circumspect about the whole thing. But if we don’t try children, how can we ever lean how to f@$! things up as adults, huh?

I started by checking out the back of the pattern to work out which size to cut. According to that I needed to cut out a size 12. But when I looked at the pattern pieces it was obvious even to my untrained eye that these pieces were humungous. Come on Simplicity – at this rate you’d have me in a deflated beach ball. So I chanced my arm and cut out a 6 which looked way better, although even still slightly billowy and boxy.

Simplicity 4082 - before the chop

I wanted to create that nice curved edge that Trudy has on her jacket opening, as well as reduce some of the extra roominess under the arms and around the shoulders. So I got my pencil and my scisssors out – and this is where I’m at for now.

Simplicity 4082 - after the chop

Simplicity 4082 back pleat

I think there’s a lot more still to do if I want to try and copy Trudy’s jacket. Mine is still very roomy, and those shoulders (is that a raglan sleeve?) don’t fit the Trudy brief, nor does the pleat at the back. Or the high neckline. Hmpf! I’m slightly worried about veering too far off-pattern though. What do you think? Should I ‘channel’ Trudy rather than try and copy whole-sale? Does that way madness lie?

A cute little jacket inspired by Mad Men

Call me Ginny-come-lately if you like, but I’m finally getting into Mad Men. We got series 1 & 2 on DVD recently and we’re already more than halfway though (no spoilers please!). So now I see what all the fuss is about. It’s not just some flippant little period piece with less substance than one of Christina Hendricks’ bra straps, oh no. But I’m not going to wax lyrical about it – it’s all been said already. What I will say is ‘hello you little swingy cheeky polka-dot jacket you’, modelled so prettily by Trudy, Pete’s wife.

Isn’t it so cute? Inspired by Handmade Jane‘s latest coat project I went off in search of a suitable pattern to bring this little baby to life. I figured as long as I got something in the right dimensions with the Peter Pan collar, I could  adjust the front to be a little more curved and swingy. I found Simplicity 4082 for that very purpose.

Simplicity 4082

Cover shots aside (hello? can someone call the granny out of Golden Girls and tell her someone’s stealing her style?) this is a very cute jacket pattern and has the possibility of infinite (well alright – let’s say ‘lots of’) permutations.

I’m toying with two possible versions: a polkadot (naturally) for a sort of indoors jacket to be worn over a long sleeve top with jeans, and a light coat for spring (or even a mild winter’s day if over a jumper) using the remainder of the teal corduroy I used for the Betty Blue Beignet. I feel it’s a suitable stepping stone towards making my own coat, something which I’d love to do at some point next year. There’s no way I’m ready for it at the moment, and to be honest nor do I feel the inclination to start such a scary project this side of Christmas. So this is good.

P.S. I’ve just realised that the title of this post indicated some kind of finished project for you to view.  Whoops. I haven’t even started it yet… I’m just thinking aloud…