So I knew jackets could take a long time to sew, but I guess I didn’t realise that for me, at least, that would just be because I took forever to sew it! This is the longest a single project has taken me, and not at all because it was difficult – it’s actually a pretty easy and fast pattern for a coat – but because procrastination got the best of me. I cut out this coat in January(!), I think, and it sat around cut out for way too long (long enough for the Renfrew to be announced, ordered, received, and made up, in fact). Once I started actually sewing the jacket, it really only took me a couple weeks of intermittent sewing to get it done. Then I photographed it a couple weeks ago and am just now getting around to posting it… talk about an exercise in un-motivation! Anyway, here, at last, is my finished Sewaholic Minoru rain jacket:
I couldn’t resist the now-classic Minoru pose, but here’s how I’ll more likely wear it:
And yes, I did make it in the not-recommended plaid/check fabric. I have to say, I think it actually works pretty well. Tasia was concerned about the mis-match that would necessarily occur at the raglan sleeve seams, but, a) it’s pretty concealed by the collar, and the neckline gathers, and pretty much anywhere you put your arms, and b) the mis-match is so angled that it doesn’t look like it’s supposed to line up at all, so it doesn’t read as a mistake to me. But you all know that I don’t really mind mismatched seams, so your mileage may vary. (In fact, my side seams are mismatched, actually, despite my best efforts to match them, and I am untroubled.) I managed to match across the front (placket and zipper and placket, oh my) and that’s enough for me!
The fabric itself is a very lightweight nylon coating from FFC eons ago. I bought it for a McCall’s 5525 trench, but I’m really glad I used it for this instead. It was a real hassle to work with, actually, because it was so thin and slippery, and it frayed like mad. For the first time ever I wished I had a walking foot, because it would feed slightly unevenly when I was topstitching causing drag lines between the seam and the topstitching line. But luckily the fabric is generally crumply enough to mask this, and hopefully no one but me will be closely examining all my topstitching! To add a little weight to the jacket, I lined it in a sunny yellow stretch poplin I found at my crazy fabric store (I love this fabric, and I have some left that I have just now decided will become a Cambie dress!) I am happy with my fabric choices in the end, and I think the lightweight nylon works really well with the gathers in this pattern at the neckline and the awesome waist elastic.
In the side view, you can see a little lining peeking out of the side seam pockets I added using Amy’s tutorial/pattern piece. (And like Amy, I think I put them a little low since they hit the hem. Oh well.) I absolutely must have side pockets (I’m like Jack Donaghy trying to act – what do I do with my hands? Give me a coffee cup!), and there was no question I was going to add them, so thanks, Amy, for doing the hard work for me!
You can also see my hood zipper, which, despite being installed using exactly the same method as the one I use in my messenger bag tutorial for the inner zip pocket, and which I’ve done many times, still ended up really wonky here. I’m going to blame the fabric and the slightly-wrong-size waterproof zipper, and again assume that no one but me will notice. But it opens to reveal:
The hood! In general I’m not a things-on-my-head person at all (clearly my hair doesn’t like it), but for a raincoat I think a hood is necessary, and may actually get some use when I forget my umbrella (which is almost always). I also think I like the way the collar lays with the hood out better, which makes me think that if I make this again in another fabric I’ll omit the hood.
And this is probably how I’ll wear it most – open, hood out, hands in pockets. As you can see in the last picture, the zipper is not the best. It is hard to start and tends to open itself from the bottom already. It’s a “waterproof” zipper from Jo Ann, and while I like the smooth surface and it goes well with the jacket fabric, it’s not actually great at, you know, being a zipper. Hopefully it’ll not fail entirely for a long while, even if it stays a nuisance.
Some thoughts on the pattern itself: this is a great jacket that, as many have noted, really fills the not-fancy-but-not-sporty women’s jacket void. I actually can see myself making another one of these in a more-recommended fabric like twill. I like the shape of it, and the elastic waist is genius. It’s my first jacket ever, so I can’t really comment on how hard it is compared to other jacket patterns, but I will say that it didn’t include any techniques that I was unfamiliar with from sewing bags, for instance. The instructions are clear but brief, and there’s a few steps packed into every instruction, so read carefully before moving on! Of course, nothing’s clearer than the sewalong, so be sure to check that out. Even though I didn’t sew along, I did go back and read the posts for certain steps I needed to clarify for myself. Some of the construction things seem easy in concept but were really fiddly and kind of challenging in execution; for example, I had a terrible time lining up the shell and lining to stitch in the ditch under the collar, and my lining ended up a little bigger than the shell, so I had to take a tuck in the lining when I hemmed. The only real fit adjustment I made was to take an inch off the cuff elastic – after making up one cuff, it was so loose that it didn’t feel like a cuff at all, and I almost couldn’t tell it was gathered. On sizing overall, I cut a size 6, grading out to an 8 in the waist only. I probably should have made an 8 on top too, since I learned from my Renfrew that the Sewaholic patterns seem to have narrower shoulders than I have, but the extra ease from just being a coat makes the 6 fine. If I wanted to ride my road bike in it, or wear anything thicker than a long-sleeve tee under it, though, I’d definitely need an 8 in the shoulders. Here’s the link to my pattern review.
So hooray, my first ever coat is finished! It’s funny, it actually doesn’t feel like the huge accomplishment that I thought my first coat would be – probably because the pattern is actually simpler than some dresses I’ve made. I know this coat will have a happy home in my wardrobe during the rainy season, which is, of course, over until October (hopefully! I hate rain). But this fall, man, I’ll be happy I finally got around to making it!