Saturday, 28 September 2013

Royal Blue Minoru Jacket

At last I can show you my finished jacket! I actually finished this on 21 June 2013 but have only just got around to photographing it. Without further ado here are some photos.

I have already done two progress posts on the various changes I made to this jacket. In the first  I talked mainly about the interlining. In the second I talked about a few other changes I was making.

I took detailed notes of this make and took lots of progress photos. I've written up several tutorials. I'll do an overview here and post the tutorials when they're finished. (Ha ha I just removed the word "brief" from that sentence!)

I started cutting this on 21 April and put on the last snap just before midnight on 21 June 2013! I added a further step of waterproofing the jacket a month or so ago but more on that below.

Planning and Cutting.

I cut all the pieces and interlining over 3 days. I wrote above the interlining here.

The pattern only lines the inside of one of the collar pieces, where the zip is, but I lined both. When the hood hangs down the lining inside the collar is visible.

I lined the hood, which isn't called for in the pattern. I made the hanging loop out of lining rather than shell fabric. I interfaced one of the loop pieces to give some body. I also interfaced both collar pieces this time.


I added lined patched pockets to my first Minoru. I talked briefly here about the changes I was making to the pockets this time. Last time I didn't interface the pockets save for the under flap. The lining I used on my first Minoru was not good quality and has fluffed and curled around the edges. I thought interfacing all the pocket pieces would help keep them flat. I also made the pocket flap slightly bigger. The biggest change was to make a proper bagged lining for the pocket, so that your entire hand is encased in soft lining when they are in the pockets! Here are some close ups of the pocket and the lining.

Update: My step by step tutorial on how I did the pockets is available on this post.

Lengthening the Jacket

I mentioned in this post that I was lengthening the jacket. This change was forced on me for reasons I can laugh about now but were minor heart attack inducing at the time.

To explain the context you have to understand that the lined pockets took ages to attach. On top of the actual sewing I was taking photos and writing a tutorial. In one of the tutorial steps I dutifully tell everyone to chalk the pocket placement lines and then sew your pockets within those lines. When you eventually see the tutorial you will from the photo of this step that I chalked both the finished hem line and the pocket placement line. Guess which one I attached my first pocket to? Yes I attached my pocket to the line indicating where my finished hemline would be and noticed only after spending ages attaching it!

Leaving it as is was not an option as having no gap underneath the pockets before the hem line would be crazy. Option 2 was to reduce the generous 3 inch hem on the Minoru jacket. I wasn't keen on that idea so I went with option 3. I cut a hem facing for the jacket and attached it to the bottom edge of the jacket with a 1 cm seam allowance. This had the effect of lengthening the jacket. I actually like hem facings and they turned out really well.

I didn't have to re-cut the jacket lining pieces as I made the hem facing long enough to comfortably attach the lining and allow for some ease. The only pieces I had to re-cut were the plackets and I had to buy a longer zip.

Update: My step by step tutorial on how I did the hem facing and finished the lining and corners on the jacket is available on this post.

All in all this was a good save! I did want a longer Minoru. The only change I would make if I was to make another in this length would be to move the pockets higher. I have long arms but even so they are fully extended when my hands are in the pockets.

Sewing the hood and lining

As others have pointed out, one of the quirks of the Minoru jacket hood is that the seam attaching the hood to the collar can be seen inside the collar when the hood hangs down. I trimmed and finished that seam with a zig zag stitch. I thought I would save time by zig zagging the bottom edges of my hood and lining pieces before I started. This turned out to be a complete waste of time as you really do need to trim and grade that seam down so that you can topstitch along that edge.

I went over the trimmed seam with a zig zag stitch and it's not too bad. I took this nifty extra step to ensure that seam was as small as it could be and had less scope to move about when worn. I topstitched the right side of the hood at the lower edge, taking in the trimmed neckline seam of the coat on the other side. I made sure the collar was folded away as I didn't want to stitch onto that. Here's a couple of photos which I hope explains what I did.  The coloured headed pins sticking up show where the topstitching is.

Collar is folded down out of the way

View from the other side

Zip on the collar

I had a few problems with this step. First, I noticed after inserting the zip (yes always after) that I had the collar lining on upside down. The collar is longer at the bottom than the top but I had the short edge of the lining along the bottom. I thought: “Jeez I cut this really badly” before realising my error! Duh!!

My second problem was pressing that window for the zip once it is turned through (rather like a welt pocket). The interfaced fabric meant it was hard to press. I pressed for ages and got it to go as flat as I could.

The corners of the zip window where you snip into? I had the same problem as last time with a small amount of my lining peeking to the right side. Not as much as last time though. I'm also not brave enough to snip right up to the stitching and this adds to the problem.

My main problem was attaching the zipper. The zipper window being slightly too big in one place caused my topstitching to miss the zipper tape in one small area measuring around an inch. I had to go back and fix this which meant stitching over the previous stitching which is quite noticeable.

I'm going to take extra care if I make the jacket again to ensure the zipper window is not too big and to make it uniform. I was lazy about transferring over the zipper markings at the cutting stage. (Seriously the pieces take ages to cut and the last thing I want to do is tailor tack the zipper opening along with the the placement for the elasticated waist). The zipper window only needs to expose the teeth so there's no need for it expose the tape.

Storm flaps

I mentioned in this post that I was adding a front flap to the jacket as I couldn't find a zip to match my fabric.

I'm really pleased with how they look. There are two flaps covering the zip. The under flap is cut smaller so the top one can lay flat. The top flap has a hidden under flap which has the upper halves of snaps invisible from the outside. The lower flap has the bottom halves of the snaps. I worked out how to do this from a ready to wear jacket. I have hand tacked the under flap to the top flap in between the upper snaps.

Here are some close ups of the flaps which hopefully show how they work.

Update: My step by step tutorial on how I did the storm flaps is available on this post.

I've done a step by step tutorial on how to do the storm flaps which I'll post once it's finished.
I also did my first ever snaps. I don't have any fancy equipment for this. The snaps came with a small punching tool and a spreading tool which are used with a hammer to pierce the fabric and attach the snaps. The pack also came with a base tool which holds the snap in place while you hammer it.

My test snaps came out better than those on my finished jacket. Only one has come out really well and they are a bit stiff to close. It was difficult to hammer the snaps into the finished jacket, particularly the under flap, as it was hard to keep the rest of the coat out of the way. I now want fancy equipment for attaching snaps but I can't justify the expense.

It is possible to remove snaps with a hammer, chisel and some patience, as I found out when I totally messed one up.

Update: My step by step tutorial on how I did the the heavy duty snaps is available on this post.

Inside phone pocket

As I mentioned in this post I devised an little pull tab to put my phone in. It's not quite worked out as planned. It's great for inserting the phone, where it sits upright. It also pulls out using the little tab. The problem is that the phone doesn't pull out freely when it's in a rubber case like mine. It works better without the case. Also it's a hassle putting the tab back in once you've pulled out the phone. It would be easier if the top half of the tab was stiffened, with cardboard hidden inside the tab or something similar.

It's pretty neat and I do like it. It keeps the phone upright in the pocket. It's probably not worth the hassle though unless it is stiffened with cardboard or something. 

The pocket is slightly longer than on the Minoru jacket pattern, which was not big enough for a smart phone.


I had a few minor problems here. Firstly I cut out elastic for the cuff to fit my wrists, which are very fine. However they were too much of a mismatch for the size 14 cuff. I then went with the elastic recommendation for a size 14 which was too big. I then made the elastic 2 cm smaller which I was happy with.

I did the gathering stitches on the raw edges of the cuff as recommended in the pattern. However I tried to pull up the gathering with the thread tails and ended up snapping the thread. The gathers wouldn't pull I think because of the weight of the fabric. I removed the gathering and just eased and pinned the cuff onto the sleeve. This worked fine. I spent ages removing all the gathering afterwards so I'll be glad to avoid that step next time. I also attached the cuff with a 1 cm seam allowance as I like long sleeves.

Joining the hem facing to the plackets

I adapted my own tutorial here to finish this. I prepared a tutorial for this which I'll post when it's finished.

Stitching in the ditch

This is where the jacket and lining are joined at the collar. It turned out better than on my first Minoru. For the most part the stitching is not visible on the lining of the lining side. It's still impossible I think to get the stitching exactly in the ditch on both sides. I wasn't aiming for this, but I did spend a lot of time making sure the stitching didn't stray too far into the collar part of the lining side. There was one small section on one side of the lining that I re-did twice on the machine. In the end I ended up doing that part by hand. My hand stitching doesn't look great on the wrong side, but that was mainly because I was impatient to get it finished. It doesn't show on the right side which is the main thing.

Elastic casing

I marked the channels for the elastic by pinning the side seams of the lining and shell together starting from the under arm, seamline to seamline. I then pinned the areas around the elastic channels knowing that the jacket was properly aligned at the side seams. As in my last make I extended my elastic out to the front about 2 inches from the side seam. (On the original pattern the elastic comes out much further.) I did notice one thing though when aligning the shell and lining on the jacket fronts. The lining was a bit tight on the side where the inner pocket was. (I only made one inner pocket). I don't know why this was. It wasn't a huge problem at all but it would be a good idea next time to add a tiny bit of ease, widthways, to the front lining piece.

Threading the elastic took a ridiculously long time. I started doing it with a safety pin. The safety pin kept getting caught on the basting lines which attached the inter lining to the jacket. In the end it was easier to start again and do it without a safety pin. I then tested the elastic width with pins. I first tried somewhere just under the elastic length recommended in the pattern. It was way too big. I then pulled it tighter and it was then too tight. I then decided that my elastic should come out slightly more from the side seams than 2 inches as mentioned above. I extended the channels to 2.5 inches out from the side seams which looked better.


My mother gave me some fabric protector she had left over from making blinds (Scotgard Protector for fabrics). The blurb says it: “forms an invisible barrier which resists water and oil based liquids (eg, rain, wine, salad dressing etc). It also provides dirt resistance so fabrics stay looking cleaner for longer and are easier to clean. Does not change the look, feel or breathability of fabrics. Ideal for clothes and soft furnishings.”

As I hadn't yet properly worn the jacket I decided to waterproof it a month or so ago. It's best to do this on the washed fabric before making but it's equally possible to spray a finished coat (which is one of the recommended uses). My chap did the spraying while I held the coat. He sprayed it really well, with extra on the collar, corners, the pockets and along the stitching. He held the can about 20 cm away from the coat. I then left it overnight.


I'm really happy with this coat. It took a long time to make but was worth the effort. With the storm flaps, lined pockets and interlining it's like a Minoru deluxe! I wore my first one to death and I'm sure I'll do the same with this one.

In other news (for anyone still reading – thanks if you are!) I'm currently making a skater dress based on the Renfrew pattern. I've also just finished a pencil skirt for my mother. Before that I started the Hummingbird peplum top from Cake patterns. My muslin didn't turn out well so I didn't go any further with it. However I was still keen to make a knit and something peplum related. It was then that I hit upon the idea of making a skater dress with the Renfrew pattern! Happily this has turned out much better and I'm looking forward to showing you once it's finished!

Happy sewing.


  1. Kathy, there's only one word to sum this all and that word is "WOW" :)
    The jacket looks great and one can see all the work that went into it. I guess that having already made a previous version of Minoru you knew exactly what to add to make it perfect for you. The storm flaps and the lined pockets are a really useful addition for winter!
    I really appreciate the time you took for documenting it all! I'm not planing on making a Minoru any time soon but the techniques you described here will sure be useful to anyone who plans to sew a winter jacket. Actually I'm downloading the front flaps tutorial as I write this :)

    So thank you for the tutorials and I hope your Minoru will survive many winters from now! :)

    1. Mariana, thank you very much for your lovely comments! Do let me know if the tutorial doesn't download and I'll email it to you. The tutorial also refers to a snaps and hem tutorial that I've now finished and will be posting soon.

      As I was making the pockets I thought the principles could be easily adapted to make a bag which I would love to try at some point. I hope you enjoy the tutorials.