I'm not always the best at sewing in preparation for upcoming seasons. I know this is something that many of us struggle with, much preferring projects that we'll be able to wear immediately. That's not always the most practical, though, especially when it comes to cold weather sewing I think. For once, though, I've actually managed to get something finished in preparation for the cooling weather so I actually have it ready to wear when I need it.
In this first phase of my great coat replacement efforts, I've made myself a Minoru. I made this one to replace a quilted nylon jacket that I inherited from a friend ages ago (a thrift store find originally). It was my go-to winter jacket for walking, sledding, etc, and it was grungy, worn, had splitting seams right and left, and all in all was in desperate need of retirement. Since this Minoru was intended for walking, cycling and trips to the park, I needed something water-resistant. I found a tomato red, treated cotton jacketing at Denver Fabrics for about $5 a yard that was perfect, and nearly the same color as the jacket I was replacing.
I knew I wanted a fun, printed lining ( I mean, really, what's the point of making your own clothes if you can't give yourself fabulous and entertaining linings?), but opted for a solid rayon bemberg for the sleeves for ease of wear. While lurking around the Denver Fabrics site, I happened upon this AMAZING, printed cotton twill. At around $5 a yard as well (and covered in vintage ski posters) I was going to have to have it anyway, but could there really be a more perfect lining for a jacket like this? I think not. I was going to need a lot more warmth for my purposes, so I interlined the whole jacket with cotton batting, quilting the twill for the body before cutting.
I cut an 8:6:4 to get the right proportions for my figure, and I also added in-seam pockets at the sides about an inch down from the waist elastic. I'm very glad I did. A jacket without pockets on the outside just doesn't compute in my world. I also had to get a longer zip for the hood (as many people have noted), since the opening is too long for the listed 18 inch zip. I shortened the waist elastic to about 8 inches also, to get a little more snug fit at the waist. I'm really happy with the fit. I could maybe have given myself a little more room in the shoulders since it does get a tad snug when I've got a few layers on, but in less than freezing weather it's perfectly comfortable and functional. I've tested this thing driving, walking, and cycling and it's great for all three. It's long enough to keep my rear warm on the bike seat, keeps the rain off well, and the inside pockets (on which I omitted the velcro) are the perfect size for my phone, house key and some cash for quick trips with the munchkin.
I've been trying to get pictures taken of this thing for two months, and today I finally got a break from the frigid weather and rain to get some pictures in the slightly better light on our side porch, so of course then the camera battery died on me in the middle of it. Hours later, I finally have pictures of this thing, inside and out. It's already been worn A LOT. Like, basically every day. it's been awesome for the gross, fairly wet weather we've been having. It's comfortable and looks a whole lot nicer than it's predecessor. I can fit a couple of layers under it comfortably as well, which makes it nice and toasty even on the days it's been about 18º outside.
There are a couple of little tweaks I'll make if/when I make another of these; enclosing the hood seam more effectively, being a little more careful about my topstitching around the base of the collar, etc, but all in all I think it's safe to say that I LOVE THIS COAT.